9/05/2003                                                                                       View Comments

"IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL"

Those of you who have read some of my personal site know that I spent a good portion of my life as a musician, both in the service of the US Military as well as in the service of various church groups. I understand the power of music, and I understand that some of the best music is written when motivated by strong emotion.

There are some Christian hymns that still stir my soul. I no longer believe the message of the songs, but when a song is good, it is good, regardless of the message. One of those that has come to my attention again recently is "It is Well with my Soul" by Horatio Spafford. For those not familiar with the old song, or who may have forgotten it, I uploaded a windows media audio file which can be heard here:





Mr. Spafford wrote his song inspired by tragedy.

Born in New York State on October 30, 1828, Horatio G. Spafford became a lawyer, practicing law and teaching jurisprudence in Chicago. By the time he was in his early 40s he was quite successful and invested heavily in downtown Chicago real estate along the shores of Lake Michigan. The infamous Chicago fire of 1871 destroyed all his land holdings. His material losses were exceptional.

Always a religious family, Horatio decided to take a holiday in England to assist the famous Dwight L Moody as he traveled about England on one of his evangelistic crusades. Horatio and Anna his wife planned to join Moody in late 1873. The Spaffords traveled to New York in November, from where they were to catch the French steamer 'Ville de Havre' across the Atlantic. Yet just before they set sail, a last-minute business development forced Horatio to delay. Spafford encouraged his family to go as planned, so as not to ruin their holiday. He planned to follow later. Anna and her four daughters sailed East to Europe while Spafford returned West to Chicago. Nine days later, Spafford received a telegram from his wife who was now in Wales. It read: "Saved alone."

On November 2nd 1873, the 'Ville de Havre' had collided with 'The Lochearn', an English vessel. It sank in only 12 minutes, claiming the lives of 226 people. Anna Spafford had stood bravely on the deck, with her daughters Annie, Maggie, Bessie and Tanetta clinging desperately to her. Her last memory had been of her baby being torn violently from her arms by the force of the waters. Anna was only saved from the fate of her daughters by a plank which floated beneath her unconscious body and propped her up. When the survivors of the wreck had been rescued, Mrs. Spafford's first reaction was one of complete despair. Then she heard a voice speak to her, "You were spared for a purpose."

Upon hearing the terrible news, Horatio Spafford boarded the next ship out of New York to join his bereaved wife. Bertha Spafford (the fifth daughter of Horatio and Anna born later) explained that during her father's voyage, the captain of the ship had called him to the bridge. "A careful reckoning has been made", he said, "and I believe we are now passing the place where the de Havre was wrecked. The water is three miles deep." Horatio then returned to his cabin and penned the lyrics of his great hymn.

This is usually where the story ends when told in Church, followed inevitably by the singing of the hymn, and then a heart wrenching invitation to come to the altar to lay any burdens at the foot of the cross or something along those lines.

The following is the rest of the story:

Later a son, Horatio, and a daughter, Bertha, were born to them. When little Horatio died of scarlet fever at the age of three, it was a crushing blow, as deeply felt as the shipwreck.

Before these terrible incidents overtook their lives, the Spaffords had become interested in the Holy Land. A friend, Dr. Piazza Smith, went to Giza and when he came back, he told Horatio that he believed the pyramids were made by divine inspiration. The visit with Dr. Smith made Horatio and Anna take an active interest in the prophecies of the Old Testament and the Holy Land. After the horrific events that seemed to be haunting their lives, Anna needed a change and Horatio understood this. He felt the Holy Land was a good place to go to witness prophecy and refresh the body and soul. Horatio and his wife, Anna, became quite religious after the shipwreck. Horatio said, "Jerusalem is where my Lord lived, suffered and conquered and I wish to learn how to live, suffer and especially to conquer".

Their only surviving child, Bertha Spafford (Vester) in later life wrote about her experiences in "Our Jerusalem," which documents how she came to Jerusalem with her heart-broken parents in 1881. They brought with them their family and a small group of Protestant followers. They were called the "Spaffordites" or the "Overcomers" because they wanted to overcome the tragedy that they had experienced. They built what would be known as the "American Colony" with a sacrificial sense of purpose, acting on what they considered divine commands. The colony provided education, religious education, nursing to the sick and fed many people. The colony was used a Red Cross facility during World War I. The American colonists also set up medical facilities, orphanages, soup kitchens, schools, and a pediatric hospital. The good works of the colony live on today with hospitals and the Spaffords Children Centre in Jerusalem.

