Paradise to Be Restored
2012-06-13 at 11:06:01

Vengeance is the Lord's. And how beautiful will be that vengeance, even if I'm caught up in it. It means no more pain. No more suffering. I welcome the vengeance of the Lord, for I desire peace and joy for all.

2012-07-06 09:43:09

Compare and contrast:

“They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces flames.

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” --Isaiah (Isaiah ch. 13)

“Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment:” --Jesus (Matthew ch. 25)

“Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.” -- John of Patmos (Revelations ch. 20)

"Vengeance is the Lord's. And how beautiful will be that vengeance, even if I'm caught up in it. It means no more pain. No more suffering. I welcome the vengeance of the Lord, for I desire peace and joy for all." -- C.K. (cklester[dot]com)

If you really desire peace and joy for all, you might be in the wrong religion...

2012-07-11 19:17:02

"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live" (Ezek 33:11).

"What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams."

"For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act." (Strange work is phrase used to describe God's retribution.)

Or he might be in the right one. You really have to read the whole thing to find out.

2012-07-11 20:34:20

But I've read it several times. When C.K., in his hope that I and all my friends, family, acquaintances, et al, will soon be killed, expressed hope for peace/joy for ALL, I took him at his word and assumed he meant all. I'm just pointing out that this is not a very BIBLICAL version of apocalyptic Christianity. In BIBLICAL apocalyptic Christianity, peace is reserved for the gross thousand grosses. The whole point of wrath and judgement is punishment of the sinners, you know -- otherwise it seems a bit dickish to withhold peace on earth just cause you haven't seen enough child-rape yet (though if he's like me, God's probably at least going to hold off until he sees the final season of Breaking Bad).

Anyway, nothing you posted supported his view that God thinks ALL are entitled to peace and joy. Quite the opposite, in fact.

2012-07-14 14:23:38

You didn't take him at his word; you challenged him in ignorance—what your kind does in its irrational hatred of the wrong religion. (You haven't read the Bible. Who are you trying to kid?)

Of course, it seems a bit "dickish" to you that God hasn't acted in the way you claim you would. That's not unexpected. But I'm curious what you've done to prevent child rape since it's at the top of your "why God sucks" list.

Let's make clear what should have been clear to such an enlightened person as you: It's possible for one to want all to have peace and joy while at the same time want justice for wrongs. Those two DESIRES aren't exclusive even though the outcomes are, as the Bible predicts, likely exclusive. It is biblical for CK to want all to have peace and joy, because, as I pointed out, God also prefers no one to be lost (Ezek 33:11).

I don't see where CK says that all are "entitled" to peace and joy. God certainly doesn't insinuate all are entitled. The Bible merely explains that the desire is for all to have peace and joy, but that not very many people want to do what it takes for that to occur.

2012-07-14 22:42:28

Firstly, I have worked with kids my entire career -- many of whom have been brutally victimized in ways I hope you'll appreciate I won't go into here. While it's true Ive been spared actually witnessing this brutality, I've done my level best to be part of the victims' attempts to put their lives back in order. And I've been doing it since I was seventeen.

Now: you accuse me of lying about reading the Bible. It's ADORABLE! Do please let's have this discussion! I've actually read it. Not just been told what it says, but read it. All the way through. Sat down and read it cover to cover. King James first, then the NIV. And then I read Origen. And Josephus. And Erasmus. And Bede. And Augustine. I've read Asimov's Guide to the Bible, Reasoning From the Scriptures, The Book of Mormon, and Paradise Lost.

To keep it in context, I also read the Kalevela, Bhagavad-Gita, Book of the Dead, The Tanakh, the Sagas of Snorri Strurlson, the Q'uran, Tao te Ching, Virgil, Homer, etc.

I'm a reader, see (though less so now, with so many electronic distractions) -- and mythology is of particular interest to me. I suppose it's impossible to satisfy you that I've actually read any of these books, but if you ask your brother he can attest that all these titles are at least on my shelves. If you have any questions about any of these books I'm happy to look stuff up for you.

Maybe we could arrange for a game of Biblical Trivial Pursuit or something...

