This is a question not only for Fundamentalist Christians but also for people of any religious denomination. Here’s the Scenerio:
There is a croud of people all listening to a preacher, reverend, lector, dictator, etc…etc… (we must assume these people beleive in a God, or a higher power) The speaker says to this group: “If God asked you to kneel on sharp stones as you pray everynight, so that you could feel His Pain, would you do this?” the croud responds…“Yes, yes of course” The speaker now says " If God wanted you to do ANYTHING that would help you feel His pain would you?" “Yes, yes. Of course,” the croud responds.
Then the speaker is quiet for a moment and says. “NOW if God asked you to live happily in your everyday lives, and to treat one another as you yourself would like to be treated, would you do this?”…
This is paraphrased from a book I like to read at least once a year, I have been reading it for the past 8-9 years. I would like to know: Why couldn’t people do this? Some people are willing to go to no end to feel pain and to suffer for an all loving God, but when asked if they would not feel pain, and live happily they do not know what to do. Any Ideas???
I’ll take a stab at this…I think the thing is that people feel innately guilty. We have a culture of politeness, all centered around the concept that we don’t deserve whatever honor we’re receiving. “You shouldn’t have” when receiving a gift, “The pleasure was all mine” or “You’re welcome [to it]” when thanked, etc. We, as a people, have trouble accepting a gift without feeling obligated, or like we need to compensate the gift-giver. We have the same problem accepting mercy and forgiveness without feeling like we have to somehow atone (even after being forgiven), even if it’s beyond our capabilities.
So, since one of the tenets of Christian theology is that forgiveness, salvation, and mercy are a free gift that cannot be earned or deserved, people will do things to try and feel like they deserve it.
Can an atheist pipe up? I have a feeling that there are, indeed, GOOD preachers (or rabbis, etc.) who DO say pretty much that. Trouble is, there are also a good number of creeps who say just the opposite, too . . .
Everyone seems to want everything to go along smoothly with no hardships and everyone loving each other. Kahill Gibran in The Prophet said (paraphrase) “What good would it do you to be on the mountain top, if you’ve never been to the valley?” In other words how can you know what happiness is if you’ve never been sad? Many years ago when I studied Dante in college, I thought “I’d go crazy in Heaven, give me Hell any day.” That is why I don’t understand all the complaining about wanting a perfect world. There is a joke about the guy that dies and everything is going great, but he gets bored and he goes and says “I think I want to go to the other place.” The person in charge says “That’s where you are.”
Thank you Amedeus: You take the prise. Yes, Illusions is an excellent book. many hidden messeges and the first 14 pages initially caught my sights close to 9 years ago. Being an avid book collector, I recently purchased the first edition of Illusions, granted it was a slight chunk of money to me it was worth it.
Anyway, back to the thread. I am not talking about a world only full of bliss where everyone has happy happy thoughts blown up their ass. I am talking of a world where the religions are respected, and individuals are allowed to worship what they please and no one judges. And where those who worship God Worship him, not fear him.
Etymology: Middle English worshipe worthiness, respect, reverence paid to a divine being, from Old English weorthscipe worthiness, respect, from weorth worthy, worth
Respect, reverence… If people ‘respected’ one another and their own opinions this world would be much easier and safer to live in…
Because it’s harder to love than to suffer? Because suffering is directed to yourself, and loving is directed to others? Do you really think you are the first one in history to discover this? Do you really think Bach was the great discoverer of this conundrum? Nah.
It’s been around for a while. As long as there has been people, actually. Someone new discovers it every generation or so; we tend not to read old books.
Loving and being happy can be hard work. <slaps forhead> D’UH!!