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The Wages of Sin








Eko was a paradox of faith and pride. As the ultimate demonstration of the duality of his nature, his final refusal to confess and repent was quickly followed by a recitation of the opening lines of the 23rd Psalm just before his life was brutally put to an end. I have strong feelings about this episode but I wrestle with wondering if I arrive at these emotions because of my Christian perspective or if it is really what the writers intended for the audience to experience. With that in mind...

I was immediately and continually drawn to the book of Romans while digesting this episode. In the 6th chapter, I believe the Apostle Paul explains Eko's situation to a tee when he says,

"Previously, you let yourself be a slave to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourself to be a slave to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were a slave to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become a slave of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord."

I don't know if the producers intended to bring up the whole Jesus thing but to me, Messianic redemption was what Eko most obviously and desparately needed....and he was so close to finding it. He knew that the wages of sin is death but he sought to redeem this price on his head with his own means (40 days of silence, building a church, etc) never acknowledging that redemption is a gift to be received and not a privilege to be earned. His denial of his sins and his stubborn refusal to confess his need and receive life as a gift is what ultimately led to his demise.

What do you think? Was Eko's fate a result of his refusal to accept the island's offer of redemption? Or do you think the opposite...that his steadfast pride and self assurance represented a redeemed state and he was killed because his "redemption" was complete?

61 Comments:

Blogger Administrator said...

Sorry for the long frontpage post. I said it in the most concise way I could.

This was the most difficult character storyline for me to watch so far. Eko's final confrontation with "his brother" was very difficult for me to take in. The emptiness and hopelessness of pride stung me as it lept off the screen. I wonder why they let his story end that way. I guess it was a bold move and brought some balance to the whole ying-yang thing they're trying to accomplish...I just never like it when the dark side wins.

I anticipate this thread will develop some great discussions and I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say.

11/02/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger Codysmom said...

I posted this over at TLC, but it seems appropriate here:

First, I want to say that I will miss Eko.

Maven said...
This episode is about guilt, confessing sins, and coincidence vs fate.

I think it's interesting that Eko only asks forgiveness from his brother (shown in the "previously on Lost" beginning), not from God. In the end, he doesn't have guilt about his sins; he says he did what he thought needed to be done. His brother would forgive him because many of Eko's actions were for the love of his brother. What Eko is lacking is a love for God (and faith). The "Yemmi" at the end is angered with Eko for not repenting his sins and says, "You think I am your brother?" (Is killing a bad man not a sin? Is stealing not a sin if it's for your hungry brother? God is the one to judge, not us.)

I also can't help but think of the old hubris/nemisis correlation from Greek mythology; that excessive pride will bring you down. It's also the idea of "playing God". Eko decides what is the right thing to do; he decides who gets killed, who gets fed, and who gets vaccine. He decides that the drugs are better off out of his country and away from "his" people.

Will Jack "play God" and kill Ben? I don't think so and the fact that Juliet wants him to shows a lot about her character, IMO.

11/02/2006 8:35 AM  
Blogger Love Pirate 77 said...

Hey y'all,

I thought this episode was fascinating, as I have always found Mr. Eko's stories to be. As for the question of why he died, I feel that he died because he finally came to grips with what he had done, and how he had felt. I think that he would have died whether he did what he did, or if he decided to ask for forgiveness. I think the island is trying to help people resolve their issues. Eko resolved his by deciding that he did not regret what he had done, saying it was the best he could do.

So much of Lost has come down to choices... both in terms of the actions we take, and how those choices define who we are. Eko chose not to seek redemption, and in the end, I think he was satisfied with his choice, or more accurately, his choice was to be accepting of the choices he made earlier in life. Life is a series of choices, and for Eko, he had been struggling with the choices he made, forcing himself to build a church and other things as a penance for the choices he made. At the end, however, I think he accepted those choices. This doesn’t mean he was happy with them, or that they were the right choices, but he accepted them, and he would not ask for forgiveness for what he had done. I think smokey the monster provided Eko with the opportunity to confess, forcing him to make the most important choice of all… how to deal with what he had done. He made that choice, and it was to turn away from redemption.

As a Christian, many of Eko’s actions bother me. I’m one of those guys who doesn’t believe that the ends justify the means, and while Eko’s actions brought about good ends (saving his brother, allowing the villagers to have the vaccine), the means by which he achieved those ends were not justified by the results. I think this is a dangerous thought pattern to get into, because it makes people capable of anything if they can convince themselves that the outcome is worth it. For me (and I’m not trying to get into a political debate here, I’m just trying to illustrate my views) the best example is the Iraq war, where we invaded a country resulting in the deaths of countless soldiers and civilians, because we thought the ends of stopping the weapons of mass destruction justified the means of war.

I am sad for Eko, in terms of what he lived through, the choices he made, and how he punished himself for those choices. I wish he had asked for forgiveness at the end but I understand why he didn’t, and I realize that this is a show and I appreciate the depth and complexity of the characters. I am very interested to know what Eko meant by “You’re next”. I doubt it means they’ll be killed next, but perhaps they will be next to have the opportunity to face their fears and demons, or next to get a shot at redemption. I don’t know, but I can’t wait.

Gyar…

11/02/2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Pedalin Dad said...

I enjoyed this episode greatly, in was full of rich storytelling, including the main Eko storyline. That said, I think the main problem we are voicing is that there seemed to be a disconnect between the Eko of last season and where he arrived at the end of this episode. To me, it seemed that last season Eko showed true remorse for the death and destruction of his past. He began on the journey to redemption with Yemi's death; in essence, we saw Yemi give up his live trying to save his brother from the path he was on. To me, the main point of that episode was this: Eko had taken Yemi's place to save his brother when they were children, and in turn, Yemi gave up his life to save his brother. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down his life for his friends”.

By the time Eko arrived on the island, Eko was already a different man. Granted, he was not perfect. We knew that he had assumed the mantel of a priest merely to escape from Nigeria (first to London apparently, then Australia, and was heading to America). And in this sense, I understand that he 'was merely doing what he had to do' to survive/begin a new life, to borrow his words from last night. However, in reinventing himself, my sense was that Eko was being changed; he was becoming the man of God he had originally been on the path to becoming before being diverted to a life of crime. I mean, it doesn’t seem like a big leap that if the warlords had not taken Eko away, he would have become a priest like his brother.

It was almost as if in pretending to be a priest merely to escape, Eko returned to his original path, he was becoming a priest. When he tells Charlie that he is a priest, my impression was that Eko truly believes he is now a priest. At that point, he has no reason to lie to Charlie. This explains taking the vow of silence in regret/remorse/repentance after killing the Others who were trying to kill him. This explains his confession to Ben/Henry in the Hatch, where he says he is now a new man, he says that way of life is behind him.

Basically, I felt that Eko had become a new man, a man of God even. That is basically what we were led to believe from previous episodes. And last night, in the end the implication was that he was no longer repentant for his former life? Where did that come from? It was almost as if the writers were saying, “oh, just forget that Eko became a priest, forget he confessed; he was just pretending to in order to survive”.

The other line that comes to mind from last night was Eko’s response to the question “Are you a bad man?” Eko says, “That is only for God to judge” (maybe not exactly, but something like that, right?). From a Christian perspective, I think this is correct and more dead-on than anything else: the only one Eko needs to fear are not the judgments of any man, only the judgment of God. This goes hand in hand with the concept that once you have repented and asked God’s forgiveness, you have been washed clean of sins, your sins are gone. You aren’t supposed to continuously beat yourself up about it; you are supposed to be a new creation, trying to do what is right from here on end. And this is what Eko has been doing since he came to the island. If we view his final interaction with pseudo-Yemi/Smokey in the light of this, we can make the argument that he is right in saying he has no sins to confess to him/it. They are gone! If this had been the message being presented, many would be okay, I buy that. Cool!

But last night, if that was the aim, it failed. And if the aim was that Eko has found his redemption/resolution by coming to the conclusion that he always has just done what he needed to in order to survive, then how he arrives to this conclusion, wasn’t as clear from a story telling perspective as it needed to be. That seems to be what was being implied. If they had done a better job of showing how Eko got there, then maybe we could say “I didn’t like where they went with Eko, but at least it makes sense”. I think the most frustrating thing to me was that instead, things were presented lukewarm to us. I for one, wish they had made a clearer presentation, hot or cold.

Okay enough of my rambling… that’s my quarter’s worth of thoughts.

11/02/2006 10:14 AM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Greetings from the Lapsed Catholic!

I have an entirely different perspective on last night's episode. I've been thinking about it on and off all day. The words he uses is that this was the "life he was given". In other words, the passive voice - he wasn't the actor, he was acted upon. He didn't take life, he was given one. As a man of God, which I believe Ecko was, he would accept what God had given him as a gift.

Let me explain my perspective. Maybe this is heretical but, I've always felt bad for Judas and Pontious Pilate. We have this all benevolent God, yet he used them as pawns to get his way. While I believe in free will for myself, I believe that religion doesn't always support that idea. I don't think that Pilate had any other choices. I don't think that Judas had any other choices. I think they lived the lives they were given. Think about it this way - if either of them had acted differently, had exerted free will, there wouldn't be Christianity.

I feel that perhaps that is the realization that Ecko came to as well. Perhaps, it was truly God's will for him to be the man he was. If he is truly a man who believes that God guides us, how could he not believe that he would be forgiven and that he had not been wrong? To admit to being wrong or a bad man would be tantamount to admitting that God had made a mistake. If he was a man of God, believing that everything is guided by God, it could be that he believed that his life was the life God wanted him to live.

Maybe it's because I loved the moral ambiguity of Ecko that I want to see him go out this way. I was disappointed (as posted on TLC) about the way he all of a sudden decided that he wasn't wrong in any way. His inability to reconcile his beliefs with his actions has been what made him a compelling character.

I also noted on TLC what I'm going to re-note here. Obviously, Ecko was Catholic. I loved the fact that of all the characters who have died on the show, Ecko was the one who was left at peace. I think that the last scene, where he's skipping hand-in-hand with his brother as children, is a sign that he was redeemed. I like to think that it wasn't a memory of Ecko, but where Ecko went - back to his brother, the only person he truly loved. Back to his youth, before he became something he hated. I like to think that for Ecko, that was heaven.

11/02/2006 1:10 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Wow, this ep was a doozy, and also made me tear up on numerous viewings and even reading the comments here! Everyone's thoughts are very much like my own for the most part. You all have so eloquently summarized Eko's life, trials, and his reactions to all that. Pedalin, thanks for the recap of Eko's life and Kvonhard, I like to think of that last image as Eko and Yemi in heaven together too.

People with lives like Eko's, who inhabit places of extreme violence, who more or less have their fates handed to them like it or not, do exist and it is very sad. And although Eko was taken away as a child to a bad life, at least in his adult life when he was in charge of his own self, he did turn around and do what is right and tried to make some restitution for what he had done. But I also am confused about how we are to interpret Eko's apparent 180 turn from repentance to what seemed like pridefulness. Unles TPTB, as someone here said, meant that Eko felt that he had already repented and didn't need to to it again, and therefore didn't, getting himself killed by Smokey. I feel that TPTB left that pretty ambiguous, IMHO. It could be interpreted in different ways, and surely will be.