Talking animals in the Old Testament? Two: the serpent in the garden and Balaam's ass. The Book of the Bible that doesn't mention God? Esther. When was Jesus crucified? Either on the day after the Passover meal (Mark) or the day before (John).

But then, anyone could look that stuff up.

But back to the matter at hand. And I just want to be clear here: to you, the Bible says no more pain, no more suffering? The phrase 'everlasting punishment' means 'no more pain?' You imagine no suffering in an 'everlasting fire?'

Or maybe you just feel no compassion for the punished. In which case I'm glad you've fallen in with an established group to provide interpretation (such as it is) and guidance -- a person with no empathy or moral compass is a scary thing and should be controlled somehow.

At the end of the day, Jesus referred to the apocalypse as sorrowful, and C.K. looks forward to it as a time of beauty. Sick.

To paraphrase C.K. from a previous thread: Do you think you know more about [THE DAY OF THE LORD] than, say, a [RISEN MESSIAH]? (Just curious...)

Sorry, I'm gonna' have to go with Jesus on this one.

2012-07-19 04:38:56

Wow. Logic and basic vocabulary suffer eternal torment on helltruth[dot]com.

My favorite:

(Hypothetical question the author asks himself:) "Doesn't Matthew 25:46 say the wicked will receive 'everlasting punishment'?"

(Bizarre answer:) "Notice the word is punishment, not punishing. Punishing would be continuous, while punishment is one act. The punishment of the wicked is death, and this death is everlasting."

So if English itself had broken down and the translators wrote, 'these shall go away into everlasting punishing,' that would NOT have completely negated the world everlasting? I suppose he then meant to write, 'the punishment of the wicked is DYING (since death is one act), and this DYING is everlasting."

Oops, no; that still sounds like torture.

I mean, you realize that a) that's not how English works, and b) in Greek the words are κόλασις αἰώνιος [not sure Greek entry will be allowed, so it might be gobblty-gook], or "penalty eternal." To read it the way the website prefers, we'd also have to give a hard look at the rest of the passage where the righteous are given ζωή αἰώνιος, which translates to 'life eternal' (so I guess just one life that, though eternal is somehow not continuous) and not 'living eternal' (which is the way they should write it if they mean everlasting, continuous life if the author is to be believed).

Nah, punishment is a noun here, not a verb. Just learn to conjugate.

But I understand when people are uncomfortable with what the Bible says. I'm 100% comfortable with people coming up with their own interpretation of a work that was never intended to be literal in the first place. It's just a strage reading, is all.

(And for now let's just ignore exactly how comforting it is for my death to be hoped for in a generic way rather than a specific way...)

2012-07-19 04:39:58

Dammit. forgot to enter my name again. Post #7 is from me...

2012-07-26 07:23:32

I'm curious to know how you view James Holmes' mass murder in Aurora last week.

He only managed to send twelve people to God's vengeance so it wasn't as beautiful as, say, G. P. Hennard's attempt in Kileen, but more beautiful than Starkweather in the fifties, right?

Or do you now retract your hope for mass murder and join sane Americans in denouncing the act as horrible and senseless?

2012-07-30 07:47:37

Alright, I have a certain respect for the silent treatment -- you can probably tell I'm no good at it. But my post was not just intended to mock.

I assume (and correct me if I'm wrong) that you agree the Aurora massacre was horrrible. What I wonder is whether you've rethought your position in the light of such violence. You post the hope that everyone dies soon and a few days later somebody decides to put a (somewhat smaller scale) plan to kill everyone into action. Is it the scale that's the difference? Is it okay to hope for genocide but at the same time wrong to enact it?

"And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.

"And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword."

Still beautiful?

2012-08-02 13:09:48


I'm trying to keep my response limited here to one subject to avoid endless back and forth. I will fail. I confess that I read and write all day long—so if I just read your response without my own response, know that I will read it even if I don't respond.

