Hell is for children.

First a song

Then commentary from a man of the cloth

Morrison: What do you make of the theology which is pretty quite prominent these days in America, which is there is one guaranteed way not to go to hell; and that is to accept Jesus as your personal saviour.
Spong: Yeah, I grew up in that tradition. Every church I know claims that ‘we are the true church’ – that they have some ultimate authority, ‘We have the infallible Pope,’ ‘We have the Bible.’… The idea that the truth of God can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any human book, is almost beyond imagination for me.
I mean, God is not a Christian. God is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist. All of those are human systems, which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honour my tradition. I walk through my tradition. But I don’t think my tradition defines God. It only points me to God

Comment of the week

 

There is a discussion going on somewhere on this blog. Our interlocutor has made a comment that I think deserves special treatment.

Hell does exist. Jesus spoke about Hell quite often. Why don’t you want Hell to exist?
If there is no Hell, then what is the point of judgement day? What is the point of working out your salvation with fear and trembling? What is the point of good and wrong, if there is no hell?
You are saying that he’ll doesn’t exist, because you don’t want to go there. But by your closing your eyes from the sun, will it make the sun stop shining?
Hell existed to Jesus….because he spoke of hell many times. Not just words but stories. For every word and action, you shall give account.

Romeo believes there is a judgement day. Hell has to exist. No hell, judgement is in vain. I think this is brilliant.

the blasphemers

The Paulines haven’t moved so far away from their fore fathers in wishing us damnation. They claim to worship a benevolent god who wants to be in a some kind of relationship with man but at the same time they tell us this gods has a plan to make BBQ of some people for a period of time so long I can’t conceive it properly and that my brothers is love. Below is the wishes of one Tertullian, writing in the early centuries of this religion

You are fond of spectacles, expect the greatest of all spectacles, the last and eternal judgement of the universe. How shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs, and fancied gods, groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness, so many magistrates, who  persecuted the name of the lord, liquefying in fiercer fires than they ever kindled against the Christians, so many sage philosophers blushing in red hot flames with their deluded scholars, so many celebrated poets trembling before the tribunal, not of Minos but of Christ, so many tragedians, more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings , so many dancers

E. Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

Hell again

A post written for atheistenquiry.org where I blog alongside 7 other wonderful people. When you visit say I sent you 😛 as le Ark would say, a fine gentleman the fellow is!

Enquiries on Atheism

I find these two questions that am going to attempt to answer very interesting, if not presumptuous. That said, I will attempt to do them justice.

1.  When you end up in Hell, who are you most looking forward to seeing?  Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Mao Zedong?

2.  If after death your soul finds itself in a place of eternal torment, who will you blame?

Re-read those questions! They are what I call loaded questions, that is, they have several hidden premises in them and we will first try to show what they are then continue to respond. They assumes among other things:-

  • that there is a hell
  • that there is an afterlife
  • that people are resurrected in the form in which they exist now
  • that there is need for eternal torment
  • that we have a soul
  • and that I or other atheists are going to hell

Having identified what yours…

View original post 903 more words

I was recently at a funeral and the thoughts that I had written a few days ago about grieving and the subsequent discussions we had resurfaced in my mind. As I was there listening to each person who spoke to the bereaved family and to all those present, it occurred to me that for most people, or rather for those who spoke, that this life is just a preparation for another life, a future life of bliss for those who follow the right god and damnation for everyone else. While this thought alone irks me, for why would a person who thinks his particular god is loving, also hold in the same brain that this god will punish others for eternity for not bending to his whims, forget that the said god is also said to be all-powerful.

There is a particular speaker who did say they believe, or rather their religion teaches, that if a child dies, they go straight to heaven and  encouraged the parents to stay on the path of the lord and they will be sure to go to heaven. He added, even though it is sad to lose a child, the parents should have cause to be happy for their child would at the required time refuse to go to heaven?unless all those she loved are in heaven. I have a problem with this line of thought for a few reasons

  1. If god cares that we go to heaven, and children head there straight away, why not ensure we all die as children?
  2. If to go to heaven, all one requires is the innocence of a child, why not just populate heaven?
  3. Why do people want to live after they have died? 

