June 13, 2011

Worse than being told that you've got to leave and the party's going on without you...

... would be to be told the party's going on forever and you're not allowed to leave. And the host insists that you have a good time.

It's Christopher Hitchens, talking about dying.

65 comments:

ricpic said...

Good try Hitch, but everyone wants to stay on at the party. I guarantee every one of the hot little intellectuals on that stage laughing with you can't think of a worse thing than the party ending for him.

rcocean said...

Anybody got the Clift Notes version? I'm still watching that other Chris Hitch masterpiece:

"Religion: A hateful idea, a hateful practice and a hateful theory."

Coketown said...

I know which scenario he believes is true, but I really doubt he believes the other is 'worse.' If less life really is preferable to more life, he wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to stay at the party while the host insists on handing him his hat. He would have forgone chemo and deep-sixed as soon as possible.

Irene said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Irene said...

What's worse is to think about how the people at both parties will go on without you.

Patrick said...

Coketown, I think the party to which he refers is the afterlife, which is eternal, i.e. cant' leave. Accordingly, he has no reason to cut short life on earth.

Coketown said...

@Patrick: I think that's a distinction only atheists make.

Patrick said...

Perhaps, but because they would believe in no afterlife, the distinction doesn't matter much.

I like Hitchens, I really enjoyed his memoir. I like his writing even when I disagree. I think his religion writing is his weakest. He never shows understanding of man's fallibility, thus imperfect institutions like the Church, which, imperfect as they are still have a Divine mission. It's too easy, and ultimately meaningless to say "priests raped young boys, therefore the whole thing is a sham."

Revenant said...

to be told the party's going on forever and you're not allowed to leave. And the host insists that you have a good time

Heh! Nice observation.

CachorroQuente said...

If Christians are right, Hitchens doesn't have to worry about staying on at the party for eternity. If Christians are right, he'll spend eternity in Hell and there's nothing he can do about it, either in this life or after.

Of course, for Hitchens, Hell would probably be spending eternity in the company of intellectual onanists like William Lane Craig and we all know where Craig's going to end up. That is, if there is a God.

Revenant said...

If less life really is preferable to more life, he wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to stay at the party while the host insists on handing him his hat.

The question isn't "more" vs "less". It is "finite" versus "infinite".

E.g., just because you enjoy learning doesn't mean you would enjoy knowing everything.

rcocean said...

"If less life really is preferable to more life, he wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to stay at the party while the host insists on handing him his hat. He would have forgone chemo and deep-sixed as soon as possible."

Its amazing how few people, even committed atheists, hasten their exit. It seems that almost everyone has to dragged, kicking and screaming, out the door. Even when the "party" has become boring and painful.

Revenant said...

Its amazing how few people, even committed atheists, hasten their exit.

Why is it "amazing" that a "committed atheist" wouldn't want to hasten his or her exit?

bagoh20 said...

"to be told the party's going on forever and you're not allowed to leave. And the host insists that you have a good time"

He better be right about this salvation thing, cause that would be the kind of Hell a perfect being would create for such a "believer".

The Crack Emcee said...

ricpic,

Good try Hitch, but everyone wants to stay on at the party. I guarantee every one of the hot little intellectuals on that stage laughing with you can't think of a worse thing than the party ending for him.

Oh bullshit. Not everyone looks at this existence and thinks, "Wow, I sure want to hang around here!" I tell you on a regular basis what a fucking mess you've made of it and - what? - do you think I'm kidding? I've got a head full of dead bodies, stretching back to my childhood, that I can't forget (along with the first images I can remember of my own parents giving me to others to raise) all to be followed up by my beautiful wife, destroying the great existence I had single-handedly created, to run away with a fruitcake only to kill more people - and they're not even in prison for that crime yet.

Yeah, ricpic, oooooh, please, give me more.

Your hubris is insufferable enough to make me want to slit my wrists right now.

bagoh20 said...

At this party, the door is always open, and many walk out, so don't pretend you don't like the music, the booze, or at least the chicks enough to overlook the dirty bathroom. You like it, or you wouldn't be sucking up our booze.

