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Comments

george

Rebel heart, I agree with you. Our pontificating does nothing. As we mourn with those who mourn, my condolences to you on the tragic death of your co-worker.

Rebel Heart

cheers

peter

It is still relevant to ask - what is the point in pouring your savings, and your leisure time, into a god if this is all you get.

This is a good time to think about these things, and to examine one's feelings. At times like this, does religion seem like a distraction when all a person wants to do is work through the tragedy in stages in their own way.

Then we should think about all the ways we are biologically wired to manage these situations. Some say there are common stages of grief:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kübler-Ross_model

i.e. Denial
Anger
Bargaining
Depression
Acceptance

I had heard of other stages - denial maybe associated with shock, depression with guilt.

I think these stages are common to mankind, not to particular religious outlooks.

And I don't really see how adherence to a religion would be more effective than effective grief counselling. In fact a real world orientation may help the grieving one more in progressing through these stages.

george

peter.shut.up.

peter

After you, George.

ropata

Rebel Heart,
Sorry for the loss of your workmate.

Others,
A big reason for the blog format is to discuss the issues of the day, and I hope we can do so respectfully in this thread.

peter (@12:16), Here's a portion of Luke 18:11.

"Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.'

"But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'

"I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

peter (@2:19)
what is the point in pouring your savings, and your leisure time, into a god if this is all you get
The Apostle Paul said almost the same thing. It is a salient question, but clearly Christians think this is NOT all you get. See Mark's comment from yesterday.

John Boy

God is there waiting on the other side - for some. He didn't die for me to just push off and abandon me, or these poor children, when we need him most. You aetheists won't understand but its not this life that's the big deal. No risk, no fun and accidents do happen. This isn't God's fault.

reid

John Donne's work is aposite. Some of you may be interested in the wider context from which this well known fragment is taken.

"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

I also note this front page story from today's Herald about Tony McClean's selfless sacrifice, and draw attention to the last few sentences:

"Mr McClean said he was immensely proud of his son, but he believed a few heroes had emerged, including Miss Sullivan...

"That's the practical love that comes out of Christianity," said Mr McClean snr. "Too often people don't see that side."

To me, it's a tremendous and inspiring example of true Christian love that throughout this intense tragedy, Mr McClean snr and others have time and again emphasised that Jodie Sullivan, the instructor, is not to blame. The guilt that poor woman must be feeling is obvious, and to be sensitive to that issue and take practical steps to assuage it is, to me, strong evidence of the Holy Spirit operating throughout in all affected by this tragedy.

To those who look to understand this on an intellectual level, as in: why has God let this happen, in particular, to this group of souls; I proffer the thought that the love of God and by extension His entire creation including all who are in it, starts and ends with the heart, not the head. Throughout these coming months, observe what happens through an emotional prism, not an intellectual one.

Love and blessings to all. None of us are an island.

Andrew McIntosh

Hi CM Burns

"What is "Natural evil" that "can happen to anyone of us."?

Here's some clarification of the term for you.

"A looser definition of evil describes it as death and suffering, whether it results from human or from other natural causes (e.g., earthquakes and famine). In other words, it is not merely the intention to do evil, but the end result, namely, harm to others, that is evil. This is sometimes referred to as "natural evil," and some philosophers hold the position that this is an inappropriate use of the word "evil," as it is without intent."

http://www.answers.com/topic/evil

Based on the above definition I think the term "natural evil" is an appropriate one.

Rebel Heart

To me, it's a tremendous and inspiring example of true Christian love that throughout this intense tragedy, Mr McClean snr and others have time and again emphasised that Jodie Sullivan, the instructor, is not to blame. The guilt that poor woman must be feeling is obvious, and to be sensitive to that issue and take practical steps to assuage it is, to me, strong evidence of the Holy Spirit operating throughout in all affected by this tragedy.

It's a great thing that he did, but a non-Christian would have done the same thing if they had a cerebral palsy victim. And no teacher who was friends with another teacher would blame the other for anything, whether they were Christians or not.

To those who look to understand this on an intellectual level, as in: why has God let this happen, in particular, to this group of souls; I proffer the thought that the love of God and by extension His entire creation including all who are in it, starts and ends with the heart, not the head. Throughout these coming months, observe what happens through an emotional prism, not an intellectual one.

I think it was in The Divinity Code that I read about how separating the heart from the head is merely saying we should not use our intellect but our ignorance. When looking at lust you look at it from a intellectual point of view (stability etc), rather than an emotional one (it feels good).

If we are to look at it from an 'emotional' standpoint, then contrary to Wishart I would say that pain in this world is too extreme to be boxed as a rational way for the world to work (as a result of free choice and because the afterlife is what's important etc). But Christians are told everyday in Church to have faith contrary to their emotions.

Therefore I would conclude that these Elim Christians are basing their media statements on intellect, not emotions, as you say. They are suppressing their negative feelings, because intellectually they believe those who died are in a better place.

This is an intellectual position atheists have great trouble accepting with their hearts, as many of their non-Christian family and friends are already dead so unless Acts 16:31 is read literally and out of context accepting God does not result in a positive benefit as it does for these Elim Christians.

Rebel Heart

From Stuff:

The father of one of the pupils killed is undergoing his own battle for life.

