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Writer's Block: See you on the other side - Wemyss's Appalling Hobby:
From the Party Guilty of Committing 'Gate of Ivory, Gate of Horn'
wemyss
wemyss
Writer's Block: See you on the other side
If you could find out what happens after you die, would you want to know?

'If'?

Revealed theology is a closed book to you lot, isn't it. Not even the heresiarchs now in charge of the Anglican Communion have yet got shed of the Creeds, I think.

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fpb From: fpb Date: June 20th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good answer. Very good answer. But perhaps they meant: whether you go to Paradise or to the other place.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: June 20th, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Even positing Christianity as absolute truth, the question is somewhat nonsensical unless you believe in an inflexible form of predestination. In that case, with one's destiny fixed for one place or the other, all moral restraint might be abandoned - on the basis that if one is bound for Hell, one can't possibly make it any worse for oneself; whereas if one finds oneself bound for Heaven, one is assured that one must have at some stage repented and somehow come back into God's good graces. I'm not a predestinationist by any means, but those who are might possibly want to put a spoiler warning on the nature of their eternity for that very reason.

Those Christians who believe in even a modicum of free will might agree that it is always possible either to damn oneself or to repent with one's last breath. So unless what was shown was "where you would end up if you died right this second", the future is always changeable.

Of course it's entirely possible that the afterlife either takes on other forms or does not exist. Whatever the truth, it seems that the number of human faiths which would find themselves vindicated by such knowledge is at most equal to one and potentially zero.
steepholm From: steepholm Date: June 20th, 2011 06:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Those Christians who believe in even a modicum of free will might agree that it is always possible either to damn oneself or to repent with one's last breath.

That argument always reminds me the person who says, "I'll do no exercise all my life, but I'll train really hard on my last day on earth, and who knows? I may just beat Usain Bolt." In other words, repentance is much more than an act of will, and it's not for nothing that St Paul uses the metaphor of a race. If you haven't trained yourself up, what you are being asked to will away is not deeds alone, but nothing less than what you have made yourself.

angelofcaffeine From: angelofcaffeine Date: June 20th, 2011 06:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
But if it's not intentional - if you truly do 'see the light' in your last days - is that not enough (in your opinion) to get to Heaven? I assumed that was the point of 'baptism by desire'.

I ask as a religious person with no opinion on the afterlife whatsoever. My answer to the Writer's Block question would be 'no thank you, and hopefully I won't have to find out for a while'.
steepholm From: steepholm Date: June 20th, 2011 07:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm speculating as a non-religious person with only a rather distant take on the question, so don't take what I say too seriously, but the "get out of jail free card" seemingly offered by deathbed repentance always seemed too pat; and I suppose this is what I came up with from pondering it and reading Dr Faustus on many occasions, asking "Why can't Faustus repent, when in one sense he clearly wants to?"

Baptism by desire I know very little about, but I thought it was a narrower, and even technical question about that particular sacrament, designed to save certain deserving people whom it would be unseemly to consign to hell. (Nevertheless it does no good to unbaptised infants, who remain for ever unchanged in limbo, knowing nothing of baptism and therefore unable to desire it.)
angelofcaffeine From: angelofcaffeine Date: June 20th, 2011 07:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think that 'get out of jail free card' would only actually work if one were sincere. If you spent your life thinking that you would convert on your deathbed, then it wouldn't be a sincere conversion and thus it wouldn't work.

Then again, my religion isn't Christianity and I am, by and large, uninterested in the afterlife... so I could be completely off the mark.
pathology_doc From: pathology_doc Date: June 20th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't find the quote right now, but doesn't the Bible also say something about the amount of rejoicing in heaven there is over one sinner repenting?

(I agree that it is far easier to damn than to save oneself with one's last breath!)
steepholm From: steepholm Date: June 20th, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes it does, but it says nothing about the repentance being a last-minute affair.
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: June 21st, 2011 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
The Council of Trent instructs that insofar as the person is sincere in their wish to repent of their sins and be baptized in accordance with Church practice and tradition then the grace and efficacy of the Sacrament are valid and absolute and without regard for time and place.

Edited at 2011-06-21 03:30 am (UTC)
steepholm From: steepholm Date: June 21st, 2011 07:11 am (UTC) (Link)
My non-religiousness is of a Protestant cast, so perhaps I shouldn't take too much heed of the Council of Trent, but actually I'm not questioning this idea. I do however question whether sincere repentance is as easy as its death-bed advocates appear to believe. Easy to regret killing King Hamlet, yes, but as long as you stay on the throne that's not enough for repentance: "May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?" On your deathbed you have a lifetime of offences to wish away, and a lifetime of their effects - but by that point those effects are very largely what constitute you. It's not impossible, of course (though getting rid of all those dragon skins will require help from the Claw of Aslan), but I'd imagine people's reliance on this strategy leaves hell a net gainer.
absynthedrinker From: absynthedrinker Date: June 21st, 2011 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh my dear sweet Wemyss,

It is simply a matter of time before the Creeds too go in for adjustments and what the Second Vatican Council, 50 years ago, lovingly called an "Aggiornamento". Welcome to the jungle darling!

Peace,
Bubba
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