The character of Christ
- From: theBeaver <theBeaver@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2007 03:42:22 GMT
If it says in the bible that life is important and should be protected, it is probably only said to deter people from actually acting on the real logic of a belief in the afterlife: It is the next life that matters, so this life is inconsequential. I believe it was the Incas who, after converting to Christianity, proceeded to bash their children's heads in before they could sin, and thereby ensured their entry into Heaven. The inversion of priorities due to this logic is at the root of great evil. And the idea that you were created in the image of god, not an afterthought, appeals to your vanity and sense of self-importance, and this is also a root of great evil.
Regarding Christ's compassion, let Russell speak: "There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ's moral character, and that is that He believed in hell. I do not myself feel that any person who is really profoundly humane can believe in everlasting punishment. Christ certainly as depicted in the Gospels did believe in everlasting punishment, and one does find repeatedly a vindictive fury against those people who would not listen to His preaching -- an attitude which is not uncommon with preachers, but which does somewhat detract from superlative excellence.... You will find that in the Gospels Christ said, 'Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell.' That was said to people who did not like His preaching. It is not really to my mind quite the best tone, and there are a great many of these things about hell. There is, of course, the familiar text about the sin against the Holy Ghost: 'Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him neither in this world nor in the world to come.' That text has caused an unspeakable amount of misery in the world, for all sorts of people have imagined that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and thought that it would not be forgiven them either in this world or in the world to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world.
"Then Christ says, 'The Son of Man shall send forth His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth'; and He goes on about the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It comes in one verse after another, and it is quite manifest to the reader that there is a certain pleasure in contemplating wailing and gnashing of teeth, or else it would not occur so often. Then you all, of course, remember about the sheep and the goats; how at the second coming He is going to divide the sheep from the goats, and He is going to say to the goats, 'Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.' He continues, 'And these shall go away into everlasting fire.' Then He says again, 'If they hand offend thee, cut if off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to got into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched; where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched.' He repeats that again and again also. I must say that I think all this doctrine, that hell-fire is a punishment for sin, is a doctrine of cruelty. It is a doctrine that put cruelty in the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture; and the Christ of the Gospels, if you could take Him as His chroniclers represent Him, would certainly have to be considered partly responsible for that."
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