2005-03-24 - 9:10 a.m.

A recent entry sparked a little controversy! Yay! Anyway, one of my wonderful, intelligent and no doubt handsome readers has offered up a response to some of the musings I wrote the other day. I was originally going to answer them in the comments section of the entry in question, but I decided that it would further the debate to put them up front where everyone can see them. That way, I hope, it will spark even further debate.

The philosophy behind this is that it is only through testing ideas that the truth comes out. And if you don't have truth, you just have lies. So, without further ado, here are Gustaffe's comments (in the block quotes) followed by my responses (in the regularly justified text). To look at the original comment, click here. Any missing or altered text from the original comment is my own fault, and I apologize if I didn't capture it correctly.

Oh, please interview me!
Sure, but it might be a little while before I get around to it. Writing these questions is hard!
To spark some ideas as to what you might ask me about, I've decided to comment on your answer #2. I don't see your point. How can you deem this world meaningless? (which is what I feel you do) There are thousands of remarkable, beautiful women, there are wonders made by God and man, for the eye, nose, ears, mouth and fingers to unravel, there are a zillions of things to make and do. Of course, this memento mori attitude gives some perspective, but you must remember that it was rarely said without carpe diem.
I'm not saying that the there aren't wonderful things in the world, but just that at a certain point they all pass away. Everything you do will be swallowed by death. If your response is carpe diem, that's great. If you want to jam your life full of experience, I can think of no better way to distract you from the inevitability of death. However, death will come whether you are expecting it or not.
Well: if you want eternity, everlasting remembrance, consider: 1. That is hubris. Man is, according to Christianity/Greeks/so on, flawed (which I prefer to sinful, a silly word, means 'don't have sex'), and shouldn't dream of eternity.
You can argue about the word, but I find the evil and hate in the human heart to be pretty ugly, so I like to use an ugly word. "Sin" is an ugly word. "Corruption" would work. "Vileness" might fly. I think "Flawed" is too weak to cover all the violence and selfishness I see around me.

As to the word "sin" meaning merely "don't have sex", I'd have to differ with you there. The usage of the word has become debased perhaps, but it has historically and rightly meant doing that which is wrong or doing something right in such a way as to make it wrong. Etymologically (I'm told and I may be wrong) it means "missing the mark". We have a standard of morality, whether our own or someone else's or God's, and we never live up to it. Let's face it, if we can't live up to our own standard of morality, what chance have we to live up to God's?
2. We are eternal! First of all, it can be intuitively felt (Roger Pol-Droit: 101 excercises philosophiques). And: We're all made of the matter from which the universe exploded (and anyone who says the bible contradicts that are narrow-minded), and these atoms we consist of have been fusioned by stars and used in millions of constellations before us,
I do indeed want eternity! I think it is perfectly natural to want that.

God has put eternity in our hearts and we are satisfied with nothing less than that. That is why death is so depressing - it goes against everything in our hearts.

Also, if you tell me it is hubris to want eternity and then right away say I have eternity, I suppose that means I am irredeemably hubristic, yes? Well, all the more reason I need a savior.
and actually we are constantly exchanging them through food, breathing and so on. We don't belong to ourselves, we've only borrowed the molecules. And the matter/light will endure for what we can meaningfully speak of as time.
I don't want my molecules to live on, I want to live on. Over a period of seven years all of my atoms have been swapped out for new ones and yet I am still here, right? Obviously I am more than my atoms. If you cut off my arm, the arm dies and becomes useless. Part of what makes me into an individual is a certain pattern of atoms existing over a period of time. Break or disrupt that pattern enough and you kill me. Remove my brain, for example, and I am dead. If I offered right now to take all of your atoms and re-arrange them randomly, you would rightly interpret that as a threat. Even if I promised I would not lose a single atom, my guess is that you would not be happy to receive such a treatment.
3. Have you ever watched rain in a pool of water? The drops make ripples which interact, die out, but never totally disappear. And the water remains there, for the show to repeat over and over.
The ripples do disappear. The ripples are a pattern extended over time. The molecules of water may remain (although they don't - they will evaporate), but the ripple has ceased to be. The ripple, to extend the analogy, has died.

More importantly, it is not so much the inevitability of death which motivated my original answer to the original question asked by the wonderful, intelligent and no doubt stunningly beautiful desdemonia, as the inevitability of human sin. Eternity with sin would not be worth having. In fact, even the 60-80 years most of us get is seriously tarnished by sin. Imagine if there were no end to anger, hate, pain, deceit, hypocrisy, pride, jealousy, envy, murder.... That is what eternity with sin would be.

We have to solve the sin problem before we get eternity, otherwise we are going to be sadly, terribly and tragically disappointed.

Anyway, I find there is no better way to start the day than with a theological debate, so I'm glad to have had a chance to hear your thoughts. Feel free to respond, but I may not get around to replying for a few days. It is Maundy Thursday today and Good Friday is tomorrow and Easter is Sunday so I will be fairly busy until Monday. Please do not interpret my slowness to reply as indifference!

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