‘To Those That Were Robbed of Life…’

 

Pope Francis babyTO THOSE WHO WERE ROBBED OF LIFE: the unborn, the weak, the sick, the old, during the dark ages of madness, selfishness, lust and greed for which the last decades of the twentieth century are remembered….” C. Everett Koop, MD

Much has been made of the recent decision of Pope Francis to allow priests to absolve those involved in the grave sin of abortion. Catholics and non-Catholics alike who depend on the major media for what this means might misinterpret his letter. Many outlets are reporting that this decision leaves the possibility that the act of an aborting a child might no longer be a grave sin, or was not a grave sin in the first place. This is not the case.

Let me start with a quote from Pope Francis’s full letter as reprinted by The Catholic Herald UK.

One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfil this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.

Forgiveness has always been available to those who have procured an abortion. The penitent had to confess the sin to a bishop or someone designated by the Church to absolve the penitent of a sin that incurred automatic excommunication from the Church.

There is no unforgivable sin in the Catholic Church for to state that a sin is unforgivable is to state that sin is greater than G-d.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the source that should be the starting point for those interested in what the Church believes and teaches.

2272 Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. “A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,”[76] “by the very commission of the offense,”[77] and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law.[78] The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as to the parents and the whole of society.

Latae sententiae is a Latin phrase, meaning “sentence (already) passed,” used in the canon law of the Catholic Church. A latae sententiae penalty is one that follows ipso facto or automatically, by force of the law itself, when that law is contravened. The very act incurs excommunication.

The Church has not changed its position on abortion nor has the Church changed its position on absolving a grave sin for those that are truly repentant.

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  1. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Majestyk:I can’t help but think that the message implicit in this from the Pope is “Go forth and sin; all will be forgiven as long as you truly mean it.”

    I can think of nothing more awful than the granting of license via the promise of forgiveness.

    Unfortunately you have missed the whole point of confession and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

    Jesus gives us the model according to John 8:1-11; the story of the woman caught in adultery. As Pencilvania points out in comment #11, forgiveness is given with the admonition to go and sin no more.

    A priest has the right and duty to not forgive sins if he sees that the one confessing shows no firm purpose of amendment to stop sinning. With freedom comes responsibility – the sacrament is not a license to keep sinning.

    As St. John Paul II said:

    Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.

    • #31
  2. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    Majestyk:Bear in mind as well that I once played the role of the prodigal son.

    I suffered the ignominy of crawling back to my parents, penniless, cuckolded and wretched. They were under no obligation to help me – but they did, because not only did I say the right things, I tried to do the right things.

    So I sympathize with the Prodigal Son. But, having been there, the need to wear some sack cloth and sit on a pile of ashes for awhile exists as well.

    Which is why penance is necessary for absolution as is restitution when possible. If it is not possible to pat restitution directly to a person aggrieved by a sin, then the penitent will be required to pursue other means, e.g., contribute time, money, or other sources to a charitable organization or to someone in need. As for things like murder, a priest will typically require the penitent to accept his worldly punishment by turning himself in.

    Also, if a penitent fails to perform his penance he must confess that also, and commit to doing so. He will typically be required to do additional penance.

    The person confessing must do so with a truly contrite heart. The priest must assess this before giving absolution. The priest may be unable to determine whether contrition is appropriate. But God knows.

    • #32
  3. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Majestyk:I can’t help but think that the message implicit in this from the Pope is “Go forth and sin; all will be forgiven as long as you truly mean it.”

    I can think of nothing more awful than the granting of license via the promise of forgiveness.

    This is not an objection to this particular Pope.  It is an objection to Christianity in general.  Paul addresses this issue in Romans 6.

    Forgiveness is not fair, because it is about mercy, not justice.  If it were about justice, we’d all be damned.

    What if forgiveness were not available?  Well, then, if you’ve sinned once — and we all have — then you’re done.  Headed for that lake of fire, with no escape.  So, why not go on sinning?  You see, the absence of forgiveness gives people the same license to which you object.

    I recommend Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis for a non-theological exposition on Protestant theology.

    Of course, the Bible itself is the best source, but it’s really hard for a non-believer to wade through and understand the Bible.  I know this from personal experience, as I was an atheist myself through the age of 36.

    • #33
  4. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Arizona Patriot: Of course, the Bible itself is the best source, but it’s really hard for a non-believer to wade through and understand the Bible.

    And not exactly easy for believers, either. (All those Begats!)

    • #34
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Sash has it right – it is as much if not more, for the forgiver than the forgiven. I really feel like the Pope is keenly aware that we are in the period of time that is spoken about by the prophets and he is looking to build a bridge to get people back to the church, restore them and try to get people to wake up to what is coming.

