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Has Dr. Michael Parenti any credibility?
December 30, 2008
4:54 am
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Dr. Michael Parenti on his web site wrote:

"During his 26-year papacy, John Paul II elevated 483 individuals to sainthood, reportedly more saints than any previous pope. One personage he beatified but did not live long enough to canonize was Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun of Albanian origin who had been wined and dined by the world’s rich and famous while hailed as a champion of the poor. The darling of the corporate media and western officialdom, and an object of celebrity adoration, Teresa was for many years the most revered woman on earth, showered with kudos and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her “humanitarian work” and “spiritual inspiration.”

What usually went unreported were the vast sums she received from wealthy and sometimes tainted sources, including a million dollars from convicted savings & loan swindler Charles Keating, on whose behalf she sent a personal plea for clemency to the presiding judge. She was asked by the prosecutor in that case to return Keating’s gift because it was money he had stolen. She never did.1 She also accepted substantial sums given by the brutal Duvalier dictatorship that regularly stole from the Haitian public treasury.

Mother Teresa’s “hospitals” for the indigent in India and elsewhere turned out to be hardly more than human warehouses in which seriously ill persons lay on mats, sometimes fifty to sixty in a room without benefit of adequate medical attention. Their ailments usually went undiagnosed. The food was nutritionally lacking and sanitary conditions were deplorable. There were few medical personnel on the premises, mostly untrained nuns and brothers.2

When tending to her own ailments, however, Teresa checked into some of the costliest hospitals and recovery care units in the world for state-of-the-art treatment.3

Teresa journeyed the globe to wage campaigns against divorce, abortion, and birth control. At her Nobel award ceremony, she announced that “the greatest destroyer of peace is abortion.” And she once suggested that AIDS might be a just retribution for improper sexual conduct.4

Teresa emitted a continual flow of promotional misinformation about herself. She claimed that her mission in Calcutta fed over a thousand people daily. On other occasions she jumped the number to 4000, 7000, and 9000. Actually her soup kitchens fed not more than 150 people (six days a week), and this included her retinue of nuns, novices, and brothers. She claimed that her school in the Calcutta slum contained five thousand children when it actually enrolled less than one hundred.

Teresa claimed to have 102 family assistance centers in Calcutta, but longtime Calcutta resident, Aroup Chatterjee, who did an extensive on-the-scene investigation of her mission, could not find a single such center.5

As one of her devotees explained, “Mother Teresa is among those who least worry about statistics. She has repeatedly expressed that what matters is not how much work is accomplished but how much love is put into the work.”6 Was Teresa really unconcerned about statistics? Quite the contrary, her numerical inaccuracies went consistently and self-servingly in only one direction, greatly exaggerating her accomplishments.

Over the many years that her mission was in Calcutta, there were about a dozen floods and numerous cholera epidemics in or near the city, with thousands perishing. Various relief agencies responded to each disaster, but Teresa and her crew were nowhere in sight, except briefly on one occasion.7

When someone asked Teresa how people without money or power can make the world a better place, she replied, “They should smile more,” a response that charmed some listeners. During a press conference in Washington DC, when asked “Do you teach the poor to endure their lot?” she said “I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot, to share it with the passion of Christ. I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people.”8

But she herself lived lavishly well, enjoying luxurious accommodations in her travels abroad. It seems to have gone unnoticed that as a world celebrity she spent most of her time away from Calcutta, with protracted stays at opulent residences in Europe and the United States, jetting from Rome to London to New York in private planes.9

Mother Teresa is a paramount example of the kind of acceptably conservative icon propagated by an elite-dominated culture, a “saint” who uttered not a critical word against social injustice, and maintained cozy relations with the rich, corrupt, and powerful.

She claimed to be above politics when in fact she was pronouncedly hostile toward any kind of progressive reform. Teresa was a friend of Ronald Reagan, and an admiring guest of the Haitian dictator “Baby Doc” Duvalier. She also had the support and admiration of a number of Central and South American dictators.

