Saturday, October 04, 2008

C in Dogmatic Theology

According to Theists, God loves all creatures big and small. A God is forgiving, just, fair and loving. This reminds me of one unfinished story my professor told us in my Dogmatic Theology class in college. We had to finish the story and that was how he would grade us.

"So here is God watching over Peter and Paul. All his life Peter was a just person, a philanthropist, and has lived his life following his religion. One day Peter's daughter died due to a car accident. Because it was an accident, the court was linient and judgement was just a slapped on the wrist. In the nadir point of his emotions, he questioned and blamed god on why this has happened. He became bitter, had an emotional breakdown, shot and killed the person that ran over his daughter's untimely death and was killed by police in the process.

On the other hand, Paul was left in an orphanage and all his life has never experienced love. He grew up to be a thief and a drug peddler in order to survive. Much later in life he got married to a wonderful woman who turned his life around, accepted god and mended his ways. One day, on his way to work Peter followed him and shot him from behind.

So here they are, in front of God. God pulls out their files and proceeds to judge Peter and Paul. So here is the question. Will god allow both of them to go to heaven or would he condemn one? Which will he favor? Peter who had been good all his life but had turned away from god at the end because of his loss? or Paul who had been bad because of upbringing but repented and mended his ways near the end?

The ending of that story per what I submitted to my professor was: Since god is all just and loving, God forgave Peter and Paul and both souls went to heaven. Simple!

Not! I got a C. The first C I ever got in any theology or religion class. According to my professor, because Peter had a bout of doubt and murdered Paul he will be sent to eternal damnation and Paul having repented from all his sins and accepted god in the end will be more favorable in the eyes of god. He stated that everyone who has sinned and accepted god in the end will have eternal life. Being good is not what gets one to Heaven. He said, "It does sound quite harsh, but this is what the Bible teaches us. In John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life." In John 10:28. Jesus says, "I give them eternal life, and they shall not perish for ever." Perishing is what happens to you if you don't have eternal life. Especially in the case of Peter, he knew but rejected him in the end, therefore, he will be sent to hell.

Give me a break! Give me a lobotomy! Give me a prozac enough to kill an elephant. But I will not be fooled into this again.

Seems like a crappy story? melodramatic? non-sense? EXACTLY!


At 10/30/2008 09:55:00 AM, Blogger Margo said...

Judaism has a similar principle that one who repents is greater than one who never sinned at all and was good all his life.
In my Ultra-Orthodox high school (I am an atheist now) I asked a teacher why we don't all sin and then repent, since that is greater. She did not appreciate my question, since a kid who asks questions is thinking way too hard to be properly religious.
The catch here is that if you sin intentionally while intending to repent, then you're screwed. God doesn't bump you to a higher level.
IMO, this just encourages fooling oneself. Now there is a strong motivation to fool yourself into sinning without intending to so, either by "forgetting" or by using textual inconsistencies to arrive at the conclusion that the sin is not a sin, etc so that you haven't consciously sinned, and then to repent.
How messed up. God has way too much time on his hands, if he is creating these convoluted systems when all he needs to do, were he to exist and be omnipotent, would be to not create any possibilities that he does not want us to choose. He could even wire our brains so that even though no evil exists, we still get the same satisfaction out of choosing good from some imaginary other option. Even better, he could have created a world where he gave us rewards that we didn't have to work for, but we would still feel as though we had, and think that we had.
This is the best idea an infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent god could come up with?
Jesus Christ, as us nonbelievers say. :)


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