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December 20, 2006

The Blasphemy Challenge

Would you trade your soul for a DVD? Well, over one hundred young people (and counting) have.

A group calling itself the “Rational Response Squad" is inviting people (mainly teens) to blaspheme the Holy Spirit and thereby commit the “unpardonable sin.” If you are among the first 1001 people to declare “I deny the Holy Spirit” and post your denial on YouTube, you, too, will receive the free DVD, “The God Who Wasn’t There.”

Now on one hand, whatever naughtiness these folks think they’re committing in their cheeky videos, they’re not blaspheming the Holy Spirit. To do that requires an admission of supernaturalism—a definite no-no to free-thinking rationalists like the RRS. You see, according to Scripture, the “unpardonable sin” is to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan.

On the other hand, this is a very clever ploy by the RRS. They realize that once someone has jumped off this “cliff” they can’t change their mind as they plunge down the abyss. If you’re convinced that regardless of later revelations you are beyond forgiveness, your only choice is the full court press of godless rationalism.

Disturbingly, the RRS reports that the Blasphemy Challenge is targeting 25 websites geared to teens including Xanga, Friendster, Boy Scout Trail, Tiger Beat, Teen Magazine, YM, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. Their aim: to de-program kids who have been indoctrinated from birth to believe in God, in general, and Christianity in particular.

In the words of RRS, “If we talked about religion the same way we talk about science, history or other fields involving truth claims, dogma would wither in the light.”

They may be on to something. If religion and, say, evolutionary science were held to the same standards of testability and falsifiablity, dogma would wither—especially that incapable of accounting for the diversity and complexity of life, not to mention existence itself, and the great metaphysical questions of meaning and purpose.

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Comments

Brian Sapient

Nowhere in the bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the holy spirit. There are many ways to blaspheme, the example that was given happened to be those who believed, however they don't talk about those who don't believe. It's unimportant anyway, atheists are going to hell anyway. God created us knowing that we'd be good people, knowing that we wouldn't have the evidence to believe in him, knowing that he was merely allowing us to come into existence to receive our eternal torture because he loves us.

The importance is the intent behind the project. And that intent is to show you that it's very easy to do what we believe would send us to hell if there existed a hell. The point is that we want you to see how little credence we give to your dogma, and how normally rational and honest individuals are so sure that your hell doesn't exist that we'd commit ourselves to it, knowing it doesn't. You've had fear of hell instilled in you, and there is nothing to fear, it's ok, release the chains of mental slavery, and let's move forward, together.

Lizzie

That's disgusting. I have struggled before with fears of committing the unforgivable sin, and these people are making it something to be laughed at and taken lightly. What's more, what if one of these kids is at a turning point somewhere in the future, and then rejects Christ just because he thinks he's already committed the unforgivable sin; that it's too late?

Rebekah Simmons

That is very interesting.

Frank Walton

I had a run in with the Rational Response squad a few months ago. I describe the incident here:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/09/rational-responders-react-irrationally.html

I actually responded to RR's Blasphemy Challenge too:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/12/rational-responders-are-going-to-hell.html

To be frank, they are hatemongers. Even RR member, Brian Sapient, admitted that his Christian mother should be committed to a mental hospital just because she's a Chrsitian[!]:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/10/brian-sapient-disses-his-own-mother.html

Furthermore, I just found out that RR member, Rook Hawkins, has a history of plagiarism:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/12/is-rook-hawkins-plagiarizer.html

Honestly, these guys are nothing more than narcissists.

Dr. Paul W. Collins

This is nothing more than the same old head in the sand exercise sponsored by Satan that we have seen for centuries. The theory is that is you deny the existence of an all powerful and loving creator then you don't have to be responsible for your violation of God's Laws. Sorry sinners, Jesus holds us responsible for our sin whether we play peek a boo or not. Remember that His death on the cross at calvary made it possible for us to be forgiven and as a result re-established the connection we had with God originally. Sinners should be running toward God, not away from Him.

Rose Bexar

This scheme is literally diabolical. Reminds me of Marlowe's Faustus--he abjures the Trinity to conjure Mephistopheles, and because he believes he has sinned beyond God's power to forgive, he rejects every chance he has to repent before Satan comes for his soul.
As to these rationalists (who sound like they fit G. K. Chesterton's definition of maniacs), I wonder if they've stopped to ask, as Derrida did, what the reason for reason might be. I suspect they haven't; the possible answers are generally too unsettling to someone of that bent.

Steve Blake

Three thousand years of belief in a montheistic "God." Not one single shred of proof.
BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!
Pax, Steve

samantha

I Believe in God and I think it is horrible what they are doing I thought I had commited it and it's a horrible thing to live with and worry about. I just pray that God touches these people.

Frank Walton

Hi Brian,

I'm glad you actually responded. You're known for backing away from challenges, debates, and criticisms:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/10/brian-sapient-of-rational-responders.html

So this is a relief!

But let's see what you had to say (incidentally, your initials are BS):

BS: Nowhere in the bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the holy spirit.

FW: Nowhere in the Bible? Then why did you say there WAS somewhere in the Bible? Here, I'll quote you,

"... the example that was given (Mark 3:29) happened to be those who believed..." [paranthesis mine]

LOL! Wow, Brian. You seem kind of mixed up there because you openly contradicted yourself.

But what Regis Nicoll is saying is that you're NOT committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Again, this is what Nicoll said, lest you take him out of context,

"Now on one hand, whatever naughtiness these folks think they’re committing in their cheeky videos, they’re not blaspheming the Holy Spirit. To do that requires an admission of supernaturalism—a definite no-no to free-thinking rationalists like the RRS. You see, according to Scripture, the 'unpardonable sin' is to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan."

You see? If you have another interpretation of this, Brain, let's read it. Not once did you or your buddy, Rook Hawkins, ever give an interpretation of Mark 3. All you guys did was quote Mark 3:29 without the benefit of putting it in context. Now that you've been caught you can't concede that your "Blasphemy Challenge" is based on a false premise!

BS: There are many ways to blaspheme, the example that was given happened to be those who believed...

FW: Again, you just contradicted yourself because earlier you said, "[n]owhere in the bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the holy spirit."

BS: ... however they don't talk about those who don't believe.

FW: LOL! Then why did you use Mark 3:29 to bolster your case in your "Blasphemy Challenge"? In fact, you have that verse plastered all over your youtube advertisements! You just admitted that your "Blasphemy Challenge" is based on a false premise! Thank you.

Look, you obviously think that "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" is to merely deny the Holy Spirit. You've been shown that wasn't the case. But now that you know what it really means, you should know that anybody who literally says, "I deny the Holy Spirit" in those youtube videos can still be forgiven. Now that's something you can't deny!

BS: It's unimportant anyway...

FW: It is important, Brian. What you need to do now is to go back and apologize for taking the Bible deliberately out of context. In so many words, you conceded that point.

BS:... atheists are going to hell anyway.

