The Crisis of Our Times

"Not by force of arms are civilizations held together, but by subtle threads of moral and intellectual principle." -Russell Kirk

Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

On Immoral Wretches, a Lake of Fire, and other Light Hearted Comedies

Today a coworker asked me sarcastically if I believe that all of us immoral wretches will burn in hell. It was put snider than what my meek delivery hints at. Of course his statement was followed by some remark about the religious right controlling the Government-presumably a government that he finds fault in. Like an idiot-stumbling over lines of argument and phrases of refute in my mind-all I could spit out was "I guess." I guess...Well I do, though thats a simplified remark, but perhaps a remark appropriate for his level of understanding-I don't know. Whether or not hell is an inferno in grand degree or some other over heated holler, I cannot say--I've never been there and fully pray I shall never be. What I do know is that its a place of great discomfort. I've heard people say that its a disjoining from God, which seems obvious. Unfortunately to many of those who fail to believe, and even some that say they do, that type of hell seems a lot less hostile than the burning inferno that we've come to imagine. Considering that every good that we can enjoy, every good that we know is from God and enjoyed within him, I couldn't imagine a worse sort of hell-even though I can only in part conceive of it, much like trying to conceive being dead. So we, obviously, can only try to describe hell through what we know from our material world and what has been revealed to us. Christ describes hell many times as a horrible place of pain. As a realist, which to be honest I take almost as much from the Greek Academy and from Cicero as I do from Augustine and the Church Fathers, I believe in an ordered world, thus I believe in justice. If the world is just, there must be a hell, but we can only describe it in physical ways, thus the idea of the inferno. Living as we do the greatest pain that we can imagine is our whole body in tremendous pain, such as being set on fire, sustained without the escape of death.
Thus I guess you could say that those immoral wretches will burn in hell. Believing in Justice, I can say I do know that everyone will receive what is due to them, whatsoever that should be.

Though of course, its by God's Grace that we are saved from the reign of Death. By faith in God we follow him, we seek him, so that we may understand him more, and thus so we may love him and follow him more fully. The fruit of faith is just actions. Those of us that do not live morally, in that we live contrary to what is our proper role and order, run the risk of hell, being not given God's Grace.

We are not spiritual beings like angels, nor are we purely animal creatures like dogs. We are harmoniously combined, but we must order ourselves properly. Any proper order starts with the highest to the lowest-the highest should always reign over the lowest. Our highest element is a soul, which practically is our Reason-which we share with the angels and which separates us from beasts.

In order to live correctly we must conform our animal element to Reason through our Will. Cicero and the Academy prescribe this as well. Through Right Reason we break ourselves from the slavery of the physical-lust, sloth, gluttony, pride, etc. We break our wrongful habits, we end our addictions, and we end our search for happiness in material things, because such searches are in vain.

Such is vain as far as all those things are temporal and base, subject to chance and fortune. You wish to find happiness in wealth, but wealth can be lost, you try to find happiness in sex but sex can be denied, or food or anything else that you have no ability to control. We must order ourselves properly so we can think properly. Those that do not are immoral and may be in danger of hell, but even before death grasps them they already obtain it in part. I love ideas and the quest for truth. I love talking to people who are intelligent. I can think of nothing worse than talking to someone who acts as a child, who whines, who cries, and acts unsteady. Those who allow their base appetites and habits to reign above their reason, act as bratty children. To me that's already a small part of Hell, and I pity them.

All right, All right...I can hear some of you already asking, if it is in our ability to make such proper orderings why do we need Jesus or Christianity. Well we have the Reason, but our will is only partially free. Because of original sin we are under the reign of death, and our wills are stained because of it and imperfect, unlike the angels who have perfect will. So no matter how much we will to be perfectly like the angels in obedience there will be times even in the best of us that habit and addiction get the better of us. Thus no matter how much we try we are not worthy of Heaven, eternal communion with God.

We don't have that power, we must ask for the aid of that who does God. We were given this ability, and thus salvation and freedom, because of Christ, the logos.

Christ was born without the stain of sin. He was completely innocent. Upon being betrayed he suffered Death unjustly. Death is the just punishment for sin. Christ was perfect in faith, action, and will. By being punished unjustly he was punished enough to satisfied death for us all. Its a little like a population sentenced justly to a jail term and then a truly innocent man being sentenced unjustly, who then satisfies our sentence for. By his death we were set free, by following Christ we are granted God's Grace and are made worthy of Heaven. By the Cross, we are set free. Grace is only granted to those that seek God, the Truth. To seek for something you must first have faith that it can be found, that should be obvious. In my day-to-day studies I seek Truth, which rightfully is God, because
I believe Truth exists. Newton sought the properties of gravity because he had faith that gravity exists.

Even though there have been people who doubted gravity, though usually under some intoxicant stronger than caffeine, they were still subject to its truth, and its the same for those that don't acknowledge God. Once on our search we start understanding, and we conform our actions appropriately-those who still say by faith alone are we saved and think that actions don't matter are just kidding their selves, if they had faith then they would act accordingly. This is just a breezy summation of it. Augustine in The Free Choice of the Will gives a better description and in the next couple days I'll type it up and put it on here.

So are immoral wretches going to burn, I guess you could say that, but that's not important to me, I hope not to be there with them. Unfortunately you immoral wretches act like children--which is shown by your disregard for marriage, your objectification of other people, your insistent greed and search for material happiness, and in the extreme your disregard for life (abortion, contraception), and of course your genuinely whinny nature and your possible addiction to Reality TV (ohh...the agony)--so I'll have to deal with you here...pity...thank God I have the free will to avoid you.



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