Monday, September 4, 2023

Results of the Christianity Quiz


If your church failed the quiz in the previous column, congrats! You are less likely to be on the ‘broad road’ to destruction.

Can we really say that, just because the majority of churches subscribe to the same core beliefs they must be on the broad road, weeds rather than wheat, goats rather than sheep?

Yes, we can. Take a look:

1.       1. The belief that Jesus is God.

Over 175 times in the Hebrew scriptures Jehovah said bluntly, ‘I am your God,’ ‘I am Jehovah’, or similar pronouncements. “I am Jehovah your God.” (Isaiah 42:8) Is there any scripture where Jesus said something similar, that he was God? No. Not a single instance; quite the contrary. Jesus told his followers he worshiped his father (John 20:17), that he prayed to his father (Matthew 26:42). He was taught by his father (John 8:28), sent by his father (Luke 4:18), obeyed his father (John 8:29). He taught them to worship, obey, pray to and be taught by his father (John 5:30). He never told his followers to worship or pray to himself. 

Jesus called himself God’s son (John 10:36); His followers called him God’s son (Matthew 14:33); angels called him God’s son (Luke 1:35); His enemies called him God’s son (John 19:7); Satan and the demons called him God’s son (Matthew 8:29). If Jesus is God, surely Satan would have known. Yet he called him 'son of God'. (Matthew 4:3)

2.   Immortality of the soul.

Nowhere does the Bible say you have a soul that lives on when you die. It very clearly says the opposite: when you die you’re dead. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) Death is called sleep. (John 11:11) Jesus said he will resurrect the dead. (John 5:28) If your soul lives on after you die, how could he do that? Why would he need to?

3.       Punishment of bad people in hell.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say any such thing. In fact, it says the opposite - that dying, not hellfire, is the end result of sin. 'The wages of sin is death.' (Romans 6:23)

4.       God will save everyone.

(I refer you to my previous column on this subject.) The Bible says “the one that endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13), that only chosen ones will be saved (Matthew 24:22), only those on the narrow way (Matthew 7:14), squeezing through the narrow door (Luke 13:24), and obeying Jesus’ commands (John 15:13, 14), will be saved.

5.    God doesn't care what you do sexually, as long as you love one another.

The Bible clearly defines marriage as one man and one woman. (Genesis 2:24) Sex outside of that arrangement is clearly condemned (1 Corinthians 6:9). Nor was Jesus silent on the subject of homosexuality: “On the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:29) Sodom wasn't destroyed for drunkenness.

6.       Jesus was all about peace and love and unconditional acceptance.  

Wrong. He condemned prejudice, but he encouraged us to have standards: “Stop judging by the outward appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” (John 7:24) Bible scholars know that the passage in some Bibles about 'let he who is sinless cast the first stone' was added hundreds of years after Jesus died.

7.       Nationalism, 'my country right or wrong.'

“My Kingdom is no part of this world. If my Kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my Kingdom is not from this source.” (John 18:36)

8.       The clergy are especially holy and loved by Jesus.

 Jesus never condoned a clergy class with special garments and high-sounding titles. The clergy in his day had already developed those bad habits:  “[They] lengthen the fringes of their garments. They like the most prominent place at evening meals and the front seats in the synagogues and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbi by men. But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers.” (Matthew 23:5-8) The clergy would like you to believe that command has been rescinded. Take the time to read Mathew 23 for yourself. And they especially hate this one: “You received free, give free.”  (Matthew 10:8,9) All Jesus’ true followers, not any special clergy class, were told, ‘Go, make disciples of people of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

9.       The Bible is a mystery. Faith means blind trust.

Faith is not blindly trusting something you heard, even if you heard it from the pulpit. 'Faith is the proof of things not seen.' (Hebrews 11:1). “Let all things be tested; keep to what is good.” (1Thess. 5:21) The Bible is not a mystery. It was 'written for our instruction.' (Romans 15:4)

Perhaps you take issue with one or two of these points. But Jesus clearly said there would be a majority and a minority among Christians, and that the majority would be wrong. If your church teaches most of the above points, It is in the majority. If you personally disagree with this understanding of Jesus’ teachings, what is your explanation of the broad road? How do you explain all these so-called Christian denominations, making up the clear majority, holding so many teachings in common despite clear scriptures saying the opposite?

The Bible is only confusing if you try to read it while holding onto your own beliefs. 

