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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Do caterpillars fear the cocoon?

I know all atheists are not in denial concerning their mortality.  But it is informative to see how people tend to become more open-minded towards religious matters as they approach life's finish line.  I tend to suspect the relative irreligion of the young is more indicative of an erroneous belief in their own immortality than any sort of genuine disbelief.
 My father has lived in a state of blissful denial his entire life. He used to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day, and until he was seventy he drank a quart of scotch a day. His diet consists of steak, salami, potatoes, bread, cheese, mayonnaise, ice cream, and pie.

By this afternoon, my father's pain was alleviated substantially, and he began bitching about how he was going to get off the oxycontin after he recovered. He told me recently that until he was eighty, he honestly thought he'd live forever. I didn't say, "Really? You thought you'd live in your house here in Los Angeles for trillions and trillions and trillions of years, making your wooden toys, watching Bill O'Reilly, and eating salami sandwiches with an inch of cheddar cheese, for all eternity?"

I didn't say that because my father's fear of death is irrational. It would be cruel to subject him to that sort of conversation.... When my father was eighty-three, he had an operation on his hand. Since he takes blood thinners, any surgery is risky. They had to prepare to do an emergency transfusion. In discussing his fears with him, I mentioned that I couldn't donate blood because I lived in Britain for two years during the eighties. Due to the risk that I may have ingested the prion that causes Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, I'm permanently barred from donating blood. This made my father terrified that he might get Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease if he got a transfusion.

"Don't worry about it," I said. "It has a forty-year incubation period."

His face fell. "Are you saying I'm not going to be here in forty years?" He was horrified and his feelings were hurt. I thought he'd laugh, but I'd scared him. He went to bed chilled to the bone at the thought that he might not live to be 123.
We are all going to die eventually.  After a long life of joy, happiness, love, and good works, one hopes, but regardless, sooner or later, the final day will come.  This is why it is vital for us to make the most of our lives, to balance the urgent need to make a living and support our families with truly important matters such as serving God, spreading the Good News, and making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here.

We can spend our days seeking mindless pleasure, but hedonism burns out fast and leaves little more than a burned-out shell behind.  We can live in fear and denial, or we can live in nihilistic stoicism, attempting to manufacture our own meaning and desperately trying to convince others of what we do not truly believe ourselves.  Or we can live by faith, trusting God, accepting that we are merely caterpillars and death is nothing more than a cocoon we must endure before we can take flight.

And what is true of men is true of nations.  America is entering its cocoon.  Who is to say with any certainty that what will eventually result will not be better than what came before.

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184 Comments:

Anonymous Rufus January 30, 2013 4:23 AM  

Amen.
We've got this minor celebrity here in New Zealand who's dying of cancer/heart problems. He spent a greater part of his life mocking all and sundry, but especially Christians, on his TV show, his radio show, and in his writing. He's hurt a lot of good people. Now all of a sudden he wants to make amends. Reckons he's afraid of what's to come and wants to make his peace with God.

Even snarky old Paul Holmes can't find any peace or comfort in his cold, dead, empty atheism.

He has no idea how lucky he is that God would still take him, if he asked nicely...

Anonymous Josh January 30, 2013 4:54 AM  

Watching Bill O'Reilly every day sounds would almost make one wish for death.

Anonymous AdognamedOp January 30, 2013 5:01 AM  

Somewhat OT but; what's up with this zombie craze? Seems like every other movie is about zombies. There's even a zombie love story movie coming out.

Is this fascination with walking dead brain eaters a symptom of a diseased society that no longer values life, or is it a harmless outlet for those who fear the inevitable?

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 5:04 AM  

"I mentioned that I couldn't donate blood because I lived in Britain for two years during the eighties. Due to the risk that I may have ingested the prion that causes Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease,"

Jesus.

Anonymous Krul January 30, 2013 5:07 AM  

He told me recently that until he was eighty, he honestly thought he'd live forever. I didn't say, "Really? You thought you'd live in your house here in Los Angeles for trillions and trillions and trillions of years, making your wooden toys, watching Bill O'Reilly, and eating salami sandwiches with an inch of cheddar cheese, for all eternity?"

I didn't say that because my father's fear of death is irrational. It would be cruel to subject him to that sort of conversation.... .


This guy could be a little more understanding of his father's feelings. His fear of death sounds pretty rational to me.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 5:11 AM  

"...and making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here."

Personally, is a hard game to balance, given hic sunt dracones seems the domestic chart most posts here.

Anonymous zen0 January 30, 2013 5:14 AM  

It must piss off vegetarians and other types of temperance fanatics to no end that a guy can live like that and still get to eighty.

Plus, he's got Oxycontin.

I am having difficulty seeing the downside here.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 30, 2013 5:41 AM  

Actually I think it's kind of awesome to be 80 and think your life is still ahead of you. Reminds me of Dr. NakaMats, who at 84, thinks that the difference between himself and Thomas Edison is that Edison died at 84, and that he is yet in the middle of his life -- he plans to live until the year 2072.

There jut something about people who cling to Joie de Vivre, perennialy and damn realism, in contrast to so many people who think they're washed up in their late thirties and that it's just all downhill from there. So many people are consumed by death so long, long before they actually die.

I've heard that Goethe, on his deathbed, was looking forward to recovery and life with his new girlfriend, substantially younger than himself.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 5:54 AM  

Reading through this guy's article again, you can see the frustration boil to the surface in most every line there. I suppose though, if I had an NDE and felt that I couldn't tell the dad about it because - between drinks - he couldn't care less, I'd be pretty miffed as well.

But then again, is witnessing to someone for their sake, or for some other reason.

"The answer to my father's fear is right in front of him, in me, but he'll never hear it. He's sown the wind, and now he's reaping the whirlwind. There's nothing anybody can do for him now."

Aside from an NDE or inter-familial power struggles over righteousness, what makes anyone think that they're Moses. "No, they won't believe, though one rose from the dead", says Abraham to the rich man across the divide. That holds just as true today.

Blogger tz January 30, 2013 6:13 AM  

Yet this is what is unique about Christianity. Our Lord died, but then came thr Ressurection and Ascension. Bodily. Time is a mystery, but we all will be reunited with a glorified body - but one that for those who reject God will be that of a hideous monster as the body will reflect the soul.

Blogger Markku January 30, 2013 6:27 AM  

Actually I think it's kind of awesome to be 80 and think your life is still ahead of you.

My mother is a nurse, and I remember her telling us that she once asked an over 100 years old patient of hers, what she thought had been the best years of her life. She said the 70's, but that 80's were nice too. (Not the decade.)

Blogger PVW January 30, 2013 6:33 AM  

Thanks for posting this!

I post once in a while at Alpha Game, and I tend to lurk here, but this really resonated, as I was talking to a friend about matters relating to this topic. She is much older than me and just turned 60. She is in a good place about this, but me, I'm not in as good a place. I was telling her that as married women, we are more likely to be widows, and that is something sad, to lose our husbands after years of being happily married. Yes, we will have our children, but it won't be the same...

I'm going to remember this:

We are all going to die eventually. After a long life of joy, happiness, love, and good works, one hopes, but regardless, sooner or later, the final day will come. This is why it is vital for us to make the most of our lives, to balance the urgent need to make a living and support our families with truly important matters such as serving God, spreading the Good News, and making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here....We...can live by faith, trusting God, accepting that we are merely caterpillars and death is nothing more than a cocoon we must endure before we can take flight.

Anonymous willneverpostagain January 30, 2013 6:33 AM  

This is why I read this blog every morning when I get up.

Perspective. Truth.

Thanks Vox.

Anonymous RedJack January 30, 2013 6:57 AM  

Good post Vox.

My grandfather lived as a farmer. Worked everyday of his life, ate what he wanted, and buried two wives.

Grandpa did not fear death. It was a part of life. He did not welcome it, for he knew the last years would be hard. When my step grandma was in the midst of Alhiemezers, he would sit with her every day till she was comatose. Even when she thought he was her long dead first husband. I learned much about love and life from that old man.

Anonymous taterearl January 30, 2013 7:26 AM  

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”

-Mark Twain

Anonymous Roundtine January 30, 2013 7:43 AM  

Is this fascination with walking dead brain eaters a symptom of a diseased society that no longer values life, or is it a harmless outlet for those who fear the inevitable?

Zombies are popular during negative social mood, as are vampires. Horror in general is more popular because of an increase in fear. Look at when Night of the Living Dead, Jason, Jaws, Halloween and Nightmare on Elm Street were created: late 1960s to early 1980s. During more optimistic periods, the werewolf and transformation become more popular (Teen Wolf, The Fly).

Anonymous cholera January 30, 2013 7:44 AM  

'I thought he'd laugh, but I'd scared him. He went to bed chilled to the bone at the thought that he might not live to be 123.'

good thing he didn't read this:
"and realized that death was not only a permanent probability, as he had always believed, but an immediate reality."

Anonymous Mab January 30, 2013 7:50 AM  

Yes, this is a great blog. You get it all here: history, economics, philosophy, literature, politics, social commentary, and matters of the soul...

As a Christian, I have never feared death, but I have also never given as much thought to what I am doing for the kingdom of God, not as much as I should have anyway. It hasn't been until these last few years, as I approach 40, that I have started to think, "My life is probably about half-way over, barring get hitting by a bus tomorrow or something. I will stand before my Creator soon rather than later. What will I be able to tell Him that I did for him during my time on Earth."

I appreciated this post this morning. Thanks, Vox...

OpenID meistergedanken January 30, 2013 7:53 AM  

"We can live in fear and denial, or we can live in nihilistic stoicism, attempting to manufacture our own meaning and desperately trying to convince others of what we do not truly believe ourselves. Or we can live by faith..."

Basically I am currently going with the nihilistic stoicism, but not by choice. It's been a tough year; I turned 40, my wife had a kidney transplant, my mother came down with oral cancer and my great-aunt passed away at the age of 96 - in total denial of death right up to the end, which creeps me out(the denial part, and refusal to prepare). I am an agnostic, but not by choice. I wish you would write more on faith. Don't know how to come by it. The best I can do is be partially swayed by the Cosmological Argument, but then sometimes I consider, in abject terror, the possibility that our Creator, far from being a boundlessly loving deity, doesn't really care all that much about us and maybe the ancient Jews were right - there is nothing but Oblivion waiting for us.

It really makes me NOT want to do my income tax forms, I can tell you, and most daily activities seem inconsequential and stupid. So when someone from accounting emails me and says I filled out some form incorrectly, my first instinct is to just reply with a hearty "F. U."

Anonymous Welsher January 30, 2013 7:54 AM  

This post is strange because it seems obvious that religion was created precisely because most people can't accept the reality of their mortality, and they go hunting for any belief system that tells them they will live forever. And even then it is rarely enough to get them to accept it.