You are perhaps the most arrogant, spiteful person I know ... and I barely know you. I would hate to think that atheism is populated with people like you. I agree that religious people are nuts and awful, but I would never choose to replace them with the likes of you. I'm not really sure which is better—a bunch of arrogant religionists or a bunch of arrogant atheists. In the end, whether you pick the crusades or Stalin or child rape in a church or approved child rape in a prison cell in secular China, it seems the end result is exactly the same. When the beliefs of one little Christian on a barely read blog stirs up your mocking anger and hate, I think you would agree I should worry about your kind getting your hands on the reigns of power. I believe the slaughter that would come would be unimaginable.

So can you help me understand why an atheist has a problem with the concept of genocide in general—big picture-wise? The fact is, with what you believe, you should know that it's not immoral for an entire population to be wiped out of existence, especially if that population is evil (not that you agree that there is such a thing as evil, which is my point, but you get my drift) or even perpetuates a gene that makes them prone to committing child rape and violence. Indeed, genocide could technically be beneficial to the survival of the human race in that regard, and you have no argument for it except by the borrowed pathos, however far you have evolved from it, that you took from God. (Technically, the torturous death of the human race shouldn't be a problem, because that's going to happen anyway by the hands of nature. What gives if one set of humans does it to another; just cause you say so?)

If God orders a genocide to stop evil from continuing perpetually, it should make perfect sense to a reasonable human being even if parts of it—like the inclusion of killing babies and women—gives us serious pause. It's a major challenge to my sensibilities even now; it was probably the second most challenging position for me to confront in the Bible when I decided (or was merely subject to the forces of social and genetic evolution, perhaps?) atheism is built on a house of cards and went on to higher-power agnosticism. On reading the Bible when it mentions it, I saw it not only spells out the reason genocide is occurring, but what will happen if that genocide is not completed. It's a very rationale explanation, even if it is put in angry human language.

Besides, when it comes to genocide, we both know you would act no differently if the circumstance were right for you, but for some reason, you have a problem when God orders it. You're a hypocrite. You're just like CK. You're just like me—except that hypocrisy provides you a survival advantage, so there is nothing wrong with it except by the fact you've been taught, from the Bible, that it's wrong. I have little doubt that in 150,000 years, if the human genetic and social constructs that perpetuate religion still produces those inclined to adopt religion and deny your science, you'd be all right with forced abortions and perhaps even executions (if, of course, you were still around) to eradicate a population that refused to join what you deem the reasonable parts of the human race.

In the end, my argument is that you are merely replacing your morality with the people who wrote the Bible. I'm trying to understand why you think yours is so much better for the human race. Is your moral set built on pain and pleasure? Is it built on your arbitrary emotional indicators, which are based on your genetic and social constructs? Is it based on your arbitrary notions of freedom and tolerance? You've decided that your particular set of evolutionary ethics are superior to the particular set of evolutionary ethics of the Bible. What is your reasoning behind that?

You've never read the Bible. That's clear. I've read the Old Testament a lot. I'm in Jeremiah again right now. I read about a God who gets more angry than you will ever be at His own people—His people who sacrifice their children, who abuse the poor, who cheat in business, and who beat their animals. He's annoyed at superstitious idol worship. He demands death to child rapists (I concur we should still be killing child rapists today). I know you have a lot of "yeah buts"——believe me, I know about every single one and I actually know what the Bible says about them. You really don't; it's like you're the epitome of talking points when you should know that a system that perpetuates a particular set of humans is as valid as any other. You can't even bring yourself to admit that and instead attack something that isn't palatable to your random social construct. In essence, I'd rather hear Ghandi judge Jesus that you. You should just keep quiet; as a die-hard atheist and evolutionists, you should know better. I don't mind that you think there is a scientific way to order humanity; but you sitting in judgment as you judge God for His judgment is a little ironic, don't you think?

It's crazy to me that you despise a God who is going to one day ensure child rape will never rise again simply because He's going to do a lot of judgment at once—kill a lot of people who would child rape, murder, steal and make your life a miserable hell. You make no sense. At one point you get irritated that God waits so long to end the cruel sin of this world, but you'd probably frown at the fact that China kills non-violent businessmen who steal from the state and kills child rapists to drive out sexual deviancy from its population. You want prisoners to be redeemed and re-educated, yet you mock us for believing in a God who is waiting for people to be redeemed and re-educated.