Teresa was Pope John Paul II’s kind of saint. After her death in 1997, he waived the five-year waiting period usually observed before beginning the beatification process that leads to sainthood. The five-year delay is intended to dampen impulsive enthusiasms and allow for a more sober evaluation. Claims made on behalf of a candidate are then subjected to critical challenge by an advocatus diaboli, a “devil’s advocate” assigned to the beatification process. John Paul brushed aside all this. In 2003, in record time Teresa was beatified, the final step before canonization.

But in 2007 her canonization confronted a bump in the road, it having been disclosed that along with her various other contradictions Teresa was not a citadel of spiritual joy and unswerving faith. Her diaries, investigated by Catholic authorities in Calcutta, revealed that she had been racked with doubts: “I feel that God does not want me, that God is not God and that he does not really exist.” People think “my faith, my hope and my love are overflowing and that my intimacy with God and union with his will fill my heart. If only they knew,” she wrote, “Heaven means nothing.”"

Through many tormented sleepless nights she shed thoughts like this: “I am told God loves me—and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul.” Il Messeggero, Rome's popular daily newspaper, commented: “The real Mother Teresa was one who for one year had visions and who for the next 50 had doubts---up until her death.”10"

Has anyone who writes this about the revered Mother Theresa of Calcutta any credibility at all?

Can he be believed when he writes anything at all?

What is his hidden agenda?

When it comes to this so-called academic, is anything sacred?

Is motherhood itself even safe from this guy?

December 30, 2008
10:51 am
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Well - so the critics of Dalai Lama bother you a lot. Sorry that you weren't able to discredit him.

Is there anything that Michael Parenti has written that is not true? Can anyone not criticise Mother Teresa?

Is this stuff you would rather 1) keep hidden under the carpet, or would you rather 2) learn about it?

What usually went unreported were the vast sums she received from wealthy and sometimes tainted sources, including a million dollars from convicted savings & loan swindler Charles Keating, on whose behalf she sent a personal plea for clemency to the presiding judge. She was asked by the prosecutor in that case to return Keating’s gift because it was money he had stolen. She never did.1 She also accepted substantial sums given by the brutal Duvalier dictatorship that regularly stole from the Haitian public treasury.

Michale Parenti's background from Wikipedia:

Parenti received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University and has taught at several universities, colleges, and other institutions. He is the author of twenty books and many more articles. His works have been translated into at least eighteen languages.[1] Parenti lectures frequently throughout the United States and abroad. His book, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, A People's History of Ancient Rome,[2] was selected as a Book of the Year for 2004[3] by Online Review of Books and Current Affairs.[4] He is the father of author and The Nation magazine contributor Christian Parenti.

Parenti’s writings cover a wide range of subjects: U.S. politics, culture, ideology, political economy, imperialism, fascism, communism, democratic socialism, free-market orthodoxies, conservative judicial activism, religion, ancient history, modern history, historiography, repression in academia, news and entertainment media, technology, environmentalism, sexism, racism, homophobia, Venezuela, the wars in Iraq and Yugoslavia, ethnicity, and his own early life.[5][6][7] Perhaps his most influential book is Democracy for the Few[8], now in its eighth edition, a critical analysis of U.S. society, economy, and political institutions[9] and a college-level political science textbook published by Wadsworth Publishing.[10]

Parenti lectures across the United States, Canada and abroad.[11] In recent years he has addressed such subjects as "Empires: Past and Present," "US Interventionism: the Case of Iraq," "Race, Gender, and Class Power," "Ideology and History," "The Collapse of Communism," and "Terrorism and Globalization."[1]

Michael Parenti was raised in an Italian-American working-class family and neighborhood in New York City about which he has written.[12] For many years Parenti taught political and social science at various institutions of higher learning. Eventually he devoted himself full-time to writing, public speaking, and political activism.[13]

In Washington, D.C., in 2003, the Caucus for a New Political Science gave him a Career Achievement Award. In 2007 he received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Representative Barbara Lee and an award from New Jersey Peace Action. For several years in the 1980s, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

He served for some 12 years as a judge for Project Censored. He also is on the advisory boards of Independent Progressive Politics Network, and Education Without Borders; as well as the advisory editorial boards of New Political Science and Nature, Society and Thought.[14]

Now you're trying hard to find something that would discredit him because he is exposing the Dalai Lamas for what they really were. Good luck.