FW: True, but that does NOT give you the right to interpret the Bible any way you want. When given the facts, you rearrange it to mean something else.

BS: God created us knowing that we'd be good people...

FW: God made us good, but since He's omniscient, He knew we'd sin. That doesn't make us exactly good anymore. You've just taken the Bible out of context again.

BS: ... knowing that we wouldn't have the evidence to believe in him...

FW: It depends how you interpret that evidence.

BS: ... knowing that he was merely allowing us to come into existence to receive our eternal torture because he loves us.

FW: Well, you had the opportunity to believe in Him or not. You chose the latter so you're receiving your just condemnation.

BS: The importance is the intent behind the project. And that intent is to show you that it's very easy to do what we believe would send us to hell if there existed a hell.

FW: You wanted to show us how easy it is to go to hell? Which Christian ever denied that? I didn't. On the other hand, it's very very very hard to be a Christian. In fact, we can't even save ourselves. It's only by the grace of God that we're saved.

BS: The point is that we want you to see how little credence we give to your dogma...

FW: Dude, no kidding. You couldn't even interpret a Bible verse.

BS: ... and how normally rational and honest individuals are so sure that your hell doesn't exist that we'd commit ourselves to it, knowing it doesn't.

FW: Uh, yeah, that's very brave of you for going to a place that you don't even think exists. That's like me saying, "Hey guys, I'm brave enough to go to a non-existing torture chamber!" That's not exatly a rational or honest thing.

BS: You've had fear of hell instilled in you...

FW: Brian, Christians aren't Christians because we're scared of hell. We follow Christianity because it's true. It's a reasonable worldview.

BS: ... and there is nothing to fear, it's ok, release the chains of mental slavery, and let's move forward, together.

FW: Mental slavery? To me, mental slavery is using something out of context as a means to an ends. And that's exactly what you're doing. You have mislead a host of young people in your hatemongering dogma.

In conclusion,

1. Brian Sapient contradicted himself. He says nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, but then contradicts himself and concedes that one must believe in order to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (in Mark 3:29).

2. Brian Sapient uses Mark 3:29 in his youtube video advertisements when he concedes that it only applies to those who believe. But he uses that verse anyway for those who DON'T believe. In other words, he knows he's using that verse out of context.

3. Brain Sapient has the faulty thinking that the "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" is to simply deny Him. As we've seen that wasn't the case. Again, this is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:

"To experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan."

That's all.

4. With that in mind, everybody in their youtube videos taking up the "Blasphemy Challenge" while saying "I deny the Holy Spirit" can be forgiven.

Honestly, it hurts me to see people fooling themselves over and over. Brian Sapient isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the shed:

http://atheismsucks.blogspot.com/2006/09/stupid-mind-of-brian-sapient.html

Frank Walton

Brian,

BS: Nowhere in the bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the holy spirit.

FW: Nowhere in the Bible? Then why did you say there WAS somewhere in the Bible? Here, I'll quote you,

"... the example that was given (Mark 3:29) happened to be those who believed..." [paranthesis mine]

LOL! Wow, Brian. You seem kind of mixed up there because you openly contradicted yourself.

But what Regis Nicoll is saying is that you're NOT committing the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Again, this is what Nicoll said, lest you take him out of context,

"Now on one hand, whatever naughtiness these folks think they’re committing in their cheeky videos, they’re not blaspheming the Holy Spirit. To do that requires an admission of supernaturalism—a definite no-no to free-thinking rationalists like the RRS. You see, according to Scripture, the 'unpardonable sin' is to experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan."

You see? If you have another interpretation of this, Brain, let's read it. Not once did you or your buddy, Rook Hawkins, ever give an interpretation of Mark 3. All you guys did was quote Mark 3:29 without the benefit of putting it in context. Now that you've been caught you can't concede that your "Blasphemy Challenge" is based on a false premise!

BS: There are many ways to blaspheme, the example that was given happened to be those who believed...

FW: Again, you just contradicted yourself because earlier you said, "[n]owhere in the bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the holy spirit."

BS: ... however they don't talk about those who don't believe.

FW: LOL! Then why did you use Mark 3:29 to bolster your case in your "Blasphemy Challenge"? In fact, you have that verse plastered all over your youtube advertisements! You just admitted that your "Blasphemy Challenge" is based on a false premise! Thank you.

Look, you obviously think that "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" is to merely deny the Holy Spirit. You've been shown that wasn't the case. But now that you know what it really means, you should know that anybody who literally says, "I deny the Holy Spirit" in those youtube videos can still be forgiven. Now that's something you can't deny!

BS: It's unimportant anyway...

FW: It is important, Brian. What you need to do now is to go back and apologize for taking the Bible deliberately out of context. In so many words, you conceded that point.

BS:... atheists are going to hell anyway.

FW: True, but that does NOT give you the right to interpret the Bible any way you want. When given the facts, you rearrange it to mean something else.

BS: God created us knowing that we'd be good people...

FW: God made us good, but since He's omniscient, He knew we'd sin. That doesn't make us exactly good anymore. You've just taken the Bible out of context again.

BS: ... knowing that we wouldn't have the evidence to believe in him...

FW: It depends how you interpret that evidence.

BS: ... knowing that he was merely allowing us to come into existence to receive our eternal torture because he loves us.

FW: Well, you had the opportunity to believe in Him or not. You chose the latter so you're receiving your just condemnation.

BS: The importance is the intent behind the project. And that intent is to show you that it's very easy to do what we believe would send us to hell if there existed a hell.

FW: You wanted to show us how easy it is to go to hell? Which Christian ever denied that? I didn't. On the other hand, it's very very very hard to be a Christian. In fact, we can't even save ourselves. It's only by the grace of God that we're saved.

BS: The point is that we want you to see how little credence we give to your dogma...

FW: Dude, no kidding. You couldn't even interpret a Bible verse.

BS: ... and how normally rational and honest individuals are so sure that your hell doesn't exist that we'd commit ourselves to it, knowing it doesn't.

FW: Uh, yeah, that's very brave of you for going to a place that you don't even think exists. That's like me saying, "Hey guys, I'm brave enough to go to a non-existing torture chamber!" That's not exatly a rational or honest thing.

BS: You've had fear of hell instilled in you...

FW: Brian, Christians aren't Christians because we're scared of hell. We follow Christianity because it's true. It's a reasonable worldview.

BS: ... and there is nothing to fear, it's ok, release the chains of mental slavery, and let's move forward, together.

FW: Mental slavery? To me, mental slavery is using something out of context as a means to an ends. And that's exactly what you're doing.

In conclusion,

1. Brian Sapient contradicted himself. He says nowhere in the Bible does it say anything about needing to believe in order to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, but then contradicts himself and concedes that one must believe in order to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (in Mark 3:29).

2. Brian Sapient uses Mark 3:29 in his youtube video advertisements when he concedes that it only applies to those who believe. But he uses that verse anyway for those who DON'T believe. In other words, he knows he's using that verse out of context.

