The last seven posts in my series on universalism (beginning here and going to here) were intended more or less as a coda to the series. My idea was that they would in summary fashion deal with all the major objections to universalism–both those that in my judgement missed the point and those that at least legitimately took on the issues at hand–and show why they were unworkable or problematic. So I thought, anyway. Alas, nothing ever ends–nor, in a sense, would I expect it to. Strong partisans of what I have called the traditional view of hell (or TVOH, as I abbreviate it) are not likely to be moved by any arguments. Conversely, strong universalists will likely also remain unmoved.
This week I have participated in a combox discussion at Rod Dreher’s blog, and as sometimes happens, the issue of universalism arose. There was a bit of back-and-forth between me and some supporters of the TVOH. For those who are interested, the exchange is over here. It’s actually much shorter and less detailed than previous blog discussions I’ve had on the issue, both there and at other blogs. It does induce me to make more explicit some points that I have not, perhaps, elaborated on enough here. Mostly, I’ve been looking at the philosophical underpinnings of the arguments for the TVOH, and trying to show why those underpinnings are problematic, as well as trying to make a philosophical argument in favor of universalism. As often happens in combox discussions, though, the discussion in question brought back the issue of authority. I have never really explicitly dealt with that issue in this series, though I’ve touched on it several times. Therefore, I decided it would be a good idea to dedicate a post specifically to just those issues, which I will now deal with.
Feast Day Prayer:
God most high, your servant Junipero Serra brought the gospel of Christ to the peoples of Mexico and California and firmly established the Church among them.
By his intercession, and through the example of his apostolic zeal, inspire us to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Courtesy of here.
It isn’t that I object to it. I just feel it’s the wrong adjective as applied to the films I do. Because horror to me is, say, a film like The Godfather. Or anything to do with war, which is real and can happen, and unfortunately, no doubt, will happen again some time. But the films that dear Christopher Lee and I do are really fantasy. And I think fantasy is a better adjective to use. I don’t object to the term horror, it’s just the wrong adjective!
—Peter Cushing Interview 1973 (1973); courtesy Wikiquote
I understand the most profound and simplest Truth of all: Any time any of us reaches out, any time we pour even a drop of love, compassion, simple human decency (no matter how small; how seemingly insignificant) into the sea of earthly existence — we are, each and every one of us — the being called Mercy.
–J. M. DeMatteis, Mercy (1993); courtesy Wikiquote
To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in the full light but walking toward it full of trust.
–Pope Benedict XVI, in Milestones: Memoirs, 1927-1977 (1998), p. 6.; courtesy of Wikiquote
As when, O lady mine,
With chiselled touch
The stone unhewn and cold
Becomes a living mould,
The more the marble wastes,
The more the statue grows.
–Michelangelo, Sonnet addressed to Vittoria Colonna; tr. Mrs. Henry Roscoe (Maria Fletcher Roscoe), Vittoria Colonna: Her Life and Poems (1868), p. 169.; courtesy of Wikiquote