December 30, 2008
11:30 am
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soofoo
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So what?

Mother Theresa was not political. She was spiritual. She loved the individual, the child of God, not the dictator. Perhaps it would have been wrong for a president to advise people to smile more, but Mother Theresa was a spiritual leader.

"I don't worry about orchestrating politics. Better said, I don't have time for worrying about these things. This is something everybody knows. Am I not mistaken? I prefer, in any case, if I make a mistake, to do it out of charity." Mother Theresa

As far as accepting money, Mother Theresa held her vow of poverty. She didn't own anything. She wasn't living in a mansion, driving a Lamborghini. That money went to the poor.

And as for her writings, double so what? Her faith was tested, and she suffered this in silence. She saw many, many horrors and atrocities in her work and it weighed on her. It is to her credit, that she did not spread her doubt, that she chose to share only her love instead. It's easy to give love when your heart is full. To give when you are in pain, fear and doubt is a great challenge and accomplishment.

Guest_guest, this absolutely does discredit Parenti. If you tell me little green men are running around mars, well maybe you are right, I don't know. But if you tell me that they are also running around earth, well then I don't believe a word you say, because I live here and I can see that there are no little green men with my own two eyes. I would say you have a little green men obsession. Just like I'm about to say that Parenti likes to make religious leaders look bad, regardless of the truth.

"If we were humble, nothing would change us-- neither praise nor discouragement. If someone were to criticize us, we would not feel discouraged. If someone were to praise us, we also would not feel proud." Mother Theresa.

December 30, 2008
11:49 am
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You can discredit Michael Parenti only by showing that the facts he has brought up are incorrect, fabrications or lies. Otherwise it doesnt do anything to him. My assessment is that there was a lot of good that Mother Teresa did. Parenti is not disagreeing with that.

You can believe in the good that Mother Teresa did, while knowing some of the controversial facts about her. I can accept both of these things at the same time.

December 30, 2008
12:04 pm
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And this is all written on her Wikipedia biography too:

Mother Teresa attracted criticism, particularly from the left, for implicitly giving support to the Duvaliers and to corrupt businessmen such as Charles Keating and Robert Maxwell. In Keating's case she wrote to the judge of his trial asking for clemency to be shown.[35][48]

People can get all emotionally disturbed and angry because Parenti is trying to change their perceptions about Mother Teresa using cold hard facts. Its a natural reaction to anyone who is being challenged about their beliefs.

Once again: nothing is perfect in life. Mother Teresa wasnt perfect. She did a lot of good but at the same time there are some controversies surrounding her.

Read the Wikipedia article on her: She has other critics too.

Towards the end of her life, Mother Teresa attracted some negative attention in the Western media. The journalist Christopher Hitchens has been one of her most active critics. He was commissioned to co-write and narrate the documentary Hell's Angel about her for the British Channel 4 after Aroup Chatterjee encouraged the making of such a program, although Chatterjee was unhappy with the "sensationalist approach" of the final product.[49] Hitchens expanded his criticism in a 1995 book, The Missionary Position.[62]

There you go: FACTS you did not know about Mother Teresa and the things which you did not want to know. But now you do, and they have made you angry.

Similarly, Parenti brings to lights facts about other people as well like the Dalai Lamas.

You have to prove that he has lied, otherwise any subjective commentary on his "evil deeds" doesnt do anything.

December 30, 2008
12:34 pm
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What about his personal life? How does he treat women and children? Married? Divorced? Does he pay his child support?

December 30, 2008
1:25 pm
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There are many writers that claim many unproven facts. They're are motivational speakers that do the same, but that does not make what they write truth. If you knew the personal life and truth behind many of these writers trying to discredit the good in someone else in order to make a bigger name for themselves you would be shocked.