I felt that TPTB might also be making a statement when the church-lady was trying to force little Eko into confessing, without explaining to him why stealing for food when his brother was hungry was still wrong. I think that is often the thing that goes wrong with "religion", where religion is forced on someone without a clear explaination of what the underlying meaning of the faith is. I don't know if that's what TPTB were trying to say, that's just one of the things I took away from it after a few viewings. I don't like it when "religious" people force judgment on others like that, especially if the receiver of the judgement has not a clue as to what they did wrong yet. It's an example of that "old timey" fire and brimstone attitude (without the Love and Forgiveness of God) that has thankfully gone the way of the dinosaurs, in the past few decades.

I also thought that TPTB were trying to show (via Yemi's and the nurse/girl's humble faith and works) that Eko did not have to be forceful in his faith or repentence. Yemi and the girl managed to work things out the pieceful way, via non-violence, not to the best of degrees but they managed. Eko's rather clumsy faith, reminded me of Peter in the garden trying to cut off the soldier's ear to stop Jesus' arrest, and Jesus telling him that if he lives by the sword, he'll die by it. That pretty much summed up the difference between Eko's and Yemi's faith. But I supposed that violence was all that poor Eko new up to that point. Sad, sad, sad episode.

11/02/2006 3:33 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

I understand that inhrently violence is bad. Don't get me wrong. I mean, I'll whack my husband on the arm when he's being a booger every so often ... but I'm too small to be a violent person.

The flipside of all the "violence is bad" arguments is that the nurse, by not retaliating in a violent manner (the only way that the drug dealers understood), was to capitulate to what they wanted and to equally harm those she was protecting by having to dole out vaccines and make Godlike decisions. If the Red Cross was providing X amount of vaccine to the community, that means it was enough to take care of the whole community. By only retaining 20% she was choosing which 20% would be "allowed" to obtain the benefits of the vaccine. That, in itself, is equally as "violent" as simply beating up the guys extracting the bounty. That is playing God. So, the nurse who condemns Ecko is not any better than him, she just thinks she is.

Of course, this also goes back to my personal issues with Jack's holier-than-thou-I'm-a-dr-saving-lives issue. I'm just pointing out that Ecko's actions, while violent, were no more harmful in some respects than other non-violent but equally deadly decisions.

11/02/2006 8:20 PM  
Blogger Codysmom said...

kvonhard said:
the nurse, by not retaliating in a violent manner (the only way that the drug dealers understood), was to capitulate to what they wanted and to equally harm those she was protecting by having to dole out vaccines and make Godlike decisions.

I have to disagree with this. The nurse made it clear in the episode that the deal Yemi had made with the warlords (20% of the vaccine and their protection) was a whole lot better than nothing (which is what she said they would have gotten without the deal). In a country such as they lived, I would imagine "protection" could mean a lot, too.

11/02/2006 9:24 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Guys,

I'm still to see the episode but as normal that's not going to stop me contributing :)

Sin is an interesting one for me, as the concept of sin is not something that I believe in, as I think I've alluded to in previous posts. I do not consider that you can necessarily pre-define an action as good or bad until you consider the context in which it occurs. This is particularly true of violence, now as I've said before I'm essentially a pacifist and to quote Asimov "Violence is the last resort of the incompetent" but it is a difficult call to make. Take the Second World War (my other obsession outside Lost); was Britain wrong not to capitulate to Nazi Germany? Was the fight for survival justified, what about the US, where they justified on entering the European war even if they were under no immediate threat from Germany? It's hard to look at the young men who stormed Omaha beach as sinners, but then what about Vietnam or Iraq???

I am a great believer in Karma, to put in bluntly what comes around go's around or ‘as you sow, so you shall reap’, or the "Three fold law of return" (everything you do, good or bad, will return to you threefold), there are lots of versions of the concept. For me we will ultimately pay for everything we do, not necessarily in this life but the next or the next. Now I know reincarnation is not a Christian concept (although I understand it was until the Papal Bull of 382 removed it from Christian Dogma) but to me the development of the soul is a gradual process taking many many many lives until the soul is ready to reintegrate with the Godhead and return it’s accumulated experience to the Godhead/Universe. I have always felt that many of those people that are anti-social, violent etc are immature souls starting off on their Karmic journey whilst the likes of Ghandi, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa are very advanced souls. It is also a good way to me justifying splatting mosquito’s, I’m sending the tiny spark of their soul onwards!

In Christianity there is the obvious theme of redemption, the concept of realising/admitting you have sinned and then seeking forgives. For me I see it as a slow, gradual process of restoring the balance and of a spiritual growth and development, of righting wrongs, not necessarily literally but by balancing your bad actions with good ones. If we look at a single life it is very hard to see how in a just world good people are tortured, beaten and left to starve while others who are selfish and greedy live in unimaginable luxury, but if we look at each life as just one moment in the whole life of the soul then it makes more sense, those that suffer, will I guess literally eventually inherit the spiritual world whilst those that lead a less than savoury life are just lengthening, or even stopping their journey’s to spiritual redemption/Nirvana/ Oneness with the Godhead. I realise that this may be the world’s longest post but bear with me I'm on a roll here. For me in order for God/The Devine to be omnipotent S/He must experience everything, pain and suffering, joy and happiness; this is done through the soul of every living thing (and maybe non-living things to?) , the soul journeys through maybe thousands of lives until it is spiritually full and mature and at a point where it no longer requires an independent existence and can at last become one with the Universe/God when all that experience is returned (I must point out that this is Plato's idea not mine).

Eko’s situation is interesting as I don’t think he understands redemption either in the Christian or wider sense of the word. He seeks forgiveness from his brother but not from all the other people that he has killed or whose lives his actions have effected. Eko happily kills the men who want the vaccines but gives no thought as to what happens to the village when their comrades’ return after Eko has left. He ignores a plea for mercy. His brother asks him to build a church for him but Eko mistakes the physical building for the church rather than the spiritual community which is the church.

I did however like the idea of Eko and Yemmi walking off hand in hand, it reminds me of the book the The Five People You Meet in Heaven where the protagonist a maintenance man on a pier dies trying to save the life of a little girl, he meets five people from his life that reveal how his actions, however insignificant they seemed, changed their lives, its such a powerful book, I picked it up on a whim and literally couldn’t put it down, my wife found me book in hand, tears streaming down my cheeks!

Wow Ok I’ll stop there otherwise I’ll be here all day, I’ll get no work done and this post is already far too long! :)

11/03/2006 2:53 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Wow! Everyone, I love the conversation! I've been lurking but not posting because I haven't seen the ep yet. But I guess I'll follow DA's example. :-)

I'm really eager to see the episode and decide for myself about the events you all describe. This looks like it will be one of the most compelling and fascinating eps for me. From what I've seen of Eko before I agree that he didn't understand redemption either from a Christian or wider sense. I also agree that Eko seemed to be a strange combination of guilt and pride. Spiritual pride is dangerous.

DA: Thanks for explaining more of your belief system. I am not as familiar with thinking along those lines. How are "good" and "bad" judged by Karma? When does the Divine Universe know you are ready to no longer have an independent existence? Basically, how are these decisions made? Or does it all work out naturally? How does the social contract, what society agrees to as right and wrong, come in to play? In this unjust world, how is justice given? I agree that the context of an action does play into whether it should be judged as good or bad.

TPTB are not Christians but merely exploring these spiritual issues, we might be able to gain a greater understanding of their purpose by looking beyond the Judeo-Christian context.

11/03/2006 7:51 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Just for clarification, Catholicism and many other sects of Christianity have definied doctrine in different ways. Still there has been some historical consensus regarding essential elements, specifically the teachings that the Bible lays out explicitly. In ancient Judaism, the Torah and the Prophets, the afterlife was not clearly defined. Jesus elaborated on the topic more. Using just the Bible as a guide, reincarnation has never been a teaching of Christianity (although, like I said, different applications of Christ's teachings may have included it).

In fact, God's central teaching in the Bible is the exact opposite of Karma. The teachings agree that the world does work on a principle of you get what you give (eg Proverbs 22:8). That is called living by the "law." But then they go a step further, Paul, in Romans 3:11-12 quoting from the Old Testament, shows that no one is or can ever be good. We can do good sometimes but never *be good enough.* Mother Teresa and Ghandi, though magnificent lives, still did not live perfect lives of good, which is what the Bible says is required to keep the law. This is what Admin's quote on the front page means when it says we are "slaves to sin" (Rom 6:6).

So how do I get out of bed in the morning believing in my own incapacity for good? That is where Jesus comes in and what the quote means, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom 6:23). God overcame what was impossible for me to do. Therefore I don't trust in my own goodness, or my ability to become good by trying life after life, but in God's goodness given to me through Jesus. This became real in my life when I began to understand the transaction that had taken place and started to commit my life to looking to God (as he reveals himself in the Bible) as my Source. And it increasingly becomes more real for me. Now I do good not out of fear for what will happen if I do something bad or to earn eternity, but from gratitude for what God has already done for me.

As far as I know, this teaching is unique among religions - that no amount of trying will gain me anything and that I must depend completely on God. It goes without saying that my life does not always accurately reflect my belief in that. Also, just because it is the opposite of any religion that teaches we must earn God's favor or ascend to the divine by our own efforts, doesn't mean it is true and the others aren't. That's not what I'm discussing. I just wanted to point out what the Bible actually teaches.

11/03/2006 8:04 AM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Twinkle

Wow lots of questions, I’ll try and put some thoughts down here but I’ll try and expand later as I am at work and I go home before to long.

How are "good" and "bad" judged by Karma?

I don’t see karma as a system of judgement and to a degree good and bad are useful concepts while talking but are not distinct concepts in the wider universe. It is more a matter of balance. To a degree what you do comes back to you, in very simplistic terms treat people nicely and they’ll do the same to you, if you are rude or aggressive often that will come back. In terms of balance I see that as a soul matures it starts to recognise those behaviours that are beneficial to the greater good, the only way to escape from the effect of “bad” deeds one may have carried out in the past (or past lives) is to strive to carry our “good” deed to atone. I know this probably seems wish washy but it’s the end of a long day! As to whom what decides what is good, no one, everyone? I think there are no clear answers and perhaps we are constrained by our language which cannot describe more metaphysical concepts and using terms like good and bad are too simple, perhaps a better analogy is the transition from a self-centred selfish existence, to an altruistic selfless one – does that make sense?

When does the Divine Universe know you are ready to no longer have an independent existence?

