thread: 2006-08-31 : I think my expectations are screwed

On 2006-09-08, Sydney Freedberg wrote:

Gregor: I'm sorry about your friend. I'll pray for both of you. As I told my atheist uncle said when he was dying of cancer, "It can't hurt."

Joel: we can get all caught up in this God's mad at us" thing...

I agree, and the "Jesus died to make God stop being so angry" argument is one of my least favorite explanations for why the cross matters—but given how badly we fuck up His creation, each other, and ourselves, I gotta admit God has every right to be mad as hell.

GB Steve: we have Cthulhu worshipping chaos magicians who are fully aware of the fictional nature of the Big C....

We do? Hoo boy.

Attention, anyone who is worshipping Cthulhu, whether with self-knowing irony or otherwise: STOP. Even pretending to be that fucked up is a good way to fuck yourself up, in the same way that looking at pornographic cartoons trains you to look at real women as sex objects.

When I talked earlier about do-it-yourself mix-and-match religion as being as stupid and dangerous as brewing explosives in your bathtub, I was condemning much better ideas than worshipping a demoniac, smelly slime-being that wants to destroy humanity and, by the way, was made up for a short story: That's in the "brewing explosives in your bathtub and then taking a bath in it while smoking, and not just smoking tobacco either" category of stupid.

Everyone else: I see that I'm going to have to explain salvation, damnation, and "justification through faith"—which makes the whole multiplying infinities thing look simple and straightfoward. This may be completely beyond my capabilities, and it's certainly more than I can manage when I'm this tired, so bear with me and I'll write something tomorrow.

In the meantime, can everyone please try to unlearn the ridiculous misconception that "belief" in this context refers to "conscious intellectual agreement with a particular set of statements"?

The phrase "leap of faith" is a much better way to think about this, if you strip away the cliche and take it literally: Yeah, you can say you "believe" X or Y in the comfort of your armchair or your front-row pew; but when you're standing at the edge of the chasm, and there's someone on the other side shouting, "You won't fall! I'll catch you! Just jump!"—do you have enough faith in Him to make the leap?

And no, you don't have to know His name to trust Him enough to jump. Conversely, you can call him Jesus and be able to recite all four Gospels from memory and still find yourself hanging back on the wrong side of the abyss. All that matters, in the end, is that you come face to face with the essential, abiding Good and say, "Okay, whoever You are, get ready to catch me, 'cause here I come."


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