I have read names mentioned as author's of books on this board here and there, and two of them for sure without a doubt live a complete double life. A complete hypocritcal life to say the least. They're books fly off the shelfs and people read them everyday but that does not make them the almighty of truth, or the almighty on how to live your life. They write what they write to sell, and in many ways they're books can and do help people but that does not make them truthful people in the least bit.

I could careless what someone may think of Mother Teresa, or if she excepted money as gifts, what she did do for people has been proven many times over. She was caring and charitable in every sense of the word. Good for her if she kept money given to her as a gift. Who has the right to judge her for excepting gifts. Her life was dedicated to helping others from her heart that's what made her such a inspiring women.

Perenti can attempt to change my personal perception all he wants, but it won't change at all. What I know is what I know, she was a caring women that did good for many people. She could have represented any religion out there, or not, and I would still have the same perception of her. What is before our eyes is what we witnessed so what she may have done behind our eyes doesn't matter because it hurt no one. She was a caring and giving women.

I do not believe in reincarnation, I do not believe in many organized religions but I do believe in God. My belief is not based on what I was taught, it is not based on what I have read, it is based on what I know in my heart. You know, when you know, and I can not and will not tell anyone to believe in any thing or anyone, nor would I ever force my beliefs on others, but I will stand up for someone that I believe was an honest and caring person. There is not one word written or spoken that will change the way I can clearly see a charitable person when I see the caring things they do or have done for others.

Healing and Peace

December 30, 2008
3:24 pm
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Like I said people

- all the controversies Parenti was talking about are already present on Wikipedia. They are already "out there". They are not 'unproven'. Wikipedia doesnt let unproven stuff stay in.

- There are other critics of Mother Teresa other than Parenti

>> I have read names mentioned as author's of books on this board here and there, and two of them for sure without a doubt live a complete double life.

What authors?

December 30, 2008
3:27 pm
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What does Parenti do with his money?
The money that he makes from the books he writes?
Does he accept that money for himself or does he donate it to other groups in search of truth?
What are his charities?
What does he put back into the world that he has profited from?

December 30, 2008
3:51 pm
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Maybe he donates some money to some humanitarian causes like you do. Maybe he gambles it drunkenly away in Las Vegas.

Who knows? Start scanning his tax statements and let us know what you find.

December 30, 2008
4:45 pm
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The way I see it anyone can perceive what was stated by Mother Teresa anyway they see fit.

Such as she fed 150 people six days a week being a far number from the thousands she recalled. Well does anyone know for a fact that it was those same 150 people per week six days a week in which she was providing food for and feeding.. or could it be 150 x 1000 times of feeding those same people every week six times a week? Or could be be 150 differant people each week, six days a week in which could very well also add up to be thousands quickly.

Even if she fed two people per week, once a week, she fed them and provided for them the best she could. There are a lot of facts stated here by Parenti that seem far from the truth the way I see it, and the way it is written could be considered facts by Wikipedia by the way it was submited leaving a lot of room for questionable facts. This was only one example of how people could perceive something other then the way it truly was...She didn't keep numbers or track of whom she fed, she just fed them out of the kindness of her heart, and when questioned about how many people she has helped she could have taken a guess not knowing at all how many people she has fed.

Also whom is anyone to say what she meant when she wrote in her personal journal either. She may have very well felt lost, and that she didn't know God the way people thought she did, no one knows what she was feeling or what she meant when she wrote. We can question our own faith, she could have questioned her faith and God, but that is being Honest and truthful with yourself. We didn't know God's plan for Mother Teresa's life, she didn't know God's plan for her life, she lived her life giving to others, and that's what she did. So whomever thinks they can say based on what she wrote in a journal how close she was to God or how strong her faith was or wasn't is completely false. They do not know what was in her heart. Nor do I, but I do know she held onto her faith even when or if she doubted it by speaking of it. She could have written one way and meant another... that was between her and her God..maybe that was her way of praying to her God, maybe it was her way of letting out her not understanding so many things in life that we won't or can't understand either, but it certainly isn't for anyone else to second guess what she was feeling deep inside of her heart. Weather she believed or didn't believce in God she was doing good for others that is a fact and the truth.

