T Mark Hightower turned down as FEIC speaker but gives “thumbs up” Flat Earth A$$hole

Four days ago I felt compelled to make an offer to speak at the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference in Raleigh North Carolina on November 9-10, 2017. The text of the email I sent making this offer is pasted below. Since 4 days have elapsed and the only response I have gotten was a negative response from one of the speakers who was cc’d on my email, it seems clear that they are not interested in having me speak.

After I sent the email below, a friend of mine referred me to a Youtube video by Flat Earth A$$hole, published October 25, 2017, entitled “The End of the FAKE Flat Earth.”

Flat Earth A$$hole Youtube video

I had heard of this guy, but had never watched any of his videos before. So I watched the whole thing, even though it was one hour and 5 minutes long, so that I could be prepared to intelligently discuss it with my friend. A major point of his video is showing that the azimuthal equidistant map in the shape of a circular disk with the sun and moon circling over it, which has so prominently been promulgated by the flat earth movement as their flat earth map and model, is simply not consistent with verifiable data that all of us on the earth have access to and can see for ourselves. His video has a lot of vulgar language, but I gave it a “thumbs up” because I definitely agree with his arguments against the azimuthal equidistant map as a flat earth map. Amazingly, he is still holding on to his view that the earth is definitely flat. This is how he describes this video of his.

“If this video resonates as truth with you please share the video on any and all social media platforms. Feel free to mirror this video on YouTube or wherever else you want to. The AE map is done and the time for a Boycott of that map and circle sun model is now!”

My offer to speak at FEIC is pasted below

October 31, 2017

To: Flat Earth International Conference 2017 organizers, Mr. and Mrs. Robbie Davidson

Cc: Mr. and Mrs. Bob Knodel, Mr. Mark Sargent, Mr. David Weiss, Mr. Rob Skiba

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Robbie Davidson,

I would like to offer to present my recent ground breaking flat earth theory research findings at the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference to be held in Raleigh NC on November 9-10, 2017.

Although there is some humor and satire in some of my work, I am serious about making this offer, and research conclusions I have reached are based on applying sound logic and math to some pretty commonly promulgated tenets of current flat earth theory. We should not be afraid to take Flat Earth Theory and Science wherever it leads us.

I think that my views as a retired NASA engineer, a student of conspiracy theories, and a devout Christian Universalist, will offer to your audience both scientific and religious perspectives that they might otherwise be missing. This would have the potential to be comforting to so many wrapped up in endless conspiracy theories with so many fears: the future, Satan and demons, nephilim giants, the wrath of God, and an endless punishment in hell if they don’t have the right beliefs.

I think you can see by my recent blog posts referenced below that I am a serious student and researcher of flat earth theory and quite capable of making new discoveries in applying flat earth theory to take it where it has never been before.

https://steemit.com/@tmhightower/

http://tmarkhightower.blogspot.com/

(Same posts are at both blog sites.)

Here are two examples of recent blog post titles that show original research and conclusions that to my knowledge have not yet been discovered and reported on within the flat earth theory and science research community.

Former NASA engineer makes major Flat Earth Theory discovery today October 17, 2017

Flat Earth Tri-Location – Former NASA engineer presents rigorous derivation of previously reported discovery

Even in the next few days I have planned some ground breaking experiments that I am really excited about and hope to have the results ready to present at the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference, if I might be so privileged to do so.

I eagerly await hearing from you and excitedly anticipate the prospect of possibly being able to present at the Flat Earth International Conference 2017.

Thank you.

In the Love of God and Jesus Christ which Never Fails,

Mark

T Mark Hightower

Most egregious Flat Earth claim – Gravity is simply buoyancy & density – Debunked

First of all, buoyancy depends on gravity. If there is no gravity, there can be no such phenomenon as buoyancy. Look up the definition of buoyancy on Wikipedia or search buoyancy NASA on google, if you don’t believe it.

If gravity is simply buoyancy and density then why does hot air rise and not go down instead, or sideways?  I’ll tell you why.  Because we live in an environment where there is a downward force acting on things based on their mass.  This can be experimentally verified and it does not depend on assuming the earth is a sphere.  If I put 5 apples in a grocery scale I will get a certain weight (force).  If I put an additional 5 apples of about the same size in the scale, the scale will register about twice the weight.  So the force known as buoyancy depends on this downward force proportional to mass.  This is why the deeper you go in a body of water the more pressure there is.  This is why the higher you go in the atmosphere the less pressure there is.

Liquid water is nearly incompressible, so its density does not change much as you go deeper.  In contrast, the atmosphere is made up of a mixture of gases, and they are very much compressible.  So as you go up in the atmosphere, with the decreasing pressure the gaseous mixture becomes thinner or less dense because it is becoming less compressed.

If a mass of air were of the same temperature as the surrounding air, it would not tend to go up or down, because the upward forces around it based on decreasing pressure with altitude are balanced by the downward forces upon it based up its mass.  But if the air were hotter than its surrounding air, its density would be less so that the downward force based on its mass would be less than the upward force due to decreasing pressure with altitude so the resulting balance of forces would cause it to rise. This is how a hot air balloon works.

Interestingly, forces greater than 1 g (i.e. 1 earth’s gravity) acting upon masses and proportional to mass can be artificially produced mechanically with centrifuges, or in an airplane in a steep coordinated turn, where a very steep turn may be alternately referred to as a high g turn, or pulling many g’s.

Flat Earth Tri-Location – Former NASA engineer presents rigorous derivation of previously reported discovery

Warning: The following is satire. It could be viewed as blasphemous to some religious zealots (as I once was). Read at your own risk.  If you are easily offended by satire, and not at all able to make fun of yourselves and your fellow earthians, whether flat or spherical or undeclared, as well as your creator God if you so believe, and religion, especially of the narrow-minded type, then you should stop reading right now.  Get thee quickly far from here.  You have been warned.  Future complaints from those who proceed to read without heed and are offended by the satire will be ignored.

