You’re Going to Hell?

Over at Opinionated Man he has a brief comment about those telling you you are going to hell and their own certainty.  I commented and he politely replied.  I know exactly what he is talking about.

I once ran into a 19 year old “street preacher” on a university campus, shouting “you fornicators, you generation of vipers” at the top of his lungs.  I spoke with him asking him whether he was helping or harming Christianity.  He felt he was saving people by forcing them to confront their sin and decadence.  He was a caricature of the fire and brimstone preacher, smug, ostensibly certain and sanctimonious.  In the end he was making a truth claim no matter how odious the vehicle he delivering, to wit, if you reject Jesus as your savior you go to hell. Is that true?  You must decide for yourself.  If it isn’t true, no reason to be upset.  If you told me don’t go into the woods at dusk the magical creatures might get me, I have no reaction*.  All religions have truth claims.  Those claims are mutually exclusive, for example, “All roads lead to God” which is Hindu.  “There is but one God and Mohammed is his prophet”, Islam.  Buddhism is systematic atheism.  Jesus claimed to be the living sacrifice to make peace between God and man.  I’ve heard people who claim to be Christians say all roads lead to God not realizing that in fact, that belief alone makes them more Hindu than Christian.  We don’t seem to like absolutes; we like to have a little wiggle room (unless it’s in our politicians who the more they express uncertainty the less likely they are to be voted into office).

Is that street preacher certain?  Let’s take Christianity as true by it’s claims as a thought experiment, that means the preacher believes he is saved, that God’s spirit dwells in him and that spirit strengthens his faith.  Those are all teachings in the Christian faith.  If the foregoing is true then he is certain.  If he rejects those teachings but preaches them anyway then he is not certain and rather a low order self-serving hypocrite.  If those teachings are false then he is certain only by delusion or psychopathy.   It seems to me most people commenting were assuming the third choice.  There are two others.

As a final thought consider this on the notion of hell which never crossed my mind until I heard a theologian being interviewed — on NPR? I don’t remember.  He said paraphrasing, God condemns no one to hell but ratifies a choice they have already made for eternity.  While people live if they choose to live apart from God when they die he makes that choice permanent.  Total alienation from God is hell.

 

*An old German told me this actually when I was entering at sunset the forest the brothers Grimm used to like to walk in (according to a local).  He was serious; I was an adult at the time and he was moving quickly coming out of the forest.  Pass auf Junge!

Who Represents You?

Those who rule and their supporters are disconnected from the people. They mock and ridicule those who disagree with them. It’s not healthy. I am fundamentally libertarian in my outlook and long ago realized that both major political parties are aligned against the people. This article from Professor Codevilla points this out and predicts the end of the Republican party.  Perhaps I should start a Republican Part Irrelevancy Watch.  No point in making one for the Democratic Party, which devolved long ago into a riot of idiot special interests united in their hatred of those that disagree with them.

I'm pursuing night
deep into her dismal country
I saw you last with her
in the fog and haze and neon hate
Night whispered a mist
And you were gone.

I will make the night tell me
Surely as my soul cries
Where in dawn's lair she hid you
So that I can see your eyes again,
And give you all my strength.

I'm building a secret world
A refuge for you and me
Love's lost souls
Drifting and dreaming
There we can love
Under perfect suns
Live and die
Among such palatial joy
That imagined you.

I am coming for you night
I will not moan or pass away
among the broken hearted
I will take my love, 
my sister, my bride
back where she belongs
Back with me.

NY Times Mag on Napoleon Chagnon

This article on Napoleon Chagnon is just fascinating. And not because of Napoleon Chagnon. It is in fact a tale revealing the bitter, psychological savagery of post moderns, whose thought, anchored as it is to nothing but the strange predilections of their own mind, drives their behaviour in contemptible ways. Everyone wants to sit in judgement of everyone else, to hold the moral high ground and yet not one of them holds to the same moral code or could even explain what they believe and why they believe it. The anthropologists approach has evolved like the fashion industry albeit with far less understanding of history and metaphysics. Of all the pseudo-sciences, none has been driven by fads as much as anthropology.  It’s like watching the lifecycle of vermin who care nothing for what came before and nothing for what comes after.

I was a gone a lifetime
Climbing the tower of lights
The sun was dripping slowly through
The crack in the night sky
And I wanted to fill my glass
But when I arrived
The breath of eternity
Cooled my face
Watered my eyes
And I dropped my glass
I was transfixed
Watching it fall for perpetuity
Crashing off the tower
Sending showers
of photonic tears to earth
God in his fearful multiplicity
Pulled me through the crack
And showed me universes
Of his ceaseless creativity
He showed me things I cannot comprehend
And gave me feelings I can't express

Attention and Time

The most precious commodity on earth is your time and the length of that time is limited.  None of us know when but we all know we are going to die.  Within our numbered days we sleep for part of the time.  During our waking hours our attention is limited.  How we choose to direct our attention is important.

When I first started this blog it was because I had lots of interests and opinions on various subjects.  I also enjoyed writing poetry and started looking for other poets in the blogosphere.  I had a suspicion that there was a lot of talent and I was correct.   50 years ago, a lot of talented writers simply went to the grave unread and unnoticed because they could not get past the gatekeepers in publishing.   With self-publishing, people are bypassing the gatekeepers.  It’s net positive.

We all have a lot of choices.  It’s wonderful.  Now if people stop by and either genuinely “Like” or disingenuously “Like” your work you will get a nice dopamine kick to the head.  Some people do it because they really like your work.  Some do it because they are whoring for more followers themselves.  Your brain doesn’t care.  It will give you the dopamine either way unless you are bitterly cynical and paranoid.  “Oh, sure they ‘like” my work, the liars!”

But the mere fact they stopped by and gave you a slice of their attention, something which finite, is a compliment.  So if you stopped by here, irrespective of your reasons, thank you.