The importance of damnation

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a0/F%C3%A9licien_Rops_-_La_tentation_de_Saint_Antoine.jpg/560px-F%C3%A9licien_Rops_-_La_tentation_de_Saint_Antoine.jpg“There is no final damnation.” That is a very scary thought if you believe that. If there was no eternal damnation then there would be no need for Jesus, or the Gospel, or even the bible. We’d all be going to heaven, no matter what we did, how we lived, and what we believed. And that would make a great deal of what Jesus said to us, a lie. Which in turn would mean that God is not perfect, but rather is sinful Himself.

From a facebook debate. It was started with this lovely quote from Cynthia Nixon: ”Gay people who want to marry have no desire to redefine marriage in any way. When women got the vote they did not redefine voting. When African-Americans got the right to sit at a lunch counter alongside white people, they did not redefine eating out. They were simply invited to the table… We have no desire to change marriage. We want to be entitled to not only the same privileges, but the same responsibilities as straight people.” It degenerated. My best contribution was after a 19 line comment: I wrote, “Yawn”. Happy dance, I nailed the man! All that earnest cogitation, dismissed in one word. Ha!

Having increased your adulation and wonderment at me a notch, I will now dissect his comment. There are (at least) two Christian world-views. This lawyer, who in his mid-forties has been able to retire, says that the life of Jesus only has purpose in order to save Christians. His sacrifice is the point of his life. That sacrifice is to propitiate the wrath of God against God’s creation in our original sin. This fits the Nicene creed-

I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ…by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. The creed has the birth and the death, and nothing in between.

This means that the heart of the Gospel is damnation. It is Pascal’s wager in reverse: there is no point in following Jesus, or being Good, or worshipping, unless billions burn in Hell. The dogma is more important than people. This is why it is easy to idolise dogma over gay people, and call us abominable.

John rephrased: If there was no eternal damnation, then there would have been no reason for God to send his Son to suffer so greatly and die on the cross for our sins. I think the sacrifice was for the wrath of man, not the wrath of God, but that would be difficult to get over on facebook.

In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the bad are led off for eternal torment. In several parables people will be in the outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The rich man looked up from his torment at Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, across a great gulf. The gospels are full of Damnation: and still I reject it as Afterlife. There may be other interpretations of those passages, but I do not know them; I do not want to explain away the passages, but live with them.

25 thoughts on “The importance of damnation

  1. Love this post. Currently I’m grappling with some areas concerning my faith and the idea of hell/damnation is a major one. Sometimes it seems the entire reason to be Christian is to escape damnation yet we are told that we should not live in fear of an eternity of hell. Amazing painting by the way. I keep wondering how you find/select them..

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  2. I like the quote from Ms Newton. It is accurate, sensible and succinct. However when debating subjects on FB that some people consider controversial (LGBTQ rights, invading other countries, feminism, environmentalism) it turns out to be, in the words of a former Internet friend, ‘the work of the devil.’ But as I’m not a theist, I’ll leave the devil and damnation to you to write about.

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    • It would have been better had her other friends just left well alone. You see the meme, you disagree passionately, you scroll on. It is not that difficult. Seeing another criticise it, I piled in. Oh well. However, I think sometimes positions can shift slightly, in the discussion. It gets politer. Wikipedia is the exemplar, with its assume good faith rule. People sort things out. Even some of the comment threads on newspaper sites are not all bile.

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  3. Re: “There is no final damnation.”
    ___________________

    In that case there is no need for salvation or heaven. It is an established scientific fact that human beings do not live forever. While the concept of an immortal soul requires a religious belief to validate it for there is no scientific proof whatsoever that human beings live on after death.

    Re: When women got the vote they did not redefine voting.
    _________________

    They didn’t need to redefine voting because women began voting into political office politicians who were willing to cater to the “women’s vote” by producing laws that favor women and intentionally discriminate against men and diminish their rights to employment and in regards to their families.

    While in England the women involved in the right to vote movement openly opposed the vote being extended to the common man.

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    • Welcome, David, and thank you for commenting.

      I have learned something because of your comment. I went to Wikipedia, and found that before the Representation of the People Act 1918, only 60% of male householders had the vote in England. I also learned that the Women’s Social and Political Union, led by Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst and founded in 1903, worked closely with the Independent Labour Party.

      What is the need for Heaven, as a concept or reality? It is possible for human beings to grow in understanding. You must be aware of that, as not everyone agrees with your views which you share so generously. We grow towards wisdom, with the light of God our Sun.

