Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Hope Love Does Win

My brain has been really quiet lately, not much going on in my head. My dad used to tell all of his children that they had shiny little brains without a wrinkle in them. Lately, my little wrinkle-less brain has been totally empty. I hate to write something down that even bores the snot out of me so I’ve been waiting for a bolt of inspiration. Unfortunately nothing of any magnitude has come along.

Our Sunday school class has been reading Love Wins, by Rob Bell. We did have quite the discussion last Sunday led by a well-educated philosopher who spoke way over my head for most of the class. There were also lively interjections by a Cornell University science graduate who merely rebuffed any inquiry into matters that could not be measured scientifically.

Here are some excerpts from Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Has Ever Lived
“A staggering number of people have been taught that a few select Christians will spend forever in a peaceful, joyous place called heaven, while the rest of humanity spends forever in torment and punishment in hell with no chance for anything better. It's been clearly communicated to many that this belief is a central truth of the Christian faith and to reject it is, in essence, to reject Jesus. This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear."

"At the center of the Christian tradition since the first church has been the insistence that history is not tragic, hell is not forever, and love, in the end, wins."

"When people say they're tired of hearing about "sin" and "judgment: and "condemnation," it's often because those have been confused for them with the nature of God. God has no desire to inflict pain or agony on anyone."

"For some, the highest form of allegiance to their God is to attack, defame, and slander others who don't articulate matters of faith as they do."

"None of us have cornered the market on Jesus, and none of us ever will."

In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, Bell jokes: "I am not aware that labels are the highest form of goodness and truth." He rebuffs critics who say he presents a Jesus-optional Christianity: "Jesus spoke of the renewal of all things. He said, 'I have sheep who are not of this flock.' Through him, extraordinary things are happening in the world. If saying that gets you banned from the E-club, so be it."

Bell's view is "that God is love, that he sent Jesus to show us that love, that love demands freedom. So making definitive judgments about other people's destiny is not interesting to me. The heart of God is to rescue everyone from everything we need to be rescued from."

I can’t help but think about what my maternal grandmother’s reaction to this book might be. She was of a fundamentalist faith that did not encourage freethinking. In other words they did not care if “Inquiring minds wanted to know”.

One thing that was brought up in class was the idea that before we begin our earthly lives as humans we have all the knowledge we need. We know everything there is to know about God. It is an innate knowledge given to us all by God. But, once we enter into our earthly bodies and lives we may begin to lose that knowledge.

Well, the way I interrupted this is that we may have that innate knowledge but sometimes we just “educate” it right out of ourselves. (Like my two friends in class)  My thoughts are that we all or at least most of us have a voice inside us that we either choose to listen to or to ignore. That voice can be called a conscience or whatever else you might name it. If we listen to it we know when we are treating someone in a way that we would not like to be treated. We have to be conscious of our intention. Now what we humans are very good at is justifying our actions. Frankly I believe religion over complicates the whole thing.

"Satan is the best friend the church has ever had as he has kept it in business all these years." -Anton LaVey

“I’d rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be wrong.” –Pascal

I haven’t finished the book yet but there are some points that resonate with me. I agree with the author that the idea that geography may dictate whether you go to heaven or not never quite made sense to me. What would be God’s purpose for that?


kenju said...

I think I need to read that book. I agree with much of what you said.

Arkansas Patti said...

Really interesting and along my belief lines.
Do have to agree with Pascal.