Friday, September 26, 2014

Letters from an Ex-Pentecostal FREE

I wrote a booklet a few years back called "Letters from an Ex-Pentecostal."

You can have the PDF file for free now.  Just look to the right of the main text here and download it!

Have fun.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone.

Regards,

Lutherius, Freddy, etc.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Deleting Poisonous People



Deleting Poisonous People

A healthy person has to prune his social circle about once every 3-5 years.  You will discover the depressed person (who relishes in their depression), the narcissist, or the coward.  Sometimes it takes time to learn these important things about people.  But, you will have to delete these people.  We usually cannot choose family or blood, but we can choose who we hang out with regularly.

To be a winner, you will have to do what winners do.  Sometimes winners do things that ordinary people find difficult impossible, or uncomfortable. 

Tim Ferris once said that success is directly related to the number of uncomfortable conversations you are willing to have.  This sounds true to me.  In his book, The 4 Hour Workweek, this section jumped out at me for the truth value it carries and the ageless wisdom it contains:

Exact numbers aren’t needed to realize that we spend too much time with those who poison us with pessimism, sloth, and low expectations of themselves and the world. It is often the case that you have to fire certain friends or retire from particular social circles to have the life you want. This isn’t being mean; it is being practical. Poisonous people do not deserve your time. To think otherwise is masochistic.

The best way to approach a potential break is simple: Confide in them honestly but tactfully and explain your concerns. If they bite back, your conclusions have been confirmed. Drop them like any other bad habit. If they promise to change, first spend at least two weeks apart to develop other positive influences in your life and diminish psychological dependency. The next trial period should have a set duration and consist of pass-or-fail criteria.

If this approach is too confrontational for you, just politely refuse to interact with them. Be in the middle of something when the call comes, and have a prior commitment when the invitation to hang out comes. Once you see the benefits of decreased time with these people, it will be easier to stop communication altogether.

I’m not going to lie: It sucks. It hurts like pulling out a splinter. But you are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they’re making you weaker.

Remove the splinters and you’ll thank yourself for it.


This is brilliant advice. 

The question will come about enemies and swords sharpening swords, and conflict being good for the soul.  This is very correct.  Here is the problem.

Many Americans think that being positive is the absence of conflict or discomfort.  This is false.  Being positive is exactly what it means in science: forward movement.  You are in a positive environment if you are growing and moving forward, despite conflict and stress.  Eu-stress is good: biking for one hour or lifting weights is good stress.  Distress is bad: being injured or having a conversation with a person in despair is bad stress.

Freddy

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Dealing with Narcissists



Dealing with Narcissists

This is written from some personal experience, and from experiences of some of my closest friends.  This stuff really happens, so be on the lookout!

Most of us psychologically “normal” people feel pain when our friends and family feel pain.  Not the narcissist – they are not happy unless others around them are suffering.  And, this is what you need to understand.  You must prepare yourself, because chances are you will have to deal with this sooner or later.



They will invade your social circle.  They will appear normal, but they will hide a mask of trying to make others miserable.  Once they invade your social circle, they will begin to isolate a target.  They will attack the target under the radar.  The target will defend herself.  But, the narcissist will turn it all around and make the target look bad and mean.  The narcissist will turn the entire social circle against the target.  The others in the social circle will never know this until they are the target of her rage and secret hatred of happiness.  This can go on years undetected.  Researchers at places like “Anonymous Conservative” suggest that you cannot deal with a narcissist with her own tools, because she will win – they are experts at manipulation.  You will have to cut off all ties to this person and completely avoid them – they are poison, and they are making you miserable.  All your precious memories of the narcissist are merely illusions – who you thought they were, is not real – they hid their hatred from you like an expert until you were ripe for attack.  There is a slight chance that you can get rid of the narcissist by being a clever “detective” by not leaving any stone unturned and delivering a “coup de grace” in a potentially kamikaze social strike.  This may or may not work, since the narcissist has built many allies who are equally fooled as you are, but are not yet targets of the narcissist.  You will probably lose until the others figure out just how nasty the narcissist secretly is.


What are you to do?  You must take action.  You cannot allow these people to continue in your life.  You have to figure out a way to completely break contact with them, even if you risk losing friends in the trust of the dangerous narcissist.  Get away.  Get as far away as you can.


