Sunday, November 08, 2009

A few delinquent comments added to the comboxes below, if you're following.

So now and then someone says that the death of Jesus wasn't enough of a sacrifice because it wasn't permanent. I'm not sure what would constitute "enough," but the idea is that all that suffering and actual death isn't very meaningful because it didn't take.

Well, guess what: no one's physical death is permanent. We're all getting our bodies back someday. People alive at the end of time won't die at all. So, who cares if or how long somebody stays dead? Life and the loss of it, having soul torn from flesh, has some meaning in and of itself. Get used to it. If you have a better example of suffering than Christ's crucifixion, I'm willing to entertain it. Anyone?

Reminds me of some other "arguments" I've heard that I can only describe as satanic apologetics--not in the sense of making the case for Satan specifically, but making a case against Christ and His Church, usually without the benefit of honest logic. They're so twisted I can't see any goal besides possibly satisfying twin urges of Schadenfreude and sadism.

One of the more troubling ones I've seen goes along the lines of "Why would you want to go to heaven? In heaven there is no time, so you will be unable to laugh, unable to smile, to interact with anyone. You'll be in this frozen state." First, let's pretend that's true. If we're not supposed to want to go to heaven, what's the alternative? Hell? They don't make the argument that heaven isn't real, just that it's distasteful; as if ending up in some pagan afterlife or hell is just a matter of preference. But hell is outside of time, as well. There, you won't smile or laugh or enjoy anyone's company, either. From what the apologist has put forward, hell is just like heaven, except it hurts a lot. Why is that supposed to be better?

Another is "The only things that aren't improving are the completely dead, because death doesn't change, and the perfect, which isn't stable and must soon lapse into decay, from everything I've seen." Boy, the afterlife is unlike anything you've seen. There's no entropy in the afterlife because the next world is in eternity, and someone with a less parochial view of time and change in this world would recognize that entropy is the sign that tells us the direction in which time moves--and that real perfection does not include the potential for decay.

Another interesting one: You think "Pope Joan" was the only female contender to the See of Rome? Think again: "Mary Magdalene was almost pope." In this one, since Mary got to the tomb before Peter or John, she would have been entitled to become pope, but she didn't enter, and neither did John, so Peter went home with that honor. Of course, who showed up at the tomb first has nothing to do with who had been named Rock. I could expect this muddling of the truth to perhaps confuse someone completely ignorant of the story of Jesus, but instead I saw it directed to a room full of Christians and well-educated pagans and agnostics. If I had been there at the time, I would have been insulted no matter which of the groups I belonged to. Mary showed up there first? Really? Just looking to get a rise out of people, now?

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