You pretend that total tolerance is grand, but you aren't a tolerant person. I suggest you would even be fine with child rape if scientists could prove that it would one day eradicate religion and lead to utopia. I look forward to, I hope, a shorter response that will enlighten me to no end, so I can understand why following you is any better than a televangelist who cheats his taxes and berates homosexuals.

God is fair and just; a plain, fair reading of the Bible makes it clear. As an agnostic reading the Bible, I kept waiting to be inflamed with anger about what God was going to do—but I kept reading how much He didn't want to do it. It was a strange act for Him. He didn't want sacrifice—He wanted obedience to a set of laws—no killing, no rape, no theft. By the end of the Old Testament, I knew I was dealing with a just and loving God, even if it meant my stored-up sensibilities were violated.

You? You have no excuse. But I'm sure I'm going to hear about it. Get my email from CK after you read this and respond in an email. I'm fascinated by what you can say.

2012-08-03 03:51:34

Yeah, I'm a jerk.

Anyway ... do you care to weigh in on thinking genocide is beautiful?

2012-10-08 10:28:13

So it seems that it's the after -- the paradise -- that you find beautiful and not the vengeance itself. Even if we rewrote the Bible to support only your annihilationist interpretation, the horror of the four horsemen described in Revelation (conquest, slaughter, famine and disease) was never intended to be beautiful. God Himself is quoted as finding it distasteful:

"Say unto them, I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?" ~Ezekiel 33:11

If God has no pleasure in it, your pleasure in it would be monstrous and blasphemous by definition.

I mean, I see your dilemma. On the one hand your fear of uncertainty has led you to a formulaic and simplistic interpretation of scripture: to express distaste about any action of God seems blasphemous. On the other hand, a theological approach means admitting that parts of the Bible are contradictory and often difficult to interpret -- that each person has to make room in his or her mind for a messy and complicated series of books of disparate authorship, interpretation, and translation spanning hundreds of years with influences from ancient folk tales and neighboring cultures...there may not be any answers to life's big questions -- certainly no easy ones.


But I've figured something out about people who claim to look forward to the so-called end-times. Look (or should I say, "come and see!"): standard Christian doctrine is that everyone experiences death and, at some later point, judgement by God. Everyone.

Every. Single. Person. Ever.

So why hope that a whole bunch of it happens at once -- and sooner rather than later? We'll all get there eventually, right?

It seems to me that there are other things -- usually unspoken -- that the end-times also represent. The two most important being that when God shows up...

1) proves I'm right, and

2) critics will be silenced.

(from the perspective of the True Believer, of course)

Not to mention an end to the world that God created even though many of His self-proclaimed biggest fans detest it. Watching it burn is easier than trying to make it a better place, after all.

Clearly this isn't an argument from a place of confidence. This is a person who's really struggling with their own lack of faith, but maybe lacks the confidence to be honest with themselves about the doubts we all have.

Anyway, in answer to your question, I do have a soft spot in my heart for suffering. It's complicated. Obviously I don't *enjoy* it, but I think it's important. I think an end to suffering is an end to any life worth living. It's what gives the story of the crucifixion its power, and the reason I have the capacity for compassion and the imperative to exercise it.

That's why the fundamentalist Heaven I hear described by so many and so loudly is of no value to me. What a vapid and awful place it would be.

If it existed, of course. ~whew~

2012-10-08 13:51:56

I feel I should share this here, suspecting it won't be well-received, because it highlights so much better than my articulation what I'm trying to express and where I think your error is.

My favorite quote from my favorite thinker:

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. There's a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva, the one whose being (sattva) is illumination (bodhi), who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his participation in time. And the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it. "All life is sorrowful" is the first Buddhist saying, and it is. It wouldn't be life if there were not temporality involved which is sorrow. Loss, loss, loss.

BILL MOYERS: That's a pessimistic note.

JC: Well, you have to say yes to it, you have to say it's great this way. It's the way God intended it.


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