INTRODUCTION

As promised in the previous announcement of this discovery in flat earth theory made on October 17, 2017, the detailed derivation is given below of tri-location on the flat earth. It is shown that while one is present on the flat earth, they are actually simultaneously present in three distinct places, dubbed primary, secondary, and tertiary, hence tri-located on the flat earth.  This derivation is presented to all flat earth researchers and other more mainstream scientists and others for open peer review.

LONGITUDE

First consider longitude. Whether you are on the spherical earth map or the flat earth map if you travel west to east (or vice versa) your position will change in longitude.  In both cases if you travel a total of 360 degrees of longitude you will end up right back where you started.  On the spherical earth the earth rotates once every 24 hours.  If you used a reference frame of a stationary (non-rotating) spherical earth the sun would appear to be circling around the earth once every day traversing a total of 360 degrees of the earth’s longitude each day.  On the flat earth the sun is considered to be circling above the stationary flat earth and around the north pole so that in one day it traverses a total of 360 degrees of the earth’s longitude.  So longitude is consistent between the spherical earth and flat earth models.  If you define zero longitude as the prime meridian through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich London for both spherical and flat models, longitude would have to be perfectly equivalent between both models.  That means that if you are at a certain longitude on the spherical earth model, you would have to be at the same longitude on the flat earth model.

LATITUDE

Now consider latitude. Whether you are on the spherical earth map or the flat earth map if you travel south to north (or vice versa) your position will change in latitude.  In both cases if you start at any point on the equator and travel north a total of 90 degrees of latitude you will end up at the north pole.  The distance you will have traveled from equator to the north pole will have been the same whether on the spherical model or the flat model.  Latitude is defined as zero at the equator and positive as you go north.  Latitude is defined as negative as you go south from the equator.  So on the spherical model if you start at the equator and travel south to -90 degrees latitude you will end up at the south pole.  On the flat model if you start anywhere on the equator and travel south to -90 degrees latitude, instead of ending up at a point you end up on the “polar” ring.  But the distance traveled from equator to south pole on the spherical model will be the same as the distance traveled from the equator to the “polar” ring on the flat model.  And that distance is also the same as the distance from the north pole to the equator (same whether sphere or flat as earlier established).  It is clear from the above that latitudes are equivalent whether on a spherical or flat model.  Therefore if you are at a certain latitude on the spherical earth model, you must also be at the same latitude on the flat earth model.

PRIMARY LOCATION

So based on the above two paragraphs, when you are at a certain latitude and longitude according to the spherical earth map, you are actually at the same latitude and longitude on the flat earth. So when you realize that you are on the Flat Earth, this is the primary place where you are, at the same latitude and longitude as you would be if you were on the imaginary spherical earth.  But beyond this, is where it really starts to get interesting and exciting.

SECONDARY LOCATION

This is where it really helps to take some of your own measurements right where you live to make this as real to you as possible. For me, I live in San Jose, CA, so I used my car and its odometer to measure the distance between two defined points of longitude on a street that runs east-west, as well as between two defined points of latitude on a street that runs north-south.  From this data you can calculate the south to north gradient in terms of miles traveled per degree of latitude, as well as the west to east gradient in terms of miles traveled per degree of longitude. For the two gradients I got 69.1 miles traveled per degree of latitude, and 55 miles traveled per degree of longitude.  My location in San Jose is approximately 37.3 degrees latitude.

The south to north gradient is as expected and would be the same whether on a spherical or flat earth model.  The west to east gradient however needs to be factored into the correct equation for a flat circular disk in order to determine the latitude at which this gradient would occur.  That equation is gradient = 55 = (((90-deg lat)/90)*3959*3.14159^2)/360 and solving for latitude gives 44.4 degrees.  This means that while I am at 37.3 deg lat in San Jose on the Flat Earth as my primary location, I am also at 44.4 deg lat on the Flat Earth as my secondary location, which is just a few miles from Sisters Oregon.  As remarkable as this is, to realize that on the flat earth I am actually at two distinct places at the same time, it gets even more remarkable as we apply more principles of flat earth theory to the problem.

TERTIARY LOCATION

Back on the equinox of September 23, 2017 I took some of my own data where I live and found it to be consistent with what one would expect based on looking up the various parameters on the web.  Although I did not travel personally to the equator, I am relying on generally accepted parameters available on how one would experience the equinox there.  Based on this, and the flat earth assumption, I was able to determine that the sun was 5322 miles above the surface of the flat earth at the equator on the equinox.  Based on where I saw the sun in San Jose on the equinox, and the flat earth assumption, I was able to determine that I am 4054 miles north of the equator where I am in San Jose, CA, which would put me at 4054/69.1 = 58.7 deg latitude. Incredibly then, this puts me up in the northern part of British Columbia Canada, a few miles from Fort Nelson BC.  So this would be my tertiary location.

So now I have established that according to flat earth theory, when I am present in San Jose, CA on the flat earth as my primary location, I am actually simultaneously present in two other distinct places on the flat earth, at the same longitude, but at two distinct places further north in latitude, one placing me in Oregon and the other placing me in Canada.

ADVANTAGES OF FLAT EARTH SCIENCE OVER CONVENTIONAL SCIENCE

Within conventional physics, science, and mathematics, when different lines of reasoning and logic lead to different conclusions, called by those in the discipline contradictions, theories are often considered to be refuted.  But within flat earth science, also known by some as Biblically Based Science (BBS or Double B S), these apparent contradictions of the theory are actually viewed as further confirmation of the theory.  This is what is so beautiful and elegant about flat earth science, the more that it is seemingly refuted by conventional scientists and others, the more it is actually established as the absolute truth from God and His word the Bible, which cannot lie.  Satan is so clever to concoct so many contradictions to deceive us, but we know his game, as God’s word the Bible tells us, he is the father of lies.  The more Satan lies, the stronger our faith in the immovable flat earth becomes, so that the truth of the flat earth is irrefutable.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Many flat earth advocates and believers, having heard of these discoveries for the first time, are saying that they always felt like they were in multiple places at the same time, and now they are comforted to know that they were not crazy after all, that Biblical science confirms what they always knew in their hearts to be true.