3. Brain Sapient has the faulty thinking that the "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" is to simply deny Him. As we've seen that wasn't the case. Again, this is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit:

"To experience the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and attribute it to another supernatural agent: Satan."

That's all.

4. With that in mind, everybody in their youtube videos taking up the "Blasphemy Challenge" while saying "I deny the Holy Spirit" can be forgiven.

Robert Ericksen

I have less problem with the stupid children who would do this then someone claiming they know what blasphemy of the holy spirit is as there has never been a general agreement of what Jesue meant by that statement. It could have much deeper meanings or simply mean not accepting Christ when the holy spirit touches your life is blasphemy. I find Christians worry too much about things outside their own life when the church is full of sin including pornography, lust, greed maybe we should think about those things rather than some stupid posting on you tube. God doesn't tell us to chase these things not anywhere in the bible but to touch those who would listen, pray, keep our own lives right before god and make desciples.

Bonnie Harvey

I would not take lightly the invitation and acceptance to publicly refuse the Holy Spirit. From reading Job, we see the heavenly rules of engagement regarding contact with humans. We can refuse to accept Satan and his demons and God will honor that decision and protect us. Why could we not refuse the Holy Spirit and have God honor that, also? Humankind is already deep in spiritual warfare that we don't even recognize. Just the fact a group is willing to give away 1,000 DVD's is an indication that in their (demon) world, this is not nothing. It is a big something. Your website should urge young people against the dangers of doing anything that could be constued as either a nod to Satan or a halt to God.

Lund

I think I've committed the unpardonable sin. How can I know?

I have talked with Christians and non-Christians who were afraid they had committed the unpardonable sin. Just about everyone had a different understanding of exactly what it was, but they all felt hopeless. Christians who believe they have committed the unpardonable sin have a difficult—if not impossible—time accepting the doctrine of eternal security. This is the main reason we need to deal with the issue.
Hundreds of verses in the Bible promise the forgiveness of our sins, but only one passage refers to an unforgivable sin. Let's examine it to gain insight.
Jesus had healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and could not speak, "so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw" (Matthew 12:22). The multitudes following Jesus began to say, "This man cannot be the Son of David, can He?" They wondered if He was the Messiah.
On the other hand, the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons. Jesus' response to their accusation led Him to conclude what He said in Matthew 12:31-32. In this passage He refers to blasphemy.
The term blasphemy may be defined "defiant irreverence." We would apply the term to such sins as cursing God or willfully degrading things considered holy. In this passage the term refers to the declaration of the Pharisees who had witnessed undeniable evidence that Christ was performing miracles in the power of the Holy Spirit. Yet they attributed the miracles to Satan. In the face of irrefutable evidence they ascribed the work of the Holy Spirit to that of Satan.
I agree with a host of biblical scholars that this unique circumstance cannot be duplicated today. The Pharisees had seen proof of Christ's deity. But instead of acknowledging Jehovah God, they attributed the supernatural power to Satan instead of the work of the Holy Spirit.
Christ is not in the world as He was then. Although the Holy Spirit still accomplishes supernatural things through His servants, they are merely representatives of the King. The circumstances of Matthew 12 make it impossible for this sin to take place today. This incident, I might add, is the only one in which a sin is declared unforgivable. The Bible states, "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13). No invitation to salvation carries with it an exception clause, "unless you have committed the unpardonable sin."
No matter how evil our sins, there is pardon for them. God forgave David for his adultery, dishonesty, and murder (2 Samuel 12:13, Psalm 51). Simon Peter's denial of our Lord accompanied by profanity was forgiven (Matthew 26:74-75). The apostle Paul was forgiven of his preconversion merciless persecution of Christians (Acts 9:1). Just about every possible sin is listed somewhere in the New Testament. And every one of them falls into the category of forgivable.


Although there is no unpardonable sin today, there is an unpardonable state—the state of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief. The Bible refers to this in terms of having a hard heart. The hardening of the heart is not a one-time act. It is the result of a gradual progression in which sin and the conviction of the Holy Spirit are ignored. The hardened heart has no desire for the things of God. But if you have a desire in your heart for God, as expressed through concern that you have committed some sort of unpardonable sin, you do not have a hardened heart. Your concern confirms your innocence. God always welcomes those whose hearts are sensitive toward Him.
On the other hand, if you are unsaved, that can be remedied this very moment. Salvation is by faith alone—faith in the death of Christ for your sin. You can place your faith in Christ by praying a simple prayer expressing trust in Christ alone for the payment of your sin. Acknowledge you sin, accept Christ's payment, receive His forgiveness, and thank Him for the gift of eternal life.


Taken from:

The Charles Stanley Handbook for Christian Living

Jaybo

Fortunately, it is not irrational to believe in God.

And as a believer in such - I have absolutely ZERO fear of hell.

So - if I don't believe in God out of irrationality, or fear; then why do I?

The reason why some do not, is a long one - and yes, it does involve irrationality and fear, as well as many other personal issues. Usually revolving around parental, or control issues.

But why do I believe? Study. Proof. Love. That's it. It's simple. Not fear, or irrationality.

Be blessed on your journey - for none of us is at the end of any sort of enlightenment, or discovery.

Peace

Jenn

Wow, how crazy is that... Lets just pray for them. It just shows us how much more we need to make sure we're getting the Truth of the Gospel of Christ out to people.

That is just AMAZING. Wonderful blog entry on this matter though.

Christ alone,
Jenn

Jonathan Castro

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be committed today. See www.totalblasphemy.com for more information.

Jimmy Li

THe first comment by Brian above, is the leader of the Rational Responders

They are brave and courageous in their front

With logos such as 'rational response'

But dodge Christian apologists and even their own fellow atheist

Fergus Hancock

Jimmy Li - you wrote:

"They are brave and courageous in their front

With logos such as 'rational response'

But dodge Christian apologists and even their own fellow atheist"

I am not sure if I understand what you meant. Can you please explain yourself a bit? My problem with Brian Sapient and other rationalisers is a basic lack of honesty. Sure, there are god-botherers and nutters amongst religious groups. But don't atheists have nutters too? Brian, will you apologise to the world for Stalin and Pol Pot, two mates of yours?

Brian - you speak of moving forward together. But together obviously means something different in your weltanschauung to mine. Your zero sum game tells me you were the little boy who pretended to be the king of the castle.... my pity for you.

Jack

You poor deluded ones -- indoctrinated and inculcated into ancient and ignorant nonsense. Man has invented 8000+ different gods over the ages. Many man-gods with the exact same events and days attributable to your Jesus. Only thing is, they all pre-date Jesus. Now how do you account for this? In developing Christianity, the early writers stole all the fantastic fables and ceremonial days of the year from the pagans and earlier religons, and put them all into the conglomeration of a character known as Jesus. You worship the greatest fraud and hoax known to humankind.