But there is more:

Upon their arrival in Jerusalem, the Spaffordites decided to live a communal life, with property held in common by the group. They did not send their children to school, but they educated them themselves. The community also practiced complete sexual abstinence. Husbands and wives lived in separate quarters and marriage was forbidden in the group. All was not peaches and cream for the American Colony as their religious dedication bordered closer to fanaticism.

The biggest problems began after Horatio's death in 1881.

Anna, Bertha's mother, took over the group. She abandoned her husband's D.L Moody influenced convictions and adopted an understanding of living a perfect life in line with holiness teachings. The colonists interpreted certain of Jesus' commands literally for those destined to enter Heaven: “and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of Heavens sake “(Matthew 19:12); “and "They which shall be accounted worthy, to obtain that world, and the resurrection for the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage “(Luke 20:34-36). Children were separated from their parents and Anna Spafford became Mother of the whole community turned cult.

The Colony also had problems with the American Consul in Jerusalem. Sean Merrill was the American Consul from 1882-1885 under President Chester A. Arthur, 1891-1893 under President Benjamin Harrison, and 1898-1907 under Presidents McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Merrill was a Congregationalist minister and a scholar of the Holy Land. As such he did not care for the Colony's religious practices and agreed with others in the British and American Protestant communities who believed that people in the Colony were dangerous. While Merrill did not deal with the people who left the Colony, he noted that such people were not reimbursed for their contribution to the community, nor for property they had entrusted to the Colony.

The biggest thing about the Colony Merrill hated was the Colony's Messianic fervor and informal prayer meetings. He also did not care for the requirement of celibacy, and was appalled by the communal lifestyle. Merrill warned tourists against visiting the colony and described it in very negative terms.

By the early 20th Century many young people in the Colony had reached marriageable age, including Anna's daughter Bertha. Anna, in 1904 began to allow marriage and Bertha married Fredrick Vester. As a dowry to the Colony Fredrick gave them his family store, renamed The American Colony Store, which became the Colony's main source of income.

After Anna's death in 1923, Bertha took over the Colony. The religious rules were then relaxed greatly. Bertha did not have revelations like her mother and was not a fanatical religious leader. The people of the colony were now busy with raising their families, and were not as interested in Jewish immigration and settlement in the Holy Land. Without these intense religious principles to adhere to, the colony ceased to be a religious sect in 1930.

Conclusion:

I personally know another lawyer turned minister who suffered a terrible loss a few years ago. The family was on vacation in another state when another driver ran a stop sign colliding with the vacationing family's van. Their 17-year old son was driving the van when it was hit. Although he came out of the accident with only some bruises, his younger sister in the back was killed. The family is very religious, very fundamental and nice people. Even so, the terrible mourning of losing their child has never left them and every time I see the bereaved mother, I hope she is getting help to cope with her loss. Her behavior and conversation betrays her fixation and inability to accept her loss.

I believe that the Spafford family were never able to recover from the overwhelming grief forced on them by circumstances. I don't blame them. I think they did remarkably well, all things considered. Something that speaks in support of my allegation is the route taken by the travelers when they finally left for Jerusalem. From Chicago, the Spaffords went to Quebec. The Spaffords delegation took the St. Lawrence River out of the North American continent to get to Jerusalem. The reason they took this route, instead of going through NY, was to take the long way around and avoid sailing over the wreck that claimed their four daughters. It just hurt too much.

What I take issue with is not that tragedy strikes people and leaves them changed by it. What I take issue with is the disingenuous use of anyone's tragedy by Christianity to falsely support their claim of a comforting and loving god. It may be argued that the faith the Spafford's enjoyed helped them as they tried to cope with the harsh reality of chance and mortality, but that certanily does not prove that faith to be well placed or true. It appears to me that neither the Spaffords nor my friends were genuinely comforted by the idea that their children were seated at the right hand of their own personal savior. The belief that they were in a better place did little to rub salve into the wounds of their grief. Nothing, it seems, could assuage their pain.

The Spaffords descended into a mild form of insanity and fanaticism. That does not speak well of the so-often-touted supernatural healing powers of the "Great Physician." The next time you hear "It is Well with My Soul" played somewhere, just remember the rest of the story.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

The conclusion of this article based on the idea that you "believe" the Spafford were never able to recover from their grief is weak--as though you can read into someone's emotions who has been dead for over 100 years. The idea that the Spafford took a different route acorss the Atlantic to avoid crossing the place where the shipwreck occurred
seems to be a bit of a stretch considering that Horatio had already crossed that point in a ship, and his response was not overwhelming grief but peace.

M Witter

.:webmaster:. said...

You might have a point MW, but regardless of that one small point, the rest of the article doesn't reflect well of there being any peace in anyone's soul.