LOOKING TO THE FUTURE

Future possibilities and ramifications of this research are far reaching and possibly limitless.  That tri-location has been proven on the flat earth, multi-location is not ruled out. As further advances are made in flat earth theory, the limit may even be beyond the firmament, or even beyond the firmament of firmaments.

Comments, feedback, questions, further insights are sought from fellow flat earth researchers, establishment scientists, and others, as a period of peer review is conducted.  After a period of peer review extending until the end of calendar year 2017, a report will be made on the results of the peer review, and its ramifications for the future of flat earth research in the twenty-first century and the ages to come.

Where on earth on The Flat Earth will the Flat Earth International Conference 2017 be held?

I pose this question to all within the current Flat Earth Theory advocacy movement, especially those who will be presenting at and attending the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference to be held November 9-10, 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I have already posed this same question to three of the speakers to be at the conference, in private communications, Rob Skiba and Mark Sargent (myself having been a purchaser and reader of their books), and also, Bob Knodel, but so far, have gotten no responses.

Can you inform the World Community of the coordinates of latitude and longitude for Raleigh, NC on the flat earth (in particular 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd, Cary, NC 27513), the location of the upcoming Flat Earth International Conference?  It would seem very odd indeed if flat earth advocates could not even tell the world where on the flat earth they are holding their flat earth conference.  I realize that flat earth theory is quite primitive at this point, but could you at least determine where on the flat earth map Raleigh, NC is within a 100 mile radius?  This seems like a very legitimate and fair question.

The coordinates on the spherical earth map for 201 Harrison Oaks Blvd, Cary, NC are 35.833, -78.772.

The World Community eagerly awaits The Flat Earth Movement’s answer to this very simple and important question.

Former NASA engineer makes major Flat Earth Theory discovery today October 17, 2017

It was discovered today by T. Mark Hightower, formerly an engineer with NASA but now retired and actively engaged in flat earth theory research, that current flat earth theory implies that while one is present in one place on the flat earth they are actually at the same time also in two other far away distinct locations on the flat earth.  (It may alternatively be possible that no one is actually present anywhere on the flat earth, but flat earth researchers consider this the null case where further study is not merited.)  The ramifications of this discovery are far reaching for the fledgling resurgence of flat earth research in the recent past as many were hoping that flat earth theory would be a tremendous simplification of our understanding of God’s fish bowl in which we live, but now it appears that flat earth theory may be just as complex, enigmatic, and paradoxical, as Einstein’s theories of relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, and multiverse theory, where our cozy fishbowl with the ceiling of a planetarium was erroneously viewed as being the result of a big bang billions of years ago resulting in an expansive and seemingly infinite multidimensional space time continuum  containing countless galaxies, stars, black holes, planets, moons, asteroids, hemorrhoids, comets, explosive diarrhea, and aliens.  Practical applications of these new discoveries are firmaments away, but some day it is hoped that the average Flat Earthian will be able to transport him or herself to other places within the flat earth fishbowl instantly and at will, thereby saving tremendous amounts of energy, and also making it unnecessary for NASA to continue faking the launching of satellites and other spacecraft, saving even more money and energy and improving NASA’s public image on Youtube, Facebook, and Google, and also making it much less likely that it will be necessary to target NASA employees in a future false flag incident possibly made to appear as if it were carried out by a lone nut Flat Earthian.  Rigorous documentation of this discovery will be given in the near future (perhaps in a week or two) for peer review by fellow flat earth researchers, as well as conventional scientists and others.

The Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ with the Fine Print

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY

I am going to give a pretty lengthy description of how I came to understand and conclude these things based on my experiences in life.  But I want to try to give a brief introduction first, so you have some idea where I am going with this before you read the whole thing.

So I maintain that there is a lot of fine print associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ that many who become Christians don’t learn about upfront but instead over time they learn these things that can be very worrisome and distressing.

I believe that a key factor in this is that there are many different belief systems and denominations within Christianity and that most difficulties arise from dogmatic teachings on things that are clearly debatable and can have widely differing yet legitimate interpretations so no one can really know for sure who is right, even those who think, claim, and preach that they are right.  And a common theme is that God is a pretty angry God toward sin and even though He may not want to do this, His perfectly good and righteous nature forces Him to place some of His creatures in a chamber of unending torture known as hell, if they don’t come around to seeing things His way during their short time on this earth before they die.  It took me a long time but eventually I started to see that some pretty major doctrines are not as clear cut as you might have originally been lead to believe, causing the whole house of cards to come tumbling down.  So I have come to the conclusion that to teach something as absolutely true, especially when it has very harsh ramifications, when you really cannot know for sure if you are correct, is one of the worst sins.

I have also come to the conclusion that Christian Universalism, the belief that God will ultimately save all through Jesus Christ, makes the most sense to me.

So the typical gospel I was raised under goes something like this.  We are all sinners and are headed to hell, but God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins so that you could be saved from hell, but you need to accept (believe, trust) Jesus Christ to be saved.  If you don’t do this before you die, then you will go to hell forever.  There are no second chances.

If you end up believing, here is some of the fine print you might eventually come across.  Calvinists teach that God predestines many to hell.  What if you were predestined by God to hell?  There is such a thing as an unpardonable sin taught in the Bible which is quite debatable exactly what it is, but what if you had already committed this before trying to be saved by faith in Christ?  Some will say that you can be too far gone into sin to be saved, like Judas Iscariot, who they say couldn’t have been saved even if he wanted to be.  Some will say that there are other things that are important and necessary for salvation besides faith in Christ, such as water baptism, but others say that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone, and if you add anything to faith in Christ then you are not saved.  And then there are many areas of disagreement among Bible believing Christians where some feel that holding certain views are really contradicting the bedrock of their faith in God and Jesus Christ.  Here we have young earth creationists, old earth creationists, and believe it or not even today we have a revival of flat earth creationism.  And there are those who reject evolution as a lie from the Devil, and those who accept evolution as a part of how God created.  Some believe in once saved always saved, and others believe that you can lose your salvation.  For some Satan, demons, and Satanism, figure prominently in their view of evil, and others not so much.  For some Bible prophecy being fulfilled even today and in the future is a major part of their faith, but others not so much.  Some put the modern state of Israel on a pedestal believing it is God’s regathering of His chosen people as prophesied in the Bible, whereas other do not think that this is the case at all.