Brian E. Payne

Exposing Christianity

Jesus was a failure.

That statement to some is offensive. It is considered blasphemy by those who wholeheartedly believe in the tenets of Christianity. It is a statement that was articulated by a professor my first week of divinity school. I later discovered the professor communicated this to all of his students as a challenge of their faith. Nonetheless, millions of people would wonder why I, a divinity school graduate would make that pronouncement.

It is made because I believe it to be truthful. A statement that is close to the truth and not far from it. A statement that I know will alienate me from my family, friends, divinity school colleagues, and devoted readers. However, I believe my thoughts which eventually become commentaries are practical and filled with common sense. Also, and most importantly, I want to stress to the reader that the failure of the religion that introduces the weak mind and desperate soul to Jesus Christ: Christianity, might be a scam.

The Essence of a Scam

We were encouraged to go to church as children. Some of us were forced. We went and in most cases as children we hated the place. Back in the day it was loud, the seats were hard, and it was hot. The service was entirely too long. We were told at church to love Jesus. The Ten Commandments were beat into our heads. Then we were told how to behave. We were punished if we sinned. We learned how to act in the presence of adults, but out of their sight we were misbehavers. We sinned. As we got older we began to feel a sense of guilt if we broke one of God’s commandments. So, we did what we were taught. We asked for forgiveness. After a few more years, it was time for baptism. We got baptized because we were told we had to be wiped clean of sin. We had to be washed with the blood of Jesus. So, we got baptized. But nothing really changed. We were the same ole people: sinners. We were told that we were by the pastor that baptized us. Actually, everyone in the black community told us we were sinners. After we got sprinkled or dunked into water we still had to get saved. Yeah, saved. This process is simple. All we had to do was say, ‘I confess my sins and now I want to be a child of God.’ Then and only then we were free. Wait a minute! No, we were not free. We still were sinners. The pastors told us that every Sunday even after we were held under water gasping for air. As a result, we began to feel bad about our lives and the way we behaved because we fell to temptation. We were weak. So, we go through life wondering if we are ever going to be “clean” enough for God because we were told day in and day out that we were sinners. You know the old saying, “we all fall short...” We just could not and still don’t cut the mustard. We never got rid of the defeating process. This process is great for ministers because we continue to flock into his/her church seeking forgiveness and God. We continue to go hoping God will accept us. Never realizing that we will never be enough for Him in this self defeating prophecy. This is the masses of black people’s situation: DEFEATED. Unfortunately, this ridiculous process we call Christianity is part of the problem. If all of the churchgoers evolved, got smart, and realized that church at times is a place of unproductiveness and un-progressiveness we would stop going. Numerous churches survive/thrive off of ignorance, self-pity, low self esteem, and passive aggressive behavior.

One of the greatest lies ever told to black folk and most psychologically damaging is that “Jesus will save you from sin if you confess with thy mouth”.

I don’t expect anyone to agree with me. I only ask you to contemplate the scenario above. Think about it. Do not dismiss it out of faithfulness to Christianity or fear of going to hell. Use the critical thinking capacity that all of us should have.

If you are still of the belief Muata is the antichrist, crazy, Satan in the flesh, and he is going to perish – then you may be officially hoodwinked. You may have been brainwashed by a system that preys on the weak and I may have discovered that Christianity is a fraud. This does not mean that I am elevating myself above you. That’s not the case. You (Christian’s) are the individuals who call yourselves SAINTS: persons of great holiness, virtue, or benevolence. I just view Christianity as a product used to sell a belief. A belief that once gained does not have any lasting or substantial affect on one’s life.

The scam has been so successful that the people (preachers, evangelists, bishops, etc.) who represent it do not even realize that they are purporting a belief system that has done nothing of extraordinary significance for its followers, particularly black people. Think about it, we forfeited our traditional beliefs for a religion that was forced upon us. We eventually warmed up to it believing it would comfort us. Then we used Christianity to organize against the people who introduced us to it, and it was this religion that helped us gain civil rights. Now, that we have these civil rights we still go to church faithfully, but what do we truly have as a result of becoming a Christian. Do we feel better? Are we still sinning? No, don’t answer those questions. Address this: Tell me one thing that Jesus has done for you that can be considered of quality to help you successfully navigate through life other than ‘he died for my sins.’ Help me understand by responding with something that I did not learn or acquire from a childhood lesson.

Failure - an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: Her effort ended in failure.

Jesus did everything he could to eliminate chaos. (John 3: 17 - For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him). The chaos still exists. He was unsuccessful which makes him a failure. Maybe if we see Jesus as a loser we would see him as what he was: a man. I am convinced the removal of this man’s divinity will help us defeat the self defeating prophecy!

Written by Muata. Inspired by my expensive Howard University School of Divinity education.


RaeAnn

I know you won't print this, but what the heck. I deny the existence of god the father, god the son, and god the holy ghost. While I'm at it, I deny the existence of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, leprechauns, gremlins, gnomes, fairies at the bottom of my garden, and anything that smacks of the supernatural, and that includes heaven and hell - equally ludicrous inventions.

Gina Dalfonzo

Tell me, RaeAnn: Do people who say "I know you won't print this" really think that those they're talking to won't print it? Or do they just say it because they think it sounds cool? I've always wondered about that.

Regis Nicoll

Dear Brian,
Sadly your Christian experience happens all too often. When misinformed or ill-motivated leaders teach people with real hurts and real questions, it can be a toxic. And I’m truly sorry that that seems to have been the case with you.

At the same time, flawed teaching does not invalidate the subject of the teaching. Imagine a high school student trying to design a roof for his dog’s house. He applies the Pythagorean theorem he learned that morning from his geometry teacher to determine the roof’s pitch. But try as he may, the numbers just don’t match the physical measurements. So he grumbles that geometry is a scam and Pythagoras a fraud. Unbeknownst to him, his teacher erringly told him that the length of the hypotenuse of a triangle was equal to the sum of its legs—rather than to the square root of the sum of the square of the legs (big difference!).

Fortunately, neither the soundness of geometry nor the integrity of Pythagoras rest on the ability or culpability of those who represent and teach them. The same is true of any truth, including Christianity. The truth is true whether anyone knows it, believes it, or is able to communicate it. My hope is that you seek it and find it

angela

This whole discussion is great. Thanks to The Point for getting right down to it. Most of the posts attempting to blaspheme seem to consist of a combination of three prongs:

1. you can't see or test for God so He must not exist;

2. growing up in church or being in church was painful, encouraged ignorance, or accompanied by other people doing wrong things to you; and

3. faith made you feel so guilty it must be a horrible and unjust thing.