OK to me God and the Universe must be the same thing, but that is too big for us tiny humans, so just as we have hands and those hands have fingers , so God manifests in many different ways, we see bits of Gods, for me in the many different aspects of the God and Goddess but equally as Jaweh, the Saints, Buddha, Allah etc. As humans we’re pretty ego-centric, we like our own identity, our own territory our own possessions, but when we look at people that are really wise they throw off these sort of silly concepts of ownership and territory. If you take it to the extreme, a soul will reincarnate until it no longer needs a body, it will move on to a higher dimension, heaven or whatever. Here the journey continues, the soul become closer to God/TheUniverse until it no longer needs a separate identity until it joins the billions/trillions of souls that run together indistinguishable as God. The whole time, little bits of ‘soul’ are breaking off to start the whole journey again, a tiny new soul which may take millions of years to create the great cycle. I hope that makes sense, it does to me, although it might be complete hogwash but I believe it!

How does the social contract, what society agrees to as right and wrong, come in to play? In this unjust world, how is justice given? I agree that the context of an action does play into whether it should be judged as good or bad.

I see a social contract as a purely human cultural phenomenon, in other words it is a behavioural adaptation that allows us to build a society. It is what allowed a bunch of feeble hairless apes to overcome all those big nasty predators. As humans we have a great capacity to learn and we define we define good and evil as those behaviours that we feel are either beneficial or non-beneficial to our society. Maybe sometimes (a/the) God gives us a push in the right / or wrong direction and maybe sometimes we get them totally and utterly wrong, but that’s all part of learning. I think ultimately however we judge ourselves. But if we look at our selves and cannot see our faults then we cannot correct them and move on. It is a long , long journey and I believe we need to be completely at one with our actions and ourselves before we can let our selves go and become one with God. It’s a difficult path we tread there are so many temptations: greed, sexual desire, hedonism.

OF course you could argue that why should we want to follow a path that leads to God, maybe were all just suckers, or worse still little more than prey feeding the insatiable appetite of the universe and that the only path is one of pure selfishness, but I don’t really believe that!

reincarnation has never been a teaching of Christianity (although, like I said, different applications of Christ's teachings may have included it).

Whilst it is not mentioned in the modern bible as far as I am aware reincarnation was taught in at least early sects of Christianity (pre 382), possible a hang over from the pre-Christian era. The cynical might argue that reincarnation is not good for business, it’s hard to sell redemption if everyone knows they have another chance ;). I am however tying to dredge things that I learnt from far more learned friends that have read the bible in Aramaic and ancient Greek.

In fact, God's central teaching in the Bible is the exact opposite of Karma. The teachings agree that the world does work on a principle of you get what you give

I agree, but that is one of many reasons why I am not a Christian (saying that I am, what I am and I am as strong in my convictions as I am sure many of you are in yours). Although if you could have seen me say 15 years ago I was very anti-Christian – that’s why I saw myself in DedJezter’s comments on TLC, hopefully I’ve grown up a bit since then!

So how do I get out of bed in the morning believing in my own incapacity for good?

Ah you see I believe that everyone has an infinite capacity for “good” (or “evil”), but I can see how this contradicts the Christian faith. Of course I come from a stand point where I do not consider that the Bible is the word of God, rather it is an amalgam of teachings, stories, histories and myths etc So I can step outside the normal Christian theological argument.

As far as I know, this teaching is unique among religions - that no amount of trying will gain me anything and that I must depend completely on God

Actually some religions are far harsher. In the Norse belief systems basically the peasants just rotted, there was a possibility of reincarnation for the more socially mobile but only the rich or valiant got to Asgard or Valhalla. Valhalla consisted of fighting all day and then having your wounds healed and drinking, eating and screwing all night. Might sound good if your 18 but pretty unfulfilling. The Vikings were amazed that every time they burned a monastery the monks would return knowing they’re fate and this convinced them that the monks may have had a point. When they learnt that everyone could go to heaven if they believed in JC and repented their sins conversion to Christianity became a bit or a no brainer (bit of an oversimplification there but I’m running out of time.)

Anyway have to go – time to leave work

Catch you all Later

DA

11/03/2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

Fascinating thoughts today everyone. :-) Yes, I have to agree with Twinkle, that when comparisons are made between the Catholic teachings and other non-Christian beliefs, bear in mind that Protestants do not follow or concern themselves with Papal Bulls, changes in the Catholic teachings (Vatican 1,2, or 1000), etc. Dan Brown made this gigantic mistake (one of many) in his book, assuming that the entire "Church" of Christians per se, only includes Catholic rules and beliefs. And you are correct in pointing out Twinkle that there is no other religious belief, to my knowledge, that believes that there is nothing that people need to "do" to "earn God's favor", but to *accept* the grace of forgiveness from God. But of course, good works should be the fruit of that grace and redemption.

On another subject, Dark Angel, you mention that you feel "in order for God/The Devine to be omnipotent S/He must experience everything, pain and suffering, joy and happiness" -- well, if Jesus is indeed God, who came down to earth to be also Man, to fulfill His purpose, then God did actually experience everything that mankind experiences. If everything about Jesus is true, then He knows all our pain, suffering, joy, etc. and then some. And if He is real and did all that, there are extremes that He experienced of the human condition that some of us will never know, as well. Also, DA, I too believe in a kind of "karma" type balance....like a friend of mine says, "God don't like ugly!", and in her well-meaning way she means that what comes around goes around. And if you think about the early Jewish laws that Twinkle mentioned, the way that the Hebrew laws for forgiveness were set up, there was a sort of one-for-one atonement aspect to it. So who knows, perhaps there is a universal balance where when "negative" or bad things are done, an imbalance is created and a certain kind of atonement must be enacted to put right that universal balance. Which is what Christians believe Jesus came to do, for "once", and for "all"(mankind). But...now I'm mixing religion with physics, which is one of my favorite things to do but I don't have the intelligence to go there to back it up!! :-D

I'm not Catholic, but Mother Teresa is one of my all time favorite role models, because she came from a somewhat priveledged background I think, and was not afraid to leave all that and go down into the gutter to the most unsavory depths where humans can exist, to extend the hand of love and care that she believed that Jesus taught us to do. The one thing about Eko (Twinkle what you said made me think of this) is that although he made great attempts to reach his heart out to having faith like Yemi, he seemed to think (if I'm reading TPTB correctly here) that works and working restitution would be enough. Since he was "young" in his faith having just turned around to it right before the crash, he didn't know that he did not have to "work" for redemption, although outward and inward "conversion" is manifested in good works, to be sure. I get the feeling that as a child, Eko did not have faith yet (considering how it was that he did not understand the Catholic confession thing), so it seems as if Eko did not get the time to understand the faith aspect of the faith-and-works combination......but his heart seemed to be in the right place and on the right track. The LA Times article that is posted on the TLC blog today eludes to Eko's peace in the acceptance of his death, which is very interesting. I haven't read it yet, but Maven posted an excerpt.

Happy Firday all!

11/03/2006 9:53 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

One bad thing about long posts......by the time you're finished, there are more posts to read!!! :-D

Just one thing that I would like to express about the Bible and reincarnation and other sects or factions of Christianity. In the Bible it says “For it is appointed for man once to die and then the judgment.” Hebrews9:27. The first Hebrew/Christians (i.e. the Apostles who directly knew Jesus and their immediate fellow believers and congregations) believed in what Jesus taught and lived specifically, and that He was resurected after death. In the following couple/few centuries, other groups, keeping their non-Hebrew, pre-Christian, or maybe pagan roots, mixed these beliefs with the beliefs of the original Jewish Christians. As these groups grew larger and in conflict with the faith of the original Apostles who knew Jesus, a decision needed to be made as to what exactly the teachings of Jesus were, what His life was, and what it meant (as there were so many groups calling themselves followers of Christ). For example, the now well-known Gnostics' belief did not even follow the original Apostles' belief/witness that Jesus was God and Man, so inconsistancies needed to be pared away. The Council of Nicea, as we know, was then convened, and the additional beliefs that were formed in the centuries after Jesus died and that did not come directly from the writings and teachings of the Apostles who knew and lived with Jesus, were left aside and the Nicene Creed of belief was put into writing defining the Bible as we know it as the "Sola Scriptura" for Followers of Christ/Christians. The other sects of belief that came from people who did not have any direct contact with Jesus, continued to exist, but their beliefs cannot be included in what is canon to the Nicene council's results, which is what Christians should still follow today.

P.S. I've always thought that reincarnation was the easy way out, as one would always have another chance to get it right and not have to worry about one's actions in this life so much. With one life and one death and one judgement, one *should be* more inclined to get it right the first time. :-) P.S.S. no offense to Catholics, but using "one-judgement" as a lever to get people to believe seems only be beneficial to "The Church" in the dark ages before the Reformation, when money for pardons was the way to redemption, etc.

Yes, the Vikings, good reading! :-)

11/03/2006 10:30 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

BTW Admins, is there a way to correct typos on a post without deleting the entire thing, and reposting with a corrected copy/paste? I SO hate doofy typos, but there's no point in reposting all over again just to change one word. :-| Thanks

11/03/2006 12:33 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Capcom


Yes, I agree that reincarnation can seem an easy way out, a sort of don't worry if you screw up you can keep on trying, but hey what's wrong with that, although it could be argued that for some the constant repition of miserable life after miserable life could be pretty dire. I must say that I don't this that things are meant to be easy or hard, it's just the way they are, and it could equally argued that the Christian way is pretty easy, repent and your saved. OK I know that is not reality but it could appear that way. Of course if you add Karmra into the equation reincarnation os not so easy becasue you are not sarting with a clean slate but in each life you are compensating for what you have done for those before. It's a bit like a mortgage where for the first 15 years you are mainly just paying interest and it is only nearer the end of the mortgage that you are making really meaningful payments (OK pretty lame analogy I know)

The whole issue of of Jesus is interesting and he certainly did experience the whole range of human experience, however what I was meaning was not just experincing an example of pain, joy etc but literally every single second of every single experience ever had in all of exisance by all life forms on all possible worlds. For me as a non-Christian Jesus, I 'm still not sure where I stand on Jesus. OK so we know that he was a historical figure but was he just a very wise but illusioned man, or someone who was wise but diefied after his death, was he as the Jews and Muslims believe a prophet or was he as the Christian's believe the literal son of God. Ok in one way yes he was the son of God beacuase God=The Universe ie everyhting in existance so in that sence he was both God and the Son of GOd but then under that argument so are we all (well daughter in some cases!.) I have also had a problem with the concept that Jesus dies to forgive all our sins, I understnad the sentiment, but to me it seems wrong, It's almost as though i feel nice try but we still have to take Karmic responsibilities for our actions and also (apologies if this sounds blasphemous) the proviso that redemption is dependent on belief in Jesus always seemed a bit like blackmail to me. Ok I know that according to the Catholic Church righteous Pagans (ie those people that died before Christ, like Plato) and unbaptised babies get to go to Limbo but that still seems pretty cruel. OK I know the Pope has jut decreed that unbaptised babies now get a free ticket to heaven (can he do that?). Actually when I heard that I had an image of St. Peter opening a massive sets of gates and millions of babies all crawling into Heaven!

