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Poplar Bluff man hopes to organize religious Woodstock

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jerry Murphy is attempting to plan Wilderness Outcry, a large-scale religious event, on his acreage in Butler County.
(Daily American Republic/submitted photo)
POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Woodstock marked a retreat from Judeo-Christian values in American culture, according to a local cattle rancher and businessman who is organizing an event he hopes will be of a similar magnitude but opposite effect.

Jerry Murphy has linked up with a group of ministries from throughout the country to host an outdoor gathering called Wilderness Outcry from June 14 to 18. It is slated to be held on more than 400 acres he farms along Butler County Road 543.

"There is a dual purpose and that is God and country, and bringing the two back together," said Murphy, chief financial officer of Gamma HealthCare. "We're saying to America, 'Bring the generations, young and old,' and let's send a message for God to have mercy on this land."

Murphy has been planning the event since fall. He has hired two full-time workers to help prepare the land and has contracted a large-scale event planning firm.

"We are trying to provide a clean, safe environment," Murphy said. At least two landing areas for Air Evac are being created, an alternative route for emergency vehicles is being explored and security will be brought in, he added.

The five-day event will feature gospel music. No high-profile speakers have been confirmed in writing as of now, Murphy said, although he is working on booking some.

"We want people to do some praying, fasting and leave their cell phones behind for a week," Murphy said. "After we are done consecrating ourselves, everyone will pick up a stone, write a memorial to God on it and leave behind a stonewall altar."

Murphy said the "mindset of free love, drugs and rock 'n' roll" never left after Woodstock in 1969 and he believes that Christianity needs to be integrated into the "seven spheres of influence in society," which he said are home, church, government, business, education, media and arts.

"It is most interesting to consider that Woodstock took place in Bethel, New York, which is biblical, because in Scripture, the devil tried to steal God's dream at a place called Bethel," Murphy said. "God restores his dream at Moriah, which has always been the name of my ranch."

At 15 years old, Murphy said, he can remember helping the former property owner of Moriah Ranch pick some hay, and in return for his services, the teenager was entrusted a key to the gate. Murphy would hunt the rolling hills, fish in the creek and go swimming, he recalled.

About 20 years ago, Murphy said he had noticed a section of the property was being auctioned off, and he bought it. In 1991, he built his home there.

"I had always had the impression through prayer that something big was going to happen on this land," Murphy said.

Murphy began his own ministry called Marketplace Champions in 2000. In recent months, he has been traveling to major cities spreading the word about the event with the Awakening and Reformation Tour. He said his movement has gone viral on the Web with help of social networking sites such as Facebook, GroundMap and Twitter.

Wilderness Outcry will be free admission, though Murphy said it remains undetermined whether there will be a charge for camping to help recover the cost. Donations are being solicited.

Registration for the event goes live March 1 through www.wildernessoutcry.com.

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Who many people will be attending?

-- Posted by Everyday Joe on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 5:45 PM

I am glad our beloved United States Constitution makes no mention of 'christianity'. Keep it out of our government.

-- Posted by Ike on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:30 PM

Don't do the brown acid!

-- Posted by grandma73 on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:39 PM

Hey Ike, take a look at George Wahington's inaugural prayer. Then you might find something about the government buildings in D.C being used for church meetings during the first administrations.

It's just history.

Glock, Ike probably won't be attending.

-- Posted by Maynard on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:43 PM


-- Posted by Chickenlips on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:58 PM


-- Posted by timexx on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:02 PM

Uggh. Not with the "Christian nation" stuff again. If these people want to get together and worship their imaginary friend, feel free. I want them to continue to have the right to woship whatever fairytales they want, but I wish they would stop with the "Christian nation" propoganda.

-- Posted by rtacape on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:58 PM

Yes I also don't care about the whole religious christian nation thing. But I would come rock out with STRYPER. I was luck enough to play with STRYPER last year at Rocklahoma and meet several of the band members backstage. I thought they did a great show and they were very nice guys.

"Too Hell With The Devil!" lol

-- Posted by timexx on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:12 AM

George Washington's inaugural prayer is not our governing document. We have but one constitution and it makes no mention of this christ. We are NOT a christian nation. Our founding document proves it.