NUMBER ONE (proof of God) always subsists on parallels to things like Santa Claus, leprechauns, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but there are no people who claim that Santa Claus, leprechauns, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster were historical figures or real. By contrast, there are hundreds of millions of people who appear "otherwise" sane who believe in God. There are thousands of ancient documents written by claimed contemporaries (on documents authenticated by physical science) that speak of Jesus the man in a historical, and not allegorical or fictional, way. Historians are in consensus that Jesus the man actually existed. What is in dispute is his divinity -- which, by nature could not be "proved" by the scientific method, just as there are many things (like the existence of love or any number of other things in which people "believe") that can never be proved by the scientific method and by which we continue to live our lives. There are, however, many ancient documents from separate sources that claim Jesus's divinity in a way that the reality or divinity of Santa Claus, leprechauns, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster are never claimed by anyone, except for people who do not even claim to be rational (so people who are insane in every way). By contrast, believing Christians, while they continue to make mistakes, sometimes grievous ones, and sometimes even in the name of God (which is a reflection of their own sin and not God's imperfection) for the most part claim to be rational, and behave in a way that is consistent with thinking, systematic people in the rest of their lives (in their judgment of how to interact with others at home and at work, how to interact with the marketplace, how to manage their time, etc.).

Christians also admit that faith is involved, and that proof of God will not come with the scientific method, which is limited to testing and proving physical phenomena and processes in this world. Science simply has not been able to create something from nothing, life from non-life, or the very beginning of the world. Nor is there any proof that it ever will, although it will continue to make progress in learning about the physical beginnings of the world and origin of life. Those are the things in which all of us put our faith -- atheists that science will discover all these things someday, and believers that whatever science turns up, it is ultimately evidence of God's creation. If you are an atheist, don't pretend like you have proof you don't.

Regarding NUMBER TWO (the church has been horrible to you), don't let the sins of man become the sins of God. Just because the Church has done the wrong thing at times does not mean that Jesus has or God does. If you only use the bad things people do to judge the ideology to which they subscribe, no ideology at all (including atheism) would survive. I freely acknowledge that people have done terrible things in the name of Christianity. Also that even some believing Christians have done terrible things. That is not, however, reflected in the doctrines of the bible (the founding documents of the Christian faith).

And, there are extraordinary acts of goodness that result from Christianity throughout history (the end of slavery in America and England, the civil rights movement, reconciliation in Rwanda after the genocide -- Muata you say that the civil rights movement was spurred on by Christianity and then you say Why haven't black people abandoned it? -- don't you already have your answer? and why are you so sure you're right that you can tell people who have been through the worst of circumstances that their faith has not sustained them to victory?).

By contrast, atheists always seem to ignore Stalin, Pol Pot, or Hitler, the great atheists of the modern era. I have never once heard atheists who want to point to bad things Christians have done as "proof" of Christianity's falsehood deal with these issues. I'm just suggesting we use the same standards across the board to evaluate different belief systems, and I submit to you that only looking at evil deed to judge a person's claimed ideology is a poor one. I've even heard people try to tell me Hitler was a Christian. He rejected the Catholicism of his youth as an ideology of weakness. And then he murdered hundreds of thousands of Christians. If atheism is so great, and you want to use the worst acts of professing Christians to explain why Christianity is bad, then defend Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, Mao, and Milosevic first. And don't tell me they didn't represent atheism or they weren't "real" atheists. That's just weak.

On the other hand, if you measure good with good, it will be pretty clear that the great deeds of the religiously faithful for the downtrodden and oppressed leave the great deeds of atheists in the dust. This isn't to say that atheists aren't capable of doing "good," only that if you insists on calling on the bad of Christians then compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

Regarding NUMBER THREE (faith made you feel bad), to the person who wrote that he could never get over a fear of hell or the feeling he could never satisfy God. Your minister was right (if offering incomplete and faulty doctrine) that none of us can ever satisfy God's claimed perfection. But God doesn't demand it of us. The cross (unique in any religion) is the substitute and bridge that helps us have a trusting and fearless relationship with God. Christianity teaches freedom from fear, not fear. We should rightly be disgusted with people who do evil and the sin in ourselves, but Christianity is the only faith that teaches you complete love, trust, and assurance are yours -- completely free. You don't have to burn any sacrificial paper, follow a lunar calendar, or castigate yourself to prove you're really sorry. You just actually have to be sorry for doing the wrong thing (something that even atheists demand), whatever that has been in your life, and claim the liberation that is offered to you.

It's an imperfect process, but Christianity teaches that faith should lead us to desire right action, not (as most other religions teach you) right actions lead to righteousness. Faith in God should lead you to want to do the right thing, and to trust God to take the burden away of all the wrong things. You'll be trying to do the right thing through faith imperfectly your whole life, but the bible explains that our whole lives are meant to help us grow along this path. Perfect sanctification doesn't come until the very end.

To people who take this number 3 point (faith made you feel bad, how can it be good?) seriously, you've clearly seen that the superiority of God as a concept is insuperable, but you wouldn't think this unless you recognise that you are yourself imperfect and sinful. Faith in Christ actually answers this for you in a way that faith in any other ideology or no faith at all never will.

You can, of course, ignore the existence of God entirely and go through life on your own wisdom or the accumulated atheist wisdom of human history, but until you are ready to say that good and evil do not exist at all except as a social invention (which I think is about as blind as you can get, and which will not help you an iota in this life when you come to face difficulty), you're kind of lying to yourself if you don't think there is anything beyond this world.

Ephesians 2
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.... For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.

May God bless all the faithful, the blasphemers, and the unbelieving, to find and rest in the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Mariah

I think a lot of atheists need to come to accept the fact that not everything can be proven. period. Sure science and math are great but ever since Decartes we've come to base everything on it. Mysticism of any kind was dead after that.

I am a Christian but I don't think you can proove God to an atheist, just like they will never be able to proove to me that he didn't exist! Just cuz' there's no "scientific evidence" he did exist doesn't mean that he didn't, or that that can be proven either.

Therefore, no one can be 100% certain, and no one should take the blasphemy challenge. They have nothing to loose by just leaving that kind of stuff alone and walking away.

Science is not the say all end all, but there is scientific evidence, hard facts and history that proove points on EACH side of the debate, so it irritates me when my atheist friends just assume* there is no evidence for God. It's important to research things on your own and be well informed. Don't speak out of ignorance.

The only hard evidence I have is the peace, answered prayers, happiness and transformation that God has produced in my life....Christians know what I am talking about. We feel God in our lives, and he speaks to us.

However, that requires letting him into your heart, and that evidence is beyond an atheists comprehension.

It breaks my heart to see this kind of thing occuring. I have all the respect in the world for everyone no matter what they believe and never want to force my faith on anyone (that's what makes people hate Christianity) but I know that I will pray for them and one day they can come to know what it is that I know, and feel what I feel as a Christian.