The other thing I no longer can reconcile myself to belief is that there is more after this life. There was a time, long ago I could have wanted it to be true but not anymore. The life we have here is temporal but it is the ONLY one we know and as far as we can tell the only one we will live. It is time imams, priests, church ministers and other fraudsters in the names of deities started to tell their followers the truth, and that truth is that life here is much more important that any other imaginary life. People must be told that death marks the end of their existence and they will go back to where they were before they were born. To accept this will go along way in making people look to this life in a different light, as a life worth living and that we need not make preparations for a future existence, especially since we did have to make preparations for this one.

If I should remember what others said, I will update this post… I promise 😛

Reflections on bereavement

These are my thoughts based on a post written by a christian as a response to a post by an atheist on grief, entitled Grieving as an atheist- a surprising dilemma. I urge to read the two links to get the correct picture of the matter at hand.

A while back a dear friend of mine lost a baby boy, a small baby. When I went to see him, all those who had come to see him told him how his boy was in a good place- how they know is for another day- that god had his reasons for calling him. I don’t know and still can’t see how those words, no matter how reassuring they sound is of any help. I didn’t tell him much that evening, but I think just being there with him was sufficient. I recall back when my mum died, just knowing my friends were close by was enough for me and we would, to just distract ourselves from all the grief, tell jokes with one another. The passing of a loved one is indeed depressing to say the least and it is not any less for the atheist. To, however, presume there is something magical about telling those bereaved that their relative, friend, child or parent is another place I don’t think is a solution and does not make death any richer!

I  have a big problem when the OP writes

Ms. White is correct on a surface level. Being a friend is important and being a friend in the time of crisis is necessary, but if there is no answer to the grave, if there is no word of assurance which can be offered, friendship does not become a substitute

because the author here feels that since he believes in a heaven or whatever place people go after they die, to be a friend is on correct on the surface! I contend that all you really need is to know there are friends who will listen, offer a helping hand and most of all allow you to cry on their shoulders. It is only when you experience loss do you realize the hollowness of such words as be strong and so and so is in heaven. The only reason sometimes I don’t mourn when I think of ma is knowing that she is at rest, free from all willing and desiring. Do I miss her? Yes every moment!

As I have said in a number of articles, atheism answers to one question and the rest are for grabs. To claim that atheism is bleak because there are no talk of gods is to pretend to be unaware of atheistic religions and is to express an ignorance that shows how one holds their chosen religion in a place of privilege inspite of any evidence to the contrary. It is to act like a child, who having seen no other toys, thinks his wire toy is the best that can ever be!

If to believe that a god loves you and waits to meet you in heaven gives your life meaning, be my guest! I don’t ask you to live my life for me. If after looking at life and seeing it having no meaning or purpose beyond that which we give it is sufficient for me, why should it bother you? I ask though, if the religious person believes their lives have some special meaning, why do they get bored? And what, tell me, is this meaning? Is it same for the Jew as for the Muslim or the different gods have different demands or offer different meanings?

In the face of death, the words of the writer of Ecclesiastes ring true when he says in Ecclesiastes 3

19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.

The OP’s conclusion contradicts everything he has said about atheism and death. He writes,

As Christians, we must be clear that we do not believe in the hope an afterlife simply because it offers us a therapeutic response to death. Rather, we believe in the hope of heaven because of the truths found in Scripture namely, that Christ has come, Christ has defeated sin, and Christ has conquered the grave. There is a peace which comes to us and a satisfaction we can have by our faith in these great truths.

If this is not therapeutic and is told for that reason among others, then someone please educate me on what is meant by therapeutic.

I urge the author of the post to spend time to read Ingersoll’s address at his brother’s funeral, to read letter SERVIUS SULPICIUS TO CICERO on the loss of his daughter Tulia, where there is no mention of heaven or hell but still moving or to read the letter by Epicurus to Menoeceus where he tells him, in part,

Accustom yourself to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply awareness, and death is the privation of all awareness; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable, not by adding to life an unlimited time, but by taking away the yearning after immortality. For life has no terror; for those who thoroughly apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live. Foolish, therefore, is the person who says that he fears death, not because it will pain when it comes, but because it pains in the prospect. Whatever causes no annoyance when it is present, causes only a groundless pain in the expectation. Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.