Now for me the Universe is such un unimaginably BIG place that, just as we have seperate hands that can do different things, so GOD is made up of many Gods, not necessarily entirely independent but neverthless seperately operating entities that can exist for a second or an aon. Gods that take every shape and place, Gods that fulfill certain roles, not only here on Earth but in the millions of other worlds out there, so was Jesus one of these Gods? an extension of GOD? or was he an extension of an extension of GOD? or was he just a man? To be honest I don't know but to a degree I don't care. For me GOD is manifest in the many forms as both God and Goddess, male and female, anima and animus. I could never figure out how the Christian God was portrayed as male, surely God has to be male and female and I beleieve that the correct translation of Allah in the Koran is both male and female. I'm not Christian because I don't believe in God (clearly I do) and I am not Christian becasue I necessarily don't believe in the divinity of Jesus, lets say I'm keeping my options open on that one, it is more that my beliefs and experiences have led my in a different direction, that I do not agree with all that Christianity teaches and I have never experienced 'Jesus' but I have experienced the God and Goddess in my life, felt their guidning hands in time of need. Funily enough as a child my greatest influence was the Chronicles of Narnia, which I read at least 20 to 30 times and CS Lewis remains a favorite author of mine. As a child Jesus meant little to me but Aslan did. When I was about nine I ran away from boarding school and as I walked through the night I came to realise that I was alone, that a great Lion was walking beside me, barely perceptable but VERY real. That night I was not alone, now you might say it was Jesus, to me I came to believe it was a manifestation of God the male aspect of the Goddess who had watched over me since my very earliest memories, perhaps they are one and the same and 'the Devine' for want of a better word will apear in whatever form brings the greatest compfort; Buddha, Shiva, Jesus etc etc.

There used to be a story in the British Comic 2000AD called Cannon Fodder, about a priest, set after Judgement day. There was an amazing picture done by Chris Weston where the main character meets God and sees an everchanging face the virgin Mary, becomming the multiarmed hindu Goddess Durga with three faces, those of Greta Garbo, The Egyptian Goddess Nut and I thing Durga herself and then in the next image she had changed again, and then again which seems to fit perfectly with this.

On the Subject of Dan Brown I mus admit I'venever read any of his stuff, The Davinci Code seemed so badly researched I couldn't be bothered and I know that some of the things that take place in the UK give the impression that Dan Brown doesn't even know where the UK is let alone it's geography or what it's like (although he is certainly not the worst offender for very bad research).

Oh and Capcom you say But...now I'm mixing religion with physics, which is one of my favorite things to do but I don't have the intelligence to go there to back it up!! :-D

I disagree you give the impression at least of being highly intelligent andI love your comments here, In fact I was thinking driving home today what a shame it is that we are all spread over such a wide area as it would be great to sit down over a cup of tea (well OK Coffee for you guys) and discuss this stuff face to face.

Anyway It's almost midnight here!

11/03/2006 3:52 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

DA said: it could equally argued that the Christian way is pretty easy, repent and your saved. OK I know that is not reality

No, that's pretty much it. Of course some amazing things follow but that's how it starts. And while there is a cost to following Christ - God will transform your heart and change your values, your friends may think you're crazy - there's no catch.

Thanks sooo much for answering my questions, DA. I've got more if you don't mind, but I need to process. I wish I had squeezed in a course on philosophy. There's just something about the Karma philosophy that I can't quite wrap my brain around yet. I need to reread everything posted again, but I think my basic question relates to how the universe knows what to pay you back. When you do something, how does it get translated so that you get the same back? The answer to injustice is solved if payback is meted out over many lifetimes, right? What about natural disasters? I know Karma believers wouldn't say that everyone who got trounced by Katrina deserved it, but it seems like the Karma philosophy could lead to that conclusion? how are those things explained? Sorry I'm so obtuse. These ideas are unfamiliar to me.

11/03/2006 4:51 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

You know Dark Angel, the only thing wrong with your posts is that we can only read them, and we can't hear you say them in your great UK accent, as in the podcasts! Well I know that to you, you don't have an accent, but to us you do and it sounds great on podcast "radio"! And it would be great if we could indeed all get together to converse! What, no English or Irish beer? I take tea instead of coffee on about a 50/50 ratio. :-)

Your postings and thoughts are so very thought-provoking. And I have to say that your Dan Brown assessment is hilarious. That's how I felt about his "historical evidence" as well, and I've often wondered about how people in the UK felt about his butchering of the European historical points, etc. Unfortuanely, he is laughing all the way to the bank, as the saying goes. I took a class on the errors in the book, and I didn't even buy the book, I did not want to give that silly guy one more penny. :-(

Your Aslan experience is fascinating! Wow. I grew up with C.S.Lewis as well, and it made me want to see England as a child. I understand how you would not really agree with Jesus having to die in our place for our responsibilities, but think about why Aslan did it in the book. Also, *if* the act of our sins (let's say that there are a such thing as sins) separates us from God, who is perfect and all-good, something or someone (who is perfect as well) would have to atone, or cover, or erase that un-Godlikeness and rebuild the bridge that was removed by our "sinfulness" (just like the spotless lamb in Hebrew atonement). In this way, like Aslan, Jesus did what we could never do for ourselves and paid for it in our place. But of course this does not let us off the hook for our own responsibilities as you say, although some people who think that they are Christians do seem to live their lives like that.

Sorry that I misunderstood what you meant about God experiencing what humans experience, thanks for clearing that up for me. Also, what a sight that would be, all those babies in heaven! :-) How precious. And I don't know if the Pope can do that either, as a non-Catholic, that kind of thing always sounded strange to me.

I agree Twinkle, I am also interested in hearing about the specific tennets of a belief in reincarnation. It certaihnly is a compelling concept, and many people believe in it. I have had many friends who believe in it, and their beliefs also ranged in the areas similar to yours DA, some also being practicing white or good witches...the whole Wiccan thing I suppose, although they did not call themselves that.

Well Admin, I hope that you don't mind that we have veered off your original topic for this ep a little bit! Everything that people are saying is so interesting, it is impossible not to respond and bounce things back, then before you know it you're off topic again! :-) And thanks very much for the kind words DA. I love science soooooooo much (did someone say string theory????), :-) but God did not choose to give me the kind of brain that is very active on the left side. So I turned out to be an artist instead, no worries. :-) I guess only one Leonardo per planet is allowed!

OK, I just came in to turn off the PC for the night and decided to check here first. G'night all and have a great weekend!

11/03/2006 5:58 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Wow, I love these posts, I must admit Twinkle I haven't got my headentirely around the Karma thing but I think it is not so much the Universe paying you back but more the natural consequences of your actions and the way it shapes your soul. I certainly don't fall into the camp that thinks the guys that suffered Katrina or are dying in Darfur deserved it, it's almost the flip of that, that becauae of those experiences they will develop and learn their soul may mature and the will be able to avoid future mistakes, now I know you can't avoid something like Katrina but there are different ways to eal with it, ie there were those that looted and killed while others sacrificed everything to help those around them. On the flip side those that leave a life of greed or crime have learnt very little and the consequence and experience of their actions may lead them into worse situation. That's pretty muddly but I hope that makes sense. I also think there is an element of the macro reflecting the micro (as above so below), so that tiny effects can have massive effects, ripples that flow outwards and then bounce back, an obvious example of this would be the religious zealout who gets nailed to a cross in Palastine 2000 years ago, just another one of many political and religious opponants of Rome, but look how the ripples spread and what the consequences were!. I guess it is also tru in quantum physics and chaos theory (the butterfly effect). I also think some things just happen, natural disasters happen and people are inevitably caught up, in terms of a single lifetime it's horrific but it's all experience and maybe it'snot so bad whenmeasured of a thousand lifetimes?

Capcom glad you like the accent, I have as you say always thought myself pretty accentless as I have moved around so much but I do have a bit of a kent accent and I still have a looong Dorset A from my child hood. I must admit I fell in love with the Louisianna and Texas accent when I was down South, I still smile when I hear people say Y'All!

I like your point's about Aslan and Jesus and of course the similarities are very clear although Lewis was very clear Aslan was not an anology for Christ but what Christ might have been in another world. I suppose the difference between Aslan and Christ is that Aslan made a sacrifice to stop a specific event where Christ sacrificed himself to save all amnkind. I've also always wondered, in the case of Aslan how much of a sacrifice he made if he was truely immortal, I always felt the greatest sacrifice is that of an athiest (in other words someone who believes death is final, that there is nothing more) who lays down his life for another.

Oh and Capcom that phrase White Witch, always makes me cringe, it always sums up the image of some nutty airy fiary media hungry hippy! Historically (and my wife is the expert on this being a historian), the concept of a Wite Witch was used to describe someone who used their 'power' to do good and was seen as a far greater sin as it was considered that they were using Satans power to try and do Gods work, or course what it meant in reality was that some poor healer or midwife was dragged off and hanged. But certainly no 'real' Witch (in the UK anyway) would ever use the term White Witch, It is seen as a craft and as such cannot be inherintly good or bad but can be used far any purpose, just as a knife can be used to kill, or heal in the hands of a skilled surgeon (except maybe Jack!). The whole wiccan / witch thing is all a bit confusing because there are many who say that whilst Wicca is a religion, the craft is not and there are believe it or not those who claim to be Christian Witches. Saying that certainly in the UK, even until relitivly recently it was quite common for people to celebrate both pagan and Christian festivals and the local priest would also lead the pagan festivities.

Oh and Capcom String Theory, wow I have got some great ideas on string theory, quantum meachanics, time space and religion, I can sort of just about put them together in my head but I don't thing I could put them down in writing inany coherent form. I actually think with physics its easier not to think in words!

Anyway I signed off TLC about 30 minutes ago and meant to just peak in here (stupid mistake, there is no short peak with this blog!)

Catch you all round soon

DA

11/04/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger Administrator said...

You guys are awesome! I watched the comments build all week and sped read as much as I could. This afternoon was my first chance to sit down and read through all of them. I'm jealous of the relationships that are building here and wish I could spend more time contributing, responding, etc.

codysmom, lovepirate77, pedalindad, & kvonhard,
Thanks for addressing the topics presented in the post related to the Eko episode! Your thoughts made me feel like I wasn't crazy for wrestling with the episode the way I did. I just couldn't get a good handle on what the story was trying to communicate about redemption. I guess we'll never really know what happened behind the scenes with his character development and "resolution". I liked the finishing picture of Eko as a child with his brother but was still dissatisfied with the way they wrapped things up.

Twinkle & Capcom,
I totally don't mind if things get off topic...I'm so grateful for you guys (and others on this blog) for being Christians but not being the kind of Christians that give Christians a bad name. I feel like my convictions are very similiar to yours but I am also curious in the same way you are about learning about other people and beliefs. Thanks for your insights and your questions...I enjoyed reading it all.

Dark Angel,
I'm due a European vacation sometime soon as I've never crossed the pond and my wife and I are considering attempting to start a family in the next few years. I'd want to travel before I have kids. If I make it to the UK, I'd love to meet for coffee (you can have tea if you want). Thank you for answering all of those questions about your belief system. It is obvious that you have given much thought to and care very much about humankind, our condition, and our fate. Thanks for having the courage to enter into this forum as a "minority". I respect you greatly for that and want you to know that our conversations really wouldn't be the same without you.