I would say that the way most people (regardless of their professed beliefs) deal with death shows that the majority doesn't really believe in God. If people truly believed that life here was just the opening act to an infinite boundless communion with their creator and all loved ones upon death, they would accept their brief time and impending death in a sanguine manner. The amount of money spent in healthcare on terminal cases shows this to not be the case.

Blogger mmaier2112 January 30, 2013 7:58 AM  

Some kids seem to outright fear naps so I guess caterpillars might fear the cocoon.

Anonymous VD January 30, 2013 8:00 AM  

This post is strange because it seems obvious that religion was created precisely because most people can't accept the reality of their mortality, and they go hunting for any belief system that tells them they will live forever. And even then it is rarely enough to get them to accept it.

That makes absolutely no sense. If that were the case, the man who is petrified of his own death would be creating his own religion, or at the very least, accepting one of those belief systems on offer.

Why do you think it is obvious? What is the logic and evidence you would cite to support your conclusion.

Blogger mmaier2112 January 30, 2013 8:05 AM  

meistergedanken: you sound sort of like me before I was saved.

I wish I knew how to "share" my faith, my brother is wrestling with life's questions right now too.

The only thing I can say is for me it came with a true shedding of my pride and simply asking Him to reveal Himself.

The overall events leading up to that were not fun, but it was a Revelation. Things happened that I never heard of, let alone could have expected. But they were undeniable. And He's helped me out at least once in a miraculous way since. (I suspect other times too. He's a funny God.)

God bless.

Anonymous Vidad January 30, 2013 8:10 AM  

Good stuff. I'm not sure about the American caterpillar, though.

I'm thinking it looks like this one:

http://www.whatsthatbug.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/tobacco_sphinx_chalcids_janet.jpg

May I be wrong.

Blogger SarahsDaughter January 30, 2013 8:16 AM  

It is so important for women to read things like this. I'm just as shortsighted as the next woman. I think in terms of this life and usually not more than ten years out, if that. My husband on the other hand, considers generations ahead when he makes decisions. That doesn't always translate to the most convenient and gratifying circumstances for me today but once he paints the picture for me, I again am so thankful for his long term vision.

Anonymous zen0 January 30, 2013 8:22 AM  

@ meisterdanken

but then sometimes I consider, in abject terror, the possibility that our Creator, far from being a boundlessly loving deity, doesn't really care all that much about us and maybe the ancient Jews were right - there is nothing but Oblivion waiting for us.

You Germans are so depressing.

I think you need to re-examine thoughts of the after-life in Judaism. Just because they don't make a big deal about trying to describe it does not mean it was not a consideration.

Try this link, for instance:
Jewish Beliefs on the Afterlife

Anonymous Redjack January 30, 2013 8:25 AM  

Welsher

I have seen both sides. My father in law died a few years back from liver cancer and Krohn's. The week before he died, we were in his large garden. His concern was not that he would die, for he knew here he was going, but that my daughter would not get to enjoy all the food from his last garden if he wasn't there to harvest it.

The day before he slipped into a coma he wrote out when to harvest the vegatables, and he told us good bye.

He had a good death, surrounded by all of us (and my dog, who he loved), at home, after confession with is priest. The next day we were all laughing at the funeral parlor trying to pick out the cheapest casket and making the director a little mad. She wasn't used to that.

He was gone. We will meet him again. We miss my father in law, and my wife still misses her Daddy, but it is different. I have seen those who view death as the total end get consumed by grief to the point of suicide. A classmate of my brides killed himself after his grandmother died for that reason.

Anonymous zen0 January 30, 2013 8:30 AM  

@ Vidad

Good stuff. I'm not sure about the American caterpillar, though.

I started raising mason bees recently. Their larvae cocoon, but their are parasite wasps that can inject their offspring into the larva and use it as food. Many tiny wasps emerge from the cocoon instead of the bee.

So, yah, America may not re-emerge at all.

Blogger JD Curtis January 30, 2013 8:30 AM  

Two nights ago I was bored and surfing the net and I decided to google search former co workers of mine from an old municipal post I once held in another state that ended about 17 years ago. Some are just names and addresses so I assume they're just living the life. One got popped for Driving Under the Influence about two years ago at the age of 56. And inevitably, I found that 2 of them have since passed in recent years. One guy in his 50's after a sudden illness and also a woman who lived to be a ripe old age in her 70's.


I hope they are in a better place now. You never know when your time on this plane of existance is going to be up. Each day is a precious gift from God.




OpenID meistergedanken January 30, 2013 8:32 AM  

mmaier2112: Thanks for the sentiment. The quest is ongoing, and will be pursued in a continual, if necessarily ginger way.

zen0: meh. Regardless, I find it discouraging that so much ink and anguish has been spilled on whether God exists or not, and how to discover him if he does, but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect as he is envisioned to be by most all believers. What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?

Anonymous MendoScot January 30, 2013 8:37 AM  

I tend to suspect the relative irreligion of the young is more indicative of an erroneous belief in their own immortality than any sort of genuine disbelief.

Oh yes. I had more than a little of this, aggravated by my father's quip that "as long as I do God's work, I am immortal".

He didn't smoke, and they had him on a diet in his declining years, but we kids made sure that there was always a bottle of single malt in his room right up to his end last month, aged 92.

His carer, a Polish woman, told us that in his last days he would sit in his chair and his eyes would move about the room as if he was watching someone only he could see. He told her that he didn't understand why God hadn't taken him, because his time was up. She replied that God knew when his time would be, and would take him then. She went to make his tea and when she returned he was gone.

During his travels in Tibet and the Himalayas he had encountered demonic possession and wrote and lectured extensively about spiritual warfare with thrones and dominions as a reality of life, not an analogy. Many of the elements in the Warriors series were familiar to me from his descriptions, although I have hesitated to post on the subject as it tends to stimulate an unhealthy degree of interest.

Blogger Tom January 30, 2013 8:37 AM  

Vidad, you are so annoyingly clever. By the way, I finally read your Bears story from Friday Challenge and was absolutely floored by it.

Vox said, "This is why it is vital for us to make the most of our lives, to balance the urgent need to make a living and support our families with truly important matters such as serving God, spreading the Good News, and making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here."

I understand serving God and spreading the Good News, but what does the third one have to do with things? It sounds rather anathema to the first two.

Anonymous MendoScot January 30, 2013 8:49 AM  

The next day we were all laughing at the funeral parlor trying to pick out the cheapest casket and making the director a little mad. She wasn't used to that.

Yeah, we had a similar experience although the director, perhaps because she was a Scot, didn't get mad.

It reminded me of Lewis's description of his rejection of religion in the Pilgrim's Regress, in part due to the experience of a funeral where they showed "neither Christian hope, nor Pagan stoicism".

Anonymous Alfred January 30, 2013 8:52 AM  

Hi there meistergedanken...

Only responding because I can relate somewhat to your "quest"...

As a former atheist and lifelong aspie, the problem for me was I was looking in the wrong places. It didn't matter how many C.S. Lewis books I read, I still didn't "get" it.

And it didn't help that people talk about "faith" like Yoda talking about The Force in Star Wars, or what Neo is looking for in the Matrix...

I made progress when I tried just 3 things, almost like an experiment:

1. Prayer
2. Reading the New Testament
3. Attending church

I'll tell you I sucked at all of above. My first prayers were like: "Dear God (if you exist)...please show yourself to me (if you are real)...and help me get to know your son, Jesus (who I'm not sure was real either)...I think I might follow him if I knew You and Him existed. Anyway, thanks, we'll talk again. Amen."

Reading the Bible. I tried starting "In the Beginning" Genesis 1:1. Big mistake. I'd recommend starting with one of the Gospels. For me, it was Matthew that just "clicked" with me. A lot of people recommend John, which isn't a bad call.

Going to Church. Do NOT go to the church you grew up in, or Mom & Dad's church, or Grandma's. This is about you and God, not what your family wants. Instead, consider yourself "church shopping." Pick next Sunday and go visit a service or two, whatever seems interesting. Sit in the back, check it out, if you hate it, don't go back. Just try it for a month and see how it feels.

When started doing this, things got weird.

Things happened I can't explain. Meeting people (I met my wife-to-be, who was a Christian)...insights you learn...answers given.

(Of course, now I know it was the Holy Spirit filling me up...)

Anonymous Tad January 30, 2013 8:54 AM  

@Vox Day

This passage of yours, slightly modified for the non-believers, is an insightful, grounded, responsible and thoughtful approach to living:

We are all going to die eventually. After a long life of joy, happiness, love, and good works, one hopes, but regardless, sooner or later, the final day will come. This is why it is vital for us to make the most of our lives, to balance the urgent need to make a living and support our families with truly important matters such as ...making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here.

Anonymous paradox January 30, 2013 8:54 AM  

My mother passed away on New Years Eve she was only 52. Thank the Lord I was raised by my grandparents, she was addicted to oxycotin and had mental issues. I do know she did belive in Jesus as Savior.

My question what is the Christian consensus, if there is one, on the afterlife? Annihilation waiting for resurrection or are we resurrected in another realm, aka Heaven?

Blogger Joshua_D January 30, 2013 8:56 AM  

meistergedanken January 30, 2013 7:53 AM

I am an agnostic, but not by choice. I wish you would write more on faith. Don't know how to come by it.


Ask God to reveal Himself to you and He will. God is real and He is loving.

Anonymous Henry George January 30, 2013 8:59 AM  

"but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect"

Really strange comment. You can start with the Bible and the questioning documented there (Job, Psalms, entire New Testament)...then read literally thousands of years of theology.

It just sound like another case of "Why do Bad Things Happen to Good People"...which of course, is a completely backwards and not really profound.

Anonymous Athor Pel January 30, 2013 9:00 AM  

"meistergedanken January 30, 2013 8:32 AM
...
zen0: meh. Regardless, I find it discouraging that so much ink and anguish has been spilled on whether God exists or not, and how to discover him if he does, but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect as he is envisioned to be by most all believers. What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?"




There are several ways to get to know God.

That you haven't figured out how is your fault. All worry, no do. Get off your ass.

I'm gonna describe two ways that will get you started.

One, travel to a place with wide beautiful vistas, a mountain range for example or a coastline. Wait for sunset or sunrise. Sit and watch the beauty. Now ask yourself some questions. Why is this place at this time so beautiful? Why do I find it beautiful? If these kinds of questions don't lead you to inevitable belief in a loving Creator then you got other problems that need addressing first.

Two, get a Bible. Read it. God's involvement in mankind's history is written in the Bible. It's all there. You will find things that will surprise you. You will be disabused of your faulty assumptions of God's character. God has talked to man face to face. Just about all your questions will be answered by the Bible if you will only look. But it is up to you to do the searching. This isn't elementary school where the answers are handed to you. This is real life. Only hunters get the prey.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 30, 2013 9:09 AM  

"Somewhat OT but; what's up with this zombie craze? Seems like every other movie is about zombies. There's even a zombie love story movie coming out.