Guest - I don't want to bash anyone or any author's as I stated some of their books help people. My point was this, there are Authors, writers out there that are far from what they write about, and they don't believe or even practice what they write, so they're not all truthful. I won't expose the personal life of the two I know for sure don't live by what they write, and don't even believe what they write because they still can and do help others.

I don't know Parenti, so I can't say anything about weather he is or isn't an honest person, but I can't see that his facts that he has found to be 100% accurate either. It seems as though a lot of words and numbers can be perceived anyway you choose to perceive them. Just like some can perceive Mother Teresa anyway they choose to.

Kindly and Respectfully,
Healing and Peace

December 30, 2008
4:57 pm
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This board, All About Counseling, BOTH sides - according to the guidelines, is to help those who have a sincere wish to heal and recover. Counseling, meeting attendance, inspiring reading, and honest sharing are encouraged to reach the goals of self acceptance and love.

I don't see how DISCREDITING THOSE WHO ARE TRYING TO HELP OTHERS helps someone to heal. But perhaps it does.

I do know that a consistent attempt to bring others down can be a way to temporarily give someone relief from his/her own pain. It is common in dysfunctional families.

I grew up with it. I've done it. It provides only temporary relief.

I truly wish all of us peace. In my recovery, I've found the effort made to find self love and acceptance well worth it. The stronger I get, the less I need to worry about what others around me do. My sense of self worth is not so easily threatened, and I can allow others to be who they are. It's a process.

There are many guides in the world for good and plenty of others with evil intentions. I will accept what I can from the guides and see what I can do to help those who are suffering.

Love and peace to us all,

Mary

December 30, 2008
5:18 pm
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Healing,

Like I said, Parenti is not doubting the infinite help that Mother Teresa has provided to people. No one is.

If someone writes a report on person A's life detailing all the lies they have told (and we all have lied at one point or the other), that doesnt mean the reporter is a bad guy or person A is bad.

Its just extra information. Parenti in some of his work focuses on finding "unholy" facts about holy/"unholy" people. Nothing wrong with it.

>> I can't see that his facts that he has found to be 100% accurate either.

You have done no fact-finding or research in order to make that statement. If you dont want to believe what he writes, thats a separate issue.

I cant believe how completely irrational all of you are for emotional reasons. The reasons here are you're friends of Tez and so lets jump on G_g.

Has anyone proven Michael Pirenti wrong in any of the facts he has brought up? No. Case closed.

December 30, 2008
5:34 pm
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I'm not going to respond to anyone on this thread, unless you have done some fact finding and are going to talk about proving Michael Parenti wrong in any of the facts he has brought up.

Otherwise save your keystrokes for something else.

We can talk about all day long how evil and malicious a person is who has dared to bring out some negative facts about Mother Teresa but I dont have the time for subjective/emotional discussions like that.

December 30, 2008
5:35 pm
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Guest,

"I can't see that his facts that he has found to be 100% accurate either".

Because those facts can be perceived anyway you choose to perceive them. I have only read what was posted, I have not done any reserch on him at all. I am not offended by what you wrote or what he wrote, but I will stand up for a good person, and I feel that Mother Teresa was a good person. No one can say the true meaning of things she wrote in her journal or what she felt in her heart.

What I am saying is this, she may have felt lost, she may have lost her faith in her last years because she didn't understand how so many people could suffer. But does that make her a bad person, and why or how does it benefit anyone to attempt to discredit all she did do for people?

My answer to you Guest is prove that Michael Parenti facts are accurate. It isn't a case of "Case Closed" you want all of us to prove he was wrong, so you prove to all of us he was right.

Again Respectfully and Kindly,

Healing and peace

December 30, 2008
5:49 pm
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Well, Guest- my point about this man is this. Would his life bear up to the scrutiny he gives others?

