We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
In our therapeutic culture, where all is tolerated but the good, the assertion that there are consequences for our behavior, either temporal, or especially eternal, is a truly noxious notion. The idea of Hell is perceived as an anachronistic anathema, promoted cynically by clergy controlling the poor, ignorant fools who follow them. Even those with a nominal belief in a deity will attest, with a pretense more wishful than wise, that a God of love would never condemn those who reject Him to Hell. In some sense–surely not that which the proponents of such pop theology intend–this may well be true. It will be, for those who enter that dark, hopeless, and agonizing eternity, not something dictated from on high by a vengeful God gleeful at our torture. It will be our own choice, fully, to reject the mercy and grace which has been offered to us without cost by Him who gave everything to draw us toward an eternal relationship, filled with unspeakable joy and peace, with Him.
And Doctor Bob's post and your placing it here would seem to substantiate your feelings about heretic.
That quote of his is so... well, unbelievable. Straw out of dross in my opinion.
"Where all is tolerated but the good"... jeeze... does he need a lift up to place him on the cross.
"Noxious notion"... that I am my own worst critic. Belabor and beat myself daily for knowing I could do better but haven't.
So yes. I reject that magnanimous mercy and grace. The same shown to all the innocent victims of the world. The ones who had no choice in their outcome. Evidently all ordered and preordained by a God who judges whether or not one had a choice in the ending of ones life.
"...where all is tolerated but the good." That fried a synapse or two for me, too, Luther.
I have wondered this before now, but there are a lot of doctors who post on this blog, and all have quite strong beliefs about evil and good and God and the afterlife. What I wonder is how in the world they can force themselves to do their jobs and do them well on people who are non-believers. I picture in my mind them noting that a new patient is not a Christian and then treating the new patient like someone beneath them.
It's too bad Christians hate non-Christians with such vehemence as Dr. Bob does. He's not the only one, but he is a doctor of something and he swore: First, do no harm.
CS Lewis taught that all the doors of hell are locked from the inside. He used our behavior in this world as his model.
BTW Luther, if you don't understand, perhaps the fault is not the doctrine's but your own lack of understanding. A possibility that should be entertained, anyway.
Assistant Village Idiot
"He used our behavior in this world as his model."
That should read: "He used his own behavior in this world...."
Lewis prinked and preened in a debauched lifestyle until the invitations to soirees stopped. It took close friends to talk him into becoming a Christian so he could get back onto the party list. We certainly want to pay attention to him and his noxious notions of hell. Indeed.
No doubt, AVI. And I have and do consider it... and it still seems hollow somehow. I'd rather focus on the here and now than a nebulous after life, if you don't mind. If there should happen to be a judgment I will stand tall and take my licks. After all, I've done much less ill than many who profess to faith, and who pass through the holy gates nonetheless, according to doctrine anyway.
In the East they say the divine compassion is only matched by the divine patience, so, the many layered hells and lower heavens, while always filled with folks, are ultimately vacated by same, and all sentient creatures finally realize who and what they really are. In my church tradition it was thumbs up or thumbs down. Purgatory however seems logical, and the eastern outlook optimistic. But, what a time getting there.
I like Dr. Bob's reference to C.S. Lewis in the Great Divorce, as it fits well with my beliefs. It isn't God who rejects man, but man who rejects God - as evidenced by some of the comments to this post. I believe that God gives each of us what we want - either eternity in his presence, or oblivion. I choose to think of the end for a non-believer as sort of like the end of the old Twilight Zone TV programs. The picture on the TV collapses into a small point of light in the center of the screen, then slowly fades to black.
Good metaphor, Sam, the small point of light, I liked that. But I ask, for the sake of argument. Let's say that I have led the life of a saint. All the actions in my life performed in strict accordance with the rules as outlined in the Bible and other rules as outlined by some particular church. Except for one rule. The big one. Accepting God as real.
Am I going to hell?
If so, what for?
And if I do go to hell, after living life as a saint, what is the point of all those strictures. As if I do believe in God... and act as a barbarian, I'll pass through the gates.
Free will. Is it there or is it not. I guess since Adam, it's not.
So free will, in this case, is a chimera... all our words about independence and freedom of thought predetermined. There's a 'master' plan. Those who don't conform are 'disappeared'.