AMERICA

AMERICA
ONE NATION UNDER GOD!

Monday, May 3, 2010

POINT---> COUNTERPOINT!

In my last post on this blog, I managed to stir an interesting discussion between myself and a few followers of my blog. Opposing points of view are always welcomed and encouraged. I usually smile and nod in amusement. Yet I remain respectful of others and their opinions.

So in the spirit of open debate and not trying to prove myself right over another person's opinion I offer these statements in the order in which they happened:

1.  Jo said,
      "That's wonderful, but perhaps a bit too simplistic. My sister-in-law considered herself a Christian woman. She went to church every Sunday, all her friends belong to the same church, she espoused Christianity at every opportunity, and yet she was one of the most evil I had ever met -- truly evil, or to use her favorite word "wicked". She caused severe irreparable, long-lasting harm to almost everyone she came into contact with, including her own children and her family.

My father, on the other hand, had not been to church since he was a child, and he questioned the Bible and the presence of God. And yet he was the kindest, most altruistic, most "Christian" man anyone had ever met. He was the soul of kindness and goodness to everyone -- people and animals.

I guess my question would be, which one of these people was in the presence of God, and which one wasn't? This is something that has always puzzled me."


2. I responded with:
     "That was a very fair question. But a little off topic. I was addressing the creation of evil, and you asked about salvation.
The only answer I can give in all honesty is; "I DON"T KNOW."
My particular dogma is that only God knows what lays in a person's heart. And that there is no amount of evil a person can do, that God will not forgive when He is asked in earnest. By the same token, there is no amount of good works a person can do to earn salvation.
This is what it means when the bible says "Do not judge, lest you be judged." It really is that simple. But it takes some deep thinking to get to the crux of the matter.
Be well and thanks for putting up with me.
"

3. Jo countered with:
      "Hello again. :-) Thanks for your comment on my blog, and in reply to your reply ... my question was not about salvation, but about good versus evil. I believe evil exists, but not necessarily because of the absence of God. My sister-in-law believed she was in the presence of God, and yet she was still evil -- by any definition. If darkness is the absence of light, and evil is the absence of God, then evil existed in her -- in the presence of God.

This is the dichotomy that makes me question the presence of God. It's a matter of faith, which I do not have, because I see too much evil connected with people who are in the presence of God, and vice versa.

Mother Teresa was one of the most saintly people who ever lived, and yet she admitted that for all of her life, "she felt no presence of God whatsoever", "neither in her heart or in the eucharist". She doubted the existence of God.

She said, "Where is my faith? Even deep down ... there is nothing but emptiness and darkness ... If there be God—please forgive me. When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven, there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul ... How painful is this unknown pain — I have no Faith. Repulsed, empty, no faith, no love, no zeal, ... What do I labor for? If there be no God, there can be no soul. If there be no soul then, Jesus, You also are not true."

It's a very interesting subject, and it comes down simply to having faith ... or not. I actually envy people who do.
"


4. My counterpoint:
     --With reference to the above words, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, her postulator  (the official responsible for gathering the evidence for her sanctification) indicated there was a risk that some might misinterpret her meaning, but her faith that God was working through her remained undiminished, and that while she pined for the lost sentiment of closeness with God, she did not question his existence.  Many other saints had similar experiences of religious doubt, or what Catholics believe to be spiritual tests, such as Mother Teresa's namesake, St. Therese of Lisieux, who called it a "night of nothingness."  Contrary to the mistaken belief by some that the doubts she expressed would be an impediment to canonization, just the opposite is true; it is very consistent with the experience of canonized mystics-- Reference; Wikipedia, Mother Teresa

5. My 2nd Counterpoint:
Mother Teresa's hidden faith struggle

, laid bare in a new book that shows she felt alone and separated from God, is forcing a re-examination of one of the world's best known religious figures.

The depth of her doubts could be viewed by nonbelievers and skeptics as more evidence of the emptiness of religious belief. But Roman Catholic scholars and supporters of the woman who toiled in Calcutta's slums and called herself "a pencil in God's hand" argue that her struggles make her more accessible and her work all the more remarkable.

"It shows that she wasn't a plaster-of-Paris saint who never had a doubt about God or the ultimate meaning of life," said the Rev. Richard McBrien, a University of Notre Dame theology professor and author of "Lives of the Saints." "This can only enhance her reputation as a saintly person with people who aren't easily impressed with pious stories. Those who think otherwise have a lot of learning to do about the complexities of life and about the nature of faith.


 6. POINT:
      I believe there is a God, who is the Creator and Author of every good thing that is seen and unseen. And just because evil and despicable things happen in this world, does not make me believe otherwise. Like some mystical balance scale that forces everything to equal out and keep the universe in harmony (KARMA).

Every human has the capacity to do totally depraved things. And yet, most of us do not trip over the edge and actually perform an act of murder, rape, torture, maiming, or your personal idea of evil. If all we are is the flotsam and jetsam left over from the cosmic big bang, and all of our emotions are just the result of chemical interactions and electronic stimuli in our  "LUCK OF THE DRAW" brain.  Why don't we all go do whatever we want? To whomever we want! And prescribe memory inhibitors to those left in the wake of our exploitation?