Kansas City said...

While I hope like heck that Hitchens is wrong, I thought that his comments were honest, funny and even engaging.

I particularly laughed at him saying if it is okay for believers to come to him as he is dying and say you'll be better if you believe in God, would it be okay for him to go to dying people and say you'll feel better if you just give up on this BS about God. It was mostly for laughs, although he was making the point about how it is accepted that believers can come to him and ask him to recant.

He also had a good line about death not being the party is over, but rather the party is going on without you. I thought his follow up line about heaven being the party going on and you have to stay was weak.

I thought Hitches was not as arrogant or dismissive towards believers as he has been in the past. He even conceded that he is merely saying that the existence of God is unknowable, not that he knows there is no God.

The Crack Emcee said...

Coketown,

I know which scenario he believes is true, but I really doubt he believes the other is 'worse.' If less life really is preferable to more life, he wouldn't be fighting tooth and nail to stay at the party while the host insists on handing him his hat. He would have forgone chemo and deep-sixed as soon as possible.

Man, you guys are really swinging for the rafters tonight:

Did he say he wanted to go - or was being asked to leave?

And have you ever been to a party that you seriously wanted out of? I have. Watching drunken fools wandering from one end of the room to the other, drink in hand, only to bump into the same idiots on the way back, and they have nothing more to say than the first time. It's madness.

Look, I have a small shot at getting what I want out of this life, and it has nothing to do with hanging around as long as possible. It's just to do my music thing, and answer a few questions and then, sure, kick me out, see if I care. I won't. My vision of love is warped to the point of a funhouse mirror so what is there after that? Nothing if you ask me. A life's got to have meaning, even if it's sketched on the margins, and most of mine is gone.

Right now, I'm tripping on how Ann Coulter can get so much attention for her book, "Demonic," about liberals and groupthink, and no one will speak up and say "Crack's been talking about that for years." Why should Coulter get the credit - or to talk about it? She's a believer. Who is she to criticize groupthink? She's part of one of the groups. It makes no sense.

But I'm supposed to be saying to myself, "Oh, yeah, bring on another day of this shit."

It's more like I wake up and think, "Another day of this shit, again? Great,..."

The Crack Emcee said...

Patrick,

I like Hitchens, I really enjoyed his memoir. I like his writing even when I disagree. I think his religion writing is his weakest. He never shows understanding of man's fallibility, thus imperfect institutions like the Church, which, imperfect as they are still have a Divine mission. It's too easy, and ultimately meaningless to say "priests raped young boys, therefore the whole thing is a sham."

But he doesn't say that. He says, using what you refer to as "a Divine mission," religion commits some of the most heinous crimes known to man, including mass murder, torture, and the infliction of mental anguish. It is only your belief that makes you blind to what you do, like when he spoke of the blackmail Christians have been attempting to inflict on him since he got ill. They see themselves as doing good, but anyone with a mind, uncluttered by celestial mutterings, can easily see the pain they do. He says "I can take it" but should he have to? Who are you to hurt him? Why don't you stop? You can't stop. Because to stop would be to admit how full of shit you are, and your beliefs, and then the shoe would be on the other foot, with YOU muttering to yourself about a fucked up life this is because because no one gives a fig about your desire to eat Jesus' flesh and blood.

This is some fucking sick shit you guys have here. Sick fucking shit.

The Crack Emcee said...

bagoh20,

At this party, the door is always open, and many walk out, so don't pretend you don't like the music, the booze, or at least the chicks enough to overlook the dirty bathroom. You like it, or you wouldn't be sucking up our booze.

Oh, you're all so full of shit when it comes to atheism. What do you know about it? The music, sure, but I've most of the interesting shit out there and, now, only want to add to it. if I don't get a chance, then fuck that. I listen to Classical in the truck - not because I'm enamored of old shit but because I'm bored with the new.

Booze? is that really the best you can do? At least say drugs, man, give life a fighting chance,...