Here is one likely scenario.  In your usual circle of friends, you begin to get a loss of eye contact.  Select people begin to avoid you.  The firm handshake gives way to the “no handshake” and even you may not get a greeting at all.  Then, you wonder what the hell is going on.  Suddenly, someone normally passive toward you, does something passive aggressive – like, takes one of your trophies (symbolizing success and happiness) and marks all over it with a marker.  You ask this person about the incident.  They reply with aggressiveness of which shocks you immensely coming from this person who had previous little interaction with you.  You ask for an apology, but do not get it, and you shrug it off as someone who is just socially inept or perhaps depressed.  Then, you notice other forms of passive aggressive behavior from this person, but they recruit someone close to you to unknowingly participate in this passive-aggression.

Now, you are in a situation where a person who is virtually invisible to you has committed passive-aggression against you, and has embedded themselves into a family member and is committing nasty acts, and this family member is unwittingly participating.  You wonder “Who in the hell does this person think she is?”  You perform investigations over a period of time and discover that this narcissist has turned a substantial portion of a social circle against you with lies.  The investigation is clear.  The evidence is clear.  But what do you do?

You must take absolute control over the situation.  Do not allow this to continue more than one week after you have identified the Narcissist, and have resolved to take action. 

(1)Break all contact. 

Those who are your close friends and family – you will have to tell them you are breaking all contact with the narcissist and also breaking all contact with associates of the narcissist.  If you do not break contact with the narcissist’s associates, you will be involved in a poisoned social circle, which nobody needs in their lives.

(2) Make it absolutely clear to the Narcissist that you will not compromise on the ultimatum.

Do not even allow them the possibility of ever renewing any kind of relationship with you or your family.  They are programmed robots and will merely resume their poisonous and destructive behavior.

(3) Do not hesitate in breaking off friendships with allies of the Narcissist.

This may be painful, but you cannot allow a narcissist in your life.  If this means breaking friendship with others, so be it.  This is where people may go wrong and hesitate.  YOU CANNOT HESITATE ON THIS POINT!  Remember, this social circle is already poisoned, and you are probably being negatively affected by this person anyway, so new friends will be a breath of fresh air anyway – or rekindle old relationships you have neglected.  Again – DO NOT HESITATE or you will be sorry.


There are of course, savvy ways of dealing with nasty people, which involves getting nasty yourself.  If you need details, feel free to send me an email, and we may be able to speak over the phone about some very effective weapons you can use.  This is only if you are willing to get your hands dirty. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gluttony: Notes on Pentecostal Behavior

Seven Deadly Sins: Gluttony

When studying the Seven Deadly Sins, as traditionally taught by Christianity for over 1000 years, which were probably inherited from moral teachings from the Greek philosophers such as Plato and Socrates, I was struck by common Pentecostal practices that not only violate these traditional “deadly” sins, but actively encourage these deadly sins.

In browsing some Pentecostal websites with pictures of gatherings and meetings, I was struck by a strange sight of obesity. Now, we all know that some people are fat or bubbly somewhat. However, when it gets to the point of not being able to perform basic functions without undue stress, I think we need to take a closer look at what is going on. Are these people just a little big large or are they gluttons at the table, consuming food like wild hogs? Are they having some medical problems, or do they have a problem with self-control? And, let me be clear that I probably have been guilty of this myself.

Traditionally, one can commit gluttony in several ways, according to Thomas Aquinas (reference Wikipedia):

(1) Eating too soon
(2) Eating too expensively
(3) Eating too much
(4) Eating too eagerly
(5) Eating too daintily
(6) Eating wildly

Now, look at this list again, and tell me that Pentecostals regularly violate several of these guidelines. I would say I have always seen Pentecostal meetings where they (a) Eat too soon, (b) Eat too much, (c) Eat too eagerly, and (d) Eat wildly. I was among Pentecostals recently, and I was struck by something I never noticed before: they were devouring their food as would a hungry dog or a hog. Being away from that crowd for several years, and seeing this activity struck me as memorable.