Daniel

I always thought that blaspheming the Holy Spirit was to not accept Jesus before you die. After all, the Holy Spirit's job is to bring the message of Chirst to people. He may do this many times to someone during their lifetime until they eventually accept Christ or die without knowing Him. After all, isn't there only two things that can send a person to hell? 1) Not accepting Jesus before death. 2) Accepting the mark of the beast. God is patient. How many times did Isreal turn from God and he kept taking them back when they cried out to Him. It makes sence to me that blaspheming the Holy Spirit would mean to reject the Holy Spirit trying to introduce Jesus to you over an over again until you die without accepting Christ. That would be unpardonable wouldn't it? I would not mess with God as these kids are doing because it is a sin but if these kids later regret what they did and cry out to God I don't think they've commited the unpardonable sin. What I'm concerned about is them feeling like they have and feeling hopeless. And I feel for the people leading them to do this. It would have been better for them to have had a millstone tied around their neck and thrown into the sea. But I believe God's grace is enough to cover their sin as well if they cry out to God. If God could turn Saul into Paul he could do the same for those in charge of the RRS if it is His will.

patra drury

I believe that jesus christ lives and is soon to come back.I also believe that this so called challenge to deny christ is wrong. To me this only proves that the end is near.Yes you can prove Jesus lives because he does.He's not here as man but his Holy spirit that you deny is and i believe fully in him.Ok there are alot of things that are hard to prove but have you turned to what you he has left behind?His word.The Bible.We as free people have the right to say whatever,whenever however,wherever but as a 14 year old christian i know that Gods grace is slowely running out in America and all around the world.I would like to pray a blessing over all the people who denyed and still do.I am praying that you change your hearts and minds.I also pray for the makers of this horrible site you use to deny my father.I pray that you to change your hearts and minds as well.love and fear God because he lives.GOD BLESS!

Chris Clukey

Brian Sapient wrote:

"You've had fear of hell instilled in you, and there is nothing to fear, it's ok, release the chains of mental slavery, and let's move forward, together."

Well Brain, like the song says:

"You may call it 'slavery'
But the biggest chain I knew was me."

The Son has set me free and I am free indeed. I hope you leave your prison someday.

Daniel

Everyone is a slave to something. I'm just thankful I'm a slave to Jesus Christ. I thought Brian's comment was interesting. "You've had fear of hell instilled in you, and there is nothing to fear, it's ok, release the chains of mental slavery, and let's move forward, together." I hear this kind of comment a lot from people. Sounds like the hearts of man are ripe for the Antichrist to come.

The Athena-ist

You all have it so very wrong; it is not THAT god you must dedicate yourself to, but Athena, goddess of wisdom! After all, there is no more proof for your's than her, and she is a heck of a lot nicer.

Jason Taylor


Well she did have some good qualities even if one of her underlings produces eagerratedly expensive shoes. But if you take her you must take her relations including the rather distasteful Ares with whom she has a constant jurisdictional difficulty.

Jason Taylor


I am curious to see if anyone will get my last rather cryptic remark so I am holding off on explaining.

Steve (SBK)

JT: My Greek Mythology is pretty weak...
I'm thinking perhaps the Trojan War?

Samuel X

Not quite... Athena was the goddess not only of wisdom, but also of warfare (especially tactics). Ares, of course, was the god of war and conflict.

Jason Taylor

In Greek mythology Athena's jurisdiction is knowledge and skill. She delights in art, craftsmanship, and philosophy. As a corralary to this she delights in statecraft. I suppose it would be natural for Athenians to give their patron the qualities they themselves admired. Not coincidently these qualities are qualities a modern westerner would admire.
She has a jurisdictional problem with Ares because Ares is in charge of war. But Athena is concerned about the results of war because of her responsibility for statecraft. Whereas Ares merely delights in the fury of war.
One of Athena's servants is "Nike". Or maybe Nike is simply one of Athena's attributes(wikipedia isn't clear)which is what I originally thought. In any case "Nike" means victory. That is also the explaination of the pun about the expensive shoes.
The Agora(town square) of Athens was at the "areopagus" or Mars Hill. The Athenians of course liked Athena more then Ares. And the Athenian Agora was a place for activities more to her liking then to Ares. However given the Ancient Greek worldview, no city can afford not to pay Ares some degree of respect, for obvious reasons.

patra Drury

well, its me again and im now 15 and since i have last posted a comment it seems that jesus christ just has increased my faith in him.im still in prayer for those who deny my father jesus christ.i just wanted to say he loves you know matter what and to those who are playing with him please repent for the end is no longer near but it's here.For some this is scary but for all the believers this means we can rejoyce with out king!!!!please choose whats right and i know GOD will do wonderful things for you and through you love and fear GOD because he lives!!!GOD BLESS

Jason Taylor

Someone said:

"There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief."

However, is it not said,"I am the Resurrection and the Life. He that believeth in me Though He Were Dead, yet shall he live"?
Now one might interpret that as metaphorical or referring to "dead in sin". But it could conceivably be a warrent for inclusivism. It nowhere says that physical death is the last chance.

Walter

Jason,

Does inclusivism include Christian believers who have been guided by the Holy Spirit to marry to same-gendered spouses? There seems to be some awful wailing against (and gnashing of teeth over) marriage equality in thread after thread on BreakPoint. But in retrospect, with the RR Squad out there to set a standard, we really do appear to have a lot in common.

Jason Taylor

Walter, what I mean by Inclusivism certainly does not mean one can receive pardon without repentance. Nor does it mean that I believe sin ceases to be sin, or is unimportant. I merely meant that we cannot automatically conclude that there are no second-chances for those who die in error. I do not think someone who refuses even a second chance and inclines himself irrevocably toward rebellion will be saved. I just don't think physical death is necessarily evidence of being irrevocably rebellious.
As far as homosexuality goes I do think it to be immoral. That would be irrelevant as far as it goes. More important I think that people in the situation you describe are guilty not just of Lust but of Pride, and Wrath. And are(unless they are ignorant)consciously commiting Apostasy and Heresy. And if they continue they are grieviously endangering their souls. I do not think it is possible for the Holy Spirit to guide people to marry same-gendered spouses anymore then I think it possible for the Holy Spirit to guide people to any other sin.
Now all that is harsh. It is theoretically possible for someone to ignorantly "marry" someone of the same sex because he is not properly taught. And in such a case circumstances will be taken into account. Everyone who dies has some vice unattended too. But it is my impression that a good many of the homosexual community are in fact acting rebelliously. And are therefore in more danger then if they sinned from weakness.
Do not read any more into my comment then exists. I did not say irrevocable rebellion is pardonable. I merely said that error might conceivably be rectified in the next world.
Nor, by the way, should this be interpreted as Pluralism. I do not think that there is another way but Christ only that it might be possible to be found by Him unexpectedly. In this theory the beneficiary would still be saved by Christ-he just had to wait a little longer.

harvey Ward

Walter,
That same old tired drum being wacked. Marriage is heterosexually complimentary according to God. Two people joined in a lifelong exclusive commitment to friendship, devotion, support and kinship (like the covenants of old between two families, persons, tribes and even nations) I'm certain has the blessing of God and illustrates community living and co existence. Marriage, however , is gender defined, from the beginning with man and woman, bride and groom, maid of honour etc, and although many couples choose not to procreate, the institution was originally designed for that purpose. It is a public display of commitment to which the couple could be held accountable, before God and witnesses. Variations occur in all societies but is has always been heterosexual.
I am curious why homosexuals do not define their own arrangement with an alternative term to describe their association with their partner. Why does it have to be "marriage". A heterosexual couple might live together and even have children but they are are still not married so there is a clear definition. By the way the "man having a baby saga is a sad pantomime - any other person attempting to claim they were something they were not, would be labelled as benignly delusional.Unfortunately , the media either want to or feel forced to gush over the spectacle . While I am delighted about the new life God has allowed to come into the world, I can only hope these social engineers would imagine how they will fare at the Courtroom at the end of the Universe. He will remind them that Woe is to come to those who call what is wrong a right, and those who call what is right, wrong. Remember, its not your definition that counts. It's His and let God be true and every man a liar .