And if at the end you still find this as bleak, then you need help.

Painful as it is to lose a loved one, a close friend, telling them they are going to heaven or that you are praying for them is a hollow reassurance. There is much more value in being by their side, listening to their sorrows and offering a helping hand when necessary. This my friends are my thoughts on the matter and I contend here there is nothing bleak about knowing that when I die, I will be no more. It makes this life worth living and fighting for.

Grieving as an atheist

I need no sympathy from you!

I recently commented on a post on a random blog on a post where the OP[I don’t feel like linking the post today] had written something to the effect that atheists need sympathy and had tried to set rules for the game. In short he/she said any discussions with christians has to be centred on Jesus, not god.  He says in part

So in looking at atheism, which is not merely a rejection of christianity, but of any ‘religion’ that may be described as theistic, I do have a great deal of sympathy. After all, if the existence of God had been proved there would be no need for much further discussion and we could all agree. But the fact remains that God’s existence has not been proved. There is still doubt and disbelief, and that is not entirely irrational.

I certainly have a problem with this especially that we require sympathy, but in general I think he was generally polite. There is one guy who commented and whom I think needs help. Am going to let his comment just stand as it is for you to see the problem with some of the religious, who tell us their’s is a religion of peace and love until you stop believing in their chosen god and then you are ripe for hell.

He makes the oft repeated mistake that people are born with a knowledge of a god and that the universe proves this point. I need not say more about his comment. Read on you atheists, you are going straight to hell and there god shall wait to punish you hundreds time over!

I think the problem with having “sympathy” for atheists, from this kind of perspective, is that it gives too much credence to their position. You did mention Romans 1 in your previous post. I don’t think Romans 1 is a weak argument for God, I think Romans 1 is more fundamental. Here’s v18-30:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:18-30 ESV)

I don’t think Paul is arguing here that mankind should just be able to look around at the world and say “ah, clearly, God exists” (although that is an aspect of it). I think he’s actually saying that every single person is born with a knowledge of God. God has set eternity in the hearts of mankind (Eccl 3:11). I think the point Paul is trying to make is that no-one who has ever lived has a valid excuse to not believe in God. All of us are born with that knowledge, those who deny it are actually suppressing the truth. In other words, I don’t think there *is* such a thing as an honest atheist.

And this leads me on to the second thing I’d want to say. I would also not want to concede ground to those who want to judge God’s existence on entirely rational grounds, given the above. The Fall had an effect on our minds, our reason (“the noetic effects of the fall”, which is I think how theologians might put it). We cannot simply reason our way to God.

So if we say “I think it’s understandable to believe that God doesn’t exist, after all there’s not very much evidence” – it is basically conceding ground to the atheist that “reason” or rationalism is the correct way of going about determining whether God exists or not.

I feel that it’s important to bear in mind that it is not us who puts God in the dock and demand that he prove himself to us. I’d see humanity as being on the run from God, trying to flee from the inescapable fact that his existence is plain to us, in rebellion against Him, and that ultimately God will hold everyone culpable for unbelief.

do people still hold such beliefs?

Everyday you read a post or comments by christ followers that leave you scratching your head wondering whether you are in a bad dream or you have gone back, using time travel to the second century. For, please tell, how can someone write

 

Being ‘schismatic’ is very serious- it means being cut off from the Vicar of Christ on earth, the pope and it was the first pope, st. Peter, who Jesus put in charge of ‘the keys’- ie deciding who gets into heaven, to put it simply. From the beginning the ‘experts’ in the church believed that ‘ outside the catholic church there is no salvation’ so it’s obviously very serious indeed to be in schism.

Anyone who is not a member of the visible church on earth might not end up in hell but if they don’t end up in hell its because of the graces coming to them through the catholic church, although not sure I’m explaining it very well. Speaking personally, I would not feel safe in a church of only 400 years or so, I’d want to be in the one founded by Christ.

Seriously! I don’t know what else to say except that we have lost this person permanently to the insane asylum, however, should they recover and return to the world of the rational, I shall have a beer ready for them.