The mathematical odds of a single celled life form, springing forth from the primordial soup, is greater than the odds of a tornado whipping through a junk-yard and leaving a fully assembled and functioning 747 in its wake. And that is just the ODDS. It doesn't ever begin to take into account the probability of such an outcome. Even with all the 13.7 billion years of the cosmos thrown in, the probability of one life form springing forth of its own accord is still ZERO. That's 0 followed by infinity. And when you factor in the randomness needed for species to evolve into more complex life forms, you must first throw away, or at least relax the laws of Physics (Entropy) and disregard the rules of logic. And then you have to multiply that by the possibility that a male and a female of the same new species had to occur at exactly the same place at exactly the same time, so that the new species can procreate (inter species relations always results in infertile offspring), and then you're talking about serious math. That's 0 followed by infinity squared.

Do I have it all wrong? Do you have another opinion?  Please don't take it personally. I'm not at odds with Jo. Just with her opinion on this particular topic.
Please stay tuned for the normal mundane rants you become accustomed to reading here. And a very special thank you to my guest today, JO at A MAJORITY OF TWO. A very interesting and entertaining Blogger.

9 comments:

Ms. Anthropy said...

Deep thinking.

Heff said...

yeah, i'm just gonna leave my opinions out of this, lol !

Jo said...

Interesting! I love philosophical debates like this, and I don't feel at all that you are taking odds with me. We could discuss this until the midnight candle burns down, but it is all a matter of faith and belief. It's not that I don't want to believe in God. I have actually seen a lot of evil perpetrated in the name of God. To me, that does not make sense.

Why don't we all go do whatever we want? To whomever we want! Because as a species, we have had to create a certain set of rules of conduct in order to survive as a species.

Mother Teresa did in fact question God's existence. She is quoted as doing so right in her book, and she doubted his existence for 50 years. She said when she thought of God all she got was emptiness and blackness. I think people misinterpret this -- not because they don't believe her, but because they don't want to believe her.

I believe there are many saintly people who don't believe in God. I have met them. I have also met pious, santimonious people who believe in God, but who are truly evil.

When I was a little girl, I went to Church every Sunday, and all my activities revolved around the Church. I sang in the choir as well. And I questioned everything. When I got married and I converted to Catholicism, the priest who was giving me instructions said to me, "You will never make a good Catholic -- you ask too many questions." *heh*

Did God create us in his image, or did we create him in ours, because the alternative -- that we are alone -- is just to awful to contemplate? For me, I need to have more empiric proof. I want to believe in God, but... I am not able to do so just on blind faith alone.

Interesting conversation...!

Karen said...

I think none of us has the answer without some lingering doubts, no matter what side of the fence you're on. If we could all be tolerant of each other and respect each other's right to our own beliefs and way of living without judgement,... as long as no harm is done to another, live and let live. Sadly, too many of us don't have that respect for each other.

Religion can be an anchor, a safe haven, the calm in the storm, a unifying belief system that brings people together, that promotes gratitude and good deeds. It is also used as an excuse for torture, for murder, for rape, for control.
I hope someday there is peace in the hearts of all humanity, and we can truly live together as a unified species on this planet.

There's my religion.

Karen said...

I think none of us has the answer without some lingering doubts, no matter what side of the fence you're on. If we could all be tolerant of each other and respect each other's right to our own beliefs and way of living without judgement,... as long as no harm is done to another, live and let live. Sadly, too many of us don't have that respect for each other.

Religion can be an anchor, a safe haven, the calm in the storm, a unifying belief system that brings people together, that promotes gratitude and good deeds. It is also used as an excuse for torture, for murder, for rape, for control.
I hope someday there is peace in the hearts of all humanity, and we can truly live together as a unified species on this planet.

There's my religion.

Jo said...

I agree with Karen. None of us has the answer, but respect for each other's beliefs is very important. I think it's wonderful to debate these things, as long as we remember to keep our humanity.

As far as faith in something -- to answer your question -- I wonder why faith is necessary. Does lack of faith make us a bad person? Another quote of Mother Teresa:

“If I ever become a Saint—I will surely be one of “darkness.” I will continually be absent from Heaven — to lit the light of those in darkness on earth .”
—Mother Teresa of Calcutta


She is known for her good works, but if a person cannot get into Heaven "by works alone", then Mother Teresa will never get into Heaven. To quote from her book ("Come Be My Light") for the last nearly half-century of her life she felt no presence of God whatsoever — or, as the book's compiler and editor, the Rev. Brian Kolodiejchuk, writes, "neither in her heart or in the eucharist."

And yet, I believe that by any definition, Mother Teresa is a saint.

Maybe there is hope for me yet. :-)

Just telling it like it is said...

I believe that you should lead by how you live your life.,....not about how you tell others about how great you are...

Jo said...

I meant to say, also, I don't want to give you the impression that I am questioning your faith, or disputing it. I think it's wonderful when people have faith. It really does make people's lives so much better.

Maybe one day I will be one of those people...

Senorita said...

Interesting points ! I believe in God, but I don't like debating it with people, nor do I like it when people try to tell me there is no God and mock me for believing.

I just like to leave religion out of conversations.