Please leave a comment. 

 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at You can help support this site by clicking on the link.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Take the Christianity Quiz


Okay, I lied - it isn't actually a quiz. Just something to think about:

How do you define Christianity? There are small variations from one church to another, nit-picky things like different understandings of a particular verse; teachings about saints, candles, confession and indulgences. 

But most Christian religions, when painted in very broad strokes, have these beliefs in common:

·       Jesus is understood to be God.
·       Jesus’ main reason for coming to earth was to be a manifestation of God and to save all mankind.
·       You have an immortal soul that continues when you die.
·       At death your soul goes to heaven or hell. 
·       Hell is a horrible place, generally believed to be tortuously hot.
·       Virtually no one you know personally ever ends up in hell. They have some redeeming quality that will keep them out of that place.
·       Eventually, everyone will be reconciled to God - apparently even the ones who were consigned to burn in hell forever.
·       Sex outside marriage is sort of frowned upon, but teachings to that effect are not enforced. While marriage to one of the opposite sex is viewed positively, alternatives are no one's business.
·       Opinions condemning homosexual behavior should be kept to oneself.
·       The most Christian quality is judgment-free acceptance of virtually any behavior that doesn't explicitly hurt a child or an animal.
·       Good Christians celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and other holy days. Regardless of their well-known pagan roots, such beliefs are sanctified by  their acceptance into the church.
·       Good Christians reverence their country’s flag, serve in the military, vote, and run for office.
·       A Christian preacher is a paid professional.
·       A Christian preacher should have a special title, wear special articles of clothing, be given special reverence, seats and parking spaces in the church.
·       Christian preachers overseeing churches may be of either gender and any sexuality.
·       The laity’s duty is to be nice to their neighbors and attend church, or at least support the preacher financially.
·       A collection plate is passed at every service. Special services such as weddings are expected to be accompanied by special payments.  
·       The Bible is mysterious and contradictory. It is a wise old book but not the absolute truth.
·       Faith means accepting what can’t be satisfactorily explained.

Since no one seems to agree on anything anymore I don’t expect anyone to look at this list and say, ‘Yup, that’s exactly what my church teaches.’ But you could ask yourself or a friend whether some, many, or most of the items above loosely fit your church.

If the answer is yes, here’s a shocker for you:

Jesus said, very specifically, that there would end up being two kinds of Christianity. He referred to one as ‘a broad, wide road leading off to destruction, and many are on it.’ The other, he said, was narrow, cramped, difficult, and “few are the ones finding it.” (Matthew 7:13, 14)

Lest you think that he meant ‘Christianity’ was the narrow road and, I don’t know, anti-Christianity, Pagandom, Islam? – is the broad road, notice that a few verses on he says that the people on the broad road call HIM “Lord!” (Matthew 7:22) 

The people on both roads label themselves as Christians.

What do all the teachings in those bullet-points above have in common?

Most of them are held in common by the majority. Hence, the people who agree with most of that list are on the wrong road, the broad road.

Am I reading too much into this? No, Jesus repeated the same point in different words in different places.

In Matthew 13:36-43 he compared his preaching to a man sowing wheat in a field. An enemy then over-sowed weeds in that same field. Jesus, the owner of the field, acknowledged that it would be hard to tell the wheat from the weeds and commanded, ‘Let both grow together until harvest.’ Christianity would include both wheat - genuine Christians, and weeds - fake Christians, side-by-side, down through time until the end.

In another word picture he compared Christians to a flock of mixed sheep and goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) In the illustration, both groups address him as “Lord”, so the entire flock are calling themselves Christians. But when tested, part of the flock fails. They are judged to be goats, weed-like, fake Christians; and they are destroyed. 

In the next column on this subject, we'll go through those bullet-points, one by one, and show from the Bible why real Christians don't agree with them.

Please feel free to copy the link to this column and share it with your friends.

Please leave a comment.

 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at You can help support this site by clicking on the link.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Are you "saved"?


A neighbor asked me the other day if I was saved. 

How do you respond when someone asks that? Do you know what they mean? Do they know what they mean?

Romans 5:18,  “So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, ALL men were justified to life.”

 What does “all” mean? Is it literally God’s will that ALL be saved? Are ALL who are saved permanently saved?