Creary

Jason,

You said "It nowhere says that physical death is the last chance." and then "...we cannot automatically conclude that there are no second-chances for those who die in error."

But what about Ecclesiastes 11:9-12:14? Where is says specifically "...man shall go into the house of his eternity..." (v.5) when speaking of man's death? What about Hebrews 9:27, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment: ..."? And then there are the other writings of St Paul in 2 Corinthians 5 where he makes the argument that the just, once absent from the body (death) will be present with the Lord (v.8). Now if the just, as soon as they are absent from the body will be present with the Lord in Heaven then it is only logical to say the damned will be immediately in Hell.

Tie that in with Jesus' parable in Luke 16 about Lazarus and the rich man where He says, "...the rich man also died: and he was buried in hell." And where the Apostles held that Judas also was immediately judged when they say "...Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place." (Acts 1:25) Seems that Jesus and the Apostles are teaching that the unjust are sent immediately to their eternal punishment in Hell.

From Holy Scripture, I don't think you can say there are any second chances after death.

Please forgive and correct me if I have read more into your comments then exists. But from what I have quoted you saying, I say you're wrong.

patra drury

YES he did arise, YES he is alive, NO he wasnt married NEVER had any wives,YES he did rise days after he died what can i say? YES HE IS GOD!!.From the womb to tomb to his throne NOBODY in Rome could hold onto his bones because there were NO BONES to be held. where would his bones be held? who would have known it was johova the dL? providing forgivness are lives are offinsive he died to put you and i in a friendship with himself. pain is felt when the glorious gospel is exchanged for wealth forget about how the spaids are delt and think of how you measure up you weight on a scale.ONElord ONE christ ONE judge ONE lord ONE christ by BLOOD .christ on a poster ,christ of the culture christ on the stain glass christ of the future,christ on the video, christ on the raido christ thats sure to come back in his war clothes .In which christ do you believe ?you gotta know before you leave.
for those of you who are working against the kingdom may god have nothing but mercy for you
love and fear GOD because he lives

patra

this comment is for Robert Ericksen:i read your comment about sin in the church and i fully agree with how we as christians should worry about this on going proublem but what i DONT agree with is the fact that you think we shouldnt worry about what going on on that discusting site .Im telling you this only out of peace all sin is equal in my fathers eyes.telling a little lie and commiting a murder are the same to him.* SIN IS SIN* no matter which way you put it.But to blasphem in front of millons makes my realationship with the king look crazy and the person who is commiting this UNFORGIVEABLE sin look like they have nothing better to do then go on youtube and do domthing so hurtful to the one who died for you.the holy spirit is NOTHING to be played with or mocked. i thank the lord that jerimah 17:9 is so true and only GOD is the answer for it.i hope you dont take this in a bad way.im praying for you !!!!!that god directs your path love and fear god because he lives!!!

Jason Taylor

Creary, it does not follow. None of those those passages say specifically what you are contending. Ecclesiastics says only that man must die which is not disputed.

The full context of Hebrews is, "Just as it is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgement. So Christ was sacrificed to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." The emphasis is clearly on the second verse. And being "appointed" does not necessarily mean "universal". Lazarus died twice. It is also appointed that "By the sweat of your brow you shall eat your food until you return to the ground" but a lot of men are lazy slobs and manage to get away with it. It is also appointed that a woman's desire shall be for her husband and he shall rule over her but quite a few woman do not desire their husband much and won't be ruled over by anyone."
It does not logically follow from Corinthians 5 that others will be immeidiately in Hell. And the phrase "the Damned" is stealing a march. By definition being damned is being in Hell.
The fact that Judas was in Hell is not conclusive. Judas was-Judas.
The parable of the Rich Man and Lazurus was a parable and one cannot necessarily make any conclusions from it other then those conclusions within the Parable. Otherwise you would also have to say that selling all you own to gain a single pearl is a practical investment, that God desires you to cheat on your boss(like the estate-manager who undercharged tennets to ensure that he had favors to call in), or that God is a thief, or an Unjust Judge.

And the Bible also says "For everyone that asketh recieveth". Even though observation would seem to indicate that many do ask and die without receiving. It also says "At the last, all Israel will be saved." All Israel but about sixty plus generations, AFTER that book was written.
In any case Abraham, David, etc, are clearly saved. Therefore one must not only conclude that the first result of the Resurrection was to damn people that would otherwise have been saved. One must also conclude that there was a specific time when that occured. The first supposition is problematic, the second merely absurd.
One must furthermore assume that God lets Himself be limited by human weakness in one of the most important issues of all.
Finally the particularist position simply gives a picture of God that is not really in accordance with a loving God and makes Grace and Mercy seem Ungracious and Unmerciful. It is true that God does not owe anyone Salvation. On the other hand Ebenezer Scrooge does not have to give Bob Crachit the chance to Pick His Pocket every Twenty-fifth of December, and he has done the poor no injustice if he lets them Die And Decrease The Surplus Population.
The position I am taking is not a radical one, and in fact is fairly close to the Catholic one. I am not insisting that "There are many paths to God." I am merely saying that God is not Ebenezzer Scrooge.

Creary

Jason,

Wow, you are all over the place and you've made it hard to find "The position [you are] taking" at all. But I assure you, it is NOT "fairly close to the Catholic one". I'll get to that in a minute or so. I think you read way to much into my comments than what is there. Where did you get the idea that I am proposing particularism (i.e. "the doctrine that some but not all people are elected and redeemed", New Oxford American Dictionary, 2nd Ed)?

Anyway, I still hold that your understanding of the scriptures I quoted in support of what is know in Catholic doctrine as the "Particular Judgement" is in error.

But don't take my word for it .... here are some gentlemen, men who I would call masters of the study of the Books of the divine mysteries (i.e. Holy Scripture):

St Augustin in "De Anima Et Ejus Origine":
"[...]souls after quitting the body are judged, before they come to that final judgment to which they must submit when their bodies are restored to them, and are either tormented or glorified in the very same flesh wherein they once lived here on earth; [...] Who ever had his mind so obstinately set against the gospel as not to hear these truths, and after hearing to believe them, in the parable of the poor man who was carried away after death to Abraham's bosom, and of the rich man who is set forth as suffering torment in hell?"