Is this fascination with walking dead brain eaters a symptom of a diseased society that no longer values life, or is it a harmless outlet for those who fear the inevitable?"

It feeds into our fear of large crowds of strangers. Zombies became popular around the same time that we started getting concerned about illegal immigration.

Blogger IM2L844 January 30, 2013 9:11 AM  

If people truly believed that life here was just the opening act to an infinite boundless communion with their creator and all loved ones upon death, they would accept their brief time and impending death in a sanguine manner.

You haven't thought this through. The obvious reason most people who actually believe in an eternal afterlife, including many Christians, remain aprehensive about their future in it is because they realize that they are not, by mere virtue of being human, axiomatically deserving of such a profoundly valuable gift.

Is it surprising that many wonder, "Are my understandings correct?", "Will I be found worthy?" and so forth? The kind of faith it takes to be at real peace with all of those sorts of questions is obtainable, but still a rare thing.

Anonymous Anonymous January 30, 2013 9:17 AM  

I love Alfred's answer because it's a lot like my own. My first prayers were to things like my highest self and the collective unconsciousness. I was floored when God showed up.


Blogger Historicus January 30, 2013 9:22 AM  

I like and agree with the post, but Vox, I think you've been hacked. Since when have you been about spreading the Good News?

Anonymous Redjack January 30, 2013 9:25 AM  

Paradox.
First of all you are making a flawed assumption, that God exists in time. He does not. Time is a created construct.

Simply put, we don't know for sure. We have some information from, for lack of a better term, mystics that hint that after death we are in the presence of God. However if you read such accounts, the all sound like we have bodies. Whether that is because they do, or because the soul perceives itself that way is unknown. I suspect that leaving this realm in death means we leave the created construct of time, so it is a moot point

Anonymous JartStar January 30, 2013 9:30 AM  

He had a good death, surrounded by all of us (and my dog, who he loved), at home, after confession with is priest.

This is my hope when that day comes. I don't fear death but rather want to live long to serve the Lord, see children grow, hopefully have grandchildren, and spend time with my wife. Even as I approach midlife I've seen enough of this world that the rest is mostly vanity.

Anonymous Tad January 30, 2013 9:36 AM  

@Athor


One, travel to a place with wide beautiful vistas, a mountain range for example or a coastline. Wait for sunset or sunrise. Sit and watch the beauty. Now ask yourself some questions. Why is this place at this time so beautiful? Why do I find it beautiful? If these kinds of questions don't lead you to inevitable belief in a loving Creator then you got other problems that need addressing first.


There are places on this earth that are perceived as simply dog ass ugly, despite being tempered by a fine sunset. What to think of a God then?

The fact is, it is perfectly reasonable and insightful to sit in a place "with wide beautiful vistas, a mountain range for example or a coastline" and marvel at the natural beauty of a place you've been lucky enough to experience and to be inspired by it without ever considering the existence of a God and without ever being accused of possessing any problems related to one's godless understanding of beauty.

Anonymous T14 January 30, 2013 9:40 AM  

All hoping one still has the faculties to form a belief in anything towards the end.

While Aurelian stoicism would seem a noble way to face it, I can hardly claim to know how I will. God or Gods or something supernatural is as likely as not I suppose. I imagine how my loved ones want me to face it will play a role. Your death isn't all about you, after all.

OpenID meistergedanken January 30, 2013 9:41 AM  

Athor Pel, with all due respect, you don't know what I've done, or what I've read, or what I've seen or how much [or little] time I spend "sitting on my ass". And to pretend you do know such things from a mere two comments I have made here shows you lack intellectual rigor.

General comment: it always cracks me up when I read commenters accusing other commenters of "not doing anything". Like you can see what the other person is doing via camera on the other end... Newsflash: at that moment, you are typing at a computer, same as him. So is this the pot calling the kettle black or what? I comment a lot LESS on this site than you do, because I AM out doing things.

As to the original topic, the NDE phenomenon has fascinated me for several years now and seemingly provides the most fertile grounds for investigation.

Anonymous Josh January 30, 2013 10:02 AM  

Of course there is this response to the question, "how would you like to die?"

"In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl's mouth around my cock"

Anonymous GWst January 30, 2013 10:06 AM  

Some interesting reading, from the voluminous research on near-death experiences that Dr. Raymond Moody has amassed:

http://www.amazon.com/Glimpses-Eternity-Investigation-Shared-Experiences/dp/1846042534/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1359558011&sr=8-3&keywords=raymond+moody

This book investigates the phenomenon of those who *co-experience* the death of their loved ones. Sometimes this experience is shared only by one person, sometimes by groups of people. It's fascinating, and recommended.

Anonymous Starbuck January 30, 2013 10:12 AM  

The fact is, it is perfectly reasonable and insightful to sit in a place "with wide beautiful vistas, a mountain range for example or a coastline" and marvel at the natural beauty of a place you've been lucky enough to experience and to be inspired by it without ever considering the existence of a God and without ever being accused of possessing any problems related to one's godless understanding of beauty.-Tad

Well as Athor said... You have other problems. heh.
Tad.. You just seem to fall right into it, don't you?


Athor Pel, with all due respect, you don't know what I've done, or what I've read, or what I've seen or how much [or little] time I spend "sitting on my ass". And to pretend you do know such things from a mere two comments I have made here shows you lack intellectual rigor.-meistergadanken


Meister,
I don't think Athor was questioning your willingness to work or if you are lazy. It's an expression. That's all. A better way to say it would to focus on the subject and try not to be distracted. I don't think he meant anything insulting by it. At least I didn't get that impression by what he said.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 30, 2013 10:26 AM  


And what is true of men is true of nations. America is entering its cocoon. Who is to say with any certainty that what will eventually result will not be better than what came before.


This seems to me like the most important part of your posting, and in a real sense, hasn't the America of the past already past away? Eg, since the formation of the Fed things have been very different and probably worse.

Anonymous JartStar January 30, 2013 10:38 AM  

@meistergedanken

Take a look at this most recent book about NDEs, I haven't read it but it overall has positive reviews.

Anonymous The other skeptic January 30, 2013 10:39 AM  

A sign of the times

It seems that some are surprised that the US economy shrank in the fourth quarter. When the numbers are revised further downward, will they also be surprised?

Anonymous Starbuck January 30, 2013 10:40 AM  

I love Alfred's answer because it's a lot like my own. My first prayers were to things like my highest self and the collective unconsciousness. I was floored when God showed up.-Anon

I was not so much surprised he showed up. I was surprised he was interested in me. Why? I asked myself. Because I know what is inside me. I am dark and very twisted inside. I have always tried to hide it, but once in a while it comes out. I know what I deserve and it isn't salvation. But yet the Bible promised me I could receive salvation from Jesus. And I have. I also know what I am capable of. At one time I thought I was the worst of the worse. Turns out I am not. There are others who are more dark and more twisted. Some are saved, some are not. I am convinced there are many who are much better then me. But that doesn't concern me.

I still struggle with the idea God really is interested in me. I cannot explain why. He is so pure and righteous. And to those who say God has not right to punish or to kill, you are seriously wrong in that area. No proof offered, and as far as I am concerned, none needed.

Anonymous raggededge January 30, 2013 11:01 AM  

"In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl's mouth around my cock"

Martin is going to kill him off way before he reaches 80...

Anonymous RC January 30, 2013 11:02 AM  

Ask God to reveal Himself to you and He will. God is real and He is loving." - Joshua_D

Indeed He loves us, just not often in the way we think He should, eternal perspective and all that. He knits us in our mother's womb, he draws us, he molds us with potter's hands, he tests us, and brings us home formed through the suffering of life, better prepared for eternity and, if done well, others following Him in our footsteps.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 11:25 AM  

Awhile back, before my stroke and two subsequent TIAs, during a time of prayer I received this word from God, "Your warfare is accomplished." I took it to mean either I would enter heaven soon or the life lived here would take on the quality of Job's later years. I don't know which; maybe I have a say in it, both are attractive. Going home for me will be mid-stride, and heaven is so tantalizingly close. Staying has its benefits too - I get to plan a crusade to bring Billy Graham's grandson to town in 2015. This year I'm working on getting folks stirred up to visit prisons across the State. This weekend my friends and I are conducting an outdoor evangelistic party at a row of homes being restored after being vacant for 28 years. Plus, there's marrying off Lydia and other family joys.

Perceiving that now is the coda, it's important to encourage others to find their way into God's loving arms - which is why I too think Alfred's post is so poignant.

Anonymous JartStar January 30, 2013 11:31 AM  

Beau,

Your example is inspiration for all of us Christians. May God bless you this year and keep you in good health.

Anonymous Huckleberry - est. 1977 January 30, 2013 11:31 AM  

What in the Hell is with this bint's jihad against deli provisions?
The old man didn't value his life because he ate salami and cheese?
As for dying, well like my grandfather used to say, you only get one chance for a clean dismount.
Embrace it like a man...

Anonymous A Visitor January 30, 2013 11:57 AM  

America is entering its cocoon. Who is to say with any certainty that what will eventually result will not be better than what came before.

Too true! I'd love to go back as the Roman Empire was collapsing and see how they took it, what their thoughts were, etc.

As far as dying is concerned, though I am extremely young, the only thing that terrifies me on a personal level about dying is not dying in the state of sanctifying grace. As long as I'm in the state, it'll all be ok.

Blogger JDC January 30, 2013 11:57 AM  

Beau - It's good to hear you are doing well. Continued prayers for your recovery or your calling to the church Triumphant.

Anonymous zen0 January 30, 2013 11:58 AM  

meistergedanken: What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?

Relax. Your consternations are futile.

1. Who is "we"? If you are merely another offspring of Adam, He has no personal interest in what you do individually. Your fate is the same as Adam's.

2. "Deserves" got nothin to do with it. You are not qualified to judge.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 12:08 PM  

JDC - thanks. Many blessings on your ministry too.






Anonymous zen0 January 30, 2013 12:15 PM  

paradox: My question what is the Christian consensus, if there is one, on the afterlife? Annihilation waiting for resurrection or are we resurrected in another realm, aka Heaven?

Not that simple. There are two resurrections. The first is for the little flock of overcomers who are translated into a spirit body after a time in Sheol, while the vast majority await the second.

Daniel 12:1-2 is a good place to start.

Anonymous Gould K.L. Brownlee January 30, 2013 12:15 PM  

Since I work at a major daily newspaper I get to listen to a LOT of Leftist, atheist imbeciles natter on and on spouting lies and fantasies. The other day I was talking to the film reviewer because I wanted to hear her opinion about Robert Mitchum, who I think is damned amazing as an actor. Of course we got around to his smoking and drinking and that it killed him etc. She asked, how old was Mitchum when he died? I said, "About 75." I know, that's wrong. He was actually 80, but it's what she replied that's interesting. She said, "Wow, that's early." Ha ha. That is so totally not early! 75 is fucking old!