 ‘The love of money is the root of ALL evil’ is literally what the Greek says at 1 Timothy 6:10. Nevertheless, many translators, having realized that there are in fact evils that do not have anything to do with money, render 1 Timothy 6:10 as “all kinds of evils,” “all sorts of evils,” “all manner of evil.”

 The Greek of Matthew 4:23 says Jesus healed, throughout Galilee, ‘ALL disease and ALL maladies.’ Most translators render it ‘every sort of…’ Verse 24 says they brought him ALL who were sick in the entire region of Syria; surely there were some who didn’t think they were that sick, or had other business, or simply refused to go? Matthew 10:1 says, in Greek, that the disciples cured ‘ALL disease and infirmity.’ If that was literally true, how were there still blind, lame, and lepers later on for Jesus to cure?

 Similarly, at Acts 10:12 Peter was shown a vision of a large, suspended sheet full of ‘ALL four-footed beasts of the earth.’ That would have been an enormous sheet! So most translators reasonably render it, ‘all manner of’, ‘all sorts of’, or ‘all kinds of.’

 Revelation 18:12 in Greek says merchandise sold to Babylon the Great included ALL ivory and precious wood... Surely some of it was sold to other customers? Thus most translators say ‘all sorts of objects of ivory and precious wood.’

Luke 16:16 in Greek also says that ALL are pressing toward the kingdom; “[Since John the Baptist] the kingdom of God is proclaimed as good news, and everyone doth press into it.” But there are some who have still never heard of the kingdom… how could they possibly be ‘pressing into it’? Consequently, some translations read, ‘all manner of men’, ‘men of all sorts’.

Those translators who claim ALL disease was eradicated, that ALL people press toward the kingdom, when they get to 1 Timothy 2:4, say that ‘God will have ALL men be saved.’ ‘God wills that everyone be saved.’ ‘God desires all people to be saved.’

While grammatically correct, people who don’t look into the Bible too deeply assume they must be saved; God is too nice to ever allow anyone to be destroyed, isn't He? At most, all they need to do is believe. After all, John 3:17 says, “God did not send his Son into the world to be judge of the world; he sent him so that the world might have salvation through him.” There you go! Saved – ‘God loves me as I am, I don’t need to change a thing.’

 Some of those who have had an emotional experience they call ‘getting saved’ think a bit differently; their belief is that their salvation is the result of some act on their part: They accepted Christ. Consequently, they are also convinced that everyone else who has not had that ‘saved’ experience will go to hell. Their belief flies in the face of the ‘God will save everyone’ doctrine, but they don’t seem to care as long as they are saved. They base this on Romans 10:13, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ and they stop reading before they get to verse 14, which in most translations starts with “But…” or “However…”

 A doctrine that is contradicted by even one verse of the Bible is false. If ALL will be saved, why did Jesus say, “He that endures to the end will be saved”? (Matthew 24:13) If ALL will be saved, why did Jesus say, in Luke 13:24, "Strain every nerve to force your way in through the narrow gate, for multitudes, I tell you, will endeavor to find a way in and will not succeed.” If ALL will be saved, who are the “many” traveling on the broad way that leads to destruction? (Matthew 7:13, 14) If ALL will be saved, what did Jesus mean by the parable of the wheat and the weeds? (Matthew 13:37-43) Or the rejection of unsuitable fish? (Matthew 13:47-50) Or of the sheep and the goats? (Matthew 25:31-46) If ALL will be saved, who is represented by the sluggish slave who buried his talent and was thrown outside? (Matthew 25:14-30) By the foolish virgins who fell asleep and were locked out? (Matthew 25:1-13) If ALL will be saved, why did Jesus say “He who disobeys the son shall not see life”? (John 3:36)

 If ALL will be saved, why did Jesus say IF? At John 15:13 he said his ransom was given for his friends, and then he followed it up in verse 14 by defining his friends: “You are my friends IF you do what I command.” So, if you don’t do what Jesus commands, you’re not his friend. If you're not his friend, ransom does NOT apply to you.