Anonymous said...

First of all, I think Christianity does not teach the promise of a comforting and a loving God falsely . Because apart from individual testimonies and messages,the message of christianity is still of a savior who died on the cross to carry the sins of the world. The very message is of hope, comfort, love and victory. Now the Spafford's I believe offered their testimonies as they seemed to fit to, given their circumstances. They could have chose to remain silent or in grief, but they wanted to share God's comfort and peace in unimaginable times. Not only did they attest to this experience, but hoped it to be inspiration to others as well. And as to whether they were really in grief, or they found peace as they claimed to, no one can know. No one can see the state of anyone's mind or soul.
But i know this, the song is still a comfort in itself to many people, aside from the Bible to those who believe.

boomSLANG said...

"First of all, I think Christianity does not teach the promise of a comforting and loving God falsely."

I think it DOES teach it falsely. ' Care to explain how you are right, and I am wrong?...WITHOUT confirming, oh, say Mormonism, or Islam as "truth", in the process? Waiting.

Anonymous said...

I am singing this beautiful hymn in church tomorrow as a solo. I was searching for the lyircs online, and came to this site. I am so glad that we live in a country where we can all freely express our opinions, whether we be spritually-minded or not. I do, however, think that many of you have spent an awful lot of time complaining about Christians... when you really could get off of your posteriors and go out into the world and do something positive. May God Bless you and keep you in his (or her) care.

Anonymous said...

So why is it necessary for us to know that you are singing a hymn solo tomorrow? To whom do you seek to please? Self-gratification perhaps or a sense of egotism?
By singing in a church, does that somehow give you verification or recognition? What are you expecting to receive in return? What is the point of you singing in a church? Do you get a sense of Holyness or worthyness? Are you in this much need of attention? What is lacking in your life that you must put on an heir of righteousness? You must feel a Halo appear above you as you sing your praises to an imaginary God that you think really gives a damn...huh? You think you're doing someone a favor by a higher calling don't you? It must be nice to live in a box in your mind, where everything is black and white, good and evil...huh? It's all about you isn't it? What you can get for yourself. Self-glorification, if you can convence one other person anywhere in the world that you are a good person, then maybe they will put in a good word for you to a God later on, that's what you're after isn't it?
You're goody two-shoes people pleaser aren't you? You're a self-righteous little snit you are!!!

If you're just now searching the the lyrics, you're going to be in a heap of trouble. But you really just wanted to spout about your religious agenda, it has nothing to do with this website.

We happen to think that exposing Christians and biblical myths as the lies that they are, as doing something positive!

Go ye and spread your filthy slime somewhere else!

Dave8 said...

Anonymous: "I do, however, think that many of you have spent an awful lot of time complaining about Christians... when you really could get off of your posteriors and go out into the world and do something positive."

Obviously, anony isn't aware that people can be all over the world, "off of their posteriors, and doing something positive", like breaking down religious intolerance, one village/tribe at a time. Perhaps, anony could get off of their posterior and learn how the world wide web works, is it that alien to understand how a person could be doing positive work all over the world, and still be able to make comments on a blog?

Me thinks, anony's view of "something positive" is that which doesn't openly expose christians, or their religion, when blatant indiscretions/crimes are committed. As well, it probably isn't a positive thing, to prevent the spread of a christian based religion either - perhaps.

Lets see... Ah, lets ponder on the implications of positive christian acts, during times of international turmoil, shall we...

***********************************
"Afghanistan to expel over 1,000 S. Korean Christian evangelicals"

("Kyodo," August 02, 2006)

Kabul, Afghanistan - More than 1,000 South Korean Christian evangelicals who have entered Afghanistan for a "peace festival" will be expelled from the Muslim country, an Afghan official said Wednesday.

The South Koreans, who arrived on tourist visas for a rally called the 2006 Afghanistan Peace Festival, will be expelled "soonest possible because we cannot guarantee their safety here," the high-ranking official said on condition of anonymity.

He said that even though the South Koreans were warned not to "preach religion" while in the country, in some cases they have been seen trying to evangelize Muslims in some regions.

"This can be terribly provocative and can create problems for Afghan government," he said."

http://www.wwrn.org/article.php?idd=22317&sec=20&cont=all

***********************************

Now, anony, some of us are out in the world rebuilding countries, and educating them on how to better sustain a stable government base... do you think its positive that christian evangelicals show up to undermine such efforts?

Far be it for me to take such ignorance personally, but I do... Terrorism is active because of a lack of education, which supports intolerance... perhaps, the bigotted and intolerant evangelicals (oh, but I'm sure they mean well, right?) can do something positive, and refrain from injecting their personal flavor of religious intolerance and bigotry in a society that needs to be healed...

