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Undiscovered Country

…But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of? (Hamlet)

To lie about a far country is easy. (Amharic proverb)


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Trent Reznor on Johnny Cash’s Cover of Hurt

Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails (songwriter of Hurt) in a 2005 interview for Rolling Stone about seeing Johnny Cash’s video cover for the first time: “I saw the video and it took my breath away. Immediately my throat had a lump in it, and at that point, it really struck home. It was heartbreaking. I had goosebumps, which I have right now even thinking about it. It became really inspiring to me.… It works. And it probably works better than my version.… I haven’t listened to my version since then.”

Mortality is a bittersweet pill.

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Original Sin

[This was originally part of a comment on a post about original sin at The Slapdash Godliness of a Good Girl.]

We can blame Augustine of Hippo for the idea of original sin. As such, it is one of the most hellish inventions of mankind.

Let me recap. God wanted to show everyone how infinitely loving he is, so he created Adam and Eve and put them in a paradisaical garden knowing that they would break his rule about eating of the fruit one particular tree. When they broke his rule (just like he knew they would), he cast them out of paradise into a torture chamber inhabited by a malicious demon he refuses to rein in. Adam and Eve and all of their children suffer at this demon’s hands. He creates earthquakes, floods, plagues, famines, pestilences, and all manner of suffering to punish Adam and Eve’s family for the time back in paradise when their first parents dared to eat that fruit that God tempted them with. Before the demon can do this, however, he must get God’s approval to make sure that no one who believes in God’s love suffers more than necessary, such are the protocols of the heavenly bureaucracy. Satan is on God’s payroll, doing all the dirty work God doesn’t care to do.

Millions upon millions upon billions of people are tortured and killed in this torture chamber with God’s approval. God’s sense of justice demands that God punish all of humanity for Adam and Eve’s sin of which they had no part and for choosing evil themselves, just as he created them to do. He couldn’t show his love if people didn’t suffer, so his plan from the beginning was to create humanity in such a way that they would certainly sin, torture humanity when they sinned according to his plan, and come to their rescue.

Seeing his plan was going well (what with all the suffering and dying going on), it was time for God to show his love, so he took on a mortal body. After being tortured for a day or two, he gave up and died. (Or even worse, he tortured and killed his own Son to make up for his own actions.) This made God feel better about the suffering of all the billions of people who he’s banished to his torture chamber.

If God let all those tortured souls live forever in paradise, it would probably make up for all his hellish sadism. Yet he still put a condition on humanity’s relief from suffering. They had no choice to come to this nightmare chamber in the first place. He never asked them their preference beforehand, yet they bear the final responsibility for getting themselves out. They must first believe—while still being tortured—that he loves them. Not only that, they must love him in return. Anyone who can’t muster the credulity necessary to believe that, anyone who doubts his love in the face of all his sadism, anyone who doesn’t thank him for the chance to suffer and die at his behest will go on suffering forever in an even worse torture chamber reserved for the skeptical and the ignorant.

God sounds like one hell of a cult leader.

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I’m Gonna Live Till I Die

Words to live by, the essence of my outlook on life.

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Maybe a President who didn’t believe our soldiers were going to heaven might be a little less willing to get them killed

Provocative? Perhaps.

But I know that I, personally, am much less willing to ask people to die to secure more oil to maintain my lifestyle now that I believe that once they die they are completely, irrevocably dead. I didn’t realize how precious life is until I knew how easy it is to lose it forever.

No, the soldiers who die won’t see their families again in heaven. Their mothers and fathers, spouses and children will never see the fallen again. Children will have to grow up without Mommy or Daddy. They will never again speak with them, hug them, or kiss them. They will never hear them laugh again.

Who am I to ask someone else to pay that eternal price so that I can drive my car and watch my DVDs?

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