Andy Bray, who lost his 16-year-old daughter Natasha and had fronted the media on behalf of the grieving parents, has been on dialysis since a throat infection 19 years ago travelled to his kidneys.

He has had two transplants. The first, in 1988, failed. Last year Mr Bray, 51, was told he would need a third.

Because the previous transplants have produced antibodies that will attack his new kidney, he was told he would first have to have a ground-breaking operation in the United States.

He has since learnt that Melbourne now has the expertise to do the operation.

The Elim Church community has raised $300,000 for the surgery. A suitable organ donor has yet to be found.

James

Great post here on Gods involment with the deaths.....exposes Christian silliness yet again...

http://nogodzone.blogspot.com/

peter

Interesting sentence above from Rebel Heart:

".. I would conclude that these Elim Christians are basing their media statements on intellect, not emotions, as you say. They are suppressing their negative feelings, because intellectually they believe those who died are in a better place."

I am uncomfortable with the use of "intellectually" in this context.

We know that the initial stage of grief is denial. The belief in a better place is possibly a modified denial phase. It is just as healthy as any other form of denial.

Other phases such as anger naturally take their place, but in the end, the only resolution I am aware of is acceptance.

Talking about "a better place" is simply creating a consensus where individuals suspend their intellect and agree to model an ideal.

Rebel Heart

That's your subjective opinion Peter, it takes a lot of self-confidence/pride/ignorance to be sure you know what objective intellect is.

dad4justice

Has rebel heart had a change of heart?

peter

Rebel Heart says:

"..it takes a lot of self-confidence/pride/ignorance to be sure you know what objective intellect is.."

Yes but it takes only a few minutes of straight thinking to figure out what it is not!

Rebel Heart

No D4J, unlike what I've seen of you my stance on debates does not depend on what side I'm on, kinda like this cartoon:

http://bp1.blogger.com/_jcu4EhLMKBc/Ry44rsT3a-I/AAAAAAAAACU/EFDOxrdgo5M/s1600-h/Picture+7.png

http://bp1.blogger.com/_jcu4EhLMKBc/Ry44rsT3a-I/AAAAAAAAACU/EFDOxrdgo5M/s1600-h/Picture+7.png

In most debates, Christians are de-facto supportive of God and against anything that argues against God. The point of disagreement I had with Peter was over the use of the term 'intellect', where I was referring to religious people reacting based on their education (whether rational or not) rather than how they felt. So for example a Christian may forgive an enemy because they've been taught to in Church rather than because they want to. Whether this is a form of denial or not depends on the circumstance, and you can't instantly leap to the conclusion that someone who forgives their enemies is "simply creating a consensus where individuals suspend their intellect and agree to model an ideal". A problem many atheists fall into is to assume for example that the families of the victims have never considered these issues, like why God would save some and not others... And if they haven't it's because they're still young and inexperienced, not because they're retarded - for example Peter your first comment in this thread regarding the 16 year old saying God had saved him - do you seriously think you're the first person to notice the flaw in that argument? It's taking pride in laughing at and picking on the innocence of a teenager. Far out, how old are you? If it was the teacher that survived of course he wouldn't be stupid enough to say something like that, because older Christians have thought about things more and are more mature.

Rebel Heart

Anyway, the long-winded point I was making is this - just because someone believes in an afterlife does not mean they're suspending their intellect... As if they haven't thought about whether by doing so they would be in denial or not. If anything, it's not an 'ideal' because only Christians get to go and everyone else (eg. non-Christian family and friends) goes to Hell, so I would say most Christians who have been Christians for say two or more years and the Pentacostal joy of the Lord phase wears off would say to not believe in Heaven would be in denial because God's system of justice to us seems extremely unjust. Or that if it is just, it's definitely not something they want to accept based on our emotions, but rather something they accept intellectually. It's easy to say God is just and Hitler will get what he deserves, but to compare that to your uncle who has just died of cancer and was a bus driver all his life and was never a follower of Jesus and therefore is in Hell, according to most pastors (although they'd probably pussy around the issue if you asked them so as not to appear to be "against God" - see cartoon above).

Rebel Heart

Good quote from Kerry Woodham today:

One Easter Friday I conducted an hour of interviews with scientists who were Christians. The topic was how you can reconcile a belief in God with a career in science where facts and evidence are all.

The star witness was Chuck Missler, an engineer who'd worked with the United States Defence Department. He would have been the ideal person to explain how you can accommodate a belief with a brain - but unfortunately, after I'd wished him a good morning and asked him roughly that question, I didn't understand a single, solitary word for the next 15 minutes.

I decided belief was not for the middle of the road - you either have to be incredibly naive or uber intelligent to be a believer - in any faith. It's not for the wishy-washy, the average or the fainthearted.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1501824&objectid=10505118

Anyway, it's stupid to believe that all the families of the victims are in a state of denial... It's the kind of attitude that most Christians have towards Jehovah's Witnesses, thinking they're so reasonable in their belief in Jesus and that JW must all be intellectually inferior Christians, assuming JWs have never ever considered looking at Christianity the way these Christians have, just as atheists assume that Christians have never considered looking at God as atheists have (as simply a fairy-tale etc).

Danger Mouse

RebelHeart, good posts, and nice to see you've stopped sharing your online porn collection.

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