Anyway, this sort of denial comes to Leftists so easily because the original sin of the Left is the evil notion that Man should deny God and take his place as the arbiter of all things Earthly and Divine. They feel that Man should use science to order society and produce the New Man, the Transcendent Man, when actually what they end up doing is creating Guinea Pig Man. It's all just an excuse for tyranny and hedonism, but they must redefine brutal tyranny and immorality as enlightened moral progress. In their complete denial of reality the Leftists must redefine everything in order to maintain their denial. Political Correctness is the tool used to enforce their malignant pathology. And since science is NOT a successful tool for reordering society and morality the Leftist must redefine that, thus distorting science to the point that it is just another lie. Global Warming fraud anyone? So the Leftist worships at an altar that simply doesn't exist, and violently forces the rest of us pretend with them. Leftism is by definition a mental illness.

So with their insane expectations of "Progress," the Left naturally feels that every generation will live longer than the one before and soon, maybe even now!, we can all live and PARTY forever. But that's why the Left tends to hate anyone who smokes. Anyone who smokes is going against the Leftist narrative and is someone who needs to be reeducated in the Maoist sense of the word. I was a smoker for years and Leftists were always posing as someone who cared deeply for me and begged me to stop smoking. Of course they didn't care for me at all. What they cared about was their denial of reality. Smoking, for almost completely irrational reasons, seems to threaten Leftists' denial of reality. Yes, smoking is bad for you, but it generally takes several decades of heavy smoking to finally, actually kill someone.

I did quit smoking, but it wasn't so I would live forever. I loved smoking. The reason I quit is simply because my body couldn't continue to smoke. It simply made me feel bad now. I have no idea if quitting has extended my life. Don't care. And I don't ride my bicycle 50 miles a week in order to live longer. I do it to feel good now. There's a certain obsessive type of Leftist twit who exercises obsessively in order to live forever and be morally superior. There are serious echoes of the old Victorian, "clean mind/clean body" obsession with these people. But the Leftists is essentially a sanctimonious, Victorian twit at heart. The difference is that the modern Leftist has abandoned God, morality, enlightened self-interest and rational spirit of enquiry. In other words the Leftist has abandoned all the high virtues of the Victorian while retaining the Victorians' need to not only feel morally superior, but to be seen to be morally superior. Anyone who doesn't concur is seen as a deadly threat. Lenin was a classic and early example of the brutal nature of the sanctimonious, Leftist twit. Obama is one of the worst I've ever seen. Those embarrassing "Man of Destiny" poses Obama strikes are a very bad sign indeed. There is serious, juvenile pathology lurking right near the surface with Obonzo, the anointed one. It makes me physically ill to see how Leftist Whites demean themselves by worshiping that affirmative-action parasite, that corrupt homosexual.

Anonymous dh January 30, 2013 1:02 PM  

We can spend our days seeking mindless pleasure, but hedonism burns out fast and leaves little more than a burned-out shell behind. We can live in fear and denial, or we can live in nihilistic stoicism, attempting to manufacture our own meaning and desperately trying to convince others of what we do not truly believe ourselves. Or we can live by faith, trusting God, accepting that we are merely caterpillars and death is nothing more than a cocoon we must endure before we can take flight.

This is a really lovely thought. I think of a lot of us atheists would genuinely like to be believers. Many have gone through the motions but cannot make whatever connection, mental or otherwise, that permits one to be a believer.

It does raise interesting questions about whether atheism really is a form of mental disorder.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 1:07 PM  

Responsibility may be eluded until one's death. Many, many years ago driving down the autobahn my wife's car developed a loud repetitive knocking noise. Her solution? She turned up the radio.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 1:10 PM  

I think of a lot of us atheists would genuinely like to be believers.

Alfred's post is pretty good food for thought on obtaining this objective.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 30, 2013 1:15 PM  

Soldiers bulldoze homes

Sorry this is OT, but here's an example for Tad and the other anti-gun nuts about why citizens SHOULD be armed. Relevant quote:

Towns literally have been wiped off the map, and no compensation was offered to the victims. About 400,000 acres of land were expropriated in the latest operation.

Residents in the Siua-Missu area in the state of Mato Grosso battled heavily armed federal police and military forces for weeks using sticks, rocks, Molotov cocktails and other crude weapons.

In the end, however, the powerful national government forces were overwhelming.


I'm sure they thought "couldn't happen here" at some point, too.

Of course, Tad would probably just love seeing U.S. citizens' homes wiped out for the same reason here. And then deny that the government was doing it while U.S. troops, wearing their uniforms in broad daylight, drove people out of their homes.

Blogger ajw308 January 30, 2013 1:18 PM  

This is why it is vital for us to make the most of our lives, to balance the urgent need to make a living and support our families with truly important matters such as serving God, spreading the Good News, and making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here.
Thank you Vox for the time you put in here. With a family and all you do, I'm sure this bites into your higher priorities bandwidth at times and while you dismiss this as something you do for yourself, not us, you're courteous and let us know when you know you'll be absent or warn us that posting will be light for a few days when you're scheduled to be off in the woods torturing people.

Like your dad (thank you for the update on him) you help those around you. I know I have made some friends here, made some great acquaintances, had my critical thought processes improved, and continue to have the socialist socialization plied to me in my formative years knocked away. And I know I'm not the only one.

Anonymous civilServant January 30, 2013 1:23 PM  

America is entering its cocoon. Who is to say with any certainty that what will eventually result will not be better than what came before.

It will be what its inhabitants make it. Then as now.

If it is better will you then return?

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 1:23 PM  

Living by faith is a decision; do I trust you, or do I not?

Blogger ajw308 January 30, 2013 1:24 PM  

There are places on this earth that are perceived as simply dog ass ugly, despite being tempered by a fine sunset. What to think of a God then?
Tad, New York City has nothing to do with God.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 30, 2013 1:35 PM  

The fact is, it is perfectly reasonable and insightful to sit in a place "with wide beautiful vistas, a mountain range for example or a coastline" and marvel at the natural beauty of a place you've been lucky enough to experience...

In YOUR opinion. And, if you are nothing more than just another animal, your opinion is just as worthless as anyone's if someone deems it so. Of course, their opinion is worthless to someone else.

But yeah, keep thinking all of that beauty just happened all by itself. If convincing yourself there is no God because you don't want to face up to the fact that you'd then have to figure out what he wants and/or answer to him someday, enjoy. If so much wasn't at stake it would be very amusing to see what you actually say to him once he calls you to account for your life and you are unable to lie to yourself or to him.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 1:47 PM  

There are places on this earth that are perceived as simply dog ass ugly, despite being tempered by a fine sunset. What to think of a God then?

For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:22-25 ESV

While Tad thinks the presence of evil in the world argues against God, he misses that God remains at work in the world - and us - effecting reconciliation. What to think of God then? His purpose here partially revealed - is marvelous.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 30, 2013 1:57 PM  

While Tad thinks the presence of evil in the world argues against God, he misses that God remains at work in the world - and us - effecting reconciliation.

I've noticed that people like Tad always want to blame God for evil, and never seem to just accept that the reason evil exists is because WE exist. They never want to blame humanity, although humanity is the cause. Not including Satan.

God gave humanity a perfect world and only asked one thing. Humanity chose not to do that one thing and the result is evil in the world. Seems pretty clear cut to me who is at fault.

Blogger James Dixon January 30, 2013 1:58 PM  

> If it is better will you then return?

What makes you think the process will be complete within Vox's lifetime?

Anonymous Athor Pel January 30, 2013 2:02 PM  

"Tad January 30, 2013 9:36 AM
...
There are places on this earth that are perceived as simply dog ass ugly, despite being tempered by a fine sunset. What to think of a God then?
...
"



We know you have an unnatural fixation on the buttholes of the world. No need to point that out.

If you can't answer your own question then like everyone else has said to you repeatedly, you got bigger problems. You are so self focused it's surprising you see other people as even worth talking to.

Let me spell it out for the finger counters.

Without sadness we cannot recognize joy.
Without the ugly we cannot recognize the beautiful.
The contrast between the good and the bad must exist to fully appreciate when we have something good.

Now shut up and listen for once in your life, and only speak to ask questions. Stop chode smoking and fudge packing long enough to see life as a gift rather than something to be stolen.

Anonymous Athor Pel January 30, 2013 2:03 PM  

" Starbuck January 30, 2013 10:12 AM
...
Athor Pel, with all due respect, you don't know what I've done, or what I've read, or what I've seen or how much [or little] time I spend "sitting on my ass". And to pretend you do know such things from a mere two comments I have made here shows you lack intellectual rigor.-meistergadanken


Meister,
I don't think Athor was questioning your willingness to work or if you are lazy. It's an expression. That's all. A better way to say it would to focus on the subject and try not to be distracted. I don't think he meant anything insulting by it. At least I didn't get that impression by what he said."





I did indeed mean to make him angry. Insult no, angry yes. Angry people act. They do not sit on their keister and whine about something they have obviously not seriously sought the answer to. Because if they had seriously sought it they would have found it or they would still be searching and not whining about it in a comment thread.

This $hit ain't hard. Stop the mope.



Here, I'll quote him again.

""meistergedanken January 30, 2013 8:32 AM
...
meh. Regardless, I find it discouraging that so much ink and anguish has been spilled on whether God exists or not, and how to discover him if he does, but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect as he is envisioned to be by most all believers. What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?""



I read that and get angry because his own words condemn him. I do not see it as genuinely seeking truth but as an apologist for the questioning of God's righteousness and justice. It is straight from the adversary.

It's obvious he hasn't read the Bible, or if he has read it then he hasn't read it with the intention of truly finding the character of God.

The answers exist and they can be found just by reading the Bible. That's all. It's not hard. Really it's not. Pick up the book and put your nose in it. Now read and read with a purpose. God wants to be known. That you do not know Him by the time you are an adult means you have not searched and I question any man's intentions in such a situation.

Anonymous Zion's Paladin January 30, 2013 2:06 PM  

meistergedanken: Regardless, I find it discouraging that so much ink and anguish has been spilled on whether God exists or not, and how to discover him if he does, but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect as he is envisioned to be by most all believers. What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?

C.S. Lewis wrote a book, or more accurately, a diary called A Grief Observed dealing with just that issue. It was a diary he kept shortly after the death of his wife, where he wrestled with his grief and the horrifying possibility that the God he had chosen to follow was worse than impersonal: namely, a divine sadist.

As far as developing faith though, I would always recommend the Gospels first. I presume you're a Gentile, so Luke may be the best one to start with. Reading all four though is what I'd recommend before you move into the rest though.