Many preachers are a lot like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, scaring people with the prospect of unending torture by God in hell and they are the messengers of God to warn you and instruct you how to avoid such a horrible fate.  But can anyone know for sure that this horrible message is true in every way?  Perhaps the preacher should confess that he is not absolutely sure of what he is preaching.  What if the word “unending” is the key word where the message is not correct.  What if hell is a place of serious but finite punishment from God for the purpose of correction and ultimate salvation with God?  For those who end up believing the preacher’s threatening message, the preacher’s power and authority over them is certainly made very strong.

So this concludes the introduction.  Next will be a more lengthy discussion to explain how I came to these views.  After that I will make an attempt to give the gospel with my own Fine Print.

WHY THE FINE PRINT OF THE GOSPEL IS SO IMPORTANT

Most people at some point in their lives have experienced having been convinced to buy into something and then later when they learn more, what I am calling the fine print, they have buyer’s remorse, wishing they had not been so hasty in making the decision to buy.  Sometimes they can reverse the process, other times not.

When people have been through an experience such as this hopefully they learn to not be as hasty in the future and make sure they carefully read and understand the fine print, and perhaps sleep on it at least, and/or consult friends or other trusted sources of information, before making a hasty decision that they may end up regretting.

The seriousness or gravity of the decision certainly is a key factor.  Picking a barber to go to for a haircut may deserve some careful consideration but the ramifications of making a poorly considered choice likely will not be of major consequence.  But if you are going to need some surgery where the risks are high and you have the time to carefully select a surgeon, then giving this decision very careful attention is certainly in order.  And another factor would be the factor of urgency.  If you have been seriously injured in a car accident and have been treated by paramedics and you are being rushed to a hospital for further emergency treatment, then your time and opportunity for decisions may by necessity be quite limited.

So I want to examine the giving of the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ (the sales pitch) so as to convince the recipient to make a decision to buy the product, to buy into it, to believe and be Saved, within the context of the other sorts of decisions I have described above.

So I need to give at least a bare bones description of what the typical gospel presentation might be like, if nothing else to at least have something as a starting point for the sake of discussion.  So here goes.  We are all sinners and are headed to hell, but God sent his Son Jesus Christ to die for your sins so that you could be saved from hell, but you need to accept (believe, trust) Jesus Christ to be saved.  If you don’t do this before you die, then you will go to hell forever.  There are no second chances.

Now you will notice a couple of things about the nature of the sales pitch of the gospel.  It is very serious, more serious than brain surgery, but also there is a certain urgency to it, because if you don’t decide to buy it right then and there, and you should die before you have a chance to make that decision, you could end up going to hell forever.

And often the above giving of the gospel will add a suggested prayer you can say to God if you want to be saved, the so called sinner’s prayer, where you basically agree that you are a sinner, and you believe in Jesus Christ and want to be saved.  And you are told that if you said such a prayer to God, and really meant it, that God will have saved you.  Depending on the situation, like if it were a Billy Graham crusade, you might be asked to come forward to show your act of commitment to Jesus Christ.

Anyway, the above is basically the kind of gospel I grew up under.  I don’t recall my parents ever spelling it out like this to me, but I heard it enough in our church and when we visited other churches and also when we actually went to a Billy Graham crusade, to get the basic message.  I recall responding positively to the gospel on numerous occasions, usually in silent prayer to God.  But my earliest recollection of God and Jesus are from when I was about five years old.  I don’t recall having heard the gospel at that young age, but I do recall having a children’s Bible with a painting of Jesus on the cover with a bunch of children all around Him.  I do recall I had a positive attitude toward God.  My parents’ taught me that when you die you go to heaven.  I believed that, but my only concern was would there be toys in heaven?  I don’t recall hearing anything about hell at that age, and I am glad for that.

So when I was a senior in high school with a troubled life and searching for God, a friend of mine said I should talk to his mom.  So she introduced me to a type of Bible teaching that was of the same basic theological background as the church I had been raised in, except that the Bible teacher (pastor) had a very dogmatic militaristic style and he really emphasized going to an unending hell if you didn’t believe, and many people all over the world followed his teaching by listening to his Bible sermons on reel to reel audio tapes.  So I ended up becoming a gung ho follower of this guy’s teaching.  I swallowed everything, hook, line, and sinker.  He taught “the truth” and I now knew “the truth.”  I was so thankful to have found “the truth.”  So while listening to his tapes, the first time I heard him give the gospel, I said the suggested prayer silently to God just to make sure I was saved in case I had not been saved before.

So let’s examine a little about what is going on here with this sort of scenario.  You have an authority figure, a pastor or an evangelist, or perhaps it’s an ordinary believer sharing verses from the Bible and what they have learned from their pastor or evangelist, and of course you have the authority of God, from the Word of God, the Bible, which is the ultimate source that is being relied upon for the information that is being shared as the sales pitch of the gospel and how very serious a matter it is, and how very urgent it is as well to make a decision to believe before it is too late.

So suppose you are one who has responded positively to such a gospel sales pitch, as I did, and as many people do.  You end up feeling tremendous relief that when you die you are not going to go to hell but instead you are going to go to heaven.  You are grateful to God, Jesus Christ, the person who shared the gospel with you and convinced you to believe, and you look forward to moving forward and learning more about the truth of God and sharing your faith with others so they also can go to heaven when they die rather than hell.