And women? hell, women alone are almost enough to make a man want to reach for a gun. And I'm not talking about them doing you wrong, but that fucking cat lady Ann linked to the other day. And I'm not talking about her little crying jag over her obsession with kittens but THE FUCKING SOUND OF HER VOICE.

So, no, it's not the dirty bathroom - the bathroom can even be cleaned - but you're unwillingness to do anything about it, in the name of YOUR having a good time that grates.

Don't act like your happiness equals mine, because it don't, unless I let it.

That's a lesson I learned from you.

Revenant said...

At this party, the door is always open, and many walk out, so don't pretend you don't like the music, the booze, or at least the chicks enough to overlook the dirty bathroom.

I've attended some pretty awesome parties in my day, but I've never been to one that I wished would last for all eternity. Well, not once I'd sobered up anyway. :)

bagoh20 said...

"Don't act like your happiness equals mine, because it don't, unless I let it.

Exactly, but I doubt you could ever reach my level. Imagine feeling yourself the luckiest SOB that you know. To believe that you yourself have it better than any man should expect. To be absolutely satisfied about last year, yesterday, right now, tomorrow, and next week. To have your worst regrets be that everyone else does not have it. It's a gift and I only hope you really can do it if you want, but I think it's genetic or mostly so. In other words: I'm the luckiest fucker alive! WooHoo! Party on!

Bender said...

If Christians are right, he'll spend eternity in Hell and there's nothing he can do about it, either in this life or after.
______________

A true Christian does not attempt to know the state of Hitchens' soul.

And since God does not delight in the death of anyone, being a God of the living, there is something that Hitchens can do about where he might go after he shuffles off this mortal coil -- he can allow himself to be opened up to the possibility of love, he can have a spark of desire in his heart to know this love, to be with this love, rather than be forever self-enclosed.

All he need do, if that is all he is capable of, is merely raise a tiny finger toward love and truth. Just a tiny bit. Allow at least an ember, a spark to remain.

Do that, and God will do the rest.

As for the party -- it doesn't last forever. It lasts in eternity. The party does not have the tedium of time, which would indeed be a kind of hell, but is ever new.

And you are allowed to leave. But because the party is ever new, if you want to leave, it is as if you left as soon as you came, that is, as if you never came to the party in the first place. You are invited to the party, but not obliged to come -- if you want to stay home alone, you can do that too.

windbag said...

Hitchens has a remarkable command of the English language and is entertaining to boot. However, it is wearisome to listen to him drone on, railing against God and religion. He speaks confidently and aggressively...and faithlessly.

That's the thing--faith. You can't argue someone into belief. I used to try. Hitchens lacks faith, whether by choice or divine decree (that's another argument for another time). That's not a slam against him; it's an observation.

Fred4Pres said...

We are all dying Christopher. I hope you get to stay a long time.

bagoh20 said...

Why are atheists so pissed off all the time? Believers seem mostly happy and even us agnostics are. In the words of a famous lying poseur: "Keep hope alive!" and the book says: "The truth will set you free." The truth is that you don't know shit, and so it does set you free... to believe what you want.

Titus said...

As many of you know here I am an intellectual but hate to admit it. Harvard educated, I spent many a dinner with Paglia, Hitch and Sullivan during the early 90's.

So yes, this is a very tragic and difficult time for all of us. But throughout it all I still have God, the Almighty.

Yes, they too accepted my debauchery, similar to Althouse. Because they understood behind it all stood a mind, a human, a man.

Thank you so much.

Good day and Good night, fellow republicans.

At this moment I am both sexually drained and spiritually wrecked and therefore am no longer able to speak or type or write.

Revenant said...

Why are atheists so pissed off all the time?

We aren't. You're projecting. :)

Largo said...

God bless you, Titus.

LarsPorsena said...

The continual nervous laughing of the audience makes this hard to watch.

edutcher said...

Nobody objects to having a good time, so there are a couple of holes in his metaphor.

Irene said...

What's worse is to think about how the people at both parties will go on without you.

You read my mind.

The corollary is to try to imagine how the world could have possibly gotten along before you (at about 8 years old, I found an old newspaper dated a couple of months before I was born. Just blew my little baby mind).