11/04/2006 1:08 PM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Dark Angel,

Looks like we hit the blog at about the same time. Sorry I missed you...

You said,

"Lewis was very clear Aslan was not an anology for Christ but what Christ might have been in another world..."

I would add that the inverse analogy (is there such a thing?) is also true. Christ is what Aslan would be like if he was in our world. I find it fascinating that you loved the Aslan character but not Christ. Where exactly does the analogy break down for you? Did Jesus come across as weak to you? Was his death to save all mankind too ambitious or unrealistic? It's obvious you've thought about Jesus, I'm just wondering what turned you away?

You said,

"When I was about nine I ran away from boarding school and as I walked through the night I came to realise that I was alone, that a great Lion was walking beside me, barely perceptable but VERY real. That night I was not alone, now you might say it was Jesus..."

Yes. I would say that. I know the feeling and it is good.

From The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, "...each one of the children felt something jump in its inside. Edmund felt a sensation of mysterious horror. Peter felt suddenly brave and adventurous. Susan felt as if some delicious smell or some delightful strain of music had just floated by her. And Lucy got the feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and realize that it is the beginning of the holidays or the beginning of summer."

You said,

"For me as a non-Christian, I 'm still not sure where I stand on Jesus. OK so we know that he was a historical figure but was he just a very wise but illusioned man, or someone who was wise but diefied after his death, was he as the Jews and Muslims believe a prophet or was he as the Christian's believe the literal son of God."

I was wondering where you stood on Jesus...glad you haven't made a final judgement call on him. What do you think of C.S. Lewis's thoughts from Mere Christianity speaking to the idea that Jesus spoke of himself on multiple occasions as God incarnate? The thought that he was either a liar, a lunatic, or the lord...

"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Okay. I didn't expect to write a secondary post, but there you go. I'm off to a "Ranch Party"...very Texas. :)

11/04/2006 1:37 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Hey Admin, don't feel bad about about not being able to post (although I know how much fun it is), even though you can't be here we know that you're going through some things. And we know that you are lurking when you can and you are in our thoughts (and prayers) as we converse. After all, without you creating this blog, we wouldn't be able to chat at all! :-) It is good to hear from you though!

Thanks for the quote from "Mere Christianity", it reminded me that the book is in my stack of retirement reading to get to (one of about 200!). I should get to that one sooner than later to refresh my faith.

DA, I know, I cringed when I typed "white witch", it's silly. And these people were not amateurs, so to describe them like that was not the right word for them and what they practiced. "White witch" sounds all Stevie-Nix-ish. :-D *(Apologies if she is lurking here)*

Hi Twinkle, Kvonhard, et al! G'night!

11/04/2006 5:28 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

BTW, DA, nice new avatar! It looks very heavenly! :-)

11/04/2006 5:47 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Hey, ya'll! I drank a lot of tea yesterday but I still haven't watched the Eko episode. I'm pulling my hair out trying to set up a family photo gallery blog. With Eko gone, how do you think TPTB are going to further the exploration of faith on Lost?

DA: Thanks for answering my questions. I'm going to sit and think on it.

11/04/2006 8:30 PM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Maybe we need a Talk Like a Texan Day? Ya' He-ar!

11/04/2006 8:31 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

'Morning All. Good Q Twinkle, but I bet in the face of all the horribleness that is to come on the island, there might be plenty of chances to entertain thoughts of faith. E.g., Ben's Q for Jack in this ep.

BTW, I would like it if TPTB made Jack question Ben's coldheartedness when it comes to other people.....Ben certainly is concerned about his own health, as we saw this week, but still could torture someone else in a heartbeat. Weird. I mean, not unusual as we have seen throughout human history, but weird if no Lostaways ever put that Q to Ben about his hypocritical treatment of humans. Perhaps in the vein of "what comes around goes around", if Ben has orchestrated the torture of people for many years on the island, perhaps that is why he got a tumor, if that's the way that TPTB might go with it. Just curious.

11/05/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Guys,

David Yeah that would be really great to meet up, especially if your heading to London as that’s only an hours train ride from me. I’m really please that you all like my contributions here, I’ve certainly learned to have an open mind, and that there are always new things to learn. Certainly there are lots of questions with my own beliefs, for example is there any link between our ancestors and the previous incarnations of our soul, i.e. do our decedents ‘inherit’ our souls, if so does every death have to wait for a new family member to be conceived, or at the point of death does the soul just pop across to the next baby to be conceived, or does there have to be some compatibility, it’s the sort of questions I wonder about in the shower!

I think that if and when God/Gods speaks to us it is often in the form that we will accept, to one person God might just be a pricking in their conscience, in another the sprit of a wise ancestor, or the memory of your grandmother, or as the Lord Shiva, or a Saint. In other words whatever is appropriate for the individual (a burning bush anyone!). I’m at work so I am able to quote direct from Lewis but in “The Last Battle” Aslan speaks to a young Calorman soldier (Rashid?) who is worried that he has followed the god Tash all his life and not Aslan. Aslan goes on to tell him that every good act is always done in the name of Aslan and that every bad act is actually done in the name of Tash, in other words the actual names are pretty irrelevant, it’s the actions that count.

I think for me as a young boy, Aslan just seemed so much more real than Jesus and that Narnia seemed so real I was sure that it was (OK I still secretly hope it is ! ). I think to me Aslan seemed, to be more natural, part of the natural order, although bearing in mind my age I don’t think I thought about it too much, it just felt right.

I’ve always found Lewis’s comments from Mere Christianity slightly strange, and I am sure that Lewis’s would have not have liked me, as he seemed to be an, all or nothing sort of person, that you couldn’t pick and choose what parts of Christianity that you accept. I would argue however that I think you can agree with some of what someone says without agreeing it all, or who they are. I also think that people have been placing their own interpretations of the words of Christ (and Mohammed for that matter) for two thousand years. I think that reading a passage from the bible which has been translated from Aramaic, to Greek, to Latin, to Middle English, to Modern English and then perhaps to another Language is not the same as hearing Jesus speak. To give a classic example of this, the line “Thou shall not suffer a witch to live”. A line which has been used to persecute thousands, now the word witch is derived from a Saxon word meaning to bend, it is not a Middle Eastern word, the literal translation is “Thou shall not suffer a poisoner to live”. If you think of the context of people living in an extremely arid environment a person who poisoned the water supply (potentially the only water source) meant that everyone was doomed to die of thirst.
I must say however I love his explorations of innocence and evil in “Perlandra” and that really inspired me as a teenager.


OK so why did I turn away from Christianity, mmmn big question and I’ll try to answer it here and give you some insight intomy journey. I apologise if this ends up being a long post and also if it seems a bit disjointed (I’m typing this at work so I’ll write it bit by bit).

I was baptised (Church of England) but my parents are not really religious; my Mother tends to go to Church at Christmas but primarily for the Christmas carols! Whilst at boarding School I would attend church every weekend, so I could be considered a regular, although latterly reluctant churchgoer!. As a child I was very into ‘nature’ and loved being outside and whilst I could not see the divine in a dusty old church I could in the world around me. I have also felt the presence of the Goddess (if you like female aspect of God) from my earliest memories, she would often appear in my dreams, I knew her but not whom she was. By the time I was 13 I had decided to reject Christianity, partially because it didn’t seem to make sense, partially because it didn’t fit with what I felt and partially because I was a teenager and teenagers tend to rebel ( I asked our school chaplin if I could be ex-communicated but he assured me that that really wasn’t necessary!). At first I declared myself an atheist, but I think I was trying to make a point and atheism made no sense whatsoever, If was an atheist why I find myself saying for example “please don’t let it rain today”, who was I speaking to? I slowly started to pull together my experiences, my love of nature, my love of mythology, what I had read and what I felt in my heart and started to come to some kind of belief system. I saw the divine in nature and the more I found out about the old pre-Christian beliefs the more they made sense to me.

It wasn’t until I went to University that I discovered that others shared my beliefs, that I discovered Paganism and found a name for what I was and other who I could share my experience, others who had shared experiences, similar outlooks, people who I could learn from. For me it is not purely an outright matter of rejecting Christianity it is more a matter of finding out who I was, discovering a faith which is me 110%, which feels completely instinctively right. When I first told my parents about my beliefs they said right away oh yes, that’s you even as a very little boy. For me I have felt no spiritual connection to Jesus, but when I walk through the woods at night I feel Herne around me, I see the Goddess in the dawn light. When I visited Egypt I went to the temple of Hatshepsut, and visited the shrine to Anubis (the Jackal headed God, who carried the souls of the dead to the after world). I found myself on my knees; tears flooding down my cheeks, overcome with an unbelievable wave of religious emotion, the only stronger emotions I have ever felt was when my sons were born.

For me to a greater degree it is what makes sense with my beliefs rather than what is wrong with others, there is also a degree of a disconnection with the church as opposed to Christianity, whilst this is a massive generalisation there is often a massive discrepancy between the teachings of Christ and the actions of the various churches. It is also true that I disagree with a few of the basic tenets of Christianity. I do not sit easily with the idea of Christ dying to absolve all our sins, and further still that the only way to salvation is through Christ. I remember asking (some particularly right wing) Christians whether they saw a problem that according to them, a righteous Muslim doctor who had dedicated his whole life to helping the dispossessed does not get into heaven whilst a murderer who renounces his sins and turns to Christ does, their answer was that the Muslim doctor had the opportunity to turn to Christ, OK says I what about a righteous person born in Australia or South American 1800 years ago, they had no opportunity to hear the teachings of Christ surely they would be allowed in Heaven, oh no, sorry they told me, that’s not just hard luck! These guys clearly had not read CS Lewis, nor had they heard of Limbo but at the time I thought well I don’t want to be associated with the kind of God who care little of your actions just as long as you turn to him in the end, and if you were born too early, well that’s just tough!

To turn it around, for those of you that discovered your faith, did you ever had a point where you met fellow Christians and suddenly said, wow this is what was missing, this fits, this is where I belong, when you were there in church and the service was not just a ritual but an experience where you connected with God, well In a way my journey was the same for me, it was a matter of faith, experience, discovery and spirituality rather than cold logic.

I think that to a degree there are nuggets of truth to be found in all sorts of places and all faiths but the problem with religion is that sometimes wise men and women have to clothe ideas in such a way that the people can understand them; the problem is that then the idea gets lost and only the metaphor remains. The author Terry Pratchet summed this up really well (and I can’t remember which book it was in as I’ve read them all), but Granny Weatherwax (an old and very wise no nonsense type witch) is called on to help some villagers who are ill, she tells them that there are demons in the water making them sick and that they must boil the water to drive the demons out. After they leave the village her young apprentice ask her why she lied, that it was clear that there were bacteria in the water causing the illness and why did she have to make up a silly story. Granny Weatherwax explains that these are simple folk and if she told them that there were tiny creature so small they couldn’t be seen living in the water they wouldn’t believe her, it is outside their frame of experience and they would not boil the water and continue to get ill, but demons they can understand and relate to and if they believe there are demons in the water they will boil it. I think much of religion is like that; we concentrate too much on the metaphor and miss the truth inside.