Its not the religion that needs to leave asia, its the suppression of educational opportunities and the prevention of seeing another point of view... Changing one intolerant view with suppression for another, doesn't seem positive in my views, and having attended a nice (sarcasm) christian university in the U.S., I witnessed firsthand how clergy are degreed and sent overseas to proselytize (perhaps S. Korea!!). Within the walls of that university, I can personally validate the fact that courses were not to be taught in contradiction to mainstream "christian" philosophy... when, such occassion would occur, in fields of study...

As a matter of fact, the only "philosophy" course offerred, which would have provided alternative views to christian dogma, was "one" intro course, and the professor I studied under, resigned immediately at the end of my class... in my opinion, because he had too much academic integrity, to be used as an academic stool pigeon, with no hope for growth or ability to truly educate students...

The clergy that go out in the world to "proselytize", don't do so with the intention of hurting their cause, by presenting "alternative" views to their own, e.g., educating... they do so, in order to build their power base, in an effort to control a larger portion of humanity, through a personally "subjective" ideaology... an ideaology, that is no different than the ones that are currently being proferred, by groups that are currently considered "terrorists"...

And please, by all means, attempt to impress everyone on the positive effects that religion has had throughout history on overcoming illiteracy, education, etc. I'm not going anywhere for a while...

boomSLANG said...

"I am so glad that we live in a country where we can all freely express our opinions, whether we be spritually-minded or not. I do, however, think that many of you have spent an awful lot of time complaining about Christians... when you really could get off of your posteriors and go out into the world and do something positive. May God Bless you and keep you in his (or her) care."

Notice that most of the complaining is done in reference to Christianity, not the followers of Christ, themselves. Sometimes, however.... yes, it becomes personal. For instance, if smack makes an addict feel "really, really good"...or makes them feel like singing songs to some invisible dude, or whatever... obviously, no one would harbor ill feelings towards the individual based just on that. On the other hand, if the addict barges into your house with syringes and tourniquets for the entire family, it may become a slight problem.

BTW, it's refreshing to see the implication from a Chrisitian that in order to actually see positive change in the world, that clasping your hands together and chanting won't work.....no, you have to actually get off your "posterior"(that's "ASS" in Hebrew) and do it yourself. Of course, that tells me that if I am to presuppose an omnipotent/omnibenevolent being, that I also need to imagine one helluva big Lazy-Boy recliner.

Anonymous said...

This song has been an encouragement to me.

I put my faith in God about 11 years ago and have become a different person since then. I have become someone who cares about the world around them. Yes, I already did somewhat, but God has inspired a new passion to put others ahead of myself, to give more than I recieve, to care about the poor, etc. I live in the middle of a city where the only help comes from the government or those the government pays. Unfortunately it's inadequate. I began to pray about this, and was immediately challenged in my prayer & Bible reading to act on my prayers. I now help lead the charge in a volunteer group that meets three times a week to feed, pray for, and counsel those in need (in the homeless community).

I'm a Christian and a very imperfect person. I still make mistakes, but I do realize the transformation as a whole that I've gone through by finding a faith in God and allowing Him to work through and in me.

I'm not defending the author of this song as a perfect person after writing this song, but I do take into consideration the fact that they could've had a vastly worse outcome following this. But God gave them a peace in time of need. I find my faith is a daily exercise. Spending time with God (through Bible & prayer) and acting on these principles. If I cut this practice off, my actions begin to change, but it doesn't change the power of God and it doesn't make that previous experience cheaper.

I appreciate your sincerity in this writing, I hope you can appreciate mine too in a little of my story.

Paul said...

Instead of this neurotic carping, why not just read the words and let the long-dead Mr Spafford speak for himself? Who (apart from yourself) is claiming that faith in Christ insulates or exempts from life's heartache and struggle, or that Christians' emotions are unaffected?
Mr Spafford's hymn is not about escapism but about the believer's sure hope in Christ as our surety beyond the sunset of this life.
"When peace like a river attendeth my way;
When sorrows like sea-billows roll,
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
It is well! It is well, with my soul!"
- Tumbleweed

.:webmaster:. said...

So what's better to go with, Spafford's words? or the way his life played out in reality?

The Spaffords were completely nuts. He never recovered from the tragic events. The supposed peace he wrote about was a dream that we all crave, but that dissipated mercilessly in the harsh light of reality.

So, I can't make any judgements about Spafford's life, because he's been dead so many years. But the True Christian™ has no problem making judgements about Spafford's life, because he's been dead so many years.