CachorroQuente said...

If Christians are right, Hitchens doesn't have to worry about staying on at the party for eternity. If Christians are right, he'll spend eternity in Hell and there's nothing he can do about it, either in this life or after.

Depends on the Christians. Catholics believe in Limbo, a place for virtuous pagans, etc.

PS It takes religion for good people to do evil?

What drivel.

Triangle Man said...

Mr. Crack MC knocking them out of the park.

Bob Ellison said...

@Revenant, why was that crazy old guy in Blazing Saddles repeatedly shouting your name in the church?

Fred4Pres said...

Well at least Hitch got to see Weiner gate...NOT!

Actually one of my favorite stories is him tearing down some Neo Nazi crap last year in Lebanon and then getting in a fist fight with some Arab Neo Nazis. Good times. Good times.

Crack, I have no idea how Coulter does it. Her voice is annoying too and she looks like she stepped off a gay pride parade drag queen float.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

As a starting point, assume God. Most thinking people would thence accept that God must be perfect: in love, mercy, wisdom, justice, whatever, for an imperfect God is not really God at all.

Therein, BTW, lies the point of departure for many atheists and some agnostics -- they observe horrible things in life they do not comprehend and proceed through putative divine perfection to the conclusion (erroneous IMO) that ergo there is no God because human life is imperfect.

Hitch and others have chosen to alienate themselves from God, to the extent of utterly denying the divine. For these people, eternity in "heaven" would really be "hell," would it not?

I see, therefore, two broad possibilities, again assuming God: a) upon his death Hitch finds himself in "heaven," which he has already described as a sort of "hell." or b) God grants Hitch his wish of permanent separation and alienation. Either way, Hitch is in "hell."

Here I'll paraphrase Pascal's famous wager -- not only do I believe there is God, I believe that receiving Jesus' self-sacrifice as the gift it was intended to be is the only path to restoring my relationship with God, badly broken as it is by my own willful sin and rebellion.

I could well be wrong, but I'll never know it. One moment I'll be dead, and that's the end. If, however, Hitch is wrong, his first reaction after bodily death is quite likely to be "Oh, SHIT!"

The details I'll leave to God. In my own case I find absolutely no downside to belief, and it has already altered my life vastly for the better. That there would be an eternal aspect in the "fuller presence of God" as the jargon goes is an upside I cannot yet comprehend.

I have, however, chosen to apprehend that gift.

gerry said...

Catholics believe in Limbo, a place for virtuous pagans, etc.

"Limbo" is not a Catholic doctrine or dogma. It is a theory, only, not a belief.

Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.

The Crack Emcee said...

There - I've had time to sleep on it ("Another day of this shit, again? Great,...") and I know, unless it happens in some tragic fashion, I will leave here slamming the door behind me.

And just to be completely honest, as I awoke this morning, I didn't think, "Another day of this shit" but "Just. Don't. Open. Your. Eyes,..."

LarsPorsena said...

"...And just to be completely honest, as I awoke this morning, I didn't think, "Another day of this shit" but "Just. Don't. Open. Your. Eyes,..."

I'm sorry to hear that. I hope you can find some meaning or joy to make your days worthwhile.

Mickey said...

One of the most profound things I've heard him say.

Hitchens reminds me of things that I already thought when I was a kid sitting in church, my mind still fresh ahead of the years of humiliation and manipulation that would follow.

Thank goodness for his telling it like it is.

Also, don't misconstrue his statement into meaning "less life is preferable to more life," simply that mortality is preferable to immortality. I for one am not going to stand in the way of technological advances that might extend life several thousand years, which may occur in the coming decades.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fred4Pres,

Crack, I have no idea how Coulter does it. Her voice is annoying too and she looks like she stepped off a gay pride parade drag queen float.

All true, and with the most bizarre hands anyone's ever seen off of an orangutang. How she got into the last "Hot Conservative Chicks of 2011" I don't know (Why they keep holding such a contest confuses me, too, but that also probably indicates why they don't want to have me.) Somebody's tripping.