-- Posted by Ike on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:07 AM

George Washington's inaugural prayer is not our governing document. We have but one constitution and it makes no mention of this christ. We are NOT a christian nation. Our founding document proves it.

-- Posted by Ike on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:07 AM

Uh oh flashback...I swear I remember seeing Stryper at the ShowMeCenter back in the 80s with another band. Not sure why I was there -- maybe got a free ticket or something -- didn't they toss bibles into the crowd at their concerts?

-- Posted by TommyStix on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 8:35 AM

Jerry Murphy: What are the Judeo-Christian "values" you are promoting? Please clarify & cite your sources, please. I need to confirm that said values match a common sense of decency and human rights, without any subjugation of women, condemnation of homosexuality, exclusion of religions other than Christianity or belief in magical or mystical cures for society's woes. If any of the above are included or promoted, or books which include/promote the above, then said values are to be considered antiquated and NOT something the youth and populace of our fair town needs to be exposed to.

Good Day!

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 9:33 AM

I am so excited about this event! Mr & Mrs Jerry Murphy, my family and church family are definitely covering you in prayer! Thanks for taking a stand! We can't wait!

-- Posted by chasley101 on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 10:51 AM

Chasley - what exactly are you taking a stand for?

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:20 AM

What Mr. Murphy might not realize - there is already a "Christian Woodstock" in the region. It is called Cornerstone Festival, and has been a staple of youth groups for many years. It takes place on July 4th in central Illinois. This is definitely not a unique idea - it is a niche demographic that has already been filled, IMO.

However, if anyone would like to attend a conference that is doing a world of good in Southern Missouri, I recommend Skepticon in Springfield this fall.

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:23 AM

I'll bet dollars to donuts, this "farm" has a tax exempt status as a "religious institution".

-- Posted by wrt_trn on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:35 AM

deleted soul~ how can you look at the youth of America, the suicide rates and NOT want something better for them? And for all the other's out there who Do NOT want this to happen...well, my God is bigger than you and yours. (whether you believe it or not you NOT serving God is you serving something) It IS going to happen. It is America people and the sooner you realize that the better. You wanna live in a society where EVERYONE pretends to believe the same and no one can speak out, move to China or any other communist society.

I am saddened for the person who played with Stryper and missed their message. They would not have wanted that at all.

Also, if you think spiritual messages/political messages are NOT in our music....well...are you a fan of GreenDay??? Sheryl Crow???? Why is it ok for hollywood to spread their belief system but not anyone else??? You say you have an open mind? Really?

Jerry Murphy~Thank you..Thank you...Thank you...Praying for Gods blessings, God's angel warriors, and God's protection for this event!

-- Posted by mgriffin219 on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:39 AM

What's with the negativity, people! I think this is a wonderful idea and am sure it will be a huge success!

-- Posted by Mom4Ever on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 11:52 AM

WOW! I can't even begin to comprehend the things that the Lord is doing, and its starting here in Poplar Bluff! Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Murphy thank you for being obedient to the Lord! I love it that you named your ranch Moriah! where God restores His dream, and just to think I will be just one of the thousands that gets to be part of this!

Isaiah 44:3-5, "I will pour out water on the thirsty...I will pour out my Spirit on our offspring...they will spring up like poplars by streams...one will say, 'I am the Lord's'...

-- Posted by toseeHISgloryrevealed1 on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:05 PM

No one will be dragging you from your home to attend this event deleted soul. Do you really care what Mr. Murphy's answers are to your questions? I think not. It's a free country; you are free to believe however you choose. Isn't that great?

-- Posted by sedart on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:13 PM

I would love to hear answers to the questions I laid out. I've asked these questions to many different persons of faith. I would like to know what parts of the holy book he follows he considers to be literal, what parts he feels are true, and what parts he discards as outdated. It is important if he is going to be leading a "movement", what exactly he is going to be moving toward. A general "let's get back to Christian Values" is really vague. The Bible is a huge book, and contains both good and bad "values". What parts is he going to be advocating?