      I am so sorry that you find yourself swimming in “an ocean of intellectual dishonesty”. I commented on that blog post and you replied, lawyers support same sex marriage because of the money they will soon be making off these non reproductive marriages when homosexual couples began divorcing each other in droves just as opposite sex couples do today. I find your cynicism breathtaking, but it is your inability to qualify your statements that perturbs me. All female suffragists? All lawyers?

      I wondered whether to encourage you to comment here, but decided not to, because the joke would quickly wear thin. You, sir, are a Nincompoop.

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      • I suggest that you read the book “The Woman Racket” written by Steve Moxon. In the chapter titled “The True Sufferers for Suffrage” you will learn:

        1) That it wasn’t until 1928 when everyone was allowed to vote.

        2) That women always had the right to vote at the Parish on the same basis as men between 1835 and 1869.

        3) That the requirement to vote was being the owner of property above a certain valuation which prevented most men from voting.

        4) At the start of wwi the Suffragettes had to stop window breaking. Arson and Police hitting as these actions were seen to be disgraceful.

        I suggest that you read the entire book as I did along with many others down though the years after learning how feminists rely on myths, outright lies, statistics taken out of context and self fulling studies.

        In regards to my comment about why lawyers support same sex marriage is simply history repeating itself. For lawyers also supported the no fault divorce laws demanded by the feminists for the very same reason; and they have made many millions of dollars off the suffering of men and children who all too often the victims of divorce.

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        • David, I am surprised to see you again here after I called you a nincompoop. Perhaps you are used to being insulted.

          It is your relentless negativity that I find hard to stomach. What? All women’s suffragists opposed suffrage for poor men? That is hard to square with working with the ILP. What? All lawyers in favour of equal marriage are only in favour because of fees for divorce? Even the gay ones? No lawyer would be in favour of equal marriage because s/he thought it right?

          I had a look at Moxon’s book on Amazon. Really, no. No, thank you. I will not be reading that.

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      • LOL So you think that acting like a spoiled little brat and calling me childish names would chase away a real man like myself. 🙂

        Why Clare you seemed to enjoy the last two spankings I gave you that I just couldn’t resist giving you another one and here you are once again bending over my lap begging for another one.

        Metaphorically speaking of course.

        The first rule in politics is to follow the money when one wants to come to an understanding as to why certain laws are passed. For no
        law – that is as unpopular as the one we are discussing – ever sees the light of day unless those who support it – such as lawyers supporting same sex marriage – have something to gain from its passing.

        Mother Nature herself is opposed to homosexuality and same sex marriages for she has intentionally with held the ability to procreate from these deviant unions.

        Yet she has blessed the sexual union of a man and a woman by giving these marriages the ability to procreate.

        By supporting homosexuality and same sex marriage you Clare are fighting in direct opposition to Mother Nature and she always wins while those who oppose Her always lose.

        I can certainly understand why you will not read “The Woman Racket” written by Steve Moxon since you are already heavily invested in the lies feminists have always promoted. For reading this book would only tear away the tissue of lies covering the eyes of you and your fellow feminists so that you would have no other choice but to behold the filthy rags you so love to adorn yourselves with.

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        • No, David, I imagined you would have self-respect. I am precise in my language: “fuckwit” would fit you, but “nincompoop” fits even better.

          I am monarch of this domain. You are now on moderation, David. You have ceased to amuse me. If you can say anything worth reading, anything at all, it will be let through.

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  4. I’m still struggling to resolve how a good news of grace from a God who defines love falls apart when mass damnation is removed. But the more I sacrifice that hell-based way of thinking, the more I am driven toward the message. And that is what keeps me erring on the side of grace. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • Hello, Jas! Welcome!

      To say it falls apart is to say that if we will not be damned, there is no incentive to behave well to others. I find that behaving pro-socially is better. I love “erring on the side of grace”.

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    • Its really simple as damnation is the punishment for sin so that if one takes away the punishment for sin and claims that all go to heaven no matter what then one is also claiming that there is no sin. Hence if there is no sin there is no need to be punished or damnation and no need whatsoever for salvation.

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      • David, do have a look at Jas’s blog. I found it sweet and witty and thought-provoking.

        Have you ever done something generous without hope of reward, just for the pleasure of it? Did you find it pleasurable? You are keen on evolutionary psychology: have you never read that human beings are wired for altruism? What do you know of mirror neurons, and empathy?