Godspeed on your journey.

Anonymous Redjack January 30, 2013 2:14 PM  

dh,
It does. It also raises a question of what "faith" is. Is it an emotional connection or a choice? I am not one who makes emotional connections well, and faith was never presented to be that way. If it had, I would not have been a Christian.

As the son German farmer, it was a presented as a choice, and a duty.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 2:30 PM  

What a great morning. I got to send a guy to rehab in Tucson and recommend a young man be hired as a ranch hand in Hope, NM.

Blogger James Dixon January 30, 2013 2:30 PM  

> ...long enough to see life as a gift rather than something to be stolen.

As I've noted before (this makes the third time)in posts where Tad comments: Some people value life. Others, not so much so.

Anonymous Jimmy January 30, 2013 2:36 PM  

On average, life expectancy is the 80s. I think this guy had a full life and he lived to the expected age despite the cancer. I know people that have dropped dead (sudden death) well before 80. I feel more sad for the son. He seems to be more aggrieved than the father. How sad is that?!!!

Anonymous dh January 30, 2013 2:38 PM  

As the son German farmer, it was a presented as a choice, and a duty.
I can relate to that deeply. My own upbringing, faith was an imperative, just as serious as any other family obligation. From an early age I never had the obvious connection that my parents and siblings had.

It was a somewhat long and tedious transition to atheism. At some point, I realized that the entire ball of wax had been rejected by my mind, like a transplanted limb. The faith of family was like an organ that was transplanted into me as a child but didn't take, and over time it shriveled and eventually died.

Finally, sometime later, some things occurred in my life which I was taught should leave me feeling guilty. I felt nothing. No guilt. No remorse. That was many years ago, and a lot of the time, I do wish that it had happened differently. I've always had a niggling suspicion that if things went a different way I would be much happier as a Christian adult.

For atheists as myself it is particularly galling to realize that you are on the wrong side of the "nice person divide". The vast majority of nice people I know - people you want to be around, alphas, family people, professionals are all Christians. And conversely, the bigger the asshole the greater the chance he or she is a militant atheist. There is no other correlation I can think of that is stronger. And for an atheist, that's enough to really knock you on your ass.

OpenID meistergedanken January 30, 2013 2:39 PM  

Athor Pel wrote: "I read that and get angry because his own words condemn him. I do not see it as genuinely seeking truth but as an apologist for the questioning of God's righteousness and justice."

Wrong. I am not seeking to question "God's righteousness or justice". I am not looking for an explanation for Evil or anything like that. That's a few steps down the line. I am wondering about God's existence and the existence of an Afterlife, and furthermore if the mere fact of His existence necessarily means He consequently possesses the attributes people like you claim He must. Just because God exists doesn't mean there is an afterlife for US - how presumptuous is THAT? You are simply locked in your paradigm and can't even properly conceptualize the thoughts people outside that paradigm might have - like you were born without one of the five senses or something.

"It's obvious he hasn't read the Bible, or if he has read it then he hasn't read it with the intention of truly finding the character of God."

Wrong AGAIN. I grew up and was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, and in my youth [briefly] considered going into the ministry. I know the Gospels (and most of the Bible) quite well, certainly better than the average practicing Catholic, and likely better than you. I know several texts from other religons as well (I say that for the sake of completeness, as I suspect you would simply be contemptuous of other religions and the spiritual efforts of other cultures).

Also, I would like to take the opportunity to thank those here who have made more helpful - and Christian - efforts at dialogue.

Anonymous Kickass January 30, 2013 2:56 PM  

I have died. I died on my 31st b day. Freaked me out.

Mendo scott I have a question regarding your post, is it ok to ask along the lines of spiritual warfare?

Anonymous Kickass January 30, 2013 2:58 PM  

@meister...why have you chosen not to take God at His word then?

Anonymous Kickass January 30, 2013 3:04 PM  

@ dh, your concious became seared and then you are on your way to a reprobate mind. You are enslaved to sin, call out to Jesus to be saved and He will restore you. Otherwise, we are all dead inside.

Anonymous Kickass January 30, 2013 3:05 PM  

Outlaw x, you ok today?

Anonymous Credo in Unum Deum January 30, 2013 3:10 PM  

"Death is the appointment we all have to keep."

Quite frankly, dying surrounded by my loved ones, in a hospital room, with tubes going every which way both in and out of me, drugged out of my mind... It all strikes me as a horrible way to die.

That is NOT the way I want to go!

I'd much rather die fighting.

Someone who is pure evil preferably.

Put me between that evil individual, and innocent bystanders in need of protectin'.


Todd Beamer, of Flight 93 fame. Now THAT is the epitome of a "Beautiful Death" in my humble opinion.

He had it all:

The wife.

The kids.

The good, decent paying job.

And leading the charge, and dying taking down the agents of the Evil One, in a smoldering crater with no messy corpse left behind, saving countless lives in the process, and taking his place among the honored dead.

We can only hope to be so lucky...


@Alfred: "Instead, consider yourself "church shopping.""

You shouldn't go into a church, or any belief system for that matter, that makes you feel comfortable. You should go to a church because it is The Truth.

Everything else is secondary.

If you don't believe that something is the Truth, and you're only there because it makes you feel comfortable, for whatever reason that might be, then why are you wasting your time there?

You should ask yourself the following questions when investigating a Church:

Is this the same Church that Jesus founded? (First and foremost.) I don't want some man-made imitation, no matter how pure their intentions are, if it isn't founded by Jesus Christ, it isn't The Church, and I want no part of it.

Did it come about after Pentecost? Even if it came about 1 nanosecond after Pentecost, then it isn't the Church that our Blessed Lord founded, and you should walk away.

Does it teach the same beliefs that the first Blessed Apostles taught 2000 years ago? Innovations, such as those that came about in the 16th century and beyond should be critically analyzed, and compared to Sacred Scripture, and compared to the historical records, and if not found, should be discarded.

Has this Church you're looking into stood fast in the face of murderous persecution? Or has it bent to the winds of the world's popular opinion? Has it endured its members being lit on fire to light the way to the Colosseum where more of its members were fed to wild beasts? Or did it come about when its Pastor decided to just "start up his own Church"?

Has this Church removed Sacred Scripture from its cultural and historical setting? Has it torn out books from Sacred Scripture? Has it added to Sacred Scripture? If so, then one should ask why, and by what authority, and critically look at the first canon of scripture, and see if the scriptures they are using comply with those.

Shopping for a Church is about the silliest thing you can do.

You're ultimate goal should be The Truth.

Accept no substitutes.

Anonymous civilServant January 30, 2013 3:11 PM  

If it is better will you then return?

What makes you think the process will be complete within Vox's lifetime?


The process is never complete.

Anonymous Exegesis January 30, 2013 3:19 PM  

@Ejamacator

What is more telling than the beauty is that we are able to perceive and appreciate beauty. What is the survival benefit of watching a lovely sunset?

Anonymous Signe January 30, 2013 3:30 PM  

dh, I'm lifting you up in prayer right now, as I'm sure everyone else here is doing. If the answer is "yes, today", be willing to receive the Truth, and you'll find yourself on the path to what you see you're missing.

Anonymous Redjack January 30, 2013 3:56 PM  

DH,

Christianity is not about Buddy Jesus, like so many in today's culture want it to be.

Read some of the works by the Early Church Fathers. Read the (unsanitized) Luther.

These men and women had few illusions about what Faith is to be. It is a duty, fight, and a race.

Pray about it. Seriously. We are all a$$holes here, but that doesn't mean we won't pray for you.

Blogger ajw308 January 30, 2013 4:23 PM  

"I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate." Replicant Roy Batty

I never knew anyone who questioned how a synthetic created life could enjoy natural beauty.

I was being humorous when I mentioned New York City, but I can't think of any natural vista that is without beauty. Not one.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 4:45 PM  

dh,

Charles Spurgeon, a notable preacher from an earlier age, observed,

There are some who fancy that faith cometh by feeling. If they could feel emotions either of horror or of exquisite delight, they would then, they think, be the possessors of faith; but till they have felt what they have heard described in certain biographies of undoubtedly good men, they cannot believe, or even if they have a measure of faith, they cannot hope that it is true faith. Faith doth not come by feeling, but through faith arises much of holy feeling, and the more a man lives in the walk of faith, as a rule, the more will he feel and enjoy the light of God’s countenance. Faith hath something firmer to stand upon than those ever-changing frames and feelings which, like the weather of our own sunless land, is fickle and frail, and changeth speedily from brightness into gloom. You may get feeling from faith, and the best of it, but you will be long before you will find any faith that is worth the having, if you try to evoke it from frames and feelings.

“My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame;
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name;
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.”


In other words, faith doesn't depend on feelings, but on us trusting the work of Jesus on our behalf. Is Jesus trustworthy?



Anonymous Edjamacator January 30, 2013 5:03 PM  

@Exegesis

What is more telling than the beauty is that we are able to perceive and appreciate beauty. What is the survival benefit of watching a lovely sunset?

True. Wouldn't being amazed at a beautiful sunset actually be a survival liability? Standing around gazing in wonder and because of that not noticing the predator behind you about to pounce? :)

Anonymous Paradisum January 30, 2013 5:27 PM  

After long thought and study, I came to understand a very simple truth, which I leave as a legacy to my children:

--> God good. Devil bad.

God is NOT the Enemy, Accuser or Adversary, people. Jesus, full of the Spirit, "went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil." Humanity has been a pawn in the greatest con game in history by Satan: the framing of God the Father. What more could he ask than have the One who came to bring life abundant be accused of stealing, killing and destroying? Worse still, are those of His children that act as accomplices blaming the Comforter and Counselor with demonic misery and death. True enough Vox, only in a church could people call sickness and poverty "blessings in disguise" then spend the rest of the week trying to stay healthy and make a living.

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 6:09 PM  

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

...Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Anonymous stevev January 30, 2013 6:36 PM  

>Credo in Unum Deum

"Accept no substitutes"

Why not? You have. Why not just say "Don't go to anything but a Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church"? So glad you've decided to make sure and guide the sheep into the One True Church. #sarcasm

Anonymous dh January 30, 2013 7:11 PM  

Pray about it. Seriously. We are all a$$holes here, but that doesn't mean we won't pray for you.

That's what I mean about the nice person divide. Consistently the people whom I would rather be around are believers.

I will tell you that my patience at blogs of type of people who are middle-tier community college professors is tested quite a bit more seriously.

Anonymous Beau January 30, 2013 7:28 PM  

I will tell you that my patience at blogs of type of people who are middle-tier community college professors is tested quite a bit more seriously.

*chuckle*

Anonymous Rex Little January 30, 2013 7:37 PM  

truly important matters such as . . . making some sort of positive mark to permit future generations to realize that we were here.