Ironic.

Tumbleweed said...

Perhaps the reason for the “ironic” difference between yourself and your opponents vis-à-vis Spafford is that you refuse to do what I suggest: Just read his words old chap. You are so preoccupied with attacking this man’s memory that you remain oblivious to the fact that he did not say what you attribute to him! The idea that Spafford claimed to enjoy a peaceful tranquillity in relation to the grief and loss of his family is simply the invention of a belligerent mind. Perhaps you should ask yourself how many other items on this site are driven by this unethical liberty of superimposing our own prejudiced ideas on a class of people we don’t like.
A lot of famous Christians were rather eccentric, and as such are not immune from negative comment. But whether we're discussing Bertrand Russell on the one hand, or Horatio Spafford on the other, our comments must be morally justifiable.

.:webmaster:. said...

Tumbleweed: "A lot of famous Christians were rather eccentric..."

WM: No argument there.

Tumbleweed: "he did not say what you attribute to him!"

WM: Where did I misquote him?

Tumbleweed: "unethical liberty of superimposing our own prejudiced ideas on a class of people we don’t like."

WM: Please explain what unethical liberty of superimposing, etc. means.

And, where did I say I don't like a particular class of people? I don't like Christianity, that I admit. It is a made-up religion that enslaves people to a false god and a false way of thinking. It's a mind-control cult. I think that for anyone to be confined to that system is a horrible travesty. Then, once you're trapped in the cult, if you have any real tragedy happen in your life, you're given platitudes about the trouble being the will of God, and that you should have peace like a river, and just give to the Lord, and so forth. So some people, rather than seeking real help from a professional, bury the pain behind phony religiously-tinted glasses only to quietly go insane — just like the Spaffords.

However, none of this has anything to do with a so-called class of people. I don't view Christians as some "class of people." Do you? Do you see Christians as a lower, or a higher class of people? Do you frequently label people as filed into different classes? I wonder where you would classify an ex-Christian? Let me guess: Totally Depraved, Unconditionally un-elect, Limitedly un-atoned, Irresistibly graceless, and Preservation-ally un-saint-like?

Like you, I was an avid reader and fan of the writings of Pink, Spurgeon and Gill.

Tumbleweed: "our comments must be morally justifiable."

WM: Please define "morally justifiable," and then show me exactly where I wrote immorally.

Tumbleweed said...

WM: Where did I misquote him?

Tumbleweed: I didn’t say you misquoted him. You simply misrepresented him because you haven’t even taken the trouble to understand the words he wrote. Your whole case is that Spafford claimed to have peace concerning the loss of his family when he never said any such thing. Can you clear this up by showing exactly where he said what you imply?

WM: Please explain what unethical liberty of superimposing, etc. means.

Tumbleweed: Someone who was such a big fan of Gill’s would have no trouble grasping my meaning! Try a dictionary.

WM: “It is a made-up religion that enslaves people to a false god and a false way of thinking. It's a mind-control cult, etc etc.”

Tumbleweed: This is known as an Ipse Dixit statement (Lat: “Because he said it.) In other words, it’s just an expression of your own bigotry. Try sticking with provable facts.

WM: I don't view Christians as some "class of people." Do you?

Tumbleweed: Yes, I do. They are a group of people who can be classified on the basis of something they have in common. Christians are therefore a class of people, as are plumbers and blondes and atheists. You seem to be confusing the term with “class distinction” so despised by British labourers.

WM: Please define "morally justifiable,"

Tumbleweed: Dictionary

WM: and then show me exactly where I wrote immorally.

Tumbleweed: To make false assertions against anyone, as you have done against Spafford, is generally accepted as an immoral act. As yours was published and not spoken, it would be called libel. Little danger of a dead man suing you though.

.:webmaster:. said...

WM: Where did I misquote him?

Tumbleweed: "I didn’t say you misquoted him. You simply misrepresented him because you haven’t even taken the trouble to understand the words he wrote."

WM: I'm sorry, I was sure he was author of the lyrics to "It is Well With My Soul." (ref) Surely you're not suggesting that I'm misrepresenting him by assuming he said what he meant when he wrote the lyrics? He wrote the song following the loss of his family, right? But perhaps you're correct. Perhaps writing this song had nothing to do with the loss of his kids or the peace that flowed through him like a river. Perhaps I've misunderstood his meaning altogether. That is certainly possible.

Tumbleweed: Try a dictionary.