        I understand in management theory that it is better in the long run to motivate people by getting their loyalty, inspiring them to feel part of the creative process of the business, rather than making them fear. Perhaps God thinks the same way.

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      • Clare human nature is corrupt and self centered at its very core that is why humans need salvation: to be delivered from their own evil nature. What you and Jas are promoting in regards to damnation is, to put it bluntly, an outright lie that the Word of the Father Above – the Bible – condemns.

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  5. To comments by David M Green, I would say that “mother nature” does by no means contradict homosexuality. Where did you get that idea? Mother nature does not disagree with aging even though it renders us incapable of reproducing. Mother nature does not disagree with childhood, even though a human child is not able to reproduce in years after it has been born. Most ants are not able to reproduce, but they are no less ants than the ones wich reproduce. Reproduction is the mechanics that keeps evolution on track, but it does not require that from any individual. On the contrary, in evolution social species have shown to be the “fittest” to protect and nurture their offspring.

    Feminism simply means the desire for equality of the sexes. Nothing else specifically. Now, you may feel you have been discriminated by women, or some feminist agenda and perhaps you as an individual have, but that does not mean, this is the general direction of western society. Honestly?

    I agree with David M Green on the general idea, that politics is often dictated by money and profit interrest, but it is an exeptionally bleak thought, that this is the case allways. Exeptional claims require exeptional evidence. We do legistlate in democracies also on the principles of what we percieve right, or wrong. Do we not? Our understanding of ethics grows as our knowledge grows, and it is not such an unpopular ideal, that homosexuals should have the same rights as any other person. For those, to whom it is unpopular, it is because of their misconception of reality, as in case of religious reasons, or fascistic view of evolution (wich for some reason seem to correlate very often as, if there is something inherently fascistic about their view of the world in general ), or pure ignorance.

    I understand that being called nincompoop may be hurtfull, but even so, you have not given any metaphorical spankings to our host Clare. I hope this does not come as a shock to you. And if your nature is corrupt, well, speak for yourself. My nature is not corrupt, and I doubt that neither is Clare’s.

    I salute any religious person who does not let the outdated tribal moralism of any of the many ancient holy books dictate them what is right, or wrong. In my experience most adherents of any given religion are mainly such. The religion is most often a tool of power, and controll for the demagogues, but there are also people of conscience among any given priesthood as there are among politicians. I still think their faith in the supernatural is unwarranted, but as long as they are not acting in harmfull way, or condoning harmfull action by religious excuses, they are OK by me. I am a firm believer in religous freedom, as no laws should be passed on human thought.

    Even stupid ideas have a right to be reprsented. It is our responsibility to face them and argue them with logic. But only to the extent we are able to.

    With better information we are able to make better judgement (regardless if that better information is the result of a god, or several of them, revealing stuff to us through our inquisitive nature, or by our natural curiosity). Today we have a better understanding of the world, than the iron age people who wrote so many supernatural explanations to nature, and the supposed supernatural.

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  6. I find it quite hard to stomach theology (which I once formally studied extensively) unless I take it in more of a metaphorical/mythological sense – then it’s a great story of flawed humanity. When taken literally, it simply becomes a fabricated solution for a fabricated problem.

    Having said that, the ministry of Jesus didn’t seem to have much focus on damnation, being more of the “Don’t be a fucking asshole, and be goddamn nice to people… and STFU pharisees” variety of teaching. However, the influence of the OT and humanity’s unrelenting lust for condemning and ostracizing folk mucked some things up over the centuries.

    David, you’re a twat. STFU. Jesus fucking dipshit Christ. Some people.

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    • I am glad you made a return visit, DA, and “Don’t be an asshole” is an excellent moral rule, if only we all could manage that.

      Now I have moderated David- he burbled something about my cowardice, and has not been back- I am uncomfortable about people insulting him here. I am considering editing out things I find offensive. Free speech does not mean, say what you like in my living room.

      On swearing, I think of Larkin:

      When I see a couple of kids and guess
      he’s fucking her and she’s
      taking pills or wearing a diaphragm
      I know this is paradise

      everyone old has dreamed of all their lives

      Consider the jewel-like precision of that “fucking”. I know of far more offensive language than “profanity”, including hate-speech, and still- it is so difficult to cultivate jewel-like precision in ones swearing.

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