Howie Perverts Christianity with Number Games

Funny how using a question mark, coincidence, and an anonymous “friend” make crazy talk acceptable. Gordon Howie reads Luke 21: 25–26—

25 There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken [Luke 21:25–26, NIV via Bible Gateway].

—then plays with numbers to say Jesus is coming:

It would be hard to make an argument that this scripture doesn’t describe our word today.  A friend pointed out an interesting bit of information.  On the 21st of September, we saw the eclipse.  On the 25th, the Hurricane hit the Texas coast.  On the 26th, flooding began in Houston.

Luke 21: 25-26, coincidence?  You be the judge, but it certainly should make us think [Gordon Howie, “Jesus… Coming Soon???The Right Side, 2017.09.10].

This kind of shameless flim-flammery makes Christians, conservatives, and bloggers look bad. Along with typing the wrong month, Howie posts nutty words, then hides from ownership of them with weasel words—”you be the judge… should make us think”—and the well-known bloggers’ question marks in the title, saying, I want to make people think Jesus is coming, but when he doesn’t, don’t blame me, because I only asked a question. Other people must have jumped to conclusions.

I won’t hide behind coy phrasing or question marks. I’ll say it clearly:

The August eclipse, this year’s hurricanes, last week’s earthquake in Mexico, and the sunny weather here in Aberdeen today are all natural phenomena, entirely explanable by science and not foretold by any word or playtime recoding of words in the Bible. The dates on which they occurred on the modern Gregorian calendar have nothing to do with the Roman calendar in use when Luke and friends wrote his gospel or with the chapter and verse numbers added centuries later by various human scribes not inspired by God. Several fellows named Jesús may be coming to America looking for work this week, but no carpenter-turned-teacher from Nazareth who was executed twenty centuries ago by the Roman governor of Judea in Jerusalem will return to clean up after Hurricane Irma, pass a federal budget, or declare a better kingdom any time “soon.”

I’m no expert on Christianity, but I know Christianity is about speaking the truth, not playing number games. Quit making the faith look nutty, Gordon.


33 Responses to Howie Perverts Christianity with Number Games

  1. Mr. Lansing

    As one science fiction writer put it, “These aren’t the End Times, but it sure as hell feels like the End Times are getting in a few dress rehearsals right about now.” GO VIKINGS!! – NYTimes

  2. mike from iowa

    http://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/files/2017/02/Alt-Jesus.jpg

    Speaking of heavenly stuff, Scientists/Mathematicians use math to calculate when Cassini spaceship will send its last message to Earth after twenty year run. Mark yer calendars for September 15. This is one prophecy that will actually come true-thanks to science and math.

  3. Porter Lansing

    Howie and the born again charleton preachers use “end times” prophecy as a fund raiser. Scare the rubes and sell ‘me some salvation insurance.

  4. The AL Central division leading Cleveland Indians have won 17 in a row. The NL West leading Los Angeles Dodgers have lost nine in a row. Twins in the wild card race. Act of God or September baseball?

  5. I LOVE when Biblical prophesy is framed only in terms of Western – especially US – frameworks. The hidden message from God only counts when put into the context of America. It all seems more of an exaltation of America than of religious belief.

    Our sermon in church today was on how God answers prayer; it was followed by a prayer for support of the hurricane victims in Florida (only Florida was affected?). Too bad Florida didn’t pray to be missed by the storm.

  6. Cory writes:

    Funny how using a question mark, coincidence, and an anonymous “friend” make crazy talk acceptable.

    *makes (subject is using)

    The dates on which [these natural phenomena] occurred on the modern Gregorian calendar have nothing to do with the Roman calendar in use when Luke and friends wrote his gospel or with the chapter and verse numbers added centuries later by various human scribes not inspired by God.

    I’m open to the possibility that God influenced the scribes who added the Bible’s chapter and verse numbers, but I’d agree that those numbers aren’t infallibly inspired in the same sense as the original texts.

    Speaking of natural phenomena, though, it’s interesting that the respective diameters of the sun and the moon look the same from the earth’s surface. It seems to me that if there were no God, the odds against this would be … astronomical. The mere fact that the earth and the moon are in nearly circular orbits, so that the respective diameters of the sun and the moon appear constant, would be quite remarkable in itself.