70%-80% of the US believe in (the Judeo-Christian) god. A good portion of these people are mainline/evangelical Christians. The prisons are filled with believers. There are depressed believers, suicidal believers, addicted believers, violent believers...the list goes on. I've never found any supporting evidence that the quality of life is better for a believer (or a true Christian if you want to make the argument of "well, they weren't TRUE Christians). My non-believing friends are just as happy and healthy (or depressed and sick) as my Christian friends from various different denominations.

This battle cry of "Bring America Back to God!" is tired. I've heard it all my life; my parents heard it all their life before me. America IS (and likely will be for the rest of my life) chock-full of believers. Our president is a believer, most political leaders are believers and I'm going to guess that most people reading this are believers. The believers have just as many problems and struggle with the same things the non-believers are. If we are going to gather and take a stand, why not gather in support of each other, of progress and of personal responsibility? Why project our needs and credit our successes to an invisible deity who has never, under verifiable scientific observation, made one iota of difference in anyone's life?

We are thankfully moving away from a blind acceptance of superstition and reliance on a deity to lead us in our everyday lives. A growing number of our population claims no belief in a deity and/or no religious affiliation. I think this is wonderful. I think self-reliance and community support are both under rated.

So yes, let's gather. Let's gather and be advocates of children and the oppressed. Let's gather in support of education and our community. Let's gather to encourage equality. Let's teach, let's learn, and let's try to progress and evolve as the human race.

No deity required.

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:29 PM

Nope - no one is dragging me from my home. However, it seems that this event is being geared toward youth. IMO any attempt at indoctrination of young people bears further scrutiny, to make sure they are being taught valuable life lessons - not unmitigated BS.

As far as the bands mentioned above, I actually don't like Green Day or Sheryl Crow. I do know that Green Day does include a political message in their songs. However, for most bands I've heard, the closest they biggest message they send to their fans is "please buy my record". :) Trying to push a dogma via song is the most prevalent in Christian music. That is, unless you swallow the idiotic pseudo-scientific conspiracy theories about back-masking and subliminal messages that try to get you to worship the devil. :-]

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:37 PM

Mr. Murphy, I whole heartedly support you and what you are doing. Please, do not let all of the negative people bring you down.

On another note, I have continually been amazed at the intolerance of some people. What happened to the right of free speach? Is it only for you? As I recall, it is a protected right for ALL groups...Christian, Hetro-Sexual, Conservative included.

-- Posted by onthefly on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:51 PM

Murphy said the "mindset of free love, drugs and rock 'n' roll" never left after Woodstock in 1969 and he believes that Christianity needs to be integrated into the "seven spheres of influence in society," which he said are home, church, government, business, education, media and arts.

Sounds like he's envisioning a christian version of Iran.

-- Posted by Ike on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 12:54 PM

Why do you care deleted soul? If your mind is made up this way, then enjoy the freedom you have to act upon your belief in yourself. Why would we stand in the way of your free will when your Maker does not do so. How will it hurt you if there is a Christian camp out in Poplar Bluff in June? What is your point here? To change our hearts? To advocate against our freedom to hold this event? How do all our beliefs keep you from enjoying your life/life-style fully? If your mind is as made up as it seems to be, why keep flinging your questions up against the same wall? What are you doing personally to make sure the youth of Poplar Bluff or youth in general get the proper support and education you say they deserve? Our Maker has planted eternity in the your heart and mine, but even so, you and I cannot see the whole scope of This work from beginning to end. This, is the root of your searching..... I have perfect faith that you will make the peace you so desperatley desire with your Maker in time...

-- Posted by sedart on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 1:29 PM

My question is why is it so controversial for Christians to voice any kind of belief? It is automatically seen as agressive towards other groups of people(sexual preferences, religion, etc.)I do realize that in history that religion has been used to hate, cause war, and many other horrible things; but if read completely in the Bible Jesus says love your neighbor as yourself. It does not mean that we have to agree or even like some of the choices that someone else makes, but we are to love EVERYONE. However, loving someone means telling them the truth. I can love someone that I totally disagree with and still be honest that what he/she is doing is wrong according to what I believe in the Word of God or the Bible. I can love someone that disagrees with me. In a country that is supposed to be built on freedom why are Christians the only group that is not allowed to make a lot of noise about how they feel without people getting uptight? I have said all this to say that I support the gathering in Poplar Bluff. I think that it will be enlightening to many when the true power of God shows up in this area. Few people in this generation have truly seen the power of God. It will open many eyes that never believed before this time.

