Could you forgive...?

Feel free to debate any issues you wish here. Warning: The topics discussed and their content may on occassion offend some.

Would you forgive...?

Yes
4
15%
No
10
38%
Don't know
1
4%
It hasn't happened so I'm not in the position to say.
11
42%
 
Total votes : 26

Postby parnassus » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:51 am

God does not need us. He wants good for us, but not to the point where he will make our given choice himself by sacrificing himself. He leaves that choice to us.


He does not need us, no. That is what makes the crucifixion so wonderful. He didn't have to do it, but He chose to, because He loves us that much. "Greater love has no one that this, that a man should lay down his life for his friends."

We can choose to accept that love. We can choose to live that love. I agree with you when you say that God did not create us for us to ignore Him - we are designed to live in communion with Him for eternity. As St Augustine wrote, "Our hearts are restless until they rest in You." But I think there is a difference between believing that you can come to deserve Heaven through your own merits and believing that you are made worthy of Heaven through God's merits. Doing good works in Catholic Christianity is like dancing: God doesn't drag you round the ballroom by your hair. You have to co-operate with Him and move where He leads. But He is still the leader of the dance. The beauty of it is all because of Him. Not because of anything that we could do on our own. Heaven is His gift, not our right.

He is merciful, he can forgive us our wrong deeds. But in the end wrong and right will be weighed, and how you lived will determine where you go after you die.


This seems to be a very bureaucratic view of God. "You performed fifty-one good deeds and forty-nine bad ones - you may enter Heaven. You performed forty-nine good deeds and fifty-one bad ones - you must go to Hell." This is where religion becomes too mathematical. Neither goodness nor mercy can be quantified like that. God is always going to outdo us in generosity, and the blessed thing is that while we are on earth we cannot buy it. We can only accept it. This philosophy is summed up by a line from a Christmas carol: "Put off your toiling and let Love in."
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:34 am

I wholehertedly agreee with what Vicky has said. I don't have much to add.

There is a book called "The Great Divorce" by CS Lewis about Heaven and Hell. In it he presents the afterlife as a choice on our part - do we want God (in which case, we muct accept that he is more real and more important than anything else) or to choose more trivial things.

I suggest you read this book. It is clever, witty, beautiful and, in some places, horrifically sad.

God's forgiveness is a free gift, but it costs a lot to accept it. This may sound contradictory, but I will give an example from my own experience to illustrate the point.

Once I did a very bad thing. I don't want to say exactly what it was, but it was very, very bad. It was so bad, I tried to convince myself that it wasn't really my fault, that someone else was to blame, that I hadn't known what I was doing...

I fooled myself for years. I tried to find ways of blaming other people for my behaviour. "It wasn't me, it wasn't really me, the real me would never treat a person that way." But I had done it. I'd chosen to do it. Nobody had forced me. Nobody had lied to me or tricked me into it. I knew exactly what I was doing and I was aware of the probable consequences of my actions.

It was only when I heard the story of someone who had been mistreated in the same way that I had mistreated that person that I came to a total realisation of what I had done. I knew I had to confess this and say sorry.

The most painful thing about this was that I couldn't make up for what I did. I had to accept that I did a bad thing and that I could never "earn" the right to be forgiven. That hurt my pride and my view of myself. But it was necessary, beautiful, wonderful, transforming.

I try to give generously in every sense - not because I need to, but because I am grateful for what I have received and I want to share it.
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Postby Qasim » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:17 pm

This seems to be a very bureaucratic view of God. "You performed fifty-one good deeds and forty-nine bad ones - you may enter Heaven. You performed forty-nine good deeds and fifty-one bad ones - you must go to Hell."


It is justice in the purest sense, it is holding you accountable for the life you lead on this earth. Love seems to be of a central position in your religion. And it is all very well to say that you want to share in God's love, but in my eyes this just isn't enough, you need good deeds to be rewarded and loved by God. The main reason I cannot believe in the Christian methodology of forgiveness is that I do not believe that God became a man, that He became fallible and prone to injury and limited power within Jesus's body. I think it is seriously degrading and shameful in the eyes of God to suggest this. To suggest that He died for us to me is blasphemous.

A man could live his whole life loving God, but do nothing but essentially fend for himself, work, eat, sleep. This doesn't make him material for paradise though. It is almost like saying 'hey, half my job is done here from His sacrifice, all I need to do is love'. To me it seems far from reality.
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Postby Thirteen-thirty-seven » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:46 pm

Qasim wrote:A man could live his whole life loving God, but do nothing but essentially fend for himself, work, eat, sleep. This doesn't make him material for paradise though. It is almost like saying 'hey, half my job is done here from His sacrifice, all I need to do is love'. To me it seems far from reality.


[quote= "John 15: 10 - 15"]If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. [/quote]

Loving God and keeping his commandments (and therby loving our neighbours) is the same thing as loving God. Loving your neighbour is part of loving God.

However, no amount of love can earn heaven. Heaven is a gift given by a loving and generous God. We are too small to add anything to God's love. God doesn't NEED us. And because he doesn't need us, he doesn't need to "pay" us for doing good things.


Matthew 19.26 - 20.17 wrote:‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire labourers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the labourers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the market-place; and he said to them, “You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.” So they went. When he went out again about noon and about three o’clock, he did the same. And about five o’clock he went out and found others standing around; and he said to them, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They said to him, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard.” When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the labourers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.” When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, saying, “These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.” But he replied to one of them, “Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?” So the last will be first, and the first will be last.’


Anyone who turns to God will receive more than s/he "deserves". It doesn't matter how "late" you turn to God. God is infinitely loving. His love is so big it can feel too much to bear. The knowledge that this love is an undeserved free gift is painful to my pride. And the fact I have to give up everything that is apart from God hurts me. I am too attached to the things of this world.

I have more to write on Incarnation, but I have to go.
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Postby Dork_Lord » Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:56 pm

I have forgiven, (The perpetrator in question was executed by electrocution), but I do not want to go into details.
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