Wow, that was a bit longer than I thought.

Capcom glad you like the avatar, I always felt the last one was a bit of a rush job and I thought this one fitter the name better, not sure it’s 100% there yet though! My wife asked me why I have always got Sunglasses on in my avatars, I told her it was because I look better with them on, but maybe they’ll come off at some point!

Twinkle I think Locke is still going to be important with the faith theme but I wonder if both Ben and Juliet will also contribute to this. I am hoping that both Ben and Juliet stay long term as they are both fascinating characters, especially Ben, it would be great to find out what drives him, what his motives are etc. A flashback from Ben would be brilliant showing his life pre815 or even pre-Dharma.

Ok time to actually post this monster of a post, I started writing it 4 1/2 hours ago!

11/06/2006 5:54 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Dark Angel,
Really appreciate the time you put in to sharing your story. I'm learning so much from everyone on this blog. I wish Damon, Carlton, & Co would read this board to see how significantly their work is contributing to the development of new frienships and ideas. Wouldn't they enjoy knowing how intimately their show is being discussed?

To be honest, I've been this "absolute truth, one way" kind of guy for so long that your way of thinking, believing, and living is kind of foreign to me. Unfortunately, until the past few years, I haven't had the maturity or courage to engage in meaningful friendships with people who believed much differently from me. I'm grateful to begin to understand how to see things from a totally different perspective.

I'm still a firm believer that absolutes do exist and I have really taken a leap of faith to put my trust in Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life...but I don't want to do that to the exclusion of other people who have other beliefs. I don't want my mind to be closed just because my mind is made up. In your description of your experiences, you referenced several things that I am completely ignorant about. I guess I've got some wikipedia reading to do! :)

More later...busy at work now. *poof*

11/06/2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Love Pirate 77 said...

Hey y'all,
Dark Angel
I just wanted to say thank you for that story of who you are. The kind of connections we're making here are why I joined this group in the first place.

To everyone, once again I want to thank all of you for the sharing going on here, and apologize for not being able to comment as much as I like. Work is very busy, and though I get a chance to read, I don't like making comments unless I have the time to say what I really feel. But I'm still here.
Gyarr...

11/06/2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Guys,

I'm really glad you've got something from my posts, if nothing else even of you totally disagree with my beliefs it may act to strenghten you own. i think it is healthy to question what we believe and often it is only through questioning that we can realy become strong in what we believe. I have to say I am always really impressed with the points you all make, and I am still really impressed when people quote bible verse, I can't even remeber song lyrics!

After listening to the podcast, I am surprised that David (passafist) is not over here, I think some of his points about Eko would fit right in here.

anyway catch up with you all tommorow

DA

11/06/2006 2:32 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

DA! I tried two or three times to get through Perlandra and each time I tried I never made it! Something about it always got me confused (or bored?) at a certain point, and I could not go on. Did I just stop too soon and miss the getting to the good parts? The first book in the series I read a couple times, it was great. It inspired me to create some very strange drawings and paintings at that time!

As for Lewis not liking you DA, who says? Didn't Lewis form his great friendship with the Catholic Tolkien during the period when he (Lewis) was an atheist? He wasn't a Christian then I don't think, but he did not care if Tolkien was. From what little I've read about Lewis and his Inkling friends, they liked whomever they liked irrespective of their personal beliefs, as long as they got good conversation, understanding, and inspiration from each other. They really enjoyed sharing their thoughts on writing and creativity. Kind of like our blog here, right Admin? We are sharing our "profound" thoughts about the creativity and underlying meanings of a TV story, and where ever else it leads. :-) In fact, I think that our blog relationship here is very much like the Inklings!

Admin, I too believe in absolutes now, and although I once was very wishy-washy about my faith, I never want to be again. BUT, having said that, I still love to connect with other people that I have something in common with, regardless of whether their beliefs are different from mine. And now I am going to forever think of these blog conversations as being like those of Lewis, Tolkien, and the Inklings, accept for the fact that we cannot meet in a nice warm cozy English pub by the fireplace and smoke long Hobbit pipes. (Can women smoke pipes in pubs, DA?) Maybe some day we can do that. :-)

BTW DA, I always wished that I could have gone to boarding school. And I first learned about Herne the Hunter when watching that BBC Robin Hood series (the one with first Michael Lerned and then Sean Connery's son) that was aired on our U.S. Showtime channel back in the 80's. I was all Rennaisance-y back then, and I ate that stuff up!

One of the saddest things about the Salem, Mass witch trials is that it's thought that some of the girls/women had merely eaten bread made from moldy rye grass which caused them to hallucinate amd act nutty. :-(

11/06/2006 3:53 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/06/2006 4:51 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

DA I just found that I missed reading one of your paragraphs in your post. I too agree that there is often a very large difference between what Jesus taught and what some churches and people who call themselves Christians do and believe and act. When I was growing up my mother was a very fanatical Christian and did not forgive people (or me) who did certain things, or was prejudice against them for whatever she felt she had the right to (whatever their sin was, was unforgivable to her). Like the Bible says, "Not everyone who cries 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of Heaven". And the Bible also says. "Forgive us as we forgive", each other, meaning if we can't forgive each other how can we ask for forgiveness for ourselves. It's something that is easy to forget, myself very much included. But some folks seem to forget more than others as well.

Also, yes there have been many times in my life, especially after I stopped being wishy-washy, that in hearing a particular sermon, reading a certain part of the Bible, or sharing with another Christian, that some of the veil has been lifted from my eyes and I see my faith and what Jesus is about more clearly. Sometimes I have had an epiphany like that when I am just reading something by Mother Teresa, in the way that she explains how the overflowing love of God should be flowing the same way out of ourselves, to others. That's something else that we Christians sometimes forget.........to love one another (Christian or not) equally as much as Jesus loves us.

The Granny story is good too. There is nothing wrong with witnessing or teaching to a person on their level of understanding, and some can understand more deeply than others. But I have never yet seen a faith and love of Jesus more open and true than the faith of a certain person who was mentally disabled, and my faith was pitiful compared to that person's innocent faith that had not been tainted by "intellect".

Sorry to hog-the-blog tonight! :-)

11/06/2006 5:08 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Dark Angel - Interestingly enough, I'm wondering if you've ever read the American Trascendentalist writers. They were a group of writers/philosophers/poets from the mid 1800's. They were all raised Protestant (I think Calvinist). So, they had a strong Protestant heritage (I live in New England, they were all from New England) and they were trying to reconcile certain beliefs between religion and what they felt about the world around them and the new sciences coming out. Walt Whitman was a major one. But, "listening" to you, I think you'd like one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems:


SOME keep the Sabbath going to church;
I keep it staying at home,
With a bobolink for a chorister,
And an orchard for a dome.

Some keep the Sabbath in surplice; 5
I just wear my wings,
And instead of tolling the bell for church,
Our little sexton sings.

God preaches,—a noted clergyman,—
And the sermon is never long; 10
So instead of getting to heaven at last,
I ’m going all along!

(As a huge fan of Dickinson who had a profound impact on me, everything you've said reminds me of this. This particular poem was written in response to the tent revivals in New England in the, er, early(?) 1850's. As a total aside, Dickinson was also a breakout poet in that she was one of the first poets to break convention and leave behind rhyming conventions. She's. Just. Amazing.)

The major belief of the Transcendalists was that there was a spark of the Divinity in all of us and in all of nature and they resolved their Protestant beliefs, to the best of my understanding, by viewing their actions as a reflection of this divinity. Sort of a Christian paganism, based on my limited understanding of Paganism. I'd also refer you to Whitman's Song of Myself from Leaves of Grass.

Capcom: As the resident Catholic, here's the answer to what the Pope can/cannot do. Long story short, my basic understanding without being a Catholic theologian: The Pope is God's Voice on Earth. He is considered the vessel of God. In other words, he merely speaks what God tells him. He's like a living document of God's will, if you will. The tenet of the conclave is that God speaks to the Cardinals and that's how they choose. The reality is probably some of the politics that you've read about. The religious theory is that the Cardinals all get together in one room. They hear God. God chooses his vessel. It makes no logical sense. I get that. I'm just sayin' ...

As re Dan Brown: Don't even get me started. I finally broke down and read The DaVinci Code b/c my husband rented the video game and I got sucked into the story. A far better researched book with a more intricate discussion of whether Christ was really God incarnate or just a nutter - The Magic Circle by Katharine Neville (ironically, currently reading it and just fits in with the ongoing conversation). I'd like to point out, written 5 yrs before the DaVinci Code. Bah on Brown. His main allure to people is making something complicated and intricate accessible to the mass public. Good beach read for the intrigue, but if you're smart, you'll hate it.

Ahem. Done with my castigation and monologue.

Incidentally, as the resident "nutty Catholic" (b/c I think some of the doctrines are weird), I'd like to note that although I'm not a regular Church goer (I think it was DA's mom who goes to chruch at Christmas mainly for the carols...count me in that club). Here's my issue with a lot of established religions, particularly Catholicism. Why should I feel guilty just for existing? I hate Easter in the Catholic Church b/c we all have to stand there and recite the responses "Crucify him! Crucify him!" As I do not believe that I was born in 32AD (or whichever exact year it was...), I do not like having to feel guilty for the actions of others. Who is to say that I would have given into the mob mentality? Why do I have to feel as though I am inherently guilty/bad/dirty simply for being born? That does not seem to be the way of the benevolent God of the New Testament. The fiery brimstone God of the Old Testament, he might go for that. But, the kindler gentler Father of the Christian New Testament would seem to want us to fulfill our potential in a positive way instead of out of a fear of retribution. I think that's where I come from when I think of Ecko. (See? There is a purpose to this.) I think that Ecko believes in the kindler, gentler God. I think that he believes he followed God's plan for him. If that plan was to be an ends-justify-the-means kinda fellow, then he's comfortable with that. I don't think he was afraid of death b/c he had finally reconciled to himself that the guilt was a man-made guilt arising out of his Catholic upbringing. (Not his fault the mob crucified Christ, why should he apologize for it? Not entirely his fault his path was the one laid out for him. It was God's will, why apologize for God's will?)

Brief aside of my background. My current church is one that is a non-Diosceian church run by a bunch of Franciscan monks. They live under a vow of poverty. They live almost within the ghetto (about 2 blocks from the "danger zone" of drugs and violence). They promote gay and lesbian individuals who want to be in the Church. They run many programs for the poor in the area. My feeling is - I can handle being told how to be socially just by people who live that life everyday. I do not mind that. In others words, they're like the non-Catholic doctrine Catholics.

Anyway, Holy Off Topic Batman! My bad. Just getting in the groove and the conversation since there was a lot brought up that I really liked and wanted to respond to.

(BTW- Since Catholics believe that the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Christ through transubstantiation...are we a cannibal religion?!) ;-) Told ya we're wacky.