-- Posted by vfaye68 on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 1:39 PM

Of course the US Constitution doesn't mention Christ. It mentions Christian concepts like justice, peace and the "blessing of Liberty" which comes from our Creator God. Freedom is not inherent in MOST religions, but it is inherent in Christianity. Good luck finding a free society without the influence of Christianity. Dig a little deeper, read a little more.

-- Posted by eyegotya on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 3:11 PM

The religious and the religious right try to stand in the way of others living their lives and against those who strive for progress and equality all the time. Everything from science to sex ed, rights to equal marriage, abortion, censorship, obscenity laws, health-care - a whole host of things are constantly getting "infringed upon" by those who get their "morality" from an antiquated book. Everywhere we go, we are accosted by religious imagery. I drive by at least two churches who advertise scriptures and catchy Christian phrases that basically tell me that I cannot have a full, happy life without belief in their deity. Between here and Springfield, I lose count of how many signs and billboards advertising churches and "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" type signs I see.

You talk about being controversial - there is really no stir if someone puts up a billboard or a sign advertising a church. However, let an atheist group put up a sign, and all hell breaks loose, so to speak. Yes, the non-believers are just starting to really get a foothold in some places, and trying to keep government as secular as possible. The reason that I personally advocate for a secular government, is that secular is neutral. As long as our elected officials do not promote or suppress religious expression, we can each worship (or not) how we please, as long as the rituals adhere to the law of the society in question. Obviously if someone started trying to perform human sacrifices or burn down bars because they are evil, that would not be acceptable where law is concerned.

You say that anything Christians say is automatically seen as an attack on others. Then you go on to say "I love them, but I have to tell them they are wrong according to the Bible". I don't believe in your Bible. Thus, you "being honest" and telling me that I am living my life wrong IS an attack on me.

Another mention was about free speech. People always yell "free speech!" whenever people are telling them to shut up. :) The first amendment states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." This basically means that the government cannot make rules that say what we can or cannot say. Period.

I am not a government official, so I do not fall under the rules that govern "freedom of speech". If I know of a teacher, or a daycare worker - or even a preacher who is misleading people with false or harmful information (like "you can handle poisonous snakes and not be harmed!), I have the right to tell others that I think he or she is misleading people. I can protest, peaceably. I can write letters blogs and news articles. I can basically do all I can to get this person to stop misleading people, or stop the people from listening to them. The person still has the right to spread lies as long as they stay within the law. The people still have the right to follow, listen and spread that information themselves. I am offering an alternative to their lies - which in no way infringes on anyone's right to free speech as outlined in the First Amendment.

Now, when it comes to Mr. Murphy - I have a general idea of what he would be promoting, having attended a Full Gospel church in the past. However, my question is this: is he going to be spreading a benign message of love and peace, just encouraging us to live together in harmony? Is he going to be spreading messages that certain groups of people are sinning, that we are all hell-bound if we don't follow his brand of dogma? There are a LOT of messages that the religious like to spread, and like Ike said, if he is pushing for the integration of his religion into all aspects of society (which means that we "sinners" will have to fall in line with his beliefs or be bound for hell), then that is something I would protest and be vocal about.

Lastly - someone asked what I am doing to promote education and growth.

1) I vote for those who support expanding, reforming and funding our education system. The US falls sadly behind many other countries when it comes to education (test scores). I support those who have ideas to change that. I vote AGAINST those who want to stay steeped in traditions that do not work.

2) I support (both financially and vocally) organizations that promote good science, and the use of logic and reason in school and in life.

3) I am in the process of educating myself further. I encourage those around me to continue educational pursuits constantly, as learning is one of the best ways to become a more complete person.

If I missed answering any questions, please re-post and let me know. :-]

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 5:37 PM

Oops - looks like I missed the comment by eyegotya. How are these strictly Christian concepts and not just GOOD concepts necessary for the function of a cohesive society?

