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Friday, April 02, 2010

Theological QUESTIONS

I was talking to my Jehovah's Witness buddy on the bus the other day. Frankly, I agree with him a lot more than not, and he certainly knows his Bible. So I was surprised that he thought that we were in the end times, that the things that are happening NOW suggest the Armageddon foretold in Revelation.

Having read the Epistles, I believe people have predicting the Lord was coming back at least since Saint Paul was on the earth (which, not incidentally, predates the writing of Revelation), that these particular circumstances (Israel as a nation, the United Nations as an entity that will try to create a one-world secular government in violation of God's will, and all the earthquakes, floods, etc. worldwide) are the signs of the End Times. Well, maybe. I'm of the school that "No one knows the day or time when the Lord comes", so you might as well live your lives loving each other, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and the like.

Meanwhile, the sermon at church on Sunday was useful in another way. I know there is evil in the world, but haven't attributed it to a personified devil, Satan, Lucifer, the accuser since I was a teenager. Apparently, most people don't; how else could we make devil's food cake, deviled eggs and buy Underwood deviled ham, with a little red devil character right on the can?

So, a couple of lighthearted questions for Good Friday:
1. How do you think the world ends? With a bang or a whimper? In lack certainty, so I don't really worry about it. I DO doubt that the UN will be the vehicle through which a one-government body will arise, if it ever does; it'd much more likely be via the multinational corporations pulling the strings than the US, Iran, Israel, China, and Russia all ceding authority to a controlling government.

2. Do you believe in a personified Devil? I don't. As a monotheist, which I am, if there is one God, then making "the Devil" like unto God seems wrong.

But what do YOU think?
***
And all he asks of us is we give each other love
- Marvin Gaye (April 2, 1939 – April 1, 1984)
God is Love, from the What's Goin' On album
Album version
Extended mix

ROG

5 comments:

Jedediah said...

Is it weird for an atheist to answer theological questions? I'm not sure, but here goes:
personified devil: no. I didn't believe in one when I still believed in God, for much the same reason as you.

The world will end avalanche-like, I think - at least the part we humans define as our world. I still hope that we can find a way not to destroy the things we need to live, but I don't think the chances are very good, so I guess we will continue to see at first gradual and then faster and bigger changes in the environment that will finally wipe us out in many interesting ways. I do find it encouraging that we will probably not manage to destroy the whole planet and that it will balance itself again after some time. To loosely quote Terry Pratchett, one trait of life is it's pure stubbornness.

Always smiling said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Always smiling said...

Hi
Blogged hopped and wow what a post.. the devil is not as powerful as people may think, after all he was thrown from grace by God. He is not able to know what we are thinking altho' lots of people think he can. When you read about him in the Bible he always has to speak to people so showing he can't read minds!#
A good way to show how lacking in power he is compared to God is to liken him to an ant and God is the all powerful one who should he chose tread on the ant!
Bests from a God believing christian.
PS Had to re-post this as I had typos!!

Uthaclena said...

Well, even though I believe in a spiritual element in the Universe and refer to tradtional concepts like "god" or the "soul," I really don't believe in supernatural PERSONALITIES, so "the devil?" No. Evil is an aspect of human activity or interpretation of natural events. The Universe doesn't do bad things to good people, it just grinds away. If you're at the wrong place at the wrong time, "stuff happens" according to physical laws. But some people DO like making other people suffer. They're just bad people.

Ed said...

Just my opinion: no personal devil. The Devil is pretty useful to round out some mythology, but like Karen Armstrong says, the writers of those myths knew they were myths, poetry, analogs. We anxious literalists wrongly take them as history.

The other question about the world coming to an end. It will never come to an end unless you count the billion-year-off solar explosion. Humans may disappear, but the world will never end.
best, Ed