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November 28, 2007

It gives you a little hope for humanity

. . . when you find yourself unable to vote for "Most Inspiring Person of 2007" because there are just too many good candidates.

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Lee

Well, for every Gina ready to float aloft on hope, there's at least one Lee willing to deflate that hope a bit; sorry. In particular, I'm having a hard time believing that "Angelina 2.0" isn't the product of image consultants rather than a true moral conversion. (Remember her wearing a vial of Billy Bob's blood around her neck at their wedding? Didn't she steal Brad from Jen, via "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"? And how many of her movies are suitable for the children she's adopted?) Granted, I'd rather have movie stars doing what she's doing rather than partying mostly naked, but I'm tempted to investigate the difference between redirection and conversion.

But the other candidates are fine indeed. On the other hand, I could start a rant on the only source of hope for humanity not being people who do good works, but I won't, because I'm feeling... charitable. ;-)

jason taylor

"But the other candidates are fine indeed. On the other hand, I could start a rant on the only source of hope for humanity not being people who do good works, but I won't, because I'm feeling... charitable. ;-)"

Downplaying the good works of unbelievers is a common trait because it comes from a fear that people will say that people are capable of reaching heaven by works.
However good works are still good even if not Salvic. Therefore it is quite legitimate to praise good works done by unbelievers. In the end it all comes from God. If you remember the Beloved Physician praised the hospitality of the Maltese after the shipwreck, and Jesus praised the Samaritan. And Cyrus was allowed to become the instrument for returning The Exiles to Israel. And if it seems likly that Cyrus did accept God in the end, we don't know that these people won't.

Pat

I think Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona is the most aspiring person of 2007. I think she is the only female politician that hasn't had a scandal. She recently went to Washington to talk about Arizona's energy conservation plans and the improvements made to protect the environment

Ken

Well, good works are *never* in themselves salvific. And those done apart from any motive to obey or glorify God are actually damning. Spurgeon rightly called the horizontally-good works of unbelievers "splendid sins."

The Westminster Confession has some useful words in this regard: "Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands, and of good use both to themselves and others; yet, because they proceed not from a heart purified by faith, nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word, nor to a right end, the glory of God, they are therefore sinful, and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God: and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God."

So the unregenerate man is better off doing works of charity and beneficence than he would be by living self-indulgently and in gross sin, but it is all still of sin nonetheless.

jason taylor

I am not a Calvinist and I don't think Original Sin implies that everything man does on his own(actually man can do nothing TOTALLY on his own-but that is another subject) is sinful-unless by sinful you mean incomplete which of course is true, and which of course I just said. However that is not the normal meaning.
Evil is the decaying of what is good, otherwise God would have to be the creator of evil. In any case I think that observation indicates both that man's nature is obviously inclined toward evil but that man also has good in him.
I know the traditional Calvinist answer is that mans senses are flawed. But that is self-defeating; if our senses are that flawed we cannot know if what we read from scripture is true as we read scripture with our eyes and interpret it with our mind. Moreover there is no support in scripture for the statement that man is totally evil. Yes man's righteousness is as filthy rags. But aside from the fact that that sounds more like poetry then analysis* filthy rags are still useful for many things. That is the essense of "rags"-they are a stopgap until better close can be provided. Which makes the anology closer to my interpretation.

*which doesn't make it untrue-it merely says that one can take false conclusions if one thinks it a theological essay. It would be like thinking God is our biological father.

Lee

jason taylor wrote: "Downplaying the good works of unbelievers is a common trait because it comes from a fear that people will say that people are capable of reaching heaven by works."

OK, I'm not feeling charitable anymore. :-) I wasn't downplaying their good works at all, jason. I was simply reacting to Gina's implication (via the posting's title) that there is any hope for humanity other than Jesus. And I was reacting with a wink and a nudge, since I know Gina realizes that already. Plus, Gina and I both roll our eyes and sigh over people who (uncharitably) go into fundamentalist rants the moment anyone (like Gina) doesn't use exactly the right theological constructions even in casual conversation. (And insisting on those precise constructions would kill the kind of open conversation that Gina/Allen/others want to foster, even if we could come to complete agreement over theology, which we won't.) All of the above was bundled into a single sentence at the end of my original post.

So just to be plain, I think what these people have done is great. I'm also familiar with what the theologians call "common grace", and I think we can use all of it we can get.

In fact, the only one on the list of candidates whose sincerity I question at all is Ms. Jolie's. And I merely question it; I don't actively doubt it.

OK?

-Lee "whose Ebenezer is not Scrooge"

Gina Dalfonzo

Believe me, guys, if you were familiar with my usual level of cynicism toward my fellow man, you'd be shocked that I even mentioned "hope" and "humanity" in the same sentence. :-)

Jason Taylor

Ok Lee. Sorry if I have a sore spot there too.

Jason Taylor

That is the essense of "rags"-they are a stopgap until better close can be provided. Which makes the anology closer to my interpretation.
---------------------------------

Oh yes and I misspelled, "clothes". Which I suppose shows my imperfection.

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