WM: You said this twice. Well, the trouble is, you're making allegations that I'm unethical and immoral. I asked you what you mean by these terms, because quite frankly, I don't see how any of this article fits any dictionary definition of either unethical or immoral. Hence, my question as to your meaning in using these words. Perhaps if you could point out the particular statement or statements or word that you find unethical or immoral in this article, I'd be able to address your accuasation. I will confess that my logic is subject to error, but flawed logic is far from any definition of either unethical or immoral. These are strong statements you're making against me. I think you'd be wise to be better prepared to support them.


WM: “It (Christianity) is a made-up religion that enslaves people to a false god and a false way of thinking. It's a mind-control cult, etc., etc.”

Tumbleweed: This is known as an Ipse Dixit statement (Lat: “Because he said it.) In other words, it’s just an expression of your own bigotry. Try sticking with provable facts.

I stand by my statement. I openly challenge you to "prove" to me that Christianity is anything different than what I've described.However, it appears I've been incomplete in my statement. Christianity also has a tendency to make some people quite rude. I don't know if that's a "provable" fact, but it is certainly verifiable, at least based on our little exchange here. You called me a bigot, but according to Wikipedia: "A bigot is a prejudiced person who is intolerant of opinions, lifestyles or identities differing from their own."—ref.

I don't see where I've shown intolerance. This is my website, and you've been allowed to post freely. I wonder if I'd be given the same freedom if the roles were reversed. Now, do we have disagreement here? Oh yes! Absolutely!

Is disagreemment synomous with intolerance? The answer is no.

So, please show me the intolerant statement or statements I've made in this article.

WM: I don't view Christians as some "class of people." Do you?

Tumbleweed: Yes, I do. They are a group of people who can be classified on the basis of something they have in common.

WM: Well, I'd suggest using a different word than class. The word 'class,' when applied to groupings of people always refers to socioeconomic status, as in "middle-class" wage earners. Your use of the word led me to think you might see Christians as either higher or lower on the social ladder. Perhaps a better term to use in the future would be categories or groupings.

From Wikipedia: Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. While anthropologists, historians and sociologists identify class as a social structure emerging from pre-history, the idea of social class entered the English lexicon about the 1770s. Social classes with more power usually subordinate classes with less power. Social classes with a great deal of power are usually viewed as elites, at least within their own societies. ref:

WM: Show me exactly where I wrote immorally.

Tumbleweed: To make false assertions against anyone, as you have done against Spafford, is generally accepted as an immoral act. As yours was published and not spoken, it would be called libel. Little danger of a dead man suing you though.

WM: Hmmm. But I guess what I'm asking is this: Exactly which of the statements that I've made do you consider libelous. Let's see, according to Wikipedia: "In law, defamation is a right of action for communicating statements that may harm an individual's reputation or character. The common law origins of defamation lie in the torts of slander (harmful statement in a transitory form, especially speech) and libel (harmful statement in a fixed medium, especially writing but also a picture, sign, or electronic broadcast), each which give a common law rights of action.

'Defamation' is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between 'slander' and 'libel'. Libel is defamation that is published, but can also happen in other forms, such as effigy, a motion picture, or a statue; slander refers to any verbal, unpublished, defamation."—ref.

Now, let's consider something: You've boldly called me an unethical, immoral bigot, and you've done it in writing.

Would you like to reconsider any of your above statements, or shall I just accept your comments as libel?

I await your response.

Anonymous said...

Tumbleweed: "Little danger of a dead man suing you though."

The implication that we can't speak from the grave... However, christians assert that specific dead people have that cabaility.

Tumbleweed said...

Sorry about the delay, WM – It has been a very busy week.

As so often happens, the discussion is fragmenting. I suggest we confine ourselves to the single point at issue, because resolving this will largely take care of the rest.

Let us make a concise one-sentence statement of your opinion so that we are both perfectly clear about what we are affirming or refuting. If necessary, please modify the following sentence to make it conform more closely to your position. Once established, we shall be in a position to proceed.

“The words to Spafford’s hymn make spurious claims about his experience as a Christian because his behaviour subsequent to the loss of his family indicates that all was NOT well with his soul.”

CHOSEN2CHANGE-READ MY BLOGS said...