So I want to use another example to compare to the above scenario to help us understand it from a very much human psychological standpoint.  Suppose instead of the gospel, you had a friend who had become a distributor for some sort of multi-level marketing product, and they were showing you how they have made so much money, or those above them who got them to sign up had done very well and made a lot of money, and how there was very much the prospect of becoming independently wealthy by becoming a distributor for this multi-level marketing product so that you wouldn’t have to live the rest of your life as a wage slave, and you could spend more time raising and helping your family and doing all of the things that you ever wanted to do in your life.  So you get carried away with all the positive prospects and sign up without looking into it very much, because there is really very little downside risk, but a lot of upside potential.  The worst that could happen is that you become a distributor for a really good product that you are going to want to purchase and consume as a family anyway, but you will get a better deal on it because you are a distributor, and getting others to sign up under you will be a piece of cake, once people see how well you are doing, and how great the products are etc.  Many people have been through this sort of thing, myself included, and have signed up, but never really made a success of it like you were originally sold on it and thought you would.

Well the gospel has a lot in common with the above multi-level marketing scenario.  I have to credit the author and skeptic Michael Shermer as the source of this idea that witnessing for Jesus Christ by Christians (spreading the gospel far and wide) is kind of like multi-level marketing with Bibles.

Both have the same sort of sales pitch.  The upside and downside of buying into the product differ in degree, but they both have the similarity of inducing a hasty decision to buy the product.  For the gospel you have been told that you might end up going to hell forever if you don’t buy the product, and to buy the product is very simple.  All you have to do is say a simple prayer to God and you are in, safe and sound forever,

Realize also, that if it were a friend, or neighbor, or stranger coming to your door, or a stranger street evangelist giving you the gospel and trying to get you to believe, it would be kind of like if any of these people were trying to get you to decide to have brain surgery like they have had done to themselves by a particular brain surgeon who they can personally testify to their abilities and the excellent results and you better decide to have it done right away before it is too late.  How ridiculous this would be.  So how ridiculous it also is when the gospel is given in the same way.  How presumptuous and rude these people are.  But of course they are justified in this approach because of the tremendous seriousness and gravity of the issue.  People could go to hell forever if you don’t get the gospel to them.

Anyway, back to the scenario of the person who just became saved by saying the sinner’s prayer to God.  So now you know the truth and how easy it is to be saved so you want to go tell everyone else about it so they all can be saved too.

But eventually you might start getting some of the fine print.  And you might find that the fine print is actually different from different Christians.  And you might discover some of the fine print by reading the Bible for yourself.  I can only share how some of this ended up becoming apparent to me.  So after learning more from the reel to reel tape Bible teacher, I learned that the tiniest bit of faith in Jesus Christ secures eternal salvation.  This was very comforting.  I thought, I must have actually been saved as a young boy then, because I certainly did believe.  But when I shared this insight I had gained from the teachings with my friend’s mother, she told me that the teacher has since taught that if you invite Christ into your heart you are not saved.  So I thought back to the way I heard the gospel back when I was a kid and I did seem to remember something about inviting Christ into your heart.  So maybe when I was a kid there was something wrong about the way that I got saved so that I really wasn’t saved back then after all.  But then what about now?  I remembered that when I had re-affirmed my faith in Jesus Christ in prayer to God based on the direction of the reel to reel tape Bible teacher, I had just followed exactly his suggested prayer, which I recalled had three verbs in it, trust, believe, and receive.  And I thought the word receive sounded like it could have a similar meaning to invite, so I thought, what if again I had not done it correctly, so perhaps even now I wasn’t saved.

So this got me off on the whole thing about doubting my salvation, which I have since learned is not all that uncommon.

But now let me just fast forward to where I am now looking back on everything I have learned since then that I would consider some of the fine print of the gospel that it would be better to share ahead of time to prospective converts in my view, instead of having this all be stuff they will learn unexpectedly over time, and often causing a lot of distress.

First of all, I have learned that most Bible teachers, pastors, evangelists, ordinary believers, preaching the gospel are simply spreading what they were taught by others, be it in seminary, or in church.  They for the most part have not studied things for themselves and come to their own independent conclusions.  And often times their seminaries and churches have statements of faith that they need to affirm just to be accepted to go to the school or to be considered in good standing at the church where they go.

And a really key point that took me many years to even find out that this was a legitimate option for a Biblically based belief system, was that there is a form of Christian theology known as Universalism that is traced back to some of the earliest church fathers in the early centuries after Christ, where it is believed that all will ultimately be saved through Jesus Christ.

Thomas Talbott, author of the book “The Inescapable Love of God” explains three types of Christian theologies, Augustinianism (aka Calvinism), Arminianism, and Universalism.  Calvinism says that God is able to accomplish all that He wills, and it is His will that only some be saved, so that all others will go to hell forever.  Arminianism says that it is God’s will that all be saved, but God is not able to accomplish all that He wills, because man’s will supersedes God’s will in this case, so many will go to hell forever.  Universalism says that it is God’s will that all be saved, and that God is able to accomplish all that He wills, so that no one will be lost, that is, go to hell forever.  Christian Universalism does not say that there is no hell, only that it is a place of correction of finite duration, so that all will ultimately be saved by God and welcomed into heaven.

Now it turns out you can find various scriptures in the Bible that appear to support any of the three theological systems described above.  Those who support any one of the three views will seek to harmonize with their view the scriptures that don’t seem to agree with it and will perhaps bring in other arguments from logic, philosophy, and common sense to help support their view.  Biblical interpretation is not an exact science as many would like to have you believe.  I have come to be a supporter of the Universalism viewpoint.  But I don’t have to prove it to be true (something no one could possibly do anyway) to make my point, and that is that Bible teachers and evangelists who preach the “turn or burn” gospel, threatening a never ending hell to those who do not believe, are committing the sin of claiming to be certain of something that they can’t possibly be certain of, if they are honest, well read, educated students of the Bible, theology, and history.

The Universalism viewpoint solves many theological problems.  The other viewpoints have countless problems.