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 5:38 PM

Even if one were to concur that this nation was formed by a group of people who were predominantly Christian, it still would not follow that this is a Christian Nation.

For analogy... although this nation was most definitely formed by white people, it does not follow that we are therefore a White Nation.

For reference, it sounds just as bigoted and offensive when one says Christian Nation... It's also worth noting that most of the prominent founding fathers were deists and not Christians.

-- Posted by LarryD on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 5:45 PM

LarryD makes a great point.

While we can't go back and ask the founding fathers what religion they were or if they meant to impose religious dogma on the populace, I believe they would have included "We dictate that this nation will be a representation of Judeo-Christian values", or include the tenants of the religion they were injecting into the governing documents. However, sans any such reference in the governing documents, we must concur that the founding fathers wished us to operate within a government that did not dictate religion, and was not dictated by religion.

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 6:50 PM

As an added note, it is interesting to me that much of our existing religious iconography and mottoes were injected into government and patriotic symbolism long after the founding fathers were dead and gone. "In God We Trust"? Became the official motto in 1956. "Under God" in the Pledge? 1954. Ten Commandments in courts? Many placed in 1956 by the director of the Ten Commandments movie as a publicity stunt. National prayer breakfast? 1953. National Day of Prayer? 1952. Tax exempt status for churches? 1954 as well (source: Wikipedia). Just an interesting bit of trivia. :)

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:06 PM

Jerry, I think the wilderness outcry is a great thing. Don't pay any attention to the negativity.

For deletedsoul I would like to say that even the devil is a believer. He believes there is a God. Not everybody that says they are a believer acts like Jesus. I'm sorry that you met Christians that were hateful and downright stupid. I just hope that someday that you realize the love God has for you. God exists even if you don't think HE does. When you get right down to it, you're bitter. A person can have a happy fulfilled life without Jesus, but why would he want to. The eternity part will be the difference. I know you probably don't believe the Bible. The reason that Christians are so zealous it because of Jesus' love for them. They want to share it with people they love. Jesus has healed me of various things, helps me make important decisions, helps me when there isn't anyone around, and opens up knowledge to me. I believe I hear Jesus talk to me. I have a relationship with Him. He is real to me and I have a wonderful life. I could have a good life without Him. I have a great life with Him. When you love somebody, you believe what they say. That is why Christians believe the Bible so wholeheartedly. I do not think that Christians should be hateful to homosexuals. You mentioned or somebody else mentioned that group of people. I have friends that are homosexuals. I don't agree with their lifestyle, but I still love them as a person. I'm not trying to attack you in any way. I feel that you have met someone who wasn't the real deal and has made you bitter toward anything Christian. I'm going to the wilderness outcry and having a wonderful time. You ought to check it out just to see what it is about.

-- Posted by BeverlyJ on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:14 PM

Hi Beverly. I often get this thrown to me as a reason I am a non believer. I actually have met a few hateful believers, as I have met hateful non believers as well. The actions of others do not affect my belief or non belief in an idea, doctrine or dogma. The truth, logic and reasonableness of that idea, doctrine or dogma is what affects my belief or non belief.

I too was a Christian once. I read the Bible and believed every word of it. I prayed, I accepted Christ as my personal savior and lived every day trying to please him out of thankfulness for giving me salvation.

However, over time, a lot of study and many stages of personal discovery and evolution, I began to realize that Christianity is no more true than Islam, Scientology, Wicca, Satanism, Mormonism or Pastafarianism.

There are many useful tenets in all these religions, just like there are good traits in just about every person. However, just because something was useful does not make it true. I searched Christianity and several of the other aforementioned religions, and found that NONE of them had the complete corner on truth. Many of them had similar stories of miracles, magic and mysticism; some had really far fetched stories that I couldn't imagine anyone believing.

Stepping back and removing my emotions and my desire to believe, I was able to see that all these belief systems that involved an invisible force or deity were in the same boat - they were all equally as likely to be true or untrue. I began to see my loving Jesus as my wonderful imaginary friend. When I was lonely or scared, I could talk to him. However, that didn't make him any more real than the imaginary friends of children around the world. The feelings I had for this friend were real.