Can anyone explain to me why this is important? Whether I go to Heaven, Hell or simple nonexistence after my death, what difference will it make to me if anyone still living remembers who I was?

I realize that most people do care about this, and I'm certainly not criticizing anyone for that. I'd just like to understand it.

Anonymous George of the Hole January 30, 2013 7:44 PM  

There are places on this earth that are perceived as simply dog ass ugly, despite being tempered by a fine sunset. What to think of a God then?

That He is awesome.

Any other questions?

Anonymous Porky? January 30, 2013 7:50 PM  

I will tell you that my patience at blogs of type of people who are middle-tier community college professors is tested quite a bit more seriously.

Oh shut your mouth you pompous fool.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 8:36 PM  

"Can anyone explain to me why this is important?"

Leaving a mark on future generations that is materially, socially, spiritually beneficent and healthy to them. As opposed to ball-shell-legislated-defer payment to children-good time intentions. Ant vs grasshopper; lion vs leviathan.

Anonymous cherub's revenge January 30, 2013 8:42 PM  

He used to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day...

I used to smoke five packs of cigarettes a day,
It was the hardest thing to put them away
I drank four, five bottles of wine,
I had a glass in my hand all the time

Live Bullet, great album

Anonymous cherub's revenge January 30, 2013 8:44 PM  

Otis Clay's version deserves some credit too though.

Anonymous cherub's revenge January 30, 2013 8:46 PM  

Whoops "Nine Tonight". My mom would slap me if she knew I got a Seger album wrong.

Anonymous MendoScot January 30, 2013 9:28 PM  

Mendo scott I have a question regarding your post, is it ok to ask along the lines of spiritual warfare?

It's not my porch, so you can always ask...

The central concept that one acquires power to the degree that one submits to the source of that power, in other words, conforms to the nature of the power that one seeks. This operates from the lowest level, to the highest. You can see it in the discussions about Game, but it occurs in, perhaps, its rawest form when you deal directly with spiritual beings. Thus there is a distinctly unhealthy aspect to curiosity about the subject.

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 10:26 PM  

Pray about it. Seriously. We are all a$$holes here, but that doesn't mean we won't pray for you.

Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.

Anonymous Kickass January 30, 2013 10:44 PM  

Praying for those seeking, there is truth to be found.

Mendoscot,agreed. I was wondering what your take is on the whole spiritual battle thing. Are we susposed to run around rebuking demons? I know they are real, but have heard we cannot deal with them the way the apostles did. So what is proper to do? Thanks.

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 10:47 PM  

Find one who knows Christ. Learn from them. Come to know Christ yourself. Then you, too, shall have power over demons.

After all, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father."

By this can you distinguish those who actually do believe in Christ, versus those who only claim to believe in Christ.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 10:47 PM  

So where does David or Paul ("I'd rather that [legalistic Jews] emasculate themselves") fall under the above, I wonder.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 10:48 PM  

(...The "Now we know that God heareth not sinners" use above.)

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 10:50 PM  

...Since it was implied that a$$holes = sinners.

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 10:57 PM  

David: Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.

The saints who died before Christ were raised at his resurrection.

"And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."

David wasn't there.

Paul: "And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?"

By this you can know Paul was no longer a sinner, having been redeemed by the power of Christ.

That is the point. Whoever continues in sin knows not Christ, and has not been born again, no matter how loudly he proclaims his "faith".

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 10:57 PM  

IE, David was not among the saints who arose.

Anonymous Rex Little January 30, 2013 11:15 PM  

"Leaving a mark on future generations that is materially, socially, spiritually beneficent and healthy to them. "

Doesn't answer my question. I understand wanting to do things for the benefit of future generations, especially if you brought some of them into the world. What I don't see is why it's important for them to remember us after we're gone, which is what the passage I quoted said.

Anonymous redsash January 30, 2013 11:17 PM  

I have tried to go through this life with the mindset that I am a spiritual being living in a physical body for a very infinitesimal amount of time compared to the vastness of eternity. Knowing that what I do with my 70 or so years here determines my eternity, knowing that all I see is temporary; even then the cares and worries of this world along with the pride of life and the lust of the eyes and flesh can distract, even deceive. I am more than thankful that God has revealed Himself and His Son through the holy scriptures, that I had godly parents to point me in the right direction, and that God drew me to Him and that I was drawn to God. When we pass out of childhood, we realize that we are in a lost condition, some simply refuse to admit the obvious. For nonbelievers there is this harsh reality, "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God" and "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." Sorry, it is not the message but the hardness of the heart to whom the Word is directed.

The important matter of serving God is both simple and difficult: love God with your entire being, love your neighbor as you would love yourself, fear God and keep His commandments. Spreading the Good News is a little more difficult unless one has a venue such as a preacher, teacher, evangelist, missionary, or writes of biblical themes. Contributing monies to their efforts also helps in spreading the Good News. An evangelizing Christian can become tedious to one's co-workers and neighbors, yet when the opportunity arises give Jesus his proper glory. A Christian's humble and righteous walk before his God may be the best sermon. As for a positive mark permitting future generations to realize that I was here, redsash hopefully has his name written in his Lord's book of life, but on this earth he has written his name in the dust. Anyway, there is no one here at this blog, or any blog, or any writer, poet, or philosopher who can out do a simple gravestone found in a Robertson Co. Tn. cemetery which read Confederate Soldier - farmer - Christian.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 11:23 PM  

"What I don't see is why it's important for them to remember us after we're gone, which is what the passage I quoted said."

Depends on what you mean by "remembered". If there's any hope for the future, grasshoppers and politicians will be as well remembered as any natural disaster.

"Remembered" may simply be that by one's fruits, ye shall know them.

Anonymous kh123 January 30, 2013 11:39 PM  

@ Log;

Putting aside for the moment the verses concerning David, who rose when (and how) after Christ's resurrection, etc,* it might be worth noting that Paul wrote the line concerning Jews-sans-johnsons well after he was preaching and teaching. Needless to say, well after the road to Damascus.


---
*Not that I'm fully convinced or convicted either way on this specific argument - it could very well be as you say re: David, the saints - but I'm predicting the usual "this term in the Greek from the Hebrew in Leviticus actually means" if the discussion goes any further. Which is probably a tangent best saved for another post if it ever comes up.

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 11:40 PM  

So?

Blogger Log January 30, 2013 11:44 PM  

The cites on David were both NT, not OT.

The "so?" is for your statement on Paul.

Anonymous PC Geek January 31, 2013 12:13 AM  

@Beau

First off - how is your recovery going - be sure to let us know, either in this post or maybe better to do it in VD's latest post.

In other words, faith doesn't depend on feelings, but on us trusting the work of Jesus on our behalf. Is Jesus trustworthy?

So basically what you are saying is that feelings are another one of our human faculties, a gift from God to be sure, but, like all human faculties, they are fallen and this can err.

Ideally we would have religious feelings corresponding perfectly to our Faith, but as we all know (well at least I hope we all do) feelings can easily fall out of sync with reality so it is vital to enjoy them to their fullest when you can but not to rely on them as an arbiter of truth.

Does that sound right?

Anonymous Rex Little January 31, 2013 12:38 AM  

Whoever continues in sin knows not Christ, and has not been born again, no matter how loudly he proclaims his "faith".

Can you clarify this a bit? Does "continues in sin" mean committing any sins at all, so that you have to be perfect in order to be born again? Or do you just have to do your honest best (God, of course, knows if it is your honest best) to avoid sin?

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 12:43 AM  

"Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

If you are born again, then can you keep the commandment: "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

Doing your "honest best" is insufficient. You must do what he says to do.

"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great."

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 1:18 AM  

The true order of things is:

1. You hear the word from authorized ministers - them who have been sent of God.

2. You believe the word.

3. You repent of all your sins.

4. You call upon the name of the Lord, which means to cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Christ for the remission of your sins. You continue doing so until you receive this. It is not a matter of uttering a set "sinner's prayer", but a matter of sincerity of the heart.

5. When you do this, you will enter into a covenant of obedience with God, to the effect you shall obey his commandments. This is not of men, nor of your will, but of God, and is borne to the heart by the Spirit.

6. The first command to be obeyed, having entered this covenant, is to be baptized by his authorized ministers, as a public witness before God and men you have entered into this covenant to be obedient to his commandments.

7. Then shall you receive the baptism by fire, by the imposition of hands for the giving of the Holy Ghost. This is wherein you will be born again, and it comes by the will of the Father, because of the atonement wrought by his Son.

8. Having been born again, you endure to the end in faith on the name of Christ, obeying every commandment, bringing forth good works, governing your tongue, and obeying the word of God directly to you in every particular. This is the state of being saved, in the parlance of Paul.

9. Having endured to the end in faithfulness, when you depart this life, you are saved in the kingdom of the Father, and are made equal to Christ, inheriting what he inherits of the Father, and sitting upon his throne with him.

If you reject the authorized servants of Christ, the saints and the prophets whom he sends among you to testify and teach, you can never receive these things.

This is the plan of salvation. This is the soteriology which undergirds the New Testament.

That Paul and other NT writers engage in merismus when alluding to the plan has caused confusion in the modern reader.

Anonymous Toby Temple January 31, 2013 4:45 AM  

"In my own bed, at the age of 80, with a belly full of wine and a girl's mouth around my cock"

Didn't David Carradine died this way? But not lying on a bed though.. just hanging...

Anonymous Toby Temple January 31, 2013 5:27 AM  

I find it discouraging that so much ink and anguish has been spilled on whether God exists or not, and how to discover him if he does, but so LITTLE thought has gone into questioning the profound assumption that God's existence must somehow mean that he is loving and all-around perfect as he is envisioned to be by most all believers. What if he isn't? What if he doesn't really care WHAT we do? Would he still deserve to be worshipped?

You are referring to the biblical god, am I right? Then let the bible answer those questions for you.

As stated already several times here, read the bible with the purpose of knowing the god being described there as the Creator.

Anonymous RedJack January 31, 2013 7:01 AM  

Log,

So you don't sin?

Again, I was raised a LCMS Lutheran. The type that preaches sin and our fallen condition a lot. Grew up reading Luther, Augustine, and Thomas A. (winters were long in Nebraska).

The point is we all sin. All of us. None can say we are without sin.

And being on this blog means that we are by in large the type of people who society labels as Assholes. We point out that the emperor has no clothes when the nice thing to do is pretend he does. And then we turn our knives on our fellow Ilk and merrily stab away.

Here is the thing. The Bible is full of assholes. God doesn't ask us to be nice, He commands us to be Good. He also says that we CAN'T DO IT by ourselves. Which is why Jesus was incarnate and had to die for our sins.

I know many of my faults. My bride is more than happy to fill in the areas I am blind to, and there are places where neither of us know that I fall. All I can is ask God to forgive a soiled piece of toliet paper like myself (to borrow a phrase from St Paul). That is all any of us can do.