Before I started learning about Universalism a little over 10 years ago, I did not even know that there was such a form of Christian theology known as Universalism.  I had heard of Calvinism and Arminianism but I did not even know which of these two viewpoints was taught as the truth by the church where I was raised or by my reel to reel tape Bible teacher.  I guess I had gotten the impression that in either case, hell lasted forever, and that was really all that mattered, so there was no need to dig deeper.

So now I am going to list all of the sorts of things I heard or learned from Bible teaching and my own Bible reading through the years, before I came into looking into Universalism, that tended towards promoting doubt in one’s salvation.

So you will hear that God saves sinners, and that no sin is too great in order to be able to be saved by God.  The Apostle Paul of the New Testament referred to himself as the worst sinner because he persecuted the church.  But I eventually heard the Bible teacher I was listening to say that Judas Iscariot had rejected Jesus Christ so much that there was no possible way that he could be saved, that he was too far gone to be saved.  So to me, this raises the question, how does anybody who has ended up trying to be saved by believing in Jesus Christ know whether or not they might have been too far gone to be saved before they tried to be saved by believing in Jesus Christ?  And another question would be how great of a savior from sin is Jesus Christ if some can be too far gone to be saved by Him?

If one eventually learns what Calvinism is, that essentially God predestines some to hell, how does one who has tried to be saved by believing in Jesus Christ know whether or not God has already predestined them to hell?

And then there are all sorts of nitpicking about just what is necessary for salvation.  Some go through the Bible and find every possible verse they can related to salvation and then come up with a lengthy list of all the things you need to do, such as repent, believe, trust, accept, receive, be baptized, and on and on.  And this really becomes quite confusing.  And then there will be those who say salvation is through faith alone in Christ alone, and they may go on to say that if you try to add anything to that you are not saved.  So if you were at a Billy Graham crusade and you thought that you had to go forward to be saved and you did go forward, then you are really not saved.  I am sorry, but I just happen by my God given nature to have a very logical and mathematical approach to things along with a tendency to be obsessive compulsive, so I can’t help but examine these things very carefully to see if they make sense and whether those who say these things are consistent.  So I had heard the same Bible teacher who taught that you are not saved if you add anything to faith in Christ, also say that you are not saved until you tell God the Father that you are believing in Jesus Christ.  So I then observed over listening to many Bible teaching lessons of his on tape that at the end when he would give the gospel, sometimes he would suggest that the individual pray silently to God that they are believing in Jesus Christ, and other times he would not say anything beyond just quoting some verses from the Bible related to believing in Jesus Christ for salvation.  Is this because he really doesn’t know what the right way is, so he is hedging his bets and at least he will be right 50 % of the time?  And what if one thinks that saying the prayer is necessary for salvation?  Isn’t that possibly adding something to faith alone in Christ alone?

Then you might hear others say that believing is not enough.  The Bible says that even the demons believe and shudder.  Some will say that if you believe just to avoid going to hell, you are not saved.  Somehow this does not show the commitment to Christ necessary for salvation according to some.  Some will say that just because you said the sinner’s prayer that doesn’t mean you are saved.  Having said the sinner’s prayer is not a valid fire (hell) insurance policy.

Some believe in once saved always saved and others believe that you can lose your salvation.  So if a believer goes off heavily into sin, some will say he probably did not truly have saving faith when he believed, so he was never saved to begin with.  Or others will say he has lost his salvation.  Then others might say he is still likely saved, but he is living as an unbeliever, and God is disciplining him, and if he does not come back to God he will die a horrible death as a final punishment from God, because God is not able to punish him once he dies, because he is a believer.

Then you have the whole question of the unpardonable sin.  What exactly is it, and how do you know whether or not you might have committed it?

There is a principle in law that if you are induced to enter into an agreement where there was some deception or fraud involved, it voids the agreement.

Does this have any bearing upon those who hear the gospel and then believe, that is, enter into the agreement, while not fully understanding everything and possibly basing their decision on some false information that was contained within the sales pitch?

What about those who reject the gospel because of some false information contained within its presentation or sales pitch?

There are people who have lived lives of terrible sin and eventually came to salvation through Jesus Christ.  So they have their testimonies.  But there are also people who lived as committed believers in God and Jesus Christ who eventually came to turn against it and repudiate it, some becoming agnostics, some atheists, some finding their place in less dogmatic forms of Christianity, and some other faiths or religions.  These people also have their testimonies.

There is also the sense in which one who becomes a believer in Jesus Christ by believing the “turn or burn” gospel, whereby they were threatened with unending hell if they did not believe, has been a victim of a sort of mind control, and perhaps even a sort of trauma based mind control.  (Dr. Boyd Purcell’s groundbreaking books “Spiritual Terrorism” and “Christianity without Insanity” while probably not specifically using the terms “mind control” or “trauma based mind control,” these concepts are certainly included in principle within his work and at his web site at christianitywithoutinsanity.com)

They were informed that if they did not do a sort of mental ritual, the sinner’s prayer, that they were at risk of being tortured forever by God in hell.  So they did the ritual, so now they are safe, but they have also entered into an agreement with God (at least so they think) and have also consented to have a sort of psychological mind trick played on them, the ramifications of which they really do not fully understand, nor was much of anything explained to them before scaring them into entering into the agreement.  I will make you an offer you can’t refuse.  And of course there are many who find the threatening of this gospel offensive and soundly reject it on that basis.

I finally came to realize that the only way I could be confident in my own salvation was to realize that God will ultimately save all.  So there is nothing I could have done or can do to screw it up.  God will be victorious over sin on my behalf and on behalf of the entire human race and it doesn’t depend on me or anybody else.  This could be elaborated on much more, but I just want to mention one scripture.  Ephesians 2:8,9  “For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  So if I were a Calvinist who believed that I was saved, then it seems to me that I could certainly feel that I am pretty special to God, after all He chose to save me, while many others He chose not to save.  On this basis it would seem I would have something to boast about, how special I am to God.  On the other hand, suppose I were an Arminianist who believed that I was saved, then it seems that I could credit myself that it was because I was so smart to make the right decision to believe, that I am saved.  So I also would have something to boast about.  Only the Universalist who knows that all will ultimately be saved by God has nothing at all to possibly boast about.