All that aside, AC is quick as a whip, and I applaud her merely for comprehending the Liberal/groupthink/Demonic idea (her opening quote, of Jesus meeting the Demon and discovering him saying "we," is a brilliant illustration of the issue.) That's more than most people are capable of and I'll take any one, or any example, getting the idea out there. Though, when I see her in the media, I don't think she's as good a spokesman as I am for explaining it. She's never once mentioned NewAge, for instance, and doesn't appear to understand how it all ties together. I held a couple of my friends spellbound yesterday, just explaining the concept of "organized religion" and "unorganized religion." I betcha Coulter and the rest don't have a clue about that. As I told my friends, when it comes to the depravations between the two, I'll take the Catholic priests diddling little boys to most of what I see NewAgers doing to everybody - but it's currently the NewAgers who are allowed to roam free and are still in everyone's good graces. Shameful. Not only because of what they do, but that people are so gullible and will let them. Or even help them.

As I've said, many times, I will not spend a dime in a Whole Foods.

LarsPorsena said...

"One of the most profound things I've heard him say."

Hate to burst your bubble but this metaphor (simile) is right out of 'Reader's Digest' from 40 years ago.

As I recall... 'Life is like a party. It has started before you get there and it will be going on when you leave.'

Fred4Pres said...

I will not shop in Whole Foods for the simple reason I consider paying 200% over what other stores charge to be stupid. I do not need to pay for New Age indulgences. If I need a fix of mung beans, I can go to the Asian store down the street and get them for a fraction of what WF charges.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA),

Hitch and others have chosen to alienate themselves from God, to the extent of utterly denying the divine.

That is a lie. I never had god. The concept has never made an imprint on my life, and what I've seen of it has disgusted me. People spouting delusional nonsense, accepting the impossible ("Jesus walked on water") making claims they never even attempted to live up to (Sin on Saturday, church on Sunday) and committing all the evil I could stomach - or couldn't.

"Utterly denying the divine." You posers have no idea what that even could mean. Your divine, as Hitchens so eloquently explained, is just another form of Hell - but it's the one you endorse, so you won't shut up about it, no matter who it hurts. (The idea of hurting someone was never enough to stop a believer. Nor was letting people get some sleep on a Sunday morning: if you weren't forced to go to church, here comes the fucking missionaries at your door,...) Actually, if I deny anything, it's just that:

That you understand anything about that which you flack for.

And that "chosen to alienate" line is exhibit 'A".

Fred4Pres said...

I tease Ann about her pronouced adam's apple and her huge Katoi hands, but I agree she is smart and can be entertaining at times.

Personally, I think what Ann does is a schtick.

Fred4Pres said...

Titus, I wish you solace.

As for Hitch, I wish him to recover from a very dangerous (and likely deadly) cancer. I do not know Hitch personally, but I like his work a lot and I do know he is a fighter. I would like him to stick around.

As for Sullivan, he needs to lay off Sarah Palin's coochie. Some might start thinking he is a closeted straight man the way he focuses on that thing.

The Crack Emcee said...

Fred4Pres,

Titus, I wish you solace.

As do I. It was refreshing to you speaking with your own voice, though I prefer the idiot who plays with his shit.

As for Hitch, I wish him to recover from a very dangerous (and likely deadly) cancer. I do not know Hitch personally, but I like his work a lot and I do know he is a fighter. I would like him to stick around.

He looks better than I was expecting, though I didn't look to see when that was recorded. I met him once, and he gave me a book (the one about Bill Clinton) that he autographed, which I cherish. I don't get to have many many heroes, and watching one of my favorites face death - and knowing everyone else is watching, too - is more ironic than sad. Atheists are probably the bravest people on the planet.

As for Sullivan, he needs to lay off Sarah Palin's coochie. Some might start thinking he is a closeted straight man the way he focuses on that thing.

He is insane, and so is The Atlantic for keeping him on. His employment is proof of the contempt which others hold our intelligence. One conspiracy theory, fine. Two? What's up, dude? Three - sorry, this is America and we all understand baseball rules - you're outta here.

And being gay shouldn't change that.