    He even made the statement that he felt his time as pope would be short – weird statement to make when you are fresh to the job.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/13/pope-francis-short-papacy-pizza_n_6864994.html

    He is trying to draw people to the heart of Christ while there is still time, hence his urgent behavior and rule-changing. It is no coincidence that the last pope stepped aside – the first in 600 years. The Bible says to forgive 70 x 7.

    I just have this urge to simplify – to make time to be quiet and listen, as well as put forgiveness into action, not just thought, towards myself and others.

    • #35
  6. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Mike Rapkoch:

    Majestyk:

    I suffered the ignominy of crawling back to my parents, penniless, cuckolded and wretched. They were under no obligation to help me – but they did, because not only did I say the right things, I tried to do the right things.

    So I sympathize with the Prodigal Son. But, having been there, the need to wear some sack cloth and sit on a pile of ashes for awhile exists as well.

    Which is why penance is necessary for absolution as is restitution when possible. If it is not possible to pa[y] restitution directly to a person aggrieved by a sin, then the penitent will be required to pursue other means…

    Exactly.

    When my parents took my wretched, penniless self back in, I couldn’t repay them immediately. Still, simply knowing that parents don’t have to take in their over-18 children, and that, wonder of wonders, my parents (who I previously hadn’t thought of as terribly forgiving people) did forgive and still did love me – indeed, found themselves happy at my return despite it disappointing all their (and my) expectations – created a bond that, as my problems grew less and theirs grew greater, meant that later I was taking care of them.

    Occasionally, I did think of caring for my parents as a belated penance for my earlier screwups. But mostly I didn’t. Mostly, it was repayment out of love and gratitude, not self-absorbed self-punishment for the wretchedness in my past.

    • #36
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    I have a special affection for C. Everett Koop. Best Surgeon General evah!

    Thanks for clearing this up, Doug. Great post.

    • #37
  8. Could be Anyone Member
    Could be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Michael Sanregret:I remember reading Christopher Hitchens in a forum on Christianity (I think it was in Crisis magazine). While I don’t agree with him, he gave what I thought was the best argument against Christianity, which is that it is unfair. We commit sins, and Jesus suffers for them. It wouldn’t be right, but through his free will Jesus takes on the sin voluntarily and it make it right. That’s where “Catholic guilt” comes from. You don’t suffer for your sins. Jesus does.

    Jesus indeed did suffer for our sins but at the same time the quote from Buddha applies “you are not punished for but by your sin”. Assuming God and his design of man then man is intended to love God and to be in most joy or best nature (in both physical, spiritual, and rational sense) in the grace of God. When you commit sin you distance yourself from the grace of God and you fail at your purpose thus you suffer when committing sin. Likewise God is disappointed because he desires that you love him and instead you act against him in sin (the child that does wrong against the wishes of the parent who has to watch the child do the act is hurt by this).

    In that sense you suffer (God is perfect and transcends suffering; example being Jesus Christ) for sin and God is disappointed that his creation doesn’t want to be with its creator.

    • #38
  9. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Michael Sanregret:I remember reading Christopher Hitchens in a forum on Christianity (I think it was in Crisis magazine). While I don’t agree with him, he gave what I thought was the best argument against Christianity, which is that it is unfair. We commit sins, and Jesus suffers for them.

    I have spent a lot of time studying Hitch.  He talked about this aspect of Christianity a lot, and I’ll paraphrase him here.

    Hitch:

    The very idea of vicarious redemption is immoral.  It is the negation of personal responsibility.  A person may forgive your debt or even pay them in your stead or even serve a prison sentence for you or accept some punishment instead of you – but that doesn’t mean that you didn’t do the thing for which you’re being punished.  It’s scapegoating.  It’s throwing your sins upon an animal; a human animal which is then sacrificed.  Incidentally, this is an offer from the Nazarene which has a thinly veiled threat underneath it – the promise of eternal punishment and torture if you don’t accept this offer.

    Like Hitch, I don’t cotton well to threats masquerading as magnanimous offers.  I didn’t ask for Jesus to do this.  Do I have any agency?  I suppose I do – but the choice I’m faced with seems fairly binary and sterile.  There isn’t much of a spectrum of choice.

    • #39
  10. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Majestyk:  It’s scapegoating.  It’s throwing your sins upon an animal; a human animal which is then sacrificed.

    And this is why Hitch doesn’t need to be studied.  He offers this as some sort of AH-HA! which reveals he has zero understanding of Christianity.

