Saturday, March 25, 2006

Feedback for "A Civil Discussion"

So here I am having a civil discussion on "A Civil Discussion." My comments to a commenter were too long for the comments section, so I'm leaving them here.

Mdtomn: Humanity is there now. We're IN Hell. We're apart from God. And while we don't always realize it, it's hell. It's a horrible way to be.

Alleee replies: : I find your interpretation of scripture curious. Where does Jesus say that hell has chocolate, orgasms, Mozart, and rollercoasters? I don't understand why a God would kill himself (and that's not even debatable, he didn't kill himself at all) to "save us" from chocolate, orgasms, Mozart and rollercoasters. It seems to me that you're selling life a teensy bit short. (And just so you don't jump on me, life also includes love, morality, values, family, motherhood and truth--and you're not going to find that in death, sucka.)

Think about kids beaten by their parents, and minorities suffering mistreatment by the majority. Keep in mind that despite everything we try to do, those things will all be that way tomorrow - maybe less so, maybe better, but still there.

There you go again. You mention child beating and suffering--which God made--but you fail to mention the fact the he's supposed to save us from orgasms and Mozart. God has a funky way of saving us from Parasitic childhood deformity--which he made, and orgasms, which he also supposedly made. He forgot that he could have just made a world without those things.

It's about a man willing to say "love thy enemy as thyself" turn the other cheek, give up everything you ever had and follow him, etc

..which is pretty screwed up. I already explained the first part, but there have been many people in history who said "give up everything you value and follow me." These folks are called cult leaders. Might I remind you of the scripture where Jesus said to fathers to fuck their families and leave them? To turn against everyone they love, and in fact, you aren't worthy of following him if you don't do that?

Regardless of what your beliefs are, my post was not about whose the true christian. I am quite aware of what christianity is. I wish I could take its basis--original sin--and flush it away so that it was as if it never existed. Chritstianity, for all of its solicitousness in trying to sell itself as a religion of love and selflessness, is a religion of death, misery, and hatred for life.

The best Christians (very rare, now days), are already in heaven in every meaningful way. In their experience of God's love, they can love everyone else so completely that all distinctions, all limitations, fall away.

Now, I sure as heck am not there. And few are. But that's what some of us are trying to reach. And, if you want to try to reach it too, you can drop by some of the cool Mainstream Churches - Episcopalians, Methodists, Luterans, etc.

No, thanks. What about Lutherans makes them so enlightened? Or "the best Christians?" (The best wouldn't be the best if they weren't "rare.)

I was a Presbyterian for my whole conscious childhood. You have to wonder why the Wesleyans would warn against following Calvin, and vice-versa. That doesn't seem too enlightened to me. as far as "being in heaven" is concerned, your ideas cannot be found within Calvinistic or Wesleyan teachings, but I know a few new-agers who dabble in what they call "the eastern religions" who might agree partially. I don't really care much that you don't agree with your own scripture, especially with "cool mainstream" denominations, but fella, I'm sorry: you're just not consistent. And I still have love, passion, Mozart, orgasms, chocolate, morality, and the warm fuzzies. And a little bit of enlightenment. I suppose that's pretty "rare nowadays," too. (But the way I say it sounds better). Basically, I don't need more than the world. The world is good enough for me.
Anyway, keep in mind that Christian theology and history are a lot more complex than many modern "Christian" adherents know, particularly those who make television and politics. There's a lot more there there than this stuff.
I know. It's pretty complex. But it's not complex enough to make the belief in the justness of hell a good moral principle.


Mark Plus said...

"Hell" also has pizza and cats and Stargate and Michelangelo's David and sushi and Robert Heinlein's novels and Wal-Mart and green tea with honey and jazz and books about the history of ideas and uncirculated $20 gold St. Gaudens coins and . . .

Hellbound Alleee said...

You know, I could use some hell about now. Hell has lumbar support pillows for 5.95, the Teen EXtreme Bible, Left Behind (the movie and the godforsaken novels), the smell of freshly mown grass, and this.

Look at that and tell me you're in hell, eh?!?

Mark Plus said...

Look at that and tell me you're in hell, eh?!?

The Thing cannot be described! - there is no language for such abysms of shrieking and immemorial lunacy, such eldritch contradictions of all matter, force, and cosmic order!

Hellbound Alleee said...

I think I love you.

breakerslion said...

I second Robert Heinlein, and most of both of your lists too, but Wal-Mart? To each their own...

This whole "I'm in Hell and just waiting for my ticket to CandyLand" scene is one of my pet peeves of religious mind-fornication too. I can't quite decide if it is an individual mental illness, or a symptom of something larger, like socially-induced chronic depression. When trying to deconstruct its causes, and the self-serving clerical motives behind those causes, I come up against the notion that it is caused by an overzealous attempt to claim everything good, valuable and moral for the church and the alleged afterlife.

The Christian Church in Europe and Islam in the Mid-East tried very hard to co-opt or erase all competing avenues of moral instruction. One survivor that I find relevant to this topic is an old Norse or Germanic Fairy Tale. In it, two little girls are lost in the woods on successive Midwinter's Days. They both come across four large men celebrating at a fire. The men are in reality demigods representing the four seasons. The first little girl, when asked which season was her favorite, said that she liked them all, and mentioned something nice about each one. She was rewarded. The second little girl when asked the same question, said she hated them all and found something unpleasant to remark upon for each season. She had a hard life thereafter. Christians of the kind you have quoted remind me of the second little girl, not realizing that they are getting out of life according to what they put in. My advice would be to stop standing behind the bus and complaining about the fumes, get on and see where it takes you.

Mark Plus said...

It irritates me when christians claim that a naturalistic outlook causes "despair." I've heard that windbag christian apologist Robert Morey claim that, for example, on at least one radio talkshow (either Reggie's or Gene Kook's).

People become depressed in part because of their brain chemistry, not necessarily because of their world view. Even Morey must know of christians who have struggled with despair for years because they relied on faith healing to treat their depression instead of seeking help from a psychiatrist, despite their explicit beliefs about a loving and providential god. And how do Morey and the hell-on-earth christians explain all the cheerful atheists out there?

breakerslion said...

Brain chemistry, like chronic pain, is self-reinforcing. Some people may be born with a greater sensitivity to noise, or light, etc. Some people have quirks of temperament. Feed people stories and situations that make them feel afraid, or inferior (powerless), or ashamed or paranoid, and eventually the brain stays on that frequency. Do I have to tell you who plays that game?

Of course, the Christians would say that the cheerful atheists are only cheerful because we are oblivious to the "terrible swift sword" that their loving god is holding over our head.


Hellbound Alleee said...

Actually, I think Wal-Mart could qualify as belonging in both Heaven and Hell. I think Wal-Mart is great foe people who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford some things. Not that I ever needed a cheap giant tv, but I have one, thanks to Wal-Mart. I go maybe once a year to buy an appliance of some kind.