March 24, 2011
Taylor joins Ghandi
Speaking of things I've written about before, Democratic agent provocateur Fred Phelps is hardly at the top of my list of priorities. So when I read about the latest antics of his incestuous cult (a protest at Elizabeth Taylor's funeral), my reaction was sort of ho-hum. The Supreme Court has said they can do it, and because they are publicity-seekers who want to do as much damage to the image of Christianity as possible, they see the death of a beloved celebrity as the perfect occasion to encourage hatred of what is spun as "Christianity." A lot of people loved Elizabeth Taylor, and plenty of them can be depended upon to leave her funeral with lifelong memories of "Christians" as bigoted, funeral-disrupting scum. It wouldn't surprise me of the Phelps outfit has converted more young people to atheism (or at least angry secular agnosticism) than any of the leading atheist organizations. And many of them will see this as bestowing a sort of secular martyr status on Elizabeth Taylor.
I wouldn't have bothered with a post had I not read a news item earlier about the insistence by certain pastors (apparently more legitimate than Phelps) that Ghandi is in Hell. At least, that's what is being widely reported:
Whether there is a Hell and whether Ghandi is in it are two different questions. What I think may be going on is that as the numbers of people who believe in a literal Hell shrink, the hard core believers are the ones who remain, and the harder core they are, the more likely they are to believe that all non-Christians (including Ghandi) are in fact in Hell.
The fewer people who believe in Hell, the worse Hell gets.
Not that this should matter to atheists or even to those who believe in a compassionate deity, but it is hard to convert people to a system which condemns billions of people for the crime of having been unfortunate enough to have been born into the "wrong" religious background. Years ago I had dinner with a guy who tried to convert me to his religion -- a sort of hard core Calvinism which believed in predestination, that some people are elected and some are not, and when I expressed skepticism that a merciful god would be sending billions of Hindus and Buddhists to hell even if they had lived good lives, his eyes narrowed momentarily, and for just an instant he looked both angry and disappointed in me. But then his demeanor changed, and he grew cold but polite, and changed the subject, never bringing religion up again. Without intending to, I had somehow demonstrated to him that I was a lost cause. Which I guess I am if it comes to a religion that insists on sending good people to Hell. I'd rather join my friends in Hell than live under sych a tyrannical and authoritarian regime. The problem is, I really don't think God works that way. Those who insist that he does will doubtless insist that those who disagree with them belong in Hell.
And while these debates grow sour and more tedious, Phelps and his gang are doing their best to bring about Hell on earth.
What if God hates Phelps?
MORE: As I was reminded below, God does NOT hate this Phelps!
posted by Eric on 03.24.11 at 09:48 AM
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