    • #40
  11. SoDakBoy Inactive
    SoDakBoy
    @SoDakBoy

    Majestyk:

    Like Hitch, I don’t cotton well to threats masquerading as magnanimous offers. I didn’t ask for Jesus to do this. Do I have any agency? I suppose I do – but the choice I’m faced with seems fairly binary and sterile. There isn’t much of a spectrum of choice.

    I think the correct way to understand this is to first realize that damnation is the default position (after the Fall at least).  So, G-d did not set up the world with a binary choice like you and Hitch outline. The only reason we now have a binary choice is because of a complete, unearned gift.  How is the giving and accepting of a gift “immoral”?

    • #41
  12. Charles Shunk Inactive
    Charles Shunk
    @CharlesShunk

    Majestyk:Like Hitch, I don’t cotton well to threats masquerading as magnanimous offers. I didn’t ask for Jesus to do this. Do I have any agency? I suppose I do – but the choice I’m faced with seems fairly binary and sterile. There isn’t much of a spectrum of choice.

    This would be valid, if Jesus were just a man.  The whole point of the Christian faith is that Jesus is not just a man, but also God.  So He created you and holds you in being, He gave you your existence and your purpose in life.

    Therefore it makes sense that Jesus be involved in our personal redemption.  Consider how it feels to do something wrong: that guilty feeling that you have not lived up to some standard of what you should be as a person.  If you believe there is no higher reality in the world than the physical, then this standard that you instinctively feel you have violated can only be explained as your own personal ethical code–just yours and yours alone.  *But* if you believe in an objective right and wrong, something that exists whether you want it to or not, then by doing something wrong you have violated something outside yourself.  And if you are Christian, then you believe that thing outside yourself is God, and therefore Jesus Christ Himself.

    So Jesus is rightfully involved in our redemption, because He was personally affronted by all sins which need redeeming.

    • #42
  13. donald todd Inactive
    donald todd
    @donaldtodd

    Majestyk: #6 “Look, I’m not a Christian and I have never claimed to be one.  I don’t understand the impulse towards unconditional forgiveness of sins.”

    I was under the impression, having read you, that you were once Lutheran.  That, it seems to me, is a claim.  You’ve rejected that claim since you are now claiming to be an atheist, but that Lutheranism is still part of you historically.

    Again, having read you, it was a Lutheran claim of what Jesus did on that cross that caused you to reject Lutheranism.

    Of note, there are people who want justice and people who want forgiveness.  My impression is that they both get what they want, but that the “justice people” arrive at a place where they want forgiveness.  Hopefully not too late.  Should they have managed to condemn everyone with which they are at odds, one suspects that they will get the benefit of justice and find it a bitter end.

    • #43
  14. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    SoDakBoy:

     So, G-d did not set up the world with a binary choice like you and Hitch outline. The only reason we now have a binary choice is because of a complete, unearned gift. How is the giving and accepting of a gift “immoral”?

    This is the fundamentally incongruent point in my mind: God (allegedly omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) created this set of rules.  It follows logically that he could alter them.

    If the default setting is “damnation” that condition was created by God’s choice – not by mine, and I certainly don’t think it’s moral to assert that we all share some collective guilt for Adam’s sin (another immoral assertion which negates personal responsibility.)

    Allow humans to bear responsibility for themselves.  This is a bedrock principle of conservatism.  I, you, all of us are responsible for ourselves.  I certainly don’t want to contemplate the idea that my life is on a set of rails with the default location being “damnation” and the only way out of it is to accept this “gift” that I didn’t either ask for or have any say in.

    This isn’t a voluntary transaction.  This is the relationship of a Lord and his serfs – and we are meant to feel grateful for his kindly gesture?  “Kiss my ring… or suffer the consequences.”  It’s a Hobson’s choice.  A false choice – because in reality there is no choice.

    It is authoritarian and vile and we ought to reject it.

    • #44
  15. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Can anyone recall the Ricochet article on the elderly priest – it was a post about 3-4 weeks ago and he was talking about the current pope? I cannot find it – and wanted to go back and re-read.

    • #45
  16. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Majestyk:This is the fundamentally incongruent point in my mind: God (allegedly omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) created this set of rules. It follows logically that he could alter them.

    If the default setting is “damnation” that condition was created by God’s choice – not by mine, and I certainly don’t think it’s moral to assert that we all share some collective guilt for Adam’s sin (another immoral assertion which negates personal responsibility.)

    It does not necessarily follow logically that God could change His set of rules.  What if He has a certain fundamental nature?  If this is true, as I believe, then He cannot change it.  It is our failure to conform to His nature that is the fundamental problem.