SO WITH ALL THIS IN MIND I GIVE THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST WITH THE FINE PRINT

Man has a tendency toward sin, doing wrong things, failure, and misery.  Man can and has done good things also, but his negative tendency toward sin and failure is still there.  Christians believe that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to the world to turn the tables on man’s sin problem, to be man’s savior.  Jesus Christ is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind by becoming Himself a human being like us and living among us, and also dying under an unjust death sentence of crucifixion, but through the power of God subsequently being resurrected, raised from the dead to live forever as man’s victorious savior from sin.  Christians follow Jesus Christ by faith in order to be victorious over sin in this life and for the promise of eternal life, living with God forever.

Beyond what I just described above, Christians vary all over the map in terms of how they give the gospel, and how they say man came to be, and also came to be a sinner, and what is necessary for salvation, and what the negative consequences might be for not following Jesus in faith.  A very large portion of evangelical Christians give the gospel by threatening people with never ending hell if they do not believe before they die.  This certainly has the effect of scaring a lot of people into making a hasty decision to believe, but it also turns a lot of people off as well.  Whether threatening unending hell is a part of the true gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ is really an open question regardless of what many think.  A key word here might be “unending.”  Sin can have very negative consequences leading to much suffering in this life and also very possibly beyond this life as well, but whether God has in store for a portion of humanity an unending torture chamber called hell, this really is a very problematic position that many take but which has many legitimate and convincing arguments against it.

So I would counsel one considering the gospel of Jesus Christ to seek and learn and ask questions and go to God in prayer, and try to make as fully an informed decision as possible.

I realize that it does not always work like this in real life, because often people are in a state of crisis when they reach out to God for help, and they become very susceptible to making hasty decisions, and due to the urgency do not have the luxury of having all their questions answered or having 100 % accurate information.

So if there is urgency involved and you feel you want to go to God with a decision based on what you now know, then by all means go to God in prayer and express your faith and urgency.  God seeks us out, draws us to Himself, and takes us as we come.  Certainly do not think that you have to determine for sure what the absolute truth is on any or all of these things in order to make a decision.

Take the example of the salvation of the Apostle Paul, who was formerly Saul of Tarsus, a devout Israelite who was persecuting Christians even to the point of death, and how Jesus Christ himself appeared to him on the trail to Damascus and blinded him and spoke to him, and took him through an extreme crisis, and how he eventually took the name Paul instead of Saul, and became a renowned preacher of the gospel of Christ and a major writer of the New Testament scriptures.

Answering questions on vacuum, space, rockets, and space travel

On about September 21, 2017 I received via email some questions/comments related to vacuum and how rockets and spacecraft are able to operate in space.  I replied within about 1 day and my responses are presented below slightly edited.

QUESTIONS/COMMENTS AS PRESENTED

How can anything be propagated through space if it is a vacuum, nothing?

If space is a vacuum then what does the rocket push off of?

How does the rocket maintain its heading and not spin out of control if there is no air to stabilize off of?

Space travel believers will say that they use special propellant that when ejected out of the thruster nozzle has an equal and opposite reaction.

If that’s the case then wouldn’t the thrusters on let’s say the space shuttle when maneuvering to the ISS have to eject the special propellant faster than 17,500MPH which is the speed they are traveling?

All tests show that rockets don’t work in a vacuum.

T MARK HIGHTOWER’S RESPONSE

I am going to do the best I can to answer these questions as quickly as possible off the top of my head without consulting any sources of information beyond what I currently know.  These are all good questions and certainly more could be learned by studying these things more.

ON VACUUM

First regarding the question of vacuum, I think that even in space there is not a complete vacuum in the sense that you could find a cubic mile of space that does not contain at least one atom or atomic nuclei.

But even if you could imagine a cubic mile of space without even one atom in it, I believe that other physical phenomena could take place in this space, such as the transmission of light or other electromagnetic waves, and other things possibly (I would have to research this more).

Even if you could have completely empty space, it becomes kind of a philosophical question of what is “nothing.”  I think the view of physics is that even if you could have completely empty space, that is not nothing, but instead a part of reality, known as the space time continuum in physics.  I think this view that even empty space would not be nothing goes back to early philosophers even before Christ.  I would have to double check on this.

I know we have plenty of examples here on earth of physical phenomena taking place in a high vacuum, but we really cannot create a perfect and complete vacuum.

So before we had transistors, we had vacuum tubes.  These accomplished the same sort of electrical tasks that eventually became possible to do with transistors.  When multiple transistors integrated into an electrical circuit were eventually created on a silicon chip, we got computers and relatively shortly thereafter we got computers that ordinary people could buy and use.  But realize that there were digital computers even before transistors, and these computers used vacuum tubes.

But of course, the more common use of vacuum tubes initially was in radio and then eventually television.  So there is a lot going on within the vacuum of a vacuum tube, such as the flow of electrons in the vacuum, and I am remembering how vacuum tubes need a source of heat to operate, and that is done with the filament, which is basically like a separate electrical circuit within the vacuum tube that functions just like a conventional incandescent light bulb.  Also, the screens of the original televisions were cathode ray tubes which were themselves giant vacuum tubes where a fast moving electron beam is used to create the television picture.

Now moving on to the other space questions.  I will paste the questions/comments posed and intersperse my answers/comments.

Question: If space is a vacuum then what does the rocket push off of?

Answer: It pushes off from the mass of propellant reaction products that it expels at high velocity.  I answered this more completely in a separate blog post dated September 20, 2017.

Question: How does the rocket maintain its heading and not spin out of control if there is no air to stabilize off of?