Anonymous kh123 January 31, 2013 7:04 AM  

"The cites on David were both NT, not OT."

The train is apparently fine.

Anonymous FrankNorman January 31, 2013 8:14 AM  

Log January 31, 2013 1:18 AM

The true order of things is:

(snip)

This is the plan of salvation. This is the soteriology which undergirds the New Testament.


Log, a direct and specific question to you, in terms of the rules of the Blog:
"Please name the specific sect or denomination of which you are apart."

What you are preaching is salvation-by-works. Nowhere in the New Testament is any such "plan of salvation" set forth. Its not in there.

Anonymous stevev January 31, 2013 11:24 AM  

Log, of course, won't answer directly and specifically.
Neither will Credo in Unum Deum.
Log, I suspect is of the One-ness Pentecostal persuasion.
Credo is either the same person as Log, or Roman Catholic.



Blogger Log January 31, 2013 11:28 AM  

But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.


Without bringing forth works, your claims to possess faith are known to be false by outside observers.

Once again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

By this are distinguished the believers in Christ from those who do not believe.

But what saith Paul, he whom almost all of Protestant Christianity takes to be the author of their faith?

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, to speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.

There, it appears Paul condemned just about the entirety of what Vox and the Ilk do on this blog.

Notice that them who are saved, according to item 8 in my list, are enjoined to maintain good works (or, in other words, the works of Christ) according even to Paul. You will also note that item 8 is not brought about by performing good works - in other words, by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Once you have received the free gift of salvation from God, you are commanded to bring forth good works. If you receive the gift of salvation and fall away into sin, you are among those who shall be burned, according to Hebrews 6.

Again - if you do not what the Lord says, you are not saved at the last day.

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

For because you know not God, never having repented from your sins, nor called upon the name of the Lord, you do not bring forth good works, and you are like the barren fig tree which Christ cursed as an example, because it brought not forth fruit in its season.

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 11:51 AM  

Log,

So you don't sin?


No, I do not, which is the case with all who have been born of God. 1 John 3:9

The Bible is full of assholes. God doesn't ask us to be nice, He commands us to be Good.

He does more than that: "speak evil of no man, be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men, avoid foolish questions, and contentions."

He also says that we CAN'T DO IT by ourselves. Which is why Jesus was incarnate and had to die for our sins.

Yes. That is the point - if we will do what he says, he will perfect us, cleanse us from all sin and all unrighteousness, and give us power to bring forth his works. That is the state of those who have been born again.

But most people reject him and his sent servants and are thus never saved, while loudly proclaiming themselves to be the heirs of the Lord of the vineyard. "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

I know many of my faults. My bride is more than happy to fill in the areas I am blind to, and there are places where neither of us know that I fall. All I can is ask God to forgive a soiled piece of toliet paper like myself (to borrow a phrase from St Paul). That is all any of us can do.

That is correct - that is all you can do. When, therefore, you beg for forgiveness with sufficient sincerity and power, the Lord shall answer and send you a servant to guide you into the ways of salvation. Thus it was with Cornelius, and thus it is with us all.

Anonymous stevev January 31, 2013 11:52 AM  

Wow. I have never, ever, heard a member of the LDS church speak this way of their soteriological doctrine. I have multiple members of that sect in my family.
I'd like to know, Log, how you go about your day justifying to yourself that you are, indeed, possessed of sinless perfection?
But, I stand corrected. You did state specifically the sect to which you belong. Directly? Not before you got your apologia in.

Funny how God would take roughly 1800 years to restore "the faith once delivered". Oh, that's right. Jesus preached to the New World in your belief. It just took Joseph Smith and his uniquely inspired translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead rituals found under the head of a sideshow mummy..... oops I mean Golden Plates, to restore you to your sinless perfection.

You are sadly and tragically mistaken about the Author of your faith.

Anonymous Herman the German January 31, 2013 11:53 AM  

Kickass wrote this to MendoScot: (re: demons) I know they are real, but have heard we cannot deal with them the way the apostles did. So what is proper to do? Thanks.

----Who told you that!??! When did the Feminized Churchian West stop believing in the "Modern Miracle"??? Sadly, you are not the only one to voice this non-scriptural idea....I've heard this from many Protestant Christian friends who've been born & raised in the U.S.A......honestly, it's quite disconcerting to hear this sort of stuff from believers. Ugh...:-( The power of Jesus' name and the Holy Spirit is just as powerful NOW, as it EVER was...no matter WHAT your preacher's "modern interpretation" of ancient scripture may be. Furthermore, slightly OT, I advise all who are capable to go to the sources. Learn as much as possible about the originally penned works of divinely inspired scripture...learn all you can about Aramaic, ancient Hebrew & old Greek...less chance of erroneous, though well intended, misinterpretation.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 11:54 AM  

... and what he says is repent, believe, and call upon God in the name of the Son, and be baptized by his servants, which, if you do, he will baptize you with fire and the Holy Ghost, wherein you are saved - born again - and afterwards bring forth the works of Christ, and endure to the end in faithfulness.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 11:59 AM  

Wow. I have never, ever, heard a member of the LDS church speak this way of their soteriological doctrine.

Now you have.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ as Taught by the Nephite Prophets

The True Points of my Doctrine

Cry Redemption: The Plan of Redemption as Taught in the Book of Mormon

I'd like to know, Log, how you go about your day justifying to yourself that you are, indeed, possessed of sinless perfection?

I know my state before God, as do all who have been born of Him. 1 John 3:9.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 31, 2013 12:16 PM  

So, sinless Log, I guess Paul himself wasn't born of God then.

I mean, who said that he does the things he does not will to do, doesn't do the things he does will to do, and calls out to know who will deliver him from his body of death?

Oh wait, I'm using the real Bible, not the LDS one. Sorry that might not be in yours.

Anonymous stevev January 31, 2013 12:30 PM  

Log,

Your personal assertions of confidence aside... I repeat. You are sadly and tragically mistaken about the Author of your faith.

"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Gal. 1:8 KJV

But then, you value the writings of wicked men of the 1800's over the Bible.

You assert the primacy of your heresy but are too caught up in pride and sin to realize you've accepted the words of foolish men who claim those words were revealed by an angel.

Shame on you. You tried to lead someone who appeared to be an honest seeker astray with your foolishness.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints does not know, nor preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Anonymous Herman the German January 31, 2013 12:39 PM  

Heh..Goodly members of the Dread Ilk, kindly remind me never to purchase a glass house anywhere near Mr. Log.....LOL :-)

Anonymous Edjamacator January 31, 2013 12:44 PM  

C'mon guys, his name's appropriate enough, depending on the translation. He's the guy trying to tell others about the mote in their eye while ignoring something in his own.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 1:20 PM  

I have been using the standard KJV throughout.

I do not have to appear to win arguments on this topic, because, as it is written, "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error."

As Paul wrote to Timothy, "avoid profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science (Gr. gnosis, knowledge) falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith."

The Lord sends servants, and they are mocked, scorned, persecuted, cast out, stoned, and slain - but a few do hearken.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 1:30 PM  

I guess Paul himself wasn't born of God then.

He wasn't before he was. Before he heard the gospel of Christ, he was alive without law, in his ignorance; when he heard, he became aware of his sins. When he repented, he became alive in Christ.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 31, 2013 1:34 PM  

Log, he's saved, "alive in Christ," and then writing about doing what he would not do. He didn't say "who will save me from this body of death that I previously had before but don't now because I'm sinless."

But hey, you think Jesus and Satan are space brothers, so getting something else wrong isn't that hard, I guess.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 1:45 PM  

You assert the primacy of your heresy but are too caught up in pride and sin to realize you've accepted the words of foolish men who claim those words were revealed by an angel.

As it is written, "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen."

"Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"

I have it from God Himself: "All things taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true."

Thus He spake to me in the day He cleansed me from my sins, by fire from heaven, through the intercession of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Anonymous MendoScot January 31, 2013 2:27 PM  

Kickass, sorry to be so long - I'm making preparations for the family's summer vacation in Patagonia.

I'm no expert in these subjects - I simply had a lot of indirect exposure growing up, and a little direct exposure as an adult, enough to know not to get too close at a personal level. Jesus didn't seek out the possessed and discouraged his disciples from doing so.

Or was your question directed to living life as spiritual warfare? Your comment about running around rebuking demons made me laugh, I know people like that. I know people who think that all cats are demonized - in which case kicking them would be spiritual warfare of a sort.

In a hill station for travellers on the Chinese-Tibet border my father found the following, written on a piece of card, that he copied and passed on to me when I was a teenager:

It is by no means enough to set out cheerfully with your God on any venture of faith. Tear into smallest pieces any itinerary for the journey your imagination may have drawn up. Nothing will fall out as you expect. Your Guide will keep to no beaten road. He will lead you by yawning gulfs and under beetling cliffs, such as you never dreamt that your eyes would look upon. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing whilst He is with you. The clinging hand of his child makes a desperate situation a delight to Him. A true walk with God will do more to awaken awe, wonder and amazement in your soul than would a century of travel through the sights of earth. It is your business to learn to be peaceful and safe in God, in every situation that time or eternity can develop, in this or in any other world to which He may lead you. To take you to his “end” by the way you know would profit you little. He chooses for you a way you know not, that you may be compelled into a thousand intercourses with Himself, which will make the journey forever memorable to Him and to you.

As a working class son of a socialist Brethren miner, he expected to follow God and the bible (or Marx) to social justice. Instead he ended up mired in warlords, revolutions, demons and the Great Game. There isn't really a playbook for that.

Blogger James Dixon January 31, 2013 2:39 PM  

> Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

As I told someone else in a thread a while ago, that's not a good translation. Per our minister, the actual word used means more "suitable for the task at hand" than "perfect".

Anonymous stevev January 31, 2013 2:39 PM  

Hoo, boy!

Log> "I have it from God Himself: "All things taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pertaining to the salvation of men, are true."

Nuff said. Don't y'all feel convicted of the truth now? God's "word" as put forth by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, is the truth. But NOT, you know, the written Word of God from whence Joseph Smith, may his name be accursed forever, freakin' ever first heard of Jesus, or Paul, or the Gospel.


Blogger James Dixon January 31, 2013 2:45 PM  

> Are we susposed to run around rebuking demons? I know they are real, but have heard we cannot deal with them the way the apostles did.

Well, we're not the apostles. Their faith had already been tested and strengthened by Christ's death and resurrection, and they had the direct assistance of the holy spirit.

So at the very least, I'd recommend treading warily where demons are concerned. If you're called to face one, I'm sure you'll know it, and be shown what to do.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 2:58 PM  

As I told someone else in a thread a while ago, that's not a good translation. Per our minister, the actual word used means more "suitable for the task at hand" than "perfect".