    So why does He not just wipe out all evil?  Jesus explained this in the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13, ending with:

    No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’

    You see, wiping out evil would mean wiping out us.

    [Cont’d]

    • #46
  17. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    [Cont’d]

    God gives us free will, without which moral agency is impossible.  We all fail to live up to His nature of perfect holiness.  So He gives us another free choice, to accept His forgiveness, or not.

    In establishing His rules for us, I do not believe that God is acting as a tyrant or a petulant child.  We are the petulant children, demanding what cannot be.  We want to remain in our darkness, and yet come into God’s light.  But the darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.  This is not the fault of the light.  Rather, it is inherent in the nature of light and darkness.

    This is where the metaphor shifts.  There are many metaphors for the human conundrum: darkness and light; wheat and chaff; stains being washed away; debt being paid; the sick needing a physician.  But there are two others:

    • We are rebels, and we must lay down our arms.
    • We are running away from God, and we are not going to find Him until we stop and turn around.

    I am an evangelical Protestant, not a Catholic.  So I do not believe that it is up to the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest, to decide whether or not to extend God’s forgiveness.  It is up to God.  And I am wholly unqualified to tell Him what He ought to do.

    • #47
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Arizona Patriot: I am an evangelical Protestant, not a Catholic.  So I do not believe that it is up to the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest, to decide whether or not to extend God’s forgiveness.

    Just for the record, that’s not quite what Catholics believe either.

    • #48
  19. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Front Seat Cat:Can anyone recall the Ricochet article on the elderly priest – it was a post about 3-4 weeks ago and he was talking about the current pope? I cannot find it – and wanted to go back and re-read.

    Is this the one you are looking for?

    • #49
  20. KiminWI Member
    KiminWI
    @KiminWI

    Majestyk:

    This is the fundamentally incongruent point in my mind: God (allegedly omnipotent, omniscient, etc…) created this set of rules. It follows logically that he could alter them.

    But since He IS God, the essence of Justice, would God break His own laws? No.

    If the default setting is “damnation” that condition was created by God’s choice –

    Damnation is not the default. We were made to be with God; that is the default. Damnation is simply His absence and He doesn’t choose that, we do.

    You are theologically correct to reject prevenient grace as a free pass to do harm, to do sin. Pope Francis isn’t offering that. He is reminding us that repentance is necessary; he is calling out the condition of our need to repent. The forgiveness was never in question, but the repentance often fails to take place so we don’t accept the forgiveness. I would imagine that a woman who had taken her baby’s life, now contemplating going to confession, would find herself on a painful road she would rather not take, but will follow to her own peace.

    • #50
  21. KiminWI Member
    KiminWI
    @KiminWI

    Arizona Patriot: This is where the metaphor shifts.  There are many metaphors for the human conundrum: darkness and light; wheat and chaff; stains being washed away; debt being paid; the sick needing a physician.  But there are two others:

    • We are rebels, and we must lay down our arms.
    • We are running away from God, and we are not going to find Him until we stop and turn around.

    This. Thanks AP

    • #51
  22. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Arizona Patriot:

    It does not necessarily follow logically that God could change His set of rules. What if He has a certain fundamental nature? If this is true, as I believe, then He cannot change it. It is our failure to conform to His nature that is the fundamental problem.

    Sure it does – if God is omnipotent, his own nature is subject to alteration by him.  Else wise, who or what created God’s nature in such a fashion that he is subject to it?

    Is the implication that I am to draw from this that God’s majesty is subject to… God’s nature?  That makes no sense whatsoever.  That shackles God, which denies omnipotence.

    • #52
  23. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Casey:

    Arizona Patriot: I am an evangelical Protestant, not a Catholic. So I do not believe that it is up to the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest, to decide whether or not to extend God’s forgiveness.

    Just for the record, that’s not quite what Catholics believe either.

    Good point.  Thanks.

    I also think that the Catholic practices of confession and penance are an excellent idea.  Not to convey grace in a spiritual sense, which is what I understand to be Catholic teaching, but as a means of accountability and instruction.  I readily concede that we evangelical Protestants may have erred in departing from this Catholic practice.

    • #53
  24. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Majestyk:

    Arizona Patriot:

    It does not necessarily follow logically that God could change His set of rules. What if He has a certain fundamental nature? If this is true, as I believe, then He cannot change it. It is our failure to conform to His nature that is the fundamental problem.

    Sure it does – if God is omnipotent, his own nature is subject to alteration by him. Else wise, who or what created God’s nature in such a fashion that he is subject to it?