Thorley Winston said...

What Bender wrote

Thorley Winston said...

He is insane, and so is The Atlantic for keeping him on.

Per Megan McArdle, Sully’s blogging at the Daily Beast now.

Thorley Winston said...

PS It takes religion for good people to do evil?

I always found that amusing. It seems to me that during the last century, most of the real evil in the world was committed by Hitch’s fellow travelers when he was a committed socialist. How many tens of millions were murdered by the Soviets and the Chi Coms? Seems to me that religion had precious little to do with it.

jimbino said...

Hitchins surely regrets that he will not live to see the demise of religion and the exaltation of science. I'm afraid I feel the same way.

CachorroQuente said...

As for the party -- it doesn't last forever. It lasts in eternity. The party does not have the tedium of time, which would indeed be a kind of hell, but is ever new.

You can't have eternity without time, Baby. The idea of time is inherent within the idea of eternity.

If Hitchens is being honest with us, and I have no reason to believe he is not and good reason to believe he is, though not from personal experience with him, he has no more ability to lift a little finger towards superstitious nonsense than pigs do to fly.

Fred4Pres said...

Sullivan left The Atlantic. He is at the Daily Beast. He and Tina Brown are perfect together.

Fred4Pres said...

Believe what you will. If there is life after death, well we will find that out, won't we? If not...then it is oblivion. Then again, what we do in life echoes in eternity (why not quote from Gladiator?).


"Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back."

Oligonicella said...

bagoh20 --

"Why are atheists so pissed off all the time?"

Straw. We're not. You just think so. Exactly like religious folk, some are, some aren't. I'm not, for instance.

roesch-voltaire said...

Crack when you wrote: "My vision of love is warped to the point of a funhouse mirror so what is there after that? Nothing if you ask me." I felt it a sad but truthful statement. In contrast, I think the thing about Hitch is that he loves what he does, writing, thinking, drinking, family and doesn't need to add any metaphysics to the mix. Somehow a love of living is essential, whether form a religious standpoint or secular one.

William said...

Sometime in the future, in order to raise money to cover her second husband's legal fees, Chelsea will spill the beans on the dynamics of her parents' marriage. Neither Hitch nor I will be around to read that book. You do miss out on a lot of things after death.

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Hey, Crack -- I regularly enjoy and respect your comments. Today is no exception.

In any reasonable discussion you have to establish the assumptions: in this case that there is God. My comments about alienation thus proceed logically from that initial assumption, clearly stated.

We can debate the assumption, but it is not particularly fair to refute (somewhat a priori)the logical consequences of that assumption solely upon the basis that you disagree with said assumption.

That there are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and what-not behaving in appalling fashion far beyond the tenets of their fate ... is undeniable and profoundly unfortunate.

CachorroQuente said...

Yeah, so you assume God. And then, you assign all sorts of characteristics to this God that you have assumed; characteristics which do not necessarily follow from your initial assumption. Jefferson, for example, would not agree with the characteristics that you wish to assign to this God of yours. Indeed, there is no particularly good reason for this assumed God to have any interest whatsoever in the human race and there is no evidence that there is a God who is interested. If we assume an interested God (in addition to assuming God in the first place) the most likely attitude that we could discern for God would be hostility towards humanity; or, at best, caprice.

The Crack Emcee said...

Bart Hall (Kansas, USA),

Hey, Crack -- I regularly enjoy and respect your comments. Today is no exception.

Hey, Bart, thanks. We've never met - Hi.

That there are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and what-not behaving in appalling fashion far beyond the tenets of their fate ... is undeniable and profoundly unfortunate.

It is. It wouldn't be as hard for me to take if people would, at least, acknowledge it, and learn how it works, but, instead, they just want to ask "Why are atheists so angry?" like watching the Jews being marched off to the ovens was a good time for everyone left behind. Most people hung out of their windows, waved the schwastika, and thought something great was happening.

The Crack Emcee said...

Sorry, that should've read:

"Most people hung out of their windows, waved the schwastika, and thought something great was happening. But what was it like for the rest? That's what it's like for me."