Answer: A physical solid object in space would remain in motion unless acted upon by an external force.  If we were to imagine that it were far enough out in space such that there were no significant gravitational forces acting upon it, then it would continue moving in a straight line for example.  I am using moving in a straight line, because if I said it was at rest, it would raise the question of what is it at rest with respect to, so linear motion is easier to imagine for this thought experiment.  This would be conservation of linear momentum.  The center of mass of the object would continue to move in a straight line.  But if the object had a spin or rotation to it, that spin would also continue indefinitely, unless acted upon by a force to change the rotation.  Just to complicate the example a little for illustration, let’s say it was a spacecraft traveling with a couple of astronauts in it, and the spacecraft was of a long cylindrical shape with one astronaut at one end and the other at the other end, and the spacecraft was tumbling (spinning) end over end.  If the astronauts were to move from the ends to the middle of the spacecraft the rate of the spacecraft’s tumbling would increase.  This would be due to conservation of angular momentum.  By the way, an example of conservation of angular momentum that most people on earth are familiar with is when an ice skater gets to spinning with their arms extended outwards and perhaps even a leg extending outward, and then draws their arms inward as well as their leg, and then they end up spinning noticeably faster.

Question: Space travel believers will say that they use special propellant that when ejected out of the thruster nozzle has an equal and opposite reaction.

Answer: I would have to research this for details, but I can say this.  Once you are in space, to make changes or corrections in either linear motion or spinning motion you are going to need more than one thruster pointed in different directions in order to achieve any change that you might want.  Maybe it could be done with just one thruster if you had the ability to change the direction that the thruster points from the spacecraft.  But also, for in space use, the corrections you make are usually going to be relatively small, so you want your thruster to be easy to turn on and off.  So you wouldn’t want to be burning rocket fuel and oxygen for example.  This is where your special propellants come in.  For a propellant to work all it needs to be able to do is expel a mass at a certain velocity, the higher the better, because then you get more effect for the mass that you use.

Question: If that’s the case then wouldn’t the thrusters on let’s say the space shuttle when maneuvering to the ISS have to eject the special propellant faster than 17,500MPH which is the speed they are traveling?

Answer: The unreacted unejected propellant is already going at the same speed as the spacecraft before it is ejected.  To cause a change in the motion of the spacecraft it only has to be ejected at some velocity with respect to the velocity of the spacecraft.  A thorough discussion follows.

Presumably in this example the spacecraft is orbiting the earth in a stable orbit at whatever distance from the earth that would be necessary for orbiting at 17,500 mph.  This could easily be calculated but I am not going to do that now.  I just know from having heard these orbital speeds mentioned before that this would be at a distance from the earth where you would have a very high vacuum, meaning essentially no “air” drag on the vehicle.  This would mean that the spacecraft would keep moving in this orbit unless acted upon by an external force.

The reason it is not moving in a straight line is that gravity is continually exerting a force upon it in a direction perpendicular to its velocity.  This is known as centripetal force and it causes the spacecraft to be continually curving toward the earth.  But it is going fast enough that the curving is the right amount to keep the spacecraft circling or orbiting the earth.

If you wanted to cause the spacecraft to re-enter the atmosphere, all you would need to do is fire a thruster in the opposite direction to the velocity of the spacecraft.  Note that the propellant used would already be travelling at the speed of the spacecraft before it is reacted and released, so it is ejected at high velocity with respect to the spacecraft’s velocity.  In so doing, if it is fired long enough to decrease the velocity enough, and this could all be calculated ahead of time based on the performance characteristics of the thrusters, the slower speed will result in the force of gravity causing it to curve more than the curve required for the orbit, so the spacecraft will start to travel to lower altitudes and eventually start entering the atmosphere.  I have never felt the need to look into the numerical aspects of all of this, but it might be interesting to gather all of this information to see if it all makes sense.  But I suppose, if it is all fake, they could have just made it all calculate out correctly to deceive us all.

MORE ELABORATION ON PHYSICS

Just a little note about how physics works for the equation F=ma in order to help better understand what centripetal force is.  (I am reflecting upon when I first learned about this equation, taking physics for the first time in high school 44 years ago, where I learned how this equation explains why car accidents can kill you, but that’s another story.)  In reality this equation is a vector equation.  A vector has both magnitude and direction.  F is the force vector with both its magnitude and direction.  a is the acceleration vector also with both magnitude and direction.  Acceleration is also by definition the time derivation of the velocity vector.  So in words, F(magnitude&direction) = mass x a(magnitude & direction) or

F(magnitude&direction) = mass x (change in v/change in t)

Where v is the velocity vector also with magnitude and direction.

So if you were in a drag racer, and you got the green light, and you take off, you would feel yourself being pushed from behind by the back of the seat as the car accelerates in a straight line with you in it.  Your velocity would be changing in magnitude (increasing) while its direction stays the same, straight ahead.

Now if you were traveling in a car at a constant speed and in a straight line, but then you put the car into a turn of a certain radius but at constant speed, you would feel the side of the car pushing against you in the direction that the car is turning.  In this case you are experiencing a constant acceleration, that is, a change in the velocity vector with respect to time, but the velocity vector is changing in direction but not speed or magnitude.  So in this turn the centripetal force is the force being exerted by the ground on the tires of the car perpendicular to its forward motion in order to cause it to turn (with you inside), which is a constant acceleration maneuver.  To make it a little more personal for you in the car, the side of the car is pushing against you causing you to turn, a centripetal force causing the centripetal acceleration of you.

Most people are familiar with the term centrifugal force.  If you are sitting in the turning car, from your point of view as being in the car, known in physics as a rotating reference frame point of view, you feel a force throwing you to the outside of the car, that is indistinguishable from a gravity force from your point of view from inside the car.  This reminds me of the space station in 2001 A Space Odyssey, where it is spinning so as to create an artificial gravity, so the person is able to run around it as if they were running on a surface with a gravitational attraction.

Comment: All tests show that rockets don’t work in a vacuum.

Answer: I would like to review these tests so I can comment upon them.