Re: Moral relativism.

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar (ernest@pundit)
Mon, 18 Aug 97 15:22:19 -0700

CobraBoy wrote:
> At 01:56 PM 8/18/97 -0700, Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar wrote:
> Well that is an interesting statement. The question has to be, =
> on that, does the almighty power really care two about a mortal
> finite soul? I have trouble believing that such a power can even
> understand a mortal being such as ourselves. It's blowing up a
> balloon in a two dimensional world.

Well, that is one reason why the Incarnation is so essential to =
Christian thought. God became a man like us in order to be =
justified in judging us. In Trinitarian terminology, God deemed =
Christ worthy of receiving authority to judge, because he had been =
tempted in every way as we were, yet without sin.

Going beyond judgement to relationship: the biblical claim is that =
humanity is precisely a projection of the personhood of God. It is =
as natural and possible for God to love us, as it is for an author =
to become fond of the characters in his novel. It is only if you =
start with the posit that God is some otherwordly force removed from =
humanity that it seems unnatural that God could know us.

> [ramble on]
> It's like Philip K. Dick points out in a short story. Briefly put =
> people are on a joint space mission. Us and the Alien. The Alien =
> introduces a strong hallucination to the human. In it the humans
> version of God devours the human. The human is so freaked out by =
> that they kill themselves. We get upset with the alien race for =
> "barbaric." They explain that no offense was meant and that having
> the almighty devour the human was in their race the highest form =
> complement. When the humans explained that in our race we eat our
> Lord, the aliens we aghast and realized that humans just didn't =
> it.
> [ramble off]

I think this just proves that not all concepts of God are =
interchangeable. That does not meant that they are all wrong, it may =
just mean they are not all right. And the fact that we eat our =
Lord is a pretty freaky thing, even among humans (and oft =
misunderstood as well).

> So I guess my point is what point will the reckoning take? God
> doesn't "punish" anything on this planet. Certainly I guess with
> enough LSD you could imaging something like a volcano as =
> on the bad bad island of Monsureat, but that is a little far =

Only if you treat divine punishment as purely a supernatural, =
out-of-the-ordinary kind of thing. I would argue that the laws of =
cause and effect are a 'rough approximation' of God's judgement. =
Bad things happen to good people, true, but generally worse things =
happen the worse you are. The cardinal virtues (courage, wisdom, =
temperance, and justice) can actually save you from a great deal of =
trouble, and that trouble can be construed as punishment for =
breaking the rules.

> So after we're reckoned with what will happen? The good ones get =
> become angels? The bad ones are left behind to be Microsoft =
> support people?

In Christianity, goodness =3D=3D closeness to God. It implicitly =
assumes that all the qualities we associate with good - pleasure, =
happiness, comfort, etc. - find their purest and highest expression =
in God Himself, although on earth they are usually present in =
distorted or subverted form. Heaven is precisely the chance to =
enjoy all of that in pure form forever. Hell is being cut off from =
the Source of all that is good, even the shadows and