Hey, no matter what is said on Christianity, or whatever, it is still going to be there. Christ will still be alive. Christ will still reign. Comments don't change not even the slightest things. Horatio felt a peace--an unspeakable peace. One he could not even understand. In the midst of his troubles He said "Praise God ! Praise God ! Oh my Soul !" now that is what we call real faith ! He believed and knew that his daughters had a hope. He trusted in God to take him through what he was going through. He believed in the word of God that said " And I shall keep him whose mind is stayed on me in perfect peace.." Is 26:3. Horatio's attitude could have well been drawn from that of the shunamite woman's attitude in 2 Kings 4:26. Her only son had died, she sought the man of God out, she didn't go hysterical, and when the prophet asked her what was wrong she said it is well. It is when she told him that her son had passed and she trusted in God, that the prophet went to go envoke God's favour on her son, and he was revived. God doesn't have to perform miracles all of the time, some things happen for our Good. God created us, he knows what's best. We can't even fully comprehend him.He's God , he knows what he's doing. Horatio had a peace that stemmed from his trust in GOd. Whatever you want to believe about Christ and christianity won't change it the slightest bit. May God bless u all and continue to enlarge your understanding of who he is and what he's about. Bye All !

Jim Arvo said...

Hello Chose2change,

No matter what you say about Christianity, you cannot turn a myth into reality. You will not be able to change that one tiny bit. No matter how many tall stories you tell, or how loudly you proclaim your devotion to an imaginary god, you cannot make him/her real. No matter how deeply you believe in your religion, no matter how warm and fuzzy it makes you feel, it does not lend it one iota of credibility. No matter how effectively you blind yourself to the realities of this world, you cannot change the fact that there is no magical deity who saves innocent children from the horrors of Ebola, cancer, birth defects, and other ghastly maladies. People still starve to death en masse and die in flood waters, droughts, and other natural disasters. You god looks on as children are raped and murdered. He watches as even his faithful die gruesome deaths, deigning not to interfere. Your god is precisely as effective as any other mythical god, of which there are many. Given that there is not one shred of credible evidence for this being, I chose instead to focus on my fellow man, whose existence is not in doubt and whose needs are real. If you wish to bow to an invisible deity whose only claim to existence is one particular collection of ancient anonymous cruel and nonsensical writings, then that is your choice. If you think that that's a wise choice--that "faith" in the absurd and contradictory is somehow a laudable attribute--then you are quite welcome to follow that pitiful path. It's your life, you can waste it if you wish. Bye now.

.:webmaster:. said...

I don't think you read the article, CHOSEN2CHANGE-READ MY BLOGS. It seems to me that Horatio's and his wife's ideas became more and more strange as time went on.

If that's peace, I don't think I'm interested in sharing in it.

Perhaps what these poor people really needed was an asylum.

Anonymous said...

Your articles actually do not bother me. Jesus said there would be false prophets that might even deceive the elect. As I ponder Jesus' words it also come to mind that sheep will be separated from the goats. There will be a great falling away. Satan is the great accuser. It makes sense that Satan would use finding fault in believers to keep folks from believing. BUt that is ok too for we know also God will send a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie. If that is the purpose of your website, so be it. But so far, it seems a lot of comments suggest just the opposite is happening. This actually makes sense. In adveristy and persecution, the church flourishes. Websites like yours will likely do more for the cause of Christ than harm. AS Jesus said, the gates of hell will not prevail. The Bible says to rejoice in the LORD always, so that I do. Rejoice even in light of your anti-Christian views as I also pray for you that when the day comes that you must face death, you might have reconsidered your views before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the article was about the author of "It Is Well With My Soul". He never said it is well with his life, but his eternal soul was still intact through his faith in Jesus Christ. The life we have here on this earth is only temporary, and we were never promised an easy time. In fact, Jesus said that He was hated so we would be too. He also said we would endure trials and tribulations. Through our trials we grow and learn to be more like Him, reaching out to others with God's love, and we learn to trust more in Him. And to think that Jesus came and died for everyone, including the ones that hate Him and speak against Him. There is forgiveness for all, no matter what you have ever done or said or believed. When you reach that point of understanding and belief, then you too can say that "It Is Well With My Soul" no matter what the circumstance in your life. It's not how you started or ran the race that matters, but it's how you finish that counts. To God be the glory!

.:webmaster:. said...

Anonymous's:

The only place your god and your Jesus exist is between the pages of your quaint little holy book an in your imagination.

You might as well be blathering on about Harry Potter and Lord Voldermort. Those characters have as much reality to them as your imaginary religious figures.

Have a nice day.

Satelipopette said...

"People still starve to death en masse and die in flood waters, droughts, and other natural disasters."

This type of "logic" would never be an argument against belief in God for a true Christian. Suffering exists for everyone and everyone WILL die! Yes, even you will one day breath no more and it could happen ANY second.

God's written word never says that trials and temptations will be non-existent for His creation. Never, it's the opposite, no person will avoid them!

If only you could understand that nothing is important in this life, except obedience to our creator. The worst earthly suffering would pale in comparison with being separated from God.

.:webmaster:. said...