 A corollary of ‘getting saved’ is the idea of ‘once saved, always saved.’ But if ALL, once saved, are saved for all time, why does Hebrews 10:26 warn that “if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins”? Why do we read in Philippians 2:12, “give yourselves to working out your salvation with fear in your hearts and trembling”? If ALL, once saved, are saved for all time, why did Paul warn us to be careful not to “drift away”? (Hebrews 2:1) If ALL are saved or even if ALL who have been SAVED are always saved, why did Jesus tell the Christian congregation at Sardis: “Call to mind, then, what you received and heard, and hold to it, and repent. Unless you are on the watch, I will come as a thief, and you will never know at what hour I am coming upon you.” (Revelation 3:3)

 Salvation is a gift, it’s true. It cannot be bought or earned. It is certainly not deserved. But it is a gift given only to those who have consistently done their best to listen to Jesus commands, who have obeyed, and who continue to do so, enduring right down to the end. 

You might want to copy the link to this column and share it with your friends, particularly if they claim they are "saved."

Please leave a comment.

 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at You can help support this site by clicking on the link.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Blood derivatives and fractions


This week, the discussion of blood medicine moved from academic to personal.

If you are a regular reader of this space, you know my feelings about blood. I’ve written more than a dozen columns about it. Here are links to some of those columns:

Advances in Blood Medicine

Government, Parental Rights and Medical Treatment

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Blood Loss

Why Blood is Bad Emergency Medicine

You Must Know about TXA Before Your Next Operation

Spread the word: Transfusion is NOT a “life-saving procedure”


The reason I said it went from academic to personal: My wife is preparing for hip replacement surgery, and we had a pre-op meeting at the hospital. I nearly always accompany her to such meetings to make sure we ask enough questions and to compare notes afterward.

But this time, when her name was called, the nurse made it clear I was not included in the invitation. When Wifey came out, she told me the nurse questioned her about her stand on blood.

“Are you sure you want to refuse all blood and blood derivatives?”

My wife wasn’t sure she’d heard correctly. “Derivatives?”

“Because we can just get rid of that form you signed, if you wish. No one has to know,” the nurse went on.

When my wife explained she wanted no blood or blood components, but that she might accept some fractions on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the fraction was, the nurse claimed she was unfamiliar with the terms “components” and “fractions”.

I’m profoundly glad I wasn’t there for that conversation. The nurse would no doubt have been offended at my loudly questioning how she could possibly have ever passed her Medical Ethics class.

Did we get it wrong? Has medicine moved on from “components” and “fractions” to “derivatives”?

No. Medical science decidedly has not. But in a world where people claim to be confused about their gender, word definitions are not as clear-cut as they used to be.

It could have been simple vagueness on the part of the person who designed the form. But could it be that the hospital is trying to get patients to sign something that lets them off the hook for not precisely following the patient’s wishes?

If you sign the form as written, you have severely limited the institution’s ability to treat you. But if you don’t sign it as written, they may well give you blood.  

“Blood derivatives” is a commonly used billing term that includes whole blood and the four major blood components – plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets – as well as the blood fractions made from those components. So of course you are not going to give permission to be treated with any and all “blood derivatives”, but you are likely not going to blanketly rule out all fractions, either.

Without a clearer definition you could be cutting yourself off from literally dozens of fractionated medicines: clotting factors for when your wound won’t seal up; and the opposite - medications for when you have thrown or they’re afraid you might throw a dangerous clot; and dozens of other blood-derived medications for use in rarer circumstances.

Whole blood is rarely transfused. At a blood collection center, a single unit of blood is treated to break it into 3 parts: the red blood cells are collected; the platelets are also collected out separately. The remainder… the plasma, still containing the white blood cells (called Leucocytes), clotting factors, and other more esoteric derivatives may or may not be further treated.

The plasma may be treated by freezing and thawing, a process called cryoprecipitation. At the proper in-between temperature they can lift out some of the clotting factors, though they are still somewhat contaminated with some plasma and some white cells. That product is called cryoprecipitate. The remaining plasma is called cryosupernatant. Both these products have significant risk of transmitting disease.

The majority of the cryosupernatant in the U.S. market is shipped to a manufacturer to be “pooled”. The pool is comprised of donations from thousands or even tens of thousands of individuals. Most of the individual units have been tested for: Lymphotropic virus, HIV, Hepatitis B & C, Syphilis, Chagas disease, West Nile virus and Babesia.

However, no testing is done for over 60 known blood-borne diseases. In some cases, because there is no test; in other cases, because the blood collection center deems the risk to be remote. A collection site in Oregon isn’t going to check for Chikungunya, a disease common in Latin America (even though my brother-in-law who lives in Oregon has it.) ONE of the units going into the pool may well carry one of those diseases. It if does, it pollutes the entire pool.  One unit of blood containing Chikungunya or Parvovirus or Malaria or yellow fever could potentially spread that virus to every one of the thousands of patients who receive blood-based medicine manufactured from that pool.