Hmm, St Augustin is saying that anyone who doesn't understand that souls are immediately judged "after quitting the body" after hearing the parable in Luke 16, is "obstinately set against the gospel".

St Augustin in "Civitas Dei":
"Do we justly execrate [i.e. express great loathing for] the deed of Judas, and does truth itself pronounce that by hanging himself he rather aggravated than expiated the guilt of that most iniquitous betrayal, since, by despairing of God's mercy in his sorrow that wrought death, he left to himself no place for a healing penitence? [...] For Judas, when he killed himself, killed a wicked man; but he passed from this life chargeable not only with the death of Christ, but with his own: for though he killed himself on account of his crime, his killing himself was another crime."

Hmm, St Augustin feels Judas' fate was pretty "conclusive" and that there was no second chances for Judas after his death because "he left to himself no place for a healing penitence".

St Thomas Aquinas in "Summa Theologica":
"It is written (2 Cor. v. 1): 'If our earthly house of this habitation be dissolved, that we have ... a house not made with hands, but reserved in heaven.' Therefore, after the body's dissolution, the soul has an abode, which had been reserved for it in heaven.

Further, the Apostle says (Philip. i. 23) : 'I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ.' From these works Gregory argues as follows (Dial. iv. 25): 'If there is no doubt that Christ is in heaven, it cannot be denied that Paul's soul is in heaven likewise.' Now it cannot be gainsaid [i.e. denied or contradicted] that Christ is in heaven, since this is an article of faith. Therefore neither is it to be denied that the souls of the saints are borne to heaven. That also some souls go down to hell immediately after death is evident from Luke xvi. 22, 'And the rich man died, and he was buried in hell.'

[...]This truth is attested by the manifest authority of the canonical Scriptures and the doctrine of the holy Fathers; wherefore the contrary must be judged heretical [...]"

You still haven't gotten around to reading much of St Thomas Aquinas have you Jason? Doesn't look like you've much background in St Augustin's writings either.

In the above comment where I state that Holy Scripture does not support your "physical death is [not] the last chance" and that "there are [...] second-chances for those who die in error" propositions, I was not giving you my interpretation. I would not dare to make such a "sign of rashness and pride [...] to refuse to study the Books of the divine mysteries by the help of those who have interpreted them?" I respectfully recommend that you not do so either. Remember this comment? ( http://thepoint.breakpoint.org/2008/01/why-arent-chris.html#comment-96539056 )

Now, so it will be clear to you that your "second chances after death" idea IS NOT even remotely "close to the Catholic one", I give you a passage from the Council of Florence (1431-1447), the Seventeenth Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church.

"It [that is, the Catholic Church] has likewise defined, that, if those truly penitent have departed in the love of God[...] the souls of those, who after the reception of baptism have incurred no stain of sin at all, and also those, who after the contraction of the stain of sin whether in their bodies, or when released from the same bodies, as we have said before, are purged, are immediately received into heaven, and see clearly the one and triune God Himself, just as He is, yet according to the diversity of merits, one more perfectly than another. Moreover, the souls of those who depart in actual mortal sin or in original sin only, descend immediately into hell but to undergo punishments of different kinds."

Or if you like, even earlier in the Council of Lyons II (1274) the Fourteenth Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church.

"But because of diverse errors introduced by some through ignorance and by others from evil, it (the Church) says and teaches that those who after baptism slip into sin must not be rebaptized, but by true penance attain forgiveness of their sins. [...] However, the souls of those who after having received holy baptism have incurred no stain of sin whatever, [...] are received immediately into heaven. The souls of those who die in mortal sin or with original sin only, however, immediately descend to hell, yet to be punished with different punishments. The same most holy Roman Church firmly believes and firmly declares that nevertheless on the day of judgment 'all' men will be brought together with their bodies 'before the tribunal of Christ' 'to render an account' of their own deeds [Rom. 14:10]."

That (immediately above) is the Catholic doctrine of the "particular judgement". That is the sole scope of my comment(s) above. All the additional comments you had about your understanding of Biblical exegesis, the status of the patriarchal father's souls (Abraham, David, etc.) before the Resurrection of Christ, the particularist position (which has nothing to do with the "particular judgement" doctrine!), God not being Ebenezzer Scrooge, etc., are way outside of the context of my comment(s) above.

Jason Taylor

"Nevertheless, God, who desires to call all peoples to himself in Christ and to communicate to them the fullness of his revelation and love, "does not fail to make himself present in many ways, not only to individuals, but also to entire peoples through their spiritual riches, of which their religions are the main and essential expression even when they contain ‘gaps, insufficiencies and errors'". Therefore, the sacred books of other religions, which in actual fact direct and nourish the existence of their followers, receive from the mystery of Christ the elements of goodness and grace which they contain." (I, 8)

"Theology today, in its reflection on the existence of other religious experiences and on their meaning in God's salvific plan, is invited to explore if and in what way the historical figures and positive elements of these religions may fall within the divine plan of salvation. In this undertaking, theological research has a vast field of work under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium. The Second Vatican Council, in fact, has stated that: "the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude, but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a participation in this one source"." (III, 14)

"With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it "in ways known to himself"." (VI, 21)[7]-Benedict XVI


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_Christian

Jason Taylor

With that said, can we drop the argument Creary? I doubt either of us will convince the other.

Creary

Jason,

Given your latest post, I will follow St Paul's counsel in Titus
3:10-11(KJV).

Yes, our conversation is done.

Walter

Jason says,

"As far as homosexuality goes I do think it to be immoral. That would be irrelevant as far as it goes. More important I think that people in the situation you describe are guilty not just of Lust but of Pride, and Wrath. And are(unless they are ignorant)consciously commiting Apostasy and Heresy. And if they continue they are grieviously endangering their souls. I do not think it is possible for the Holy Spirit to guide people to marry same-gendered spouses anymore then I think it possible for the Holy Spirit to guide people to any other sin."

Harvey Ward says:

"That same old tired drum being wacked. Marriage is heterosexually complimentary according to God."

Which is operative here? Is it Jason's "I think" or is it Harvey's "is...According to God".

Jason,

Are you claiming that what "I [Jason] think" is what God thinks, and that my prayers and answers from God are inauthentic?

Harvey,

Are you claiming that your subjective thinking *is* a revelation of God's thinking and that the conversation in your brain is somehow superior to that of others?

Jason,

It is good that you brought up the concepts of "Heresy" and "Apostasy". You appear to know these topics well, so well that, IMHO, you and Harvey win the blasphemy challenge hands down.

Brian Sapient,

Good work. You've shown the hypocrites for what they are, Blasphemers. You are more like Jesus than any of them know.

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