Blog Archives

Quote for the Week

Alas! is even love too weak To unlock the heart, and let it speak? Are even lovers powerless to reveal To one another what indeed they feel? I knew the mass of men conceal’d Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal’d They would by other men be met With blank indifference, or with blame reproved; I knew they lived and moved Trick’d in disguises, alien to the rest Of men, and alien to themselves — and yet The same heart beats in every human breast!

–Matthew Arnold, “The Buried Life” (1852), st. 2; courtesy of Wikiquote.

Quote for the Week

Ceux-là qui aiment à se faire craindre, craignent de se faire aimer, et eux-mêmes craignent plus que tous les autres; car les autres ne craignent qu’eux, mais eux craignent tous les autres.

Those who love to be feared fear to be loved, and they themselves are more afraid than anyone, for whereas other men fear only them, they fear everyone.

–The Spirit of Saint Francis de Sales, ch. 7, sct. 3 (1952); courtesy of Wikiquote

The Most Evil Song of All Time!

Now that I’ve got your attention…. 😉  First, let me tell you what I don’t mean.  I don’t mean it’s a poorly-crafted song–it’s quite well done.  I’m not saying I dislike Savage Garden–they were a very listenable pop group, and another song of theirs, “To the Moon and Back”, is quite a good song, which I like a lot.  I’m certainly not saying the song is evil in the sense that certain people over the decades have claimed that rock is “the Devil’s music”, or that hidden backward messages are planted in songs, or any of that claptrap.  So, you may then ask, what the heck do you mean?

In order to do that, I’ll have to quote some of the lyrics, my emphasis.  It’s easy enough to Google song lyrics, but if you’re too lazy to do so, they can be found here, among many, many other sites.  I provide the link so that you can see the entire context for the lyrics I’m going to quote here.  The parts I’m going to quote adequately make my case, I think; but I don’t want anyone to think that I’m cutting out stuff that contradicts my thesis.  In fact, I’m also going to quote part of the song that actually does indicate (slightly) the opposite of what I’m arguing for.

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Background-Love

Le mystère de l’amour est plus grand que le mystère de la mort.
The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death.

–Oscar Wiled, “Salomé” (1893); courtesy of Wikiquote

I Want Your Love and I Want Your Revenge: Hell

lady-gaga-bad-romance-cry

In the last few posts we’ve looked at several aspects of universalism:  whether Hell is compatible with God’s mercy, how the saved view the damned, whether people can be said truly to choose Hell, and what this implies for our personalities.

Now as I noted here, one can argue for the traditional view of Hell (TVOH) on Scriptural or philosophical bases; and as I also noted, it doesn’t seem as if the TVOH can be defended purely on Scriptural bases.  In any case, I can understand arguments of this sort even if I don’t agree with them.  If one believes that a doctrine of hell is necessitated by Scripture or by philosophical reflection, I can respect that.  What I’m more interested in here is motivation.  In short, what is the motivation that energizes one’s belief?  More to the point, what is one’s attitude towards one’s belief?  Let me unpack what I mean.

Suppose I go to the doctor and he says I have cancer in my leg, and that this will require amputation.  Now there are three things involved here.  One, the matter of actual fact:  that is, do I actually have cancer?  Second is the treatment:  is it necessary to remove the leg, or are there other viable treatments?  Third, how do I feel about having the leg removed?  Obviously, I’m going to want to establish the first two:  I’m going to want to be damn sure that I do have cancer and that amputation is the only option.  If these are established, then there’s no help for it.  The thing is that I’m not going to be happy about the amputation per se.  I’ll be happy if it rids me of cancer, because I’ll be happy to live and to have my health (other than in my leg) restored.  However, I’d be a lunatic to cheer on the amputation as such.  Even more so, if my doctor seemed to enjoy amputating limbs, I’d be very hesitant to have the operation done, at least by him.  To be happy to help someone live by surgery is very much different from getting off on amputation in and of itself.

This is where, in discussions about hell, I find the attitude of supporters of the TVOH very much interesting.  I can understand that one might, in light of one’s study of Scripture and of philosophy, feel compelled to believe in hell as traditionally understood, just as an oncologist, on the basis of his expertise, diagnoses cancer.  I can also understand that there  can be differences of opinion among equally skilled experts.  Just as one exegete might argue for the TVOH and another against, so different doctors might disagree as to whether the leg, in the above hypothetical, actually needs to be amputated, or whether some other treatment might work.  What I don’t get is the attitude.  If my doctor said, “Good news!  We gotta take the leg!” it would be grossly understating it to say I’d be taken aback and appalled.  However, this cheery, positive attitude seems to be the exact attitude of many who support the traditional view of hell.  Perhaps I shouldn’t say “cheery”; but they do invest much emotional energy into supporting hell.

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Quote for the Week

William-Adolphe_Bouguereau_(1825-1905)_-_Bacchante_(1894)

Song to Celia

BY BEN JONSON

Drink to me only with thine eyes,
         And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
         And I’ll not look for wine.
The thirst that from the soul doth rise
         Doth ask a drink divine;
But might I of Jove’s nectar sup,
         I would not change for thine.
I sent thee late a rosy wreath,
         Not so much honouring thee
As giving it a hope, that there
         It could not withered be.
But thou thereon didst only breathe,
         And sent’st it back to me;
Since when it grows, and smells, I swear,
         Not of itself, but thee.
By the greatest Elizabethan poet after Shakespeare; courtesy of here.