Sat...:

And you know all this about your god because... ? Why? Because the Bible says so? And you know the Bible is true because... Because the Bible says so?

Yeah. Whatever.

boomSLANG said...

This type of "logic" would never be an argument against belief in God for a true Christian

Bzzzzzt! The statement, "argument against belief", is pertinent to nothing; it is pointless. In other words, a concept, or idea, does not necessarily have to be logically "sound", in order for said idea/concept to have believers. For instance, whether there's a "good argument against" the notion that stuffed animals talk to children, or not.... this doesn't stop children from believing that their stuffed animals do talk to them. 'Follow?

Furthermore, the term "true Christian" is a redundant, and philosophically irrelevant, distinction. Why?... because no one can determine for another person whether that person believes Christianity, truely. In other words, a "true Christian" is merely someone who believes the Christian doctrine to be "true"---you either believe Christianity is true; or you don't. The end.

Suffering exists for everyone and everyone WILL die!

Bare assertion fallacy/non sequitur. People will die, whether "suffering exists", or whether it doesn't. Also, you are merely asserting that there's a reason for "suffering". 'Got any evidence for that assertion?

Yes, even you will one day breath no more and it could happen ANY second.

Yes!! Problem: Irrelevant conclusion.

(Gawd, an easy day...::yawn::)

God's written word never says that trials and temptations will be non-existent for His creation. Never, it's the opposite, no person will avoid them!

And likewise, Allah's written word never says that the trials and temptations will be non-existent for HIS creation. SO?...Allah exists, then....right?

Now, does the above analogy illustrate the fallacy that you've committed?

If only you could understand that nothing is important in this life, except obedience to our creator.

If you could only understand that regurgitating apologetic rhetoric is evidence of NOTHING---whAT "creator"?

The worst earthly suffering would pale in comparison with being separated from God

The worst earthly suffering is sharing the planet with superstitious people.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Boomslang said:
The worst earthly suffering is sharing the planet with superstitious people
---
I second Boom's 'motion', said the courtroom toothfairy.

Now Boom', try not to fall asleep while teaching this fundie his/her
1st grade reasoning skills.

Satelipopette said:
If only you could understand that nothing is important in this life, except obedience to our creator

And herein lies the basic problem with your religious thinking.

You do everything for your fake gawd and ignore the needs of this life.
How many testimonies have we read where one gives-it-all for gawd and their church, all the while ignoring their careers, family, and learning things from living that can be passed down to future generations etc..

Instead, xtians like you are on this earth merely for the god-ride, sitting around waiting for "The End", or your own personal end to come, assuming that the next life with god is what this life if all about.

If you could only stand outside your weak minded thinking, you might actually understand how deluded your beliefs really are to us former xtians.

While all of us have been on BOTH sides of the fence and hence, understand both sides, you only know your gawd side and have never even peeked over the fence to our side.
You have been taught that it's forbidden to even peek at our views, as our views surely must come from the satan; that great deceiver.

Why do you have such faith in the xtian god, faith without any evidence to back it up?

As Boomslang pointed out, why do you lack this same faith in the many other gods one can pick from?
Could it possibly be that the reason for his quandary, is because you were brainwashed to believe in the xtian god when you were too young to know better?

Do you really think if you had been raised in India, that you would still be so sure about your xtian god being THE god of the universe?

Wake up before you throw too much of your life out the gawd window.
Take it from the many here who did just that and only 'recently' realized it.


ATF (Who thinks religion is no different in it's belief system, than the belief that black cats are tools of witches)

Astreja said...

Satelipopette: "Suffering exists for everyone and everyone WILL die!"

No duh.

"If only you could understand that nothing is important in this life, except obedience to our creator."

If only *you* could understand that your statement is a steaming pile of crap. Obedience is grossly overrated, especially obedience to an imaginary being prone to planet-annihilating hissy fits.

"The worst earthly suffering would pale in comparison with being separated from God."

Then you must really, reeeeeally be in a lot of pain, Satelipopette, 'cause there is an infinite separation between you and something that never existed. Hope you feel better real soon.

Jeremy said...

Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Deny him now, and he will deny you later. Don't forget that.

boomSLANG said...

Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Deny him now, and he will deny you later. Don't forget that.

On the extremely off-chance that such a malicious, malevolent, bully, as described in the pages of Christian bible, exists---let the record show that I unequivocately DENY "him". So, no, Germy.....NOT "every knee will bow".

Don't forget that.

Anonymous said...

check out www.spafford-kids.org

There is some info there too.

I heard this story on
www.lulashardt.blogspot.com

thank you for your comments they came up when I googled the name
Horatio Spafford