    Is the implication that I am to draw from this that God’s majesty is subject to… God’s nature? That makes no sense whatsoever. That shackles God, which denies omnipotence.

    Can God make a rock he cannot lift?

    If a tree falls…. one hand clapping…

    • #54
  25. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Arizona Patriot:

    Casey:

    Arizona Patriot: I am an evangelical Protestant, not a Catholic. So I do not believe that it is up to the Pope, or a bishop, or a priest, to decide whether or not to extend God’s forgiveness.

    Just for the record, that’s not quite what Catholics believe either.

    Good point. Thanks.

    I also think that the Catholic practices of confession and penance are an excellent idea. Not to convey grace in a spiritual sense, which is what I understand to be Catholic teaching, but as a means of accountability and instruction. I readily concede that we evangelical Protestants may have erred in departing from this Catholic practice.

    For those interested, Vinny Flynn’s 7 Secrets of Confession is a great introduction (or reintroduction) to the Sacrament.

    • #55
  26. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Majestyk:

    Sure it does – if God is omnipotent, his own nature is subject to alteration by him. Else wise, who or what created God’s nature in such a fashion that he is subject to it?

    Is the implication that I am to draw from this that God’s majesty is subject to… God’s nature? That makes no sense whatsoever. That shackles God, which denies omnipotence.

    This seems to be a logical fallacy.  Can God make a rock so big that He can’t move it?  God is not shackled by the fact that we can come up with logical paradoxes.

    Yes, God’s majesty is subject to His nature, in some sense.  He is who and what He is.  Which He told Moses, if you’ll recall (in Exodus 3:13-14):

    Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

    God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

    Actually, I don’t think it’s quite right to say that God’s majesty is subject to His nature.  The very idea of majesty is part of His nature.

    • #56
  27. Could be Anyone Member
    Could be Anyone
    @CouldBeAnyone

    Majestyk:

    Like Hitch, I don’t cotton well to threats masquerading as magnanimous offers. I didn’t ask for Jesus to do this. Do I have any agency? I suppose I do – but the choice I’m faced with seems fairly binary and sterile. There isn’t much of a spectrum of choice.

    I would love to hear another explanation of what happens after death if you would be so kind to enlighten us with it.

    In the case of Christianity it isn’t scapegoating at all. Remember that the people who condemned Christ did so freely of their own will and that by his suffering of human experience and life God willingly endured our existence in our nature and both set a moral example to follow and triumphed over his absence (sin and death where as he is all good and life) thus giving us the chance of eternal life. Its technically not magnamious as in some complete stranger helping another with no goal in mind; rather its the parent desiring what is best for the child and then giving the child the chance to do right or wrong.

    There is complete responsibility in that for every human. At the same time the parent wants to love their child and thus gives the chance of redemption and since God is all good he triumphs over his absence as light triumphs over the darkness and undoes our sins and then asks us to sin no more; that makes plenty sense.

    • #57
  28. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    Could be Anyone:

    I would love to hear another explanation of what happens after death if you would be so kind to enlighten us with it.

    Well, again – I didn’t ask for that.  It is being thrust upon me without my consent.  Hence, it is a Hobson’s Choice.

    Full disclosure: I think that what we recognize as consciousness ceases to function when we die.  I don’t think this is entirely unpleasant – much as going to sleep can be quite pleasurable – I mean, what are you going to do for eternity anyways?

    I have discussed my frustration with that state of affairs repeatedly on this site – you can look up any number of my writings to that effect.  It simply is.  As rational, adult people we have to be willing to accept the fact that as a very real matter we stop functioning and oblivion is the result.

    It doesn’t cheer my heart – but it also doesn’t cause me so much psychic pain that I will seek out the nearest convenient supernatural explanation to get me out of it either.  Plenty of religions offer their adherents rewards in the afterlife (or the promise of punishment, as the case may be) in exchange for doing certain things.  Those things come with costs.

    Pascal’s wager only works if you assume a priori that you’re making it with a house that won’t welch on your bet.

    • #58
  29. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    Majestyk: As rational, adult people we have to be willing to accept the fact that as a very real matter we stop functioning and oblivion is the result.

    What is rational about that?

    • #59
  30. Arizona Patriot Member
    Arizona Patriot
    @ArizonaPatriot

    The other metaphor for salvation that I find helpful is the lifeline.

    As a sinner in a lost and fallen world, I am like a man overboard in heavy seas.  I jumped out of the boat, foolishly, of my own free will.  I am drowning and helpless.  I cannot save myself.

    Jesus is the lifeline that God throws to me.  It is up to me to grab it and hold on.

    It is respect for my free will that keeps God from just pulling me out.

    • #60
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