Most fractional blood derivatives have trade names, like Zemaira, Albuminex, or Corifact. All are supposed to come with a “Drug Fact Sheet”.

Zemaira, for example (a medication for people with emphysema), says:

“Because Zemaira is made from human blood, it may carry a risk of transmitting infectious agents, e.g., viruses, and theoretically the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).” (CJD, in case you’re unfamiliar, used to be called Mad Cow disease.) “The risk of transmitting an infectious agent has been reduced by screening plasma donors for prior exposure to certain viruses, by testing for the presence of certain current virus infections and by inactivating and removing certain viruses. Despite these measures, such products can still potentially transmit disease.”

No one, as far as I know, has ever been diagnosed with Mad Cow from taking Zemaira. However, it is listed there because people have contracted CJD from transfusions of various blood components.

Some derivative drug fact sheets specifically mention, ‘pooled blood’, or they may have the warning similar to ‘you could get Mad Cow’; others seem to be more adamant that their product when used correctly is totally free of any threat of catching something from someone else. Here’s the pertinent part of the label from a product called Kedbumin:

“Albumin is a derivative of human blood. Based on effective donor screening and product manufacturing processes, it carries an extremely remote risk for transmission of viral diseases and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). There is a theoretical risk for transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), but if that risk actually exists, the risk of transmission would also be considered extremely remote. No cases of transmission of viral diseases, CJD or vCJD have ever been identified for licensed albumin.”

However, the FDA warning label for albumin says:

Albumin (Human) 25% is made from human plasma. Products made from human plasma may contain infectious agents, such as viruses, that can cause disease. The risk that such products will transmit an infectious agent has been reduced by screening plasma donors for prior exposure to certain viruses, by testing for the presence of certain current virus infections, and by inactivating certain viruses by pasteurization. Despite these measures, such products can still potentially transmit disease.

So, I suppose if you need albumin, Kedbumin might be a better choice...maybe? Still, a study about albumin said:

“For patients with hypovolaemia there is no evidence that albumin reduces mortality when compared with cheaper alternatives such as saline. There is no evidence that albumin reduces mortality in critically ill patients with burns and hypoalbuminaemia. The possibility that there may be highly selected populations of critically ill patients in which albumin may be indicated remains open to question.”

What about blood derivatives that are not made from pooled blood?

One type of antithrombin is created by inserting the human DNA that forms antithrombin into a female goat. After some time has elapsed, the milk of the goat will have human antithrombin in it which can be extracted for use as a blood thinner.

If you get bit by a rattlesnake in Arizona you may, depending on your health, need antivenin. Antivenin is made by injecting a small amount of a given species of snake’s venom into a horse, waiting a few days for the horse to build up antibodies, then drawing blood from the horse and filtering out some of its antibodies. Antivenins for other poisonous bites are made similarly.

Every unfamiliar medication your doctor prescribes, ask if it is a blood derivative. They're not necessarily all bad. In some cases, depending on how you live, you might be taking greater risks every day. But I believe it is better to be educated. Read your medicine's warning material. If it is a blood derivative it will include the disclaimer, “Because yada-yada is made from human blood it may carry a risk…” or wording to that effect.

“Blood and blood products are likely always to carry an inherent risk of infectious agents. Therefore, zero risk may be unattainable. The role of FDA is to drive that risk to the lowest level reasonably achievable.” –

If it is a blood-derived medicine, you might want to ask your doctor if there is another medication, that does roughly the same thing, that is not a blood derivative, such as a synthetic, a recombinant or simply some other product. Ask if your need for this medication is life-threatening or merely advisable. Research it yourself to get a better understanding of what it will or won’t do for you. 

I spent many hours over the past week researching this. The first thing I learned is that it is a really complicated subject. But don't let that put you off. The second thing I learned is that you can understand it if you keep looking things up. Hopefully, this column will serve as a starting point for your research. 

Please copy and share the link to this article with all your friends.  You might keep one of them from catching Chikungunya. 

Please leave a comment.

 Bill K. Underwood is the author of several novels and one non-fiction self-help book, all available at You can help support this site by clicking on the link.