Bender said...

You can't have eternity without time
__________________

You have a grossly mistaken concept of "eternity."

Eternity transcends the temporal. It is beyond and outside of linear time.

There is no "before" or "past" in eternity, there is no "after" or "future," there is only "now." In eternity, everything is in the "is," rather than the "was" or the "will be."

In eternity, all of history in linear time exists as a singularity, and simultaneously, any given individual moment exists in perpetuity.

With respect to the eternal God, from His perspective, both the beginning of the world and the ending of the world are happening right now. He is not some being who is 100 trillion-plus years old, trapped within the prison of temporality. Rather, He is ageless. And, as it is revealed in Revelation, He "makes all things new." So to be one with Him is to be in a state of ever-newness.

Bender said...

BH: That there are Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, and what-not behaving in appalling fashion far beyond the tenets of their fate ... is undeniable and profoundly unfortunate.

TCE: It is. It wouldn't be as hard for me to take if people would, at least, acknowledge it, and learn how it works, but, instead, they just want to ask . . .


I really don't understand the example you go on to give about the pagan Nazis, but as for the above point --

Actually, a great many people do acknowledge it and they know exactly how it works. Man is an imperfect, fallen being, including those who profess a faith. His judgment is clouded, he has difficulty discerning right from wrong, or even sometimes denies that right and wrong exist, and all too often man chooses to do evil, rather than good.

That is clear from all of human history. Christians, et al. are no exception. They too are sinners, and often their sins are worse because they profess to claim to want to do good and avoid evil, and yet they do not live up to it. Each and every day, they fall short.

But it is exactly because they are not perfect, because they are sinners, because they have done wrong by their own free will, but also because they are slaves to error and wrong judgment even when they want to do good, it is because all of this that they need someone else to redeem them, to save them from their folly, to pay the debt that they can never pay themselves, someone to take the justice that they deserve upon Himself.

Christians, far from denying their guilt, freely acknowledge it and beg forgiveness. Some even do it in a confessional.

They need forgiving for the wrongs they've done. We all do. We all need to reconcile ourselves with the good that we are called to be, to be reconciled to the love that we are made for.

That is how it works. As for why are atheists so angry -- well, lots of people are angry, atheists and believers are no exception. Too many people are angry. Better to let it go. Better to set down the anger, whoever has it. It doesn't make anyone's life happier. Rather, love makes one happier.

Revenant said...

@Revenant, why was that crazy old guy in Blazing Saddles repeatedly shouting your name in the church?

Because of garn darn bull nar bishen cutter, obviously.

Revenant said...

As a starting point, assume God. Most thinking people would thence accept that God must be perfect: in love, mercy, wisdom, justice, whatever, for an imperfect God is not really God at all. Therein, BTW, lies the point of departure for many atheists and some agnostics

Um, no.

The point of departure for most atheists is in the first sentence. You say "assume God". We don't.

You can't deduce the existence of a god; you have to assume one exists and then start thinking of excuses for it. :)

The Crack Emcee said...

Bender, you're speaking in generalities and I want people to understand religion and spirituality in specifics. Believers can't do that - refuse to do that - because then they have to confront what doesn't make sense, and then they risk their faith.

To me that means they'd rather have babies set on fire, or deprived of medical care, or people ripped off, or mentally fractured, and so on. That really is the choice.

I remember this one crazy story about these two sisters who held a gun on their brother, demanding he accept Jesus or some other nonsense, and I knew exactly how they got there, but I'm sure they didn't. All they knew was they were defending religion and trying to save his soul - by threatening to take his life. That's the sort of madness this whole deal is built on. If they had even an *inkling* of the mechanics of belief there would be no way they could find themselves there, doing that sort of thing, and risking so much, because the foolishness at the heart of all would've never let them go there. But no. Instead they've got an entire society saying "Go on - do it" because they're all fallen and imperfect and anything else that gives the O.K. to be as crazy as you want to be in the service of what never was. Like the man said - I'm paraphrasing:

A good man can do good, and a bad man can do bad, but for a good man to do bad - that takes a belief.