    … no carpenter-turned-teacher from Nazareth who was executed twenty centuries ago by the Roman governor of Judea in Jerusalem will return to clean up after Hurricane Irma, pass a federal budget, or declare a better kingdom any time “soon.”

    The Bible says:

    Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

    Note that the above passage is from 2 Peter 3:3-4, which means Christ will return to declare a better kingdom in the year 2334.

    [DISCLAIMER: I believe Christ will return soon, but my remark about the year is an attempt at humor.]

    Cory writes:

    I’m no expert on Christianity, but I know Christianity is about speaking the truth …

    I’d say you’re about as much of an expert on Christianity as someone who doesn’t know Christ could be, Cory, and I mean that as a genuine compliment.

    “o” writes:

    I LOVE when Biblical prophesy is framed only in terms of Western – especially US – frameworks. The hidden message from God only counts when put into the context of America. It all seems more of an exaltation of America than of religious belief.

    I’ve heard respected scholars argue that America as a nation is absent from the Bible’s prophecies about international conflict in the end times. I’d like to think that’s because my noninterventionist libertarian views are going to win out, but it seems more likely that the national debt is going to catch up with us.

  7. Mr. Howie is the the original overgodder, and the first to ever be declared insaner than most.

    Mr. Howie is dangerous. His cults bubble deep within the fringe of society in Pennington and Custer counties.

  8. I’d tried to correct Cory’s grammar:

    *makes (subject is using)

    Ugh. Scratch that. You were right. I was wrong.

  9. O—how did your pastor say prayers are answered?

  10. Kurt, I’m not convinced that your grammar correction was incorrect. Using does indeed look like a gerund used as a subject; the three nouns following make up a compound direct object to that gerund (Howie uses all three). Your original contention that the predicate verb should thus be singular—makes—makes sense. What made you change your mind?

  11. Kurt, your attempt at humor worked. I laughed aloud. Well done.

    Christianity is not the DaVinci Code or Nostradamus. Any attempt to turn Christianity into such numerology deserves mocking.

  12. Cory had written:

    Funny how using a question mark, coincidence, and an anonymous “friend” make crazy talk acceptable.

    I’d tried to correct Cory’s grammar:

    *makes (subject is using)

    Then I’d written:

    Ugh. Scratch that. You were right. I was wrong.

    Cory replies:

    Kurt, I’m not convinced that your grammar correction was incorrect. Using does indeed look like a gerund used as a subject; the three nouns following make up a compound direct object to that gerund (Howie uses all three). Your original contention that the predicate verb should thus be singular—makes—makes sense. What made you change your mind?

    It occurred to me that you might not have intended coincidence and the anonymous friend as objects of using, and that you might have intended a compound subject of (1) using a question mark, (2) coincidence, and (3) an anonymous friend. I guess at this point we’re both wrong either way (ha ha).

  13. For hundreds of years charlatans have been generating publicity for themselves and making money off of claims that Chuy is coming. I ate at his restaurant the other day. He’s here!

  14. There is a lot of history with Gordon Howie in Rapid City and very little of it is any good. His self righteous indignation reveals an identity that is far and away dissimilar to the heart and mind of a Christian. He uses the bible to advance a political agenda that is an aberration to Christianity and faith in god. He’s not even a humanist. See Matthew 24 36-44. He cherry picks scripture for self justification, not to advance the kingdom of god.

  15. “I’m no expert on Christianity, but I know Christianity is about speaking the truth.”

    Come on. I know we live in a society where bible-thumpers (or other-religious-text thumpers) look down on the rest of us for admitting we don’t believe everything we heard from our parents, but they only have the power to do that because we non-thumpers keep tip-toeing around the fact that these religions are so full of baloney it makes trump look like honest abe.

    This is what I think: most people who believe in religious teachings, or god, or heaven, or whatever – they are mostly good people. They want to do good things and say good things and be good humans. The problem is, they are stuck in these rusty old religions that made sense hundreds or thousands of years ago when ill-tempered men ruled the world and their families with iron fists. Now, these people who think they joined the “good” people at the lunch table keep having to defend their selfish, crazy, terrifying religions against the mounting evidence that these religions are selfish, crazy, and terrifying. They want so badly to be good people, but the book and the history they repeatedly defend against all reason, are anything but good.

