Friday, May 27, 2005

Judgment Day

Fred, in his valiant efforts to read the Left Behind books so we don't have to (plus he provides fascinating insight into the subtleties lost to those of us who don't have our evangelical interpretive device handy), raises an interesting question today. Fred contemplates what happens when people die and/or are "raptured." One of the fears, supposedly, is being judged by a deity, and, presumably, found sufficiently wanting that one is cast into eternal (and, presumably, conscious) torment. I don't understand this fear.

Don't misunderstand: I am far, far from perfect (leaving aside the question of what might actually constitute "perfect"). I am not always the person I want to be; I hurt people unintentionally; I make mistakes. But doesn't everyone? Have you ever met anyone, anywhere, in any context, who never made mistakes? No; me neither. So what's the fear about? If I'm wrong about this no-deities thing, and am hauled before some kind of truly supreme court, what are the terms going to be?

If I'm going to be condemned because I didn't believe that deities existed, if that's the ultimate sin, well, then, I'm screwed, no doubt about it. That formulation, however, seems to excuse an awful lot of people who believe that deities exist but who treat other people like shit. I suppose I could understand some kind of serious trouble for someone who, say, murdered and/or raped someone else--but what about if they found Jesus after that, like Karla Faye Tucker did? How would she be judged? What's most important about her life? And if that kind of redemption is what's relevant--either by faith or by deed--then why would you want to put someone to death for his/her crimes? Wouldn't you want to give people every opportunity to change?

So maybe you can see why this whole judgment thing is confusing to me. And don't even get me started on the resurrection thing, not least because, at least for Buddhists, resurrection/reincarnation is something that happens to you because you weren't good enough, i.e., didn't achieve enlightenment, or you're so good that you're a boddhisatva.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My inaugural address at the Great White Throne Judgment of the Dead, after I have raptured out billions!


4:15 AM  

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