I also began to look at the people around me, in church and out of church. Regardless of beliefs, devotion, time and money spent toward serving a deity, no one seemed to have the upper hand on a good quality of life. "Bad" people were often rewarded. "Good" people often suffered. Innocent people are abused, peopl get away with murder. Prayer helps one person while another person is left bereft. I see no evidence, unless I inject the vague misnomer that "god works in mysterious ways", that being a Christian gives me any benefit whatsoever.

I DID struggle with bitterness a bit when I first went through the de-conversion process. My bitterness was aimed at the many years I wasted being a Christian.

You mentioned downright stupid Christians - I was downright stupid to believe a book filled with my above mentioned subjugation of women, violence, racial inequality, absurd magical claims, inconsistencies and encouragement to reject familial and personal responsibility. I was stupid to say to my non believing, gay, lesbian and even members of other religions that I "hate the sin - but love the sinner". I was basically saying "yes, I love you because Jesus put that love in my heart. However, unless you change your ways, my belief in this Jesus dictates that you will miss out on heaven and be tormented forever!"

It was an idiotic belief system that I am so very glad I walked away from. :)

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:56 PM

Coming to Cape: http://theartour.com/register-cape-pg.ht...

-- Posted by Chief 'Broom on Sat, Feb 13, 2010, at 8:21 AM

All your many, many words and yet.... you....are the only one judging you. Every vestige of Christianity could disappear today and every one of its tenets be trampled underfoot and still you would find your heart wasting...

-- Posted by sedart on Tue, Feb 16, 2010, at 7:07 AM


I will say this. There is no hope in your opinion!

Frankly, I think you have made your point. All of what you are and all of what this universe has ever been is just happenstance. Well my friend, you best "hope" your right! Those of us who believe in a risen savior have nothing to loose if we are wrong, do we?

-- Posted by GREYWOLF on Tue, Feb 16, 2010, at 3:29 PM

"Freedom is inherent in Christianity"

Yeah, right.

Imagine, for a second, that instead of the Bill of Rights, we had the Ten Commandments.

The government will punish you for not attending church every Sunday.

The government will punish you for your jealousy of your neighbor's hot wife and nice car.

The government will punish you for swearing - in your home, online, whenever, wherever they like.

The government will punish you for disobeying or disrespecting your parents.

The government will punish you for believing in the god of your choice rather than the god they want you to worship.

Killing, lying, stealing - THOSE I get.

For all the others? That ain't freedom, brotha!

-- Posted by FriendO on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 12:53 PM

To Greywolf - you are invoking what is known as "Pascal's Wager". Blaise Pascal theorized "a person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose." [http://bit.ly/14z3fO]

There is a very obvious logical error to this line of reasoning. You are assuming that you're version of god, and your belief system is the correct one. You are assuming that all other gods and all other beliefs systems are incorrect. Your belief may be based on personal (spiritual) experiences, gut feelings, perceived miracles, faith in ancient literature or any of a host of other reasons. However, you have no more tangible proof than your neighbor the Hindu, the Jew, the Sikh, the Satanist or the Scientologist that your set of beliefs are true.

You have no way to influence anyone of any other beliefs systems other than a finite set of personal experiences blended with culture and environment.

What if Islam is the one true religion? Aren't you risking your immortal soul by following Christianity? What if it is the Mormons? Aren't you concerned that you will risk missing your chance at eternity? What about Judaism? Jehovah's Witnesses? Wicca? It seems like you are taking a pretty big chance at assuming your god is true.

I am taking an equal chance as you that all those other gods do not exist. Well, not exactly equal. I believe in one less god than you.

If I were to follow the doctrine of your religion, I would be giving up a lot. A life of freedom and peace beyond anything Christianity or any other religion can offer me. A life of pursuing truth, love and logic. A life without belief in a totalitarian despot watching my every move. A life without patriarchal-led gender roles. A life where homosexuals, non-believers and people of other races aren't second class citizens. A life where I can adjust my moral compass when new information about how I should treat my fellow man emerges. A life where I don't feel guilty about providing education about sex. A life where we use science, not faith, to observe the world around us.