    So, I think a lot of religious folks are probably good people, but I think the fact that they have to deviate from the religion they purport to follow in order to feel like a good person is the best example of why us non-thumpers don’t thump. If you follow a religious text because you think god is the author, then follow the dang thing to the T. If you follow a religious text because you think god is the author, and then you tweak the rules or ignore certain horrifying parts, then you are a nutcase who thinks he knows better than his own god what he meant.

    And finally – cherry picking scripture? How ironic to quote cherry-picked scripture in your comment lamenting cherry-picked scripture. It’s like baseball or apple pie, man. It’s universally appealing for proponents and opponents of religion. It’s because it’s easy to find something that sounds like religious people are god’s perfect creatures on one page, and then makes the religion’s followers look like blood-thirsty savages on the next. Too easy.

  16. John W. writes:

    [Gordon Howie] uses the bible to advance a political agenda that is an aberration to Christianity and faith in god. He’s not even a humanist.

    Humanism is centered on the supposed rationality and moral goodness of humans. Biblical Christianity is centered on God. I’m not sure I know enough about Gordon to comment on your other criticisms, John, but it isn’t an aberration for a traditional Bible-believing Protestant Christian to reject humanism.

    John continues:

    See Matthew 24 36-44.

    If you don’t have a Bible, just read John’s lips as we read silently…

    In Matthew 24:36-44, Jesus Christ says:

    “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

    “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?version=NASB&search=Matthew_24:36-44

    Ryan writes:

    If you follow a religious text because you think god is the author, then follow the dang thing to the T.

    That seems like good advice, Ryan.

  17. bearcreekbat

    Kurt, do you think it is “good advice” to follow the Biblical directives of Leviticus and Numbers “to the T”?

  18. “bearcreekbat” asks:

    Kurt, do you think it is “good advice” to follow the Biblical directives of Leviticus and Numbers “to the T”?

    No, but I think it would have been good advice for the Israelites to whom those directives were given.

  19. Cory asked: “O—how did your pastor say prayers are answered?”

    Unfortunately this was a claim unsubstantiated by proof, example, or substantiation. Just a claim. There were even specific instructions to how to get prayers answered – “Where two gather in my name . . .” but nothing about her answer.

  20. mike from iowa

    Hot off the presses- if you buy Rapture insurance, Atheists will watch over Raptured Rascal’s cats and dogs. http://www.themudflats.net/archives/48426

    Too effing funny by one of Alaska’s best political writers.

  21. Claim unsubstantiated by proof—alas!

    To some extent, faith is belief without proof, but faith still needs to fit with some evidence from experience. I have yet to see reliable evidence that prayers are answered in any way that we can differentiate from chance.

    I also haven’t seen any evidence that numbers assigned to Bible passages in the Middle Ages and Renaissance have any power to predict the future.

  22. Mr. Lansing

    @Cory … If one doesn’t pray how could one see a prayer answered? It’s not feasible to expect to see another’s prayer answered. The answers are inner and quite personal. As a Protestant I was taught how to pray in a way the prayer would be answered. e.g. I didn’t pray for my wife not to die of breast cancer. God wouldn’t have listened because that would have been a selfish prayer. I have prayed seriously twice and both times it was answered and things were revealed to me that seemed to come from God. I know, anecdotes aren’t proof. Just stories, like the parables of Jesus.
    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5-7&version=ESV

  23. Porter Lansing writes:

    If one doesn’t pray how could one see a prayer answered? It’s not feasible to expect to see another’s prayer answered.

    I’d say seeing another person’s prayer answered is possible but rare.

    As a Protestant I was taught how to pray in a way the prayer would be answered. e.g. I didn’t pray for my wife not to die of breast cancer. God wouldn’t have listened because that would have been a selfish prayer.

    If a man’s only motives to pray for his wife’s health were selfish, I’d probably question whether he’d ever had an open line of communication with God in the first place. Maybe the point you’re trying to make is that sometimes sickness and death work for the greater good, so our requests should always be subject to God’s will. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.)

