Saturday, February 08, 2003

Further discussion of the article entitled "The Virtue of Hate"

Morning Jude.... by SouthernLadie

Spent the last few days reading "The Virtue of Hate". I have often wondered why I have trouble relating to organized religion. I was taught that God was merciful...but for the life of me I do not believe he forgives the truly evil.

"Maimonides’ interpretation of damnation. In his view souls are never eternally punished in hell: the presence of the truly wicked is so intolerable to the Almighty that they
never even experience an afterlife. Rather, they are, in the words of the Bible, “cut off”: after death, they just . . . disappear."

Forgiveness..... by Iddybud

Im glad to hear the article interested you.

In Judaism, there's no actual recognition of absolution as part of the sin/repentance-process.
There's no authority who dispenses forgiveness of sins after any public confession of the sin.
The religion makes a distinction between sins against God alone and sins that involve another human being.
Sins against a human require that forgiveness be sought and obtained from the injured party before any appeal to God is even made.

This can make the forgiveness process difficult...and we are left to wonder if this is not a good and true way to seek forgiveness.

I agree with your thought that forgiveness (or grace) and repentance should not be an easy proposition for any hoped-for form of salvation.

Sometimes I think a downside to te human aspect of the Christian message is that it makes it easier for its followers to act morally wrong and expect easy forgiveness through absolution. It shouldn't be that way. Somehow I don't think a righteous God would see the forgiveness process played out that way...and yet, on teh optimistic side of the
forgiveness-coin, the New Testament provides us with the stronger assurance that sin will not
long-alienate us from our brothers and sisters.. and from God.. all we need do is to desire forgiveness andall we need do is simply ask.
Often, I think that process can provide courage and faith to those who think they might never have had a snowball's chance in Heaven otherwise.

Regardless of organized religion, a true recognition of one's sins AS sins is an act of a person's intelligence and moral conscience. Heartfelt remorse, desisting from further action considered to be the "sin" or
moral-wrong, restuitution...and willingness to admit the wrongs...these are attributes of a truly forgiveable person in my opinion.

In organized religion, there are many different ways of deciding what God views as a forgiveable sin...a meaningful repentance.

Maimonides believed that desisting from sin was the primary step to a true repentance rooted in LOVE.

LOVE is the key word in the end, I believe.

I believe anything is pure when rooted in true love. Even a plea for forgiveness from the worst of humans, if true love has taken root within that person's heart.

I believe.

Actually... by jok_tok

Jesus taught that a break in fellowship with a fellow man or woman results in a break of fellowship with God. He said (I paraphrase) that we should not even give an offering to God until we make peace with someone who has something against us. His message was very Jewish, in that he was a Jew. And he said something very similar to what you said - that the greatest commandment is love - even toward our enemies.

It is hard to reconcile, especially during perilous times when we have enemies who truly want to kill us, how does one love their enemy? It's a conundrum because we are human. A true believer forgives, because they know that it is what God wants.

Good points, jok_tok Iddybud

Jesus was, indeed, raised a Jew.
His New Testament message complimented Judaism in many ways, because it was an inseparable part of his moral structure as Man; yet far transcended his traditional upbringing in the way of God, which is the Way of Love.
I believe in Christ's greatest commandemnt..the commmandment of love God with all your heart, your soul, your mind..and especially to love your neighbor as yourself.

I personally believe we cannot fully love our enemies.
I believe the message of love, the "greatest commandment", does not require us to be more than human.
But I also believe that there is better hope and potential for humanity.
I believe the only way to "love" an "enemy" is to meet that enemy with all the justice your personal soul, borne of love, can summon.

Hatred and retribution are not borne of love.

Justice does not have to parellel

I think, to be a believer in Christ's message in light of His greatest commandment, we must understand this.

Christ transcended.
If we could aspire to follow that path,
we might leave this world a better and truly just place for generations to follow.

I enjoy discussing this with you.


Indeed---- by jok_tok

Christ transcended, asking God to forgive the very men who were in the process of nailing him to the cross. "They know not what they do" - what an interesting statement. Can you imagine standing at a window as the jet screamed toward you saying "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do"?

True, that we should aspire to follow that path, truly a path less travelled. In this time where there is a climate of kill or be killed, it goes against the grain of Christ's teaching to kill before you are killed, doesn't it? Someone raised an interesting point that nowhere in the gospels does Christ advocate capital punishment, yet he was willingly a victim of it. If we could all be more Christ-like, what a better world we would have.