July 19, 2004
Life is elsewhere
Sorry for the lack of posting, folks. Haven't really been in the mood, and today I've got an upset stomach for some reason. I'll try to get on with it soon, but here are a few posts related to recent subjects here on this blog:
Michael Spencer wonders if evangelicals really believe in hell. It includes a link to this post by an evangelical explaining why he doesn't.
More on legislating morality from Josh Claybourn and The Morning Retort, here and here.
Posted by Camassia at July 19, 2004 02:28 PM
Actually, I'm no longer an evangelical, although I was still hanging on by the slenderest of threads (mainly because I was still moving in evangelical circles) when I wrote that piece about eighteen months ago.
Look forward to exploring the rest of your archives.
Just had a look at your article on hell. Interesting final paragraph:
... if my creator cares about morals at all, he could hardly have created a being more moral than himself. If human compassion spills unruly once it is released, what must the compassion of God do? ... I am having a harder and harder time believing that the way for me to become a good Christian is to lose my supposedly misguided objections to eternal torture and cultivate a Dantean taste for vicarious vengeance. If God knows me, he knows why; and if it is for the wrong reasons, he has not enlightened me yet.
More or less what I argued in my essay, i.e. are we really more moral than God?
It is kind of strange that while evangelicals are often extremely zealous about preaching hell, and keen to point out why the doctrine of hell must be maintained at all costs, at the same time they are often at pains to point out how upsetting and unpalatable they find it, almost as if they need to show their distaste for it just to prove they're really human and loving underneath. But why would this be something to take pride in, to boast about, if hell really is such a good and honourable thing after all?
I was listening to Diarmaid MacCulloch on C-Span, an agnostic who wrote a book on the Reformation (he's equally unfair to both sides *grin*), and he said the most astonishing thing has been this disappearance of belief in Hell. He said he has no idea why, but someone later suggested that in an age of toleration it's more difficult to be "tolerant" when you think your neighbor is going to hell. Another refuted this though by giving examples of epochs when Christians who believed in hell were at peace with their non-Christian neighbors.
But I agree with Peter Kreeft who says that hell is the hardest thing to believe in the whole Christian cosmology. And if that be the case, then wouldn't it stand to reason that with Christianity under stress these days that the hardest doctrine would go first?
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