11/06/2006 5:42 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

FYI - as a description of Transcendentalism that isn't too esoteric and is far more understanding of it than Wikipedia.

http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/amtrans.htm

And, yes, someday I'll figure out how to do more than cut and paste a link. But today is neither the time nor place for such in depth education. :-)

11/06/2006 6:10 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Kvonhard, you are not the first to go off-topic!! :-D

I hear what you say about the Cardinals picking the Pope, but they sure did a good job when they picked a humble man named Karol Wojtyla! I really liked him after learning about his life story, and the TV movie that was done for the Hallmark channel right after he died was superb. Still, non-Catholics aren't affected by what the Pope says. :-p (you can't make me do it!) :-)

Emily Dickinson certainly had a gift for words. Even just using her as an example, can you believe what Tony Bennet just publicly said about how no good art ever came from America?? Just the poets and essayists alone would put that to rest. And what about Tennessee Williams, Fitzgerald, or Hemmingway?! And what about the Wyeths, for painting? He must be just getting too old to think clearly!

Hooboy, way off topic now. Well, I hope that Mr. Admin won't mind too much, we've just about exhausted discussing the last Lost ep on both blogs at this point of the week after the ep. :-)

11/06/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

P.S. Thanks K for the info on Transcendentalism, now I have a new thing to learn about! I just love those early artistic groups and communities of thought!

11/06/2006 6:32 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

LOL Capcom. Don't forget my other all time faves - the Beats. Performance art meets poetry. Or, as my husband and I discussed earlier, Billy Joel, Simon & Garfunkel, and even some rap as poetry set to music or a "beat" (as in slam poetry).

Ok, done with off topicness now. :-) Nite all!

11/06/2006 7:06 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi All,

Capcom Sorry you couldn’t get through Perlandra but I admit it is not the easiest of reads, I think when I first read it struck a resonance with me. My reasons for me thinking that Lewis would not have liked me is purely that he had very strong feeling that you either followed Christ whole heartedly or not at all and the worst thing was to accept the wisdom without the divinity. I like your comparison of this blog with the Inklings. Interestingly if you compare a map of Narnia and Middle Earth, they are almost identical, names and all, and whilst they were both illustrated by Pauline Baynes I do wonder who plagiarised who. Oh and "can Women smoke pipes in pubs", well the only woman I every saw smoking a pipe was a German tourist, however when the smoking ban comes next summer no one will be able to smoke in a pub (or any other public or work place for that matter).

Capcom I am glad you enjoyed Robin of Sherwood (actually an ITV series made by Goldcrest Films). The BBC have just launched a dreadful Robin Hood Series which I think you can get on BBC America, think Xena in Sherwood. I must say Robin of Sherwood was a great inspiration for me, most of the mythology was made up by writer Richard Carpenter, although Herne 9originally the Gaulish deity Cernunnos) is a genuine British God. I actually have the whole series on DVD. The other thing that inspired my was the comic series Slaine, based on Celtic mythology, which originally published in 2000AD and written by veteran writer Pat Mills, the research into mythology was painstakingly done and the stories and artwork utterly compelling.

Interesting that you always wanted to go to Boarding School, in some ways it was not as far removed from Harry Potter as you might think. I certainly had more freedom than I did at home but it something you either fit into or you don’t. In a way it’s a bit like the military in that you are living with the same people 24/7. You really have to get on with people as there is no escape!

Oh and don’t be sorry to hog the blog, look had how much I write, everything all you guys write is so interesting it’s great to have real in-depth discussions.

Kvonhard I must admit that I haven’t read any American Transcendentalists but it seems interesting stuff. I certainly like that poem from Emily Dickinson (who I have heard of). It sounds like your brand of Catholicism is a bit like my wife’s, she goes along with the core values but ignore all the ‘nutty’ and purely political stuff. I certainly agree that no one should feel guilty for just existing, life is great :)
I like your point about the monks; I agree wisdom from the mouths of the guys who are in the thick of it is certainly far more compelling than the dictates of those who isolate themselves in their ivory towers.

Oh and I love the mix of poetry and music, when I was going through one of my ‘weird teenage’ stages I used to read Tennyson and Coleridge while listening to Iron Maiden, which used to work really well.

Well happy voting, only a day to go until the finale. Hey, guess how off topic we can get in the 13 week hiatus!

11/07/2006 2:19 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Finally caught up! Wow! You all have had amazing conversations! OT: My new FireFox has spell check!!

For the hiatus, we could suggest topics to Admin by e-mail (quasi-Lost related or not)? Maybe we could share some of our favorite authors like what you all did above but as whole posts? Of course, Admin gets editing and veto rights based on the number of submissions and the topic, so we have to agree not to feel bad if our idea doesn't get posted, ok? What does everyone think? Admin? If we all work to come up with a topic or two then we'll have one a week easily through the whole hiatus! (Or is that too organized?)

DA said: I am still really impressed when people quote bible verse, I can't even remember song lyrics!

Ha! My secret is Bible Gateway. They have multiple translations in all languages, commentaries, etc.... I'd be lost without it. Also, I too appreciate all the effort you've put into sharing. And everybody else too. I hope others have the courage to do the same even if it seems like their beliefs aren't in the majority.

Also Bible scholarship is really important to some. I have not learned Greek or Hebrew yet, but I like to know how my Bible is translated and like to find out the origin behind the original words in the context of the original language and culture. I agree that if the Word of God is to be considered Holy then it should not be second or third hand and issues with the translation should be explained. I also agree that the Divine, in order to be called, Divine should not be fully explainable by humans, and that we must separate out what is the construct of human religion from what the Divine has actually revealed about itself (which of course is also limited by human understanding). Many people who have been burned by the church, including myself, have at one point confused one with the other.

Basically (big surprise), whether you call yourself Pagan, Muslim, Buddhist, Christian, etc... the call is to grow in understanding (and/or love for) the Divine while grappling with yourself and others who don't always live up to what we believe in.

While religions have similarities and variations on the same themes, there seem to be a few big questions which divide beliefs about God. For instance, is the Divine one with what we see or separate from it? Does the Divine have personality, mind, and will? In other words, can you know the Divine similar to knowing another person or is the Divine the essence of all things? In these questions, how can both sides be equally valid revelations? In my mind they can't. Either I can know God as a complex Person distinct from me or else my faith is based on a lie. I've come to a place where I believe in the Personhood of God so strongly (maybe similar to Admin?) that talking to others about different beliefs in the Divine is interesting instead of acting out of feeling threatened.

11/07/2006 8:22 AM  
Blogger Thrasher76 said...

Hey All! Sorry I have not been around in some time these days. My personal life is super crazy these days. I am moving closer to work next week and in less than 4 weeks I wil lbe in Jamaica getting married!! Not to mention the holidays approaching!!

This episode kind of hit me! I feel much like Eko, I am not sorry for the things (sins) I have done in my life. I played the cards I was dealt to the best of ability. I am not ashamed or remorseful for anything I have done in my life. Maybe it is my belief that organized religion is a sham and has been for centuries. God has never asked anyone to build a building in his name and worship only there! I beleive in god, but I do not see the relevance to sitting in a room while someone reads to me and then I sing a song about it. I have read the bible, I speak to god daily, I have never gotten or do I expect an answer. I just like knowing that there is someone listening. We were all given free will as a gift and we do with it what we will. Our actions will be judged when the time comes. But I feel that if you do what you beleive to be right and just things will work out in the end. It is what it is! I don't think I am better than people that feel the opposite. Everyone can have differnt feelings and thoughts on everything, but that does not mean that people can't come together. I have friends from all walks of life and I am proud of that. But there are those that think there way is the only way. So where am I going with this??? I forget now....Oh!

I feel the same way as Eko, granted I was not a crime lord, but! I do what I do to survive in this crazy world and for that I am not sorry and do not feel that I have sinned. Forgiveness is IMHO an excuse to sin again. Just take a look at the early days of organized crime or even the crusades, killing people in the name of god??? Seeking forgiveness then murdering your rival???

I hope my ramblings make some sort of sense to some of you. I miss being here all day everyday!! =(

Peace & Namaste!

11/07/2006 9:14 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11/07/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

So good to hear from you Thrasher! What a relief for you to move closer to work! And your wedding is here already! May you have safe travel and a beautiful day. May you and your wife know unity and ever increasing intimacy.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree with those who feel that saying there is only one way to know God sounds too narrow and prideful. As I've mused on this topic, I can only think of one scenario where "only one way to God" would be allowable. If God is a Person who speaks, thinks, and acts. And if he has the authority to establish laws like those that govern thermodynamics, gravity, and the behavior of quantum particles, then he would also have the authority to say how we may or may not know him. So then, if the Person who is God says that's the way it is, that's the way it is. And if he says, "This is how you know me," then he should have good reasons for it to be so. That's the only way I can make sense of it.

Then naturally people would interpret whatever that God said was the One True Way and skew it, add to it, puff themselves up with pride because of knowing it, and kill people over it.

(The male pronoun is used above merely for the sake of language. In the above scenario, God should have no gender, encompass all gender-related, holy attributes, and therefore would be beyond gender. Gender would be a construct of creation applying only to created beings. "It" would be an inappropriate pronoun in referring to the God of this scenario because of the connotation of lack of personhood.)

11/07/2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

DA, I will definitely be looking up that "Slaine" story, thanks for the link. Maybe we will get the new Robin Hood series over here in the future. The Robin of Sherwood series was awesome, I agree. I taped them off of the TV when they were on, and have the soundtrack CD. I also got into the group Clannad, from that show. That's great that it is out in DVD. BTW, I tried to read Beowulf in the old english version recently, and I'm having a bit of trouble with that. :-\

As for German women smoking in the pubs, I bet they also had hairy legs and armpits! Just kiddin', and I can, because I'm German. :-D Wait, no smoking in pubs??? That's going to far.

Twinkle, very good points about the "Divine". Good question also about what we will do during the break, but hopefully, maybe, TPTB will GIVE US A LITTLE MORE OF TLE and let us know what dasterdly deeds Twittlewerk is up to these past few weeks!!!!!!!

Thrasher, about getting forgiveness and going to sin again...agreed, we fallible humans do that, but don't forget that Jesus said, "Your sins are forgiven, go, and sin no more." So there are no excuses for doing the same wrong things over and over, at least not according to the Bible.

11/07/2006 11:06 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

Great comments in your second post today Twinkle!!!!!!!!! I agree.

11/07/2006 11:07 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

It's probably no surprise that the above scenario is what I believe is revealed in the Bible, but I thought I'd clarify that. I don't want to come off all weird, arrogant, or pretentious.

11/07/2006 11:08 AM  
Blogger capcom said...

P.S. Dark Angel, after all the doubting, questioning, and struggling that Lewis did about the Christian faith, I guess also for a while even after he first believed, I think that he would have a lot of enduring patience for someone who feels similar things to the way he had felt at one time. :-)

11/07/2006 11:20 AM  
Blogger Administrator said...