I have no reason to follow the outdated tenants of your ancient scriptural book. Some of my personal values may echo what you read there, however, those parts that echo inequality and the idea that things happen by magic have no place in the modern world.

As far as hope goes - I DO have hope. Hope in myself, hope in my family and hope in the future. I do not need magic or mysticism to make me feel like a happy, healthy, complete person. I am a better person without your god, without your Jesus.

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 3:27 PM

That's just what this area needs, more religion. YOu can go more than a few feet in this area with out hitting a church of some kind.

And deletedsoul you don't sound bitter to me. You sound like someone who cares about if what they believe is true, instead of just comfortable.

-- Posted by Heartland Atheist on Wed, Feb 17, 2010, at 8:58 PM

Exactly, heartland. I struggle every day when it comes to accepting or supporting things that are potentially useful, but obviously or probably untrue.

This little venture of Murphy's may be useful for some. While I still question what doctrines he is actually trying to push, I can theorize that people may (seem to) benefit from such a gathering.

Faith can be a powerful thing - when your brain is in the right mindset to accept suggestive information, or you've convinced yourself that something is true and you want results, there is a good possibility that this exact thing will happen. Thus, people attending this gathering will likely feel happy, euphoric, and even feel like it is a life changing experience.

The same thing happens with religions all across the world. People go into trances, the meditate, they walk on coals and have out of body experiences. It is all likely centered in the mind, which is a very powerful thing. The people aren't faking, they really feel and believe something amazing is happening to them. There is a very interesting article on Salon.com concerning this very thing [http://is.gd/8EnoH]

So yes, I do feel that religion can be useful. It can give you rules if you require structure, it can make you feel like you aren't alone, and it can certain be a comfort in hard times.

However, I pose the question: Should we support what is useful even if it is not true?

Let's look at Scientology -- my go-to whackadoodle religion. Scientology offers a lot of positive influence for their followers. The have a great sense of community, and can provide help for those struggling with addiction or depression without the use of pharmaceuticals. Many people would view this as a good thing. However, I think that most reasonable people among us would agree that there are no Thetans in our bodies, and that Xenu did not bring us to earth in a giant spacecraft. Personally, I do not thing the usefulness of Scientology outweighs the fact that it is both false and potentially harmful to follow such a doctrine of unmitigated BS.

As an atheist who is an equal opportunity non-believer, I place every religion in the same category as Scientology. There are religions that are more or less harmful than Scientology, and there are religions that are more or less useful than Scientology. They all, however, equally untrue. If anything other than "usefulness" is presented to prove the existence of one groups magic entities over another group's magic entities, I might be tempted to change my mind.

Let's look at Murphy. He has already done the following:

1) Expressed belief in a deity for which there is no tangible proof.

2) Said he felt the invisible presence of said deity upon a piece of inanimate land.

3) Tied the address and the acreage of this land to a scripture in the Bible. Finding agency in ancient literature, anyone? :)

4) Claims to know what the deity wants, very specifically. Again, no tangible proof, nothing other than his personal mission to make this happen.

Does anyone else see this as a ridiculous and disturbing chain of events?

As champions of truth, should we continue to push for truth in all aspects of our life, even if it reveals the fallacies religions that give the masses something to believe in and hope for?

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 7:45 AM

I attempted to post a comment asking Mr. Murphy about which Biblical Principles he is promoting. However, the site returned errors when I tried. Anyone else tried to comment on the Wilderness Outcry Blog?

-- Posted by deletedsoul on Thu, Feb 18, 2010, at 2:02 PM


-- Posted by sedart on Fri, Feb 19, 2010, at 8:55 PM

"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." (Matthew 24:11)

Our modern age is filled with false prophets who have, and are now, deceiving many. Fortune tellers, astrologers, and psychics all claim the power to predict future events, AKA, prophecy.

-- Posted by Gymrat014 on Sat, Mar 20, 2010, at 1:54 PM

Did you read this one: http://activepaper.olivesoftware.com/Rep...

-- Posted by Chief 'Broom on Sun, Apr 11, 2010, at 10:25 PM

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