Sunday, April 26, 2009

Who cares about blasphemy? Who'd want immortality?

I don't read novels anymore now that I'm not required to for school. So I'm grateful when people who do read them excerpt some of the good parts. Example:

She had always found a paradox in the crime of blasphemy, for it seemed to her that any God who could be discountenanced by the words of human beings was by definition not worthy of reverence.
That's from Michal Chabon's Gentlemen of the Road, quoted by LemmusLemmus on his blog, The Church of Rationality. He gives the obvious solution:
[A]nti-blasphemy rules were not made by and for gods, but by and for believers.
Once you decide that it's OK to rationally scrutinize religion, the flaws become so obvious that, whether or not you're a believer, it feels a little embarrassing.

Another one:
Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
That's from Susan Ertz's Anger in the Sky, excerpted in the Yale Book of Quotations, via AskMetafilter.

Here's what I don't understand about how Heaven fits in with Christianity: I thought Christians justify the existence of evil in the world by saying you need free will to allow for goodness, and free will leads to evil human behavior. If Heaven is free of evil, doesn't that also mean people in Heaven aren't free, and doesn't that mean Heaven isn't very good?


Anonymous said...

Your post reminded me of a poem by Emily Dickinson:

Who has not found the heaven below
Will fail of it above.
God's residence is next to mine,
His furniture is love.

I think she's saying heaven belongs to those who love, in this life or the next.

I don't know what free will has to do with this. Although love does involve our wills.

Peace to you.


Anonymous said...

Asthedeer: I tend to disagree with your analysis of Dickinson's poem. While she did often write about God and the afterlife, her poetry was far from preachy or happy-go-lucky. She was incredibly private and only a microscopic percentage of her poems were published in her lifetime.

Many of her poems are even believed to have been altered due to their unconventional form or their controversial subject matter.

Dickinson's poetry merits much "reading between the lines".

I recommend Susan Howe's biography, entitled My Emily Dickinson.