  24. Mr. Lansing

    Mr. Evans … If you feel a need to be continually contrary then be contrary. I was taught not to pray for something you want because God provides, guides and overrides and has your life always at hand. Praying is for the common good and for God to give you guidance. I however did often pray that God made her path as easy as possible. Thanks for your interest. :0)

  25. Porter Lansing writes to me:

    If you feel a need to be continually contrary then be contrary. I was taught not to pray for something you want …

    I’m not being contrary just for the sake of being contrary, but I was never taught that, and I don’t think it’s in the Bible, and I don’t think it’s a traditional Protestant idea. I’m not sure how it would even be possible to genuinely pray for something unless a person wanted it.

  26. Mr. Lansing

    I don’t get to pick who I teach.

  27. Porter Lansing

    @Evans … You’re not sure because you’re far from being an expert. Happy to have enlightened your perspective.

  28. I’d written:

    I’m not sure how it would even be possible to genuinely pray for something unless a person wanted it.

    Porter Lansing writes:

    You’re not sure because you’re far from being an expert.

    I’m probably more of an expert on the history of biblical theology than on the Bible itself, but I wouldn’t say I’m “far from” being an expert on either.

    I wasn’t trying to pick a fight here, Porter, and I’m sorry if I’ve offended you.

  29. Mr. Lansing

    Kurt wrote: ” I don’t think it’s in the Bible, and I don’t think it’s a traditional Protestant idea.”
    I say, “Not being selfish when you pray is many places in the Bible. I don’t claim to be fundamental or traditional in life, religion or analysis.”
    Kurt wrote: ” I’m not sure how it would even be possible to genuinely pray for something unless a person wanted it.”
    I say, “Prayers are requests for things or events, so of course it’s something you want or don’t want. There’s a basic difference between praying for something for yourself and praying for something for someone else or the group. Thus, the distinction between selfish and altruistic prayer. There’re rare occasions when one prays selfishly but expecting that prayer to be answered more than once or twice in a lifetime is beyond reality. I’ve prayed selfishly and was rewarded twice in my life and I hope I never have to do it again. Selfish prayer should be rare. Good rhyme, huh? lol”
    I’m not offended, Kurt. I’ve been chosen and I don’t get to pick whom I teach. Thanks for asking and a good weekend to you, sir.

  30. Porter Lansing had written:

    I was taught not to pray for something you want …

    I’d written:

    … I was never taught that, and I don’t think it’s in the Bible, and I don’t think it’s a traditional Protestant idea.

    Porter replies:

    Not being selfish when you pray is many places in the Bible.

    Yes, but praying for something you want isn’t inherently selfish. In the fourth chapter of Philippians the Bible says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (italics mine).

    I don’t claim to be fundamental or traditional in life, religion or analysis.

    You’re claiming this is how you were taught to pray “as a Protestant” (2017-09-13 at 09:52). Protestant Christianity is a religious tradition.

    There’s a basic difference between praying for something for yourself and praying for something for someone else or the group. Thus, the distinction between selfish and altruistic prayer.

    Again, praying for something for oneself isn’t inherently selfish. In the Lord’s Prayer in the sixth chapter of Matthew, Christ Himself explicitly teaches that we should pray for things for ourselves, including our daily food, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.

    There’re rare occasions when one prays selfishly but expecting that prayer to be answered more than once or twice in a lifetime is beyond reality. I’ve prayed selfishly and was rewarded twice in my life and I hope I never have to do it again. Selfish prayer should be rare.

    One could make a strong case from the Bible that all true Christian prayer is ultimately unselfish, but I’m not going to try to make that case tonight.

  31. Porter Lansing

    If you need to justify asking God for things, you don’t have to convince me. The Bible is highly contradictory, lending to much of its popularity and much of its scorn and derision. When I talk to God it’s to ask forgiveness for my continual mistakes not ask for favors. We’ll agree that your prayer is for you and I’m invalid and uninterested in judging it. You seem to need the last word in every conversation so please except my invitation to it. Peace.

  32. Porter Lansing

    Accept …

  33. Porter Lansing writes:

    The Bible is highly contradictory, lending to much of its popularity and much of its scorn and derision.

    The Bible isn’t highly contradictory, Porter. It’s amazingly consistent, especially considering that it’s a collection of books written by dozens of authors over hundreds of years.

    When I talk to God it’s to ask forgiveness for my continual mistakes not ask for favors.

    God’s forgiveness is a big, big favor.