Thrasher!!! Good to see you. We've missed you. Hope you're liking your new job and good luck in Jamaica! Thanks for pitching in. This God stuff will really get people talking huh?! :)

11/07/2006 11:33 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

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11/07/2006 11:46 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Capcom: Thanks! This is something I've thought about a lot. My belief has to seem reasonable to me (as it sounds like yours does to you) or else I don't feel like it's worth believing. I've spent a lot of time asking God why and how questions.

Thrasher: I can't wait to hear from you after the wedding. We want know how it goes. And will you be able to post pictures? Just to clarify, *she's* wearing the dress, right? ;-) LOL!

11/07/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Twinkle - Just asking, not intending rudeness but ... if the definition of "faith" is a belief that is not based on proof, why does a belief have to sound reasonable? Almost seems to me that true belief is "blind". In other words, true belief means that you don't have to have rationale for it but that you believe it just because you do.

Eh, maybe I'm just playing devil's advocate and being difficult. :-) I'm known to do that sometimes. I like to question too much.

11/07/2006 2:22 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

DA -

Although I probably own five different versions of Emily DIckinson's works, you can find the complete poems free -

http://bartleby.com/113/

Also, a little Emerson for you (another personal fave although more the essayist than the poet)

http://bartleby.com/5/

And, just because I'm a former lit major and have to pass it on since you didn't seem to have read it, a little Walt Whitman. "Song of Myself" :-)

http://bartleby.com/142/14.html

And that is my crash course in American Transcendentalism. :-D

11/07/2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Kvonhard, I think that what Twinkle meant (correct me if I'm wrong T) by a faith sounding reasonable, was her explaination for how the logic of a Divine omnipotent God would follow, i.e., what she said about the fact that if there is a God, He/She/It might just create the universe, and if God created the universe, God just might have a say in how the universe was run, and if God did that, then X, Y, Z, etc. would/could apply or could be explained as well. She says it in more detail a few posts up. Even with this train of logic or thinking, one would still need a faith of the unseen (because there is still undoubtedly a lot of "unseen" in the universe) to believe in a Divine being or God.

There is actually a lot of logical thinking that goes into (or should go into) believing in the Judeo/Christian faith.....The Old Testament is rife with stories of people who messed up, and how God was still able to give them a purpose in the overall plan for the Children of Israel (great examples for bahavioral inspriation!). And Jesus gave us a lot to work out and think about as well, all in addition to the belief in the unseen which constitutes faith, as you said.

11/07/2006 4:29 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Maybe it's my own bias - I have no problem in believing in a deity/religion. I just find a lot of it to be illogical in general. Therefore, attempting to apply logic to it seems vaguely unnecessary and almost contradictory to me. I guess I sort of blindly believe in a lot of ways, even if I do pick and choose what I believe. I think you can't really call yourself a Catholic unless you just go with the flow without thinking about the logic of it too much. :-) I mean, like I said, we're a little wacky.

11/07/2006 4:41 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

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11/07/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Kvonhard, you might want to join the Reformation and come over to the non-Catholic side. :-) Just kiddin'.

I like Catholicism in general, I watch EWTN and Mother Angelica all the time. And the priests on the station are great as well. I would love to know those people.

11/07/2006 5:28 PM  
Blogger kvonhard said...

Capcom: LOL ... maybe my general problem is that I was raised Catholic, but my dad is Lutheran. So, I used to go to two different services on certain major holidays. Also, my mom worked for the Catholic Church (the end of her tenure still causes bitterness for me in the politics of religion concept). When she worked for the Church, she was very into ecumencialism. So, I was given a lot of exposure to different beliefs b/c we'd go to ecumenical services all the time. In high school, I was part of an independent born-again Christian church (ok, b/c of a boyfriend). Oh yeah, and I was a (female) Catholic altar server for a long time too, so being involved in all of the religious mystique probably helped solidify things for me a little. :-) It's still wacky, but an accessible wackiness to me.

Of course, I'd be eccentric if I had money, meaning, since I don't have money, that I'm just quirky. :-D That means that my beliefs probably describe me perfectly!

11/07/2006 7:55 PM  
Blogger Dark Angel said...

Hi Guys,

Just catching up again Twinkle Your idea for the hiatus sounds good, although I don’t think we will have more TLE, we will have the mobisodes (spell checker hates that one!) I like the idea of sharing our favourite books.

I very much agree that the challenge regardless of faith is to gain greater understanding of both the Devine and the world around us; unfortunately there are too many religious fanatics of all faiths trying to narrow our understanding and stunt our growth.

Thrasher , good to see you back, I understand your comments about church, and I think if it is a one way event any kind of religious service/ceremony can be pretty pointless and dull, but if it is a two way process, a meeting of kindred spirits, a celebration of joy and reaching out and connecting, well that’s a different thing.

I agree that Forgiveness can be an excuse to ‘Sin’ again but not always, if a person is truly repentant/sorry that forgiveness can provide closure, a good example of this would be all the post-apartheid reconciliation that is taking place in South Africa which enables people to move on, to build a new future and avoid the endless cycle of retribution.

Twinkle I like your comments about God being both male and female, which to me seems obvious and I guess from a pagan perspective where there is a very obvious male female duality (except for Dianic Witchcraft which only recognises the feminine aspect of the divine). For many however they see the mainstream monotheistic religious as very patriarchal and male dominated and I think quite often the clichéd Judeo/Christian/Islamic image of God as an Old man with a beard (which itself is a hangover from the classic Greek image of Zeus) is very unhelpful and very alienating.

Capcom With regards to the new Robin Hood from the BBC, It’s really not worth the bother, The Crusades are blatantly used as an analogy for the War in Iraq and it is so modern in its portrayal, although I understand that the ladies like Robin ;).
I must say I am also a fan of Clannad (I have their entire back catalogue). I can understand the difficulties in reading Beowulf in Old English, this is my favourite version:



Grendel's Dog, from Beocat

Brave Beocat, brood-kit of Ecgthmeow,
Hearth-pet of Hrothgar in whose high halls
He mauled without mercy many fat mice,
Night did not find napping nor snack-feasting.
The wary war-cat, whiskered paw-wielder,
Bearer of the burnished neck-belt, gold-braided collar band,
Feller of fleas fatal, too, to ticks,
The work of wonder-smiths, woven with witches' charms,
Sat upon the throne-seat his ears like sword-points
Upraised, sharp-tipped, listening for peril-sounds,
When he heard from the moor-hill howls of the hell-hound,

Gruesome hunger-grunts of Grendel's Great Dane,
Deadly doom-mutt, dread demon-dog.
Then boasted Beocat, noble battle-kitten,
Bane of barrow-bunnies, bold seeker of nest-booty:
"If hand of man unhasped the heavy hall-door
And freed me to frolic forth to fight the fang-bearing fiend,
I would lay the whelpling low with lethal claw-blows;
Fur would fly and the foe would taste death-food.
But resounding snooze-noise, stern slumber-thunder,
Nose-music of men snoring mead-hammered in the wine-hall,
Fills me with sorrow-feeling for Fate does not see fit
To send some fingered folk to lift the firm-fastened latch
That I might go grapple with the grim ghoul-pooch."
Thus spoke the mouse-shredder, hunter of hall-pests,
Short-haired Hrodent-slayer, greatest of the pussy-Geats.


-- From Poetry for Cats, by Henry Beard. Translated by the Editor's
cat.



Kvonhard Thanks for the links to the stuff on American Transcendentalism – lots of bedtime reading for me : )

Capcom I think that the connection between God and the Universe inter-relate. I know for a lot of people that they thoughts of God don’t extend beyond our little green rock, however as you know for me God and ‘The Universe’ pretty much one and the same, but I think that the God/Gods we interact with are a manifestation, or an extension of the universe, like the fingers on a hand.

Did God create the Universe, or did the Universe create God? Is a/the/many God/s the natural product of the birth of a new universe? Is God/s something unique to our own universe, a chance product of an expanding universe? Or does God/s transcend time and space, do they/s/he exist as part of a greater Multiverse? I think whilst God is at one with the Universe and perhaps indistinguishable from it, God also transcends Space/Time and that God can manifest beyond/before and after our universe. Does the death of one Universe seed the birth of another? Does God pass in some way from the old Universe to the next in the same way our genes pass from Mother to Daughter?

Oh finally Kvonhard on a lighter note, you think Catholics are wacky, try being a Pagan
“Hey, aren’t you on of those weirdo’s that dance around naked”…
“Not bloody likely mate, not in this climate”.

Not that I’m a Druid but it’s only recently that the Tabloids over here have given up doing the “look at the funny Druids in their robes at Stone Henge” story each Summer solstice!

11/08/2006 3:35 AM  
Blogger Twinkle said...

Kvonhard: I didn't think you were being rude or difficult. I love discussing questions. We know that God has given us our intellect, feelings, and experiences and that we can know him through all these things. The intellect helps me understand what I believe and why I believe what I believe.

Questions I've asked about what I believe: Is the Bible we have today what the authors intended? Could they have lied? Are the accounts in the Bible nice stories or did they happen? Was Jesus a real person? How likely is it that God exists as a Person and that the Bible is his message? Which things was I taught growing up (or now) that are what the Bible teaches and which things are just tradition or culture? I could go on forever.... Lots of people have these questions all the time.

Do I have complete answers for all my questions? Will I ever be able to understand completely? - No, but I have good answers or partial answers that I'm satisfied with for now.

Can I prove in a court of law or a science lab that God as I know him exists? No, but nobody else can about their God either. Since we're all in the same boat, there's no need to get riled up about it.

So that's where faith comes in. It's as if I'm about to jump across a ravine. Before jumping, I test the wind conditions, the sturdiness of the soil on both sides, the distance between where I am and where I want to be, and how physically fit I'm feeling, but ultimately I trust myself to the air. Intellect helps me measure the gap but in the end it's still a leap of faith.

DA said: ...mainstream monotheistic religious as very patriarchal and male dominated and I think quite often the clichéd Judeo/Christian/Islamic image of God as an Old man with a beard (which itself is a hangover from the classic Greek image of Zeus) is very unhelpful and very alienating.

Yes, so unhelpful! And Dante's Inferno's ideas have infested the popular mindset too! Plus Satan wearing red, carrying a pitchfork, and bossing around people in hell with little demon lackies! People often don't know what Christianity is actually about because we've got all these other cultural images/traditions wrapped up into it!

Also I loved the cat poem! Very funny! And don't get me started on God and the multiverse! I want there to be a multiverse just because it would make God seem sooo much bigger!

11/08/2006 12:57 PM  
Blogger Thrasher76 said...

Once things calm down a bit I hope to chime in more, but we do have the hiatus from Lost.

Twinkle - Yes I will posting pictures and updating our blog when we get back! And YES she is where the dress, although......LOL!!!

11/08/2006 2:03 PM  
Blogger capcom said...

Nice cat poetry DA, I love cats. :-)

I once heard a bit of Chaucer's canterbury Tales in what I think is called Middle English in a movie, and it was one of the most beautiful recitations I've ever heard, and I didn't even understand it. :-)

Well, I guess no one will be coming back here after the show, so ciao until the next thread.

11/08/2006 7:45 PM  

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