That's all I want to know. And this -

Does he hold others to a standard higher than his own. But, if I decide I don't like the way he is living his life- then who is wrong- me or him?

December 30, 2008
5:59 pm
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marypoppins
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Bev,

I like your point. It describes an evaluation that is both subjective and objective - like LIFE. Both factual and emotional. Not black or white.

Mary

December 30, 2008
6:51 pm
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What do we know about Michael Parenti's own personal life? Until you know, you can only ass-ume, right?

Healing

>> My answer to you Guest is prove that Michael Parenti facts are accurate.

As I've said, the facts are present on Wikipedia as well. If you want the references, look up the article I linked on her.

December 30, 2008
6:58 pm
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All.

guest_guest wrote on the 30-Dec-08:

"Like I said people

- all the controversies Parenti was talking about are already present on Wikipedia. They are already "out there". They are not 'unproven'. Wikipedia doesnt let unproven stuff stay in."

Let me quote directly from Wikipedia:

"What is Wikipedia?

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia written collaboratively by many of its readers. It is a special type of website, called a wiki, that makes collaboration easy. Many people are constantly improving Wikipedia, making thousands of changes per hour, all of which are recorded on article histories and recent changes. Inappropriate changes are usually removed quickly, and repeat offenders can be blocked from editing. If you add new material to Wikipedia, please provide references. Facts that are unreferenced are routinely removed from the encyclopedia."

Please focus on this part of G_g's statement"... They are not 'unproven'. Wikipedia doesnt let unproven stuff stay in".

Folks, please focus on what Wikipedia actually states in their own words:

"Facts that are unreferenced are routinely removed from the encyclopedia."

Anyone with a smidgen of university education knows that there is a huge difference between "unproven" and "unreferenced" data.

Apparently G_g either:

1. doesn't have a university education, or

2. has forgotten what he once might have learned at uni, or

3. didn't pay any attention at uni lectures, or

4.is lacking in intelligence in the research department, or

5. is trying to 'pull the wool over our eyes'.

Is there another possibility folks??? If not then which of the above items listed are true?

December 30, 2008
7:02 pm
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Repeating myself:

>> I'm not going to respond to anyone on this thread, unless you have done some fact finding and are going to talk about proving Michael Parenti wrong in any of the facts he has brought up.

December 30, 2008
7:24 pm
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G_g wrote:

"I cant believe how completely irrational all of you are for emotional reasons. The reasons here are you're friends of Tez and so lets jump on G_g."

Awww shucks is widdums, diddums spitting his wittle dummy?

December 30, 2008
7:24 pm
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Repeating myself:

>> I'm not going to respond to anyone on this thread, unless you have done some fact finding and are going to talk about proving Michael Parenti wrong in any of the facts he has brought up.

December 30, 2008
7:37 pm
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guest_guest

Since you are the one who is consistently referencing Parenti in your posts on the 'Insights of the Dalai Lama thread' , it is up to you to establish his credibility - not us. I have shown his credibility to be zero by posting not only a cut and paste from his defamatory article denigrating Mother Theresa but also a link to his site for all the folks here to see the full context from which it was taken.

All please note this link in the very first sentence of the very first post.

Here is the same link again for the convenience of all.

December 30, 2008
7:44 pm
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Does this Parenti have proof of his allegations? I wonder. This has aroused my curiosity.

Mother Teresa?

Ya gotta be kidding.

peace

December 30, 2008
7:58 pm
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Tree, I assume you believe in Jesus. Do you have any proof of his credibility or claims of being God?

Tez

The link to Mother Teresa on Parenti's site is no secret. He has it available publicly.

>> I have shown his credibility to be zero by posting not only a cut and paste from his defamatory article denigrating Mother Theresa but also a link to his site for all the folks here to see the full context from which it was taken.

The fact that he highlighted something controversial about Mother Teresa doesnt reduce his credibilility at all. If anything it increased it because the same facts were found on Wikipedia. Good luck.

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