What is wrong with all this gluttonous behavior? Who is being harmed? Well, in most ethical systems, we are taught how to be good to others, but also we learn forms of self-control because an extreme lack of self-control in one area almost always signals a moral problem in many other areas. It is an outward sign of an inward disorder. Why do we become gluttons? Are we substituting food for socializing? Are we substituting food for not confronting undesirable situations (cowardice). Are we eating because we are lonely? Are we devouring food because we lack meaning and spirituality in our lives (I think this is the piece de resistance, myself)?

Also, think about the prohibition of alcohol among some of the more extreme fundamentalists. Well, do they prohibit and police gluttony? Well, drunkenness is only a subset of gluttony! What is drunkenness? Consuming too much alcohol to the point of neglecting our duties. Again, lack of self-control is the key.

What do you remember about the hoggish consumption of food in your Pentecostal experience?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Comments Policy Note

Please continue to post comments here. However, please attempt to be reasonable and coherent. Posts deemed to be blatantly irrational, blatantly incoherent, or juvenile will probably be deleted.

Thanks to you thoughtful posters, by the way.


Lutherius
President
Association of Former Pentecostals

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Concise Refutation of Materialist Atheism

Scientific-evidence based arguments for the non-existence (or the existence) of God are essentially incoherent. To explore this, one must ask, “What is science?” What does science really do? Science is, briefly put, correlation of data to a model. It asks: how well does this particular model follow the data and the evidence collected?

What is the assumption here? One clearly must have data. What does the collection of data assume? It assumes a material existent. Science cannot work with anything that is not a material existent. Thus, the pop atheist books now in circulation that use the argument, “There is no scientific evidence for the existence of God” are clearly offering an irrational argument. Science assumes material data. To apply its methods and argumentation to a deity question is to have a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is.

Also, the problem of universals shows that there are indeed non-material existents. Most or all of math is a non-material existent. One cannot find math anywhere as a physical object. Thus, one must accept the existence of non-material existents, unless one wishes to claim that mathematics does not exist. One knows that the number two really exists, but where is it? Two tables before me and two chairs behind me both use the exact same existent “two.” However, can we point physically to this number two? No, it is a non-material existent, as are most or all universals. Thus, one cannot reasonably claim that there is no such thing as a non-material existent. This opens us up to another realm where there are things that are real, and exist, apart from physical phenomena, such as mathematics and consciousness.

Thus, the evidence based atheist who says there is no evidence for God, and therefore, he does not exist is using an invalid method for the debate. One cannot use any purely material based approach to the question of a non-material existent, such as God.

Therefore, any scientifically based argument in a discussion for the existence of God is clearly irrational, and invalid. Science assumes material phenomenon for applications of any of its methods.

+++

A lot of confusion among materialist scientists is perhaps a misunderstanding of the philosophical basis of the methods they practice. The correlating of evidence to fit a model usually is the application of this data to a mathematical model. And, one does not perform science without mathematics, or some abstract model. And, it seems that a materialist scientist should accept the reality of mathematics, since they necessarily use it. Thus, they accept material evidence (data) and determine how close this data correlates to the non-material models, usually mathematical.

Perhaps they do admit mathematical realities, or, perhaps they do not think about the issue at all, simply performing their work habitually without understanding philosophically what is going on. So, when the arguments for the existence of God are examined, the materialist, I suspect in some ignorance, asks the wrong questions, out of habit, not taking the effort of examining, and thereby understanding, the valid applications of their habitual method. Since the methods they use give them consistent results and a high confidence in its validity for what they do every day, they make an incorrect assumption that it applies to some philosophical questions. In many cases, this confidence turns into arrogance, which in turn explains some of the recklessness when a materialist glibly applies the method to non-material questions.

I also suspect that when a philosophically astute challenger points out these obvious errors of materialism, the materialist suddenly feels exposed and naked, since his previously unassailable method has been shown useless (for some questions) with arguments he has never thought about before. And, a scientist usually does not take very well to exposure that his previously reliable intellectual approach, (and often by implication his reputation of being “smart”) is shattered so easily. I think a lot of the materialist evasion after being challenged effectively is a turning away on their part to the truth shown in the argument coming from from a fear of looking directly at the issue, because an entire world-view will be shattered for them, in many cases.



Lutherius
President
Association of Former Pentecostals