Your minister misspoke, according to the lexicon.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 31, 2013 3:26 PM  

Log, if things are the way you say they are on your way to be a space-god with your space-wives having eternal celestial sex to populate your own planet and be worshiped as its god, why did Paul talk about not doing what he willed to do AFTER being saved? Are you saying he wrote most of the NT while not a true child of God?

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 3:29 PM  

I am saying you misunderstand Paul. He was writing in the present tense of his journey from ignorance to salvation.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 3:35 PM  

As Peter said: "Be diligent that ye may be found of [Christ] in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

Some things Paul wrote, however, are extremely clear - and are therefore ignored, like this: "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you."

That would seem to preclude mocking and scorning others, but how do you read it?

Blogger James Dixon January 31, 2013 4:42 PM  

> Your minister misspoke, according to the lexicon.

"The lexicon" lists perfect as the third definition.

The second is "wanting nothing necessary to completeness".

That sure sounds more like "suitable for the purpose at hand" to me.

Equally importantly, if you follow the link to Trench's synonyms on that same page, it says the following:

It will be seen that there is a certain ambiguity in our word ‘perfect,’ which, indeed, it shares with τέλειος itself; this, namely, that they are both employed now in a relative, now in an absolute sense; for only so could our Lord have said, “Be ye therefore perfect (τέλειοι), as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (τέλειος), Matt. 5:48; cf. 19:21. The Christian shall be ‘perfect,’ yet not in the sense in which some of the sects preach the doctrine of perfection, who, as soon as their words are looked into, are found either to mean nothing which they could not have expressed by a word less liable to misunderstanding; or to mean something which no man in this life shall attain, and which he who affirms he has attained is deceiving himself, or others, or both. The faithful man shall be ‘perfect,’ that is, aiming by the grace of God to be fully furnished and firmly established in the knowledge and practice of the things of God...

The curious may wish to follow the links and read the complete entry.

Anonymous Kickass January 31, 2013 4:56 PM  

@ MendoScot and James Dixion,

This is not something I seek out. Unfortunately it is at my door. On both sides of my family line several have chosen to seek out mediums. This is only the beginning.

As I shared, I grew up with parents deep in witchcraft. I have seen things that make movies look like a joke and have no wish to see them again. I saw God put His hand between me and demons. I am not looking for a fight. However, I am looking for the correct way to handle it when one comes my way.

When my parents became new Christians they were terrified of what they had done and some past demons came back to test them. One responded by rebuking them constantly. Another gave in to them.

I have had my own times of testing. I am just wondering what to do if I wake up with a 500 pound weight on my chest in the middle of the night, or see a family member's face contort in rage.

I am not the Apostles, but they give me great comfort. I am not afraid of demons in that I am hid in Christ, but I am not stupid enough to think I will never run into one.

Thank you for the advice. I just see conflict in the scriptures and it is something I will have to study. I am not rolling deep with Christians. I am truly planted among the tares and open warfare is what it is behind enemy lines.

I am honored to be used.

Blogger James Dixon January 31, 2013 5:22 PM  

> This is not something I seek out. Unfortunately it is at my door.

Well, the best advice I can give is to pray. A lot. You should be given the assistance you need if you ask for it.

It's not something I've ever had to deal with, and hopefully never will. But just because I've never seen the demonic doesn't mean I'm foolish enough to think it doesn't exist.

As for fear, it's a perfectly rational reaction to facing such. Only fools are never afraid. You have my prayers on the matter for what little they're worth.

Anonymous stevev January 31, 2013 5:26 PM  

Log,

Why would Paul enjoin the recipients of his epistle to "forgive one another"?
I imagine you'll weasel your way out of that one by saying the recipients were
a mix of unrepentent, hellbound, non-believers who sinned against the sinlessly
perfect remainder of the epistle's recipients.

May God open your eyes and heart to receive the truth. Why not, he redeemed Paul
"the chief of sinners"?

Now, go talk to your Elders and chief Exegetes and come up with some more bastardized
interpretations of God's Word.

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 5:50 PM  

Why would Paul enjoin the recipients of his epistle to "forgive one another"? I imagine you'll weasel your way out of that one by saying the recipients were a mix of unrepentent, hellbound, non-believers who sinned against the sinlessly perfect remainder of the epistle's recipients.

Paul says something like that.

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat."

"And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal [unredeemed, unregenerate, not born again], even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?"

"I thank God that I baptized none of you..."

"This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me."

The plain fact that the New Testament ceased to be added onto, that the apostles were betrayed and slain (John 16:1-3, 1 Corinthians 4:9), their number not replenished as was customary (Acts 1:15-26), prophecies and miracles ceased, meaning nobody was doing the works of Christ, and the Church which Christ established was most certainly not that which emerged from the councils (1 Corinthians 12:28) is sufficient evidence that Paul was indeed addressing a mixture of characters.

Anonymous MendoScot January 31, 2013 6:01 PM  

There is always conflict. Don't seek protection from the spirits that you have encountered. Pull back from thinking that they have power over you, and even more so, that you can excercise power over them.

May the Lord Jesus Christ, the Blood spilt, and the Resurrection help you to not be used for what you were not intended.

Anonymous civilServant January 31, 2013 7:06 PM  

However, I am looking for the correct way to handle it when one comes my way.

Perhaps you are to learn and then teach others.

Anonymous Rex Little January 31, 2013 8:59 PM  

A question for Log, referring back to the 9 steps listed above:

If someone goes through steps 1-7, but slips up and breaks a commandment before he dies, can he start over at step 1 and still complete the sequence if he doesn't mess up again? Or is it one chance only, no seconds?

Blogger Log January 31, 2013 11:37 PM  

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Blogger Log February 01, 2013 12:44 AM  

Rex,

Repentance is possible for those who do not willfully sin after having been cleansed by the blood of Christ. For those who willfully sin after having received the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, Paul says this is the case:

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned."

Peter clarifies: "For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them."

John says it is impossible to sin when one is possessed of the Holy Ghost (1 John 3:9). But it is possible to lose the gift of the Holy Ghost by failing to bring forth good works - thus faith dies, and the gift withdrawn, for you bear not fruit unto God. This is what it means when it is said "faith without works is dead, being alone." And, when the gift is withdrawn, and one's faith is dead, one is in danger of being overcome of the world and has need to repent again by calling upon the name of the Lord.

Anonymous Rex Little February 01, 2013 1:22 AM  

Let me see if I have this straight. If you lose the gift by sinning, there's no getting it back. If you lose it not by sinning, but by failing to do good works, you can start over, repent, and get it back. Correct?

Blogger Log February 01, 2013 2:46 AM  

That is accurate enough.

Anonymous FrankNorman February 01, 2013 4:29 AM  

There must be a lot of unhappy Mormons out there who think they've lost any chance of ever being saved due to one bad thing they did once...

Happily for Christians, the Bible makes it absolutely clear that God can and does forgive post-conversion sins.

1 John chapter 1 verses 8 to 10:
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

Anonymous Edjamacator February 01, 2013 10:38 AM  

I am saying you misunderstand Paul. He was writing in the present tense of his journey from ignorance to salvation.

And I would say you are wrong. Paul was saved when he wrote the NT, not on some "journey" where someone still at least partially in ignorance was to teach the churches.

"If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." 1st John

I say you do not have the truth in you because you claim to not have sin. John was talking in the present tense to brothers in the church, not unbelievers or "ignorant" ones. How you can think you don't sin at all is laughing in the face of reality. All of these verses you are going on about talk about how our walk is seen by God, not how it is on our part. When our sins are forgiven, God doesn't see them, and so sees us as perfect, so by telling us to be perfect we're told to try and not sin and if we do, repent and move on. I'll bet you've sinned in reality about 100 times today already, but would have forgiveness if you actually believed in the real Jesus instead of your alien version of him.

By the way, Log, are you or are you not trying to become a god of your own planet? Or are you not striving for that but would like it if you could make it that high? God is just a space alien, right? Jesus and Satan are brothers, too, correct? Do you have your magic jammies on right now?

Blogger Log February 01, 2013 11:08 AM  

I say you do not have the truth in you because you claim to not have sin... How you can think you don't sin at all is laughing in the face of reality.

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

I claim Jesus Christ has cleansed me from all sin.

1 John 3:6 Whosoever bideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

I claim I abide in Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

I claim that I have been born of God, by his grace through faith in Jesus Christ

1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

I claim that I keep myself, according to his word.

Blogger Log February 01, 2013 11:43 AM  

FrankNorman,

In addition to the previously provided citations to both Paul and Peter, we have this from John as well.

1 John 5:16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.

It is, again, to be noted that I am using the standard KJV throughout.

Blogger Log February 01, 2013 4:11 PM  

And, we have this.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Anonymous FrankNorman February 01, 2013 6:15 PM  

Log, you are now contradicting yourself. First you claimed that post-conversion sin could not be forgiven. Now you are trying spin.
What part of "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men" do you not understand?

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a very specific and extreme rejection of Divine grace. Its not just an ordinary sin.

Anonymous Kickass February 02, 2013 4:22 PM  

Thank you, prayers are always appreciated. I have been encouraged. Take heart everyone, I have seen both Angels and Demons, demons got nothing on the ANGELS.

Blogger Log February 02, 2013 6:23 PM  

Log, you are now contradicting yourself. First you claimed that post-conversion sin could not be forgiven. Now you are trying spin. What part of "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men" do you not understand?

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is a very specific and extreme rejection of Divine grace. Its not just an ordinary sin.


The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is to willfully sin after having received it. Therefore, I have neither contradicted myself, Jesus, Peter, John, nor Paul.

Blogger Log February 02, 2013 6:42 PM  

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Blogger Log February 02, 2013 9:22 PM  

And here's another citation from Paul to illustrate the point.

"For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

Anonymous Edjamacator February 02, 2013 9:50 PM  

Log, I have asked you a few direct questions to which you have refused to provide any answer. Dance around the issues all you want but your inability to provide an answer shows that your argument is weak and has gaping holes in it. Under the rules of the blog you shouldn't be posting anymore, but quite frankly, I don't think anyone's reading this thread anymore. I won't either as I've already seen your error and you have refused to deal with it. Try again next time.

Oh, and God isn't a space alien and you will NEVER be worshiped by a race of people you make through sex with heavenly wives. Sorry, but it just won't happen. Yet another total contradiction of the NT where heaven is described and how people will interact there.

Blogger Log February 02, 2013 11:00 PM  

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Blogger Log February 02, 2013 11:01 PM  

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Blogger Log February 02, 2013 11:42 PM  

Edjamacator, I asked you a question which you have steadfastly refused to answer. As for your "questions", which you have apparently answered for yourself, Paul says not to answer foolish questions nor contentions (Titus 3:9). I feel I am abiding his counsel in refusing to engage you therein. Well does the Lord say "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."

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