Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Heresies for Holy Week: Day 2

It is Tuesday of Holy Week. Welcome to today's heresy!

First a question from the
Westminster Larger Catechism.
Question 29: What are the punishments of sin in the world to come?

Answer: The punishments of sin in the world to come, are everlasting separation from the comfortable presence of God, and most grievous torments in soul and body, without intermission, in hell fire forever.
Lovely.

And what do you make of it,
Mr. Robert Ingersoll?

If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine.

It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men. It has been a constant pain, a perpetual terror to every good man and woman and child.

It has filled the good with horror and with fear; but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. It has wrung the hearts of the tender, it has furrowed the cheeks of the good.

This doctrine never should be preached again. What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear?


I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.

15 comments:

  1. Those folks that planned to attack and kill the police in Michigan claimed to be Calvinists. . . .

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  2. Hmmm . . . I'm not sure that being Universalist is heresy. You have to try harder John. ;)

    Sea Raven. People can claim to be anything. I've seen nothing in their beliefs and actions that suggest they are Calvinists. Just on the grounds of obeying the government (and only lower magistrates can start a rebellion) they don't fit as Calvinists.

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  3. @Bob

    : )

    You know me, I never stop trying!

    Hoping to be a bride one day instead of a bridesmaid!

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  4. They claimed to be Christians and patriots too, and I'm not buying those claims either.

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  5. Retraction: I don't know where I heard that the Michigan crazies were "Calvinists." I haven't been able to verify my um . . . it wasn't an assumption . . . Could have been on NPR . . .

    Oh well, guarded apologies to Rev. Calvin for taking his name in vain. God/dess knows he's in enough trouble.

    And the Presbyterians don't need any more grief either. Here's a link to today's Christian Science Monitor re "Calvinism is Back" about a Capitol Hill fundie Baptist church:
    http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/0327/Christian-faith-Calvinism-is-back?sp_rid=NTI5OTY2MTYzMAS2&sp_mid=4394011

    [sigh]

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. John if you want to be a bride you need to add two initials to GLTB, maybe. Those initials are CD: cross dresser. Of course if you go whole hog and have the surgery you could be a T (and a W) and not a CD. :)

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  8. @John, I'm afraid I agree your attempt at heresy falls short on this one. The Bible teaches that the lost don't get to live forever, not even in torment. They get destroyed. But even if one were to accept the falsehood that their bodies end up existing forever in flames, they are dead, dead don't know anything, they don't feel pain. Personally, I've come to the concept that the destruction of those who reject Jesus/God and His form of government get one major choice back to them that they didn't have. People don't choose if they are born or not, but in our lives we end up choosing if we want to be reborn or not. In a way, the destruction of the lost is like giving people a chance to choose not to exist. There might be some pain when they die the second death, but the greater pain would be knowing what they missed out on by not accepting God's kingdom. They will then welcome their own destruction and it will be as if they were never born the first time. They become nothing. Or as one person described nothing: "It is what rocks dream of."

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  9. I don't think so, Mike. The Larger Catechism and the history of Christian superstition in general has affirmed the everlasting conscious torment of the souls of the damned. That is why it is so much fun to make it to heaven so you can enjoy the torments of the lost.

    Ingersoll is pretty much a heretic. He thinks it is all bull___t as do I.

    I do agree with you that after death we become what rocks dream of...which was the same thing as before we were born.

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  10. @ Pastor Bob: Hmmm. The good Mr. Ingersoll was not a universalist. He was a late 19th century freethinker, one who argued, among other things, that Genesis was "a dreary and detailed statement of things that never happened." And that "..in Exodus there is not one original thought or line of value." Ingersoll described the book of Isaiah in the following way: "It's swollen words, its vague imagery, its prophecies and curses, its ravings against kings and nations, its laughter at the wisdom of man, its hatred of joy, have not the slightest tendency to increase the well-being of man."

    Ingersoll rejected the idea of God, despised spirituality, condemned the church, and mocked all the weak sniveling unmanly humility that it taught.

    Though he definitely has edge, I'm not sure that this is technically heresy, as Ingersoll would not for a moment have considered himself Christian. I'll look forward to something more clearly heretical today.

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  11. Well, look who's back:

    I'll look forward to something more clearly heretical today.

    I hold my breath in anticipation of your judgment.

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  12. @Mike In response to your comments on hell I offer a response from the great theologian Weird Al. In his song "Amish Paradise" He says"

    "A local boy kicked me in the butt last week.

    I just smiled at him and turned the other cheek.

    I really don't mind in fact I wish him well:


    Cause I'll be laughing my head off when he's burning in hell!

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  13. I think this Ted Talk fits in nicely with the discussion here: http://www.ted.com/talks/sam_harris_science_can_show_what_s_right.html

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  14. Thanks John and Pastor Bob for your feedback. I may not be well versed on the definition of "heresy" . I do believe history has shown many good people being punished and/or killed as heretics by many bad people. My argument is confined to the issue that while it may have a long history, and be quite popular, the concept of people living forever in hell is a contorted stretch of what the Bible actually says on the subject. Of course even those who claim "solo scriptura" often come up with many differences among themselves, I'm just saying John is too close to what I actually believe the Bible teaches on this subject to win the title "heretic". But be not dismayed John, you more than compensated on the dismissal of the importance and value of Christ's death on your first one to make up for it. Awhile back I read your sermon on the, generally referenced as the "Prodigal son" story. I found the parts I agreed with outweighed the parts of which I felt revulsion. (I guess if I keep reading I need use moderation and read them only occasionally in tiny segments.) I wish you all well. Mike

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  15. @Mike

    My posts on heresy are tongue in cheek. In my opinion, the very notion of heresy is a horrible blight on humanity. The fact that we can joke about it today hopefully means that we are not going to torture and kill human beings because they didn't believe things in which those who managed to grab power wanted them to believe.

    Thanks for your graciousness in noting the things I say that you agree with and for weighing them with those you disagree with.

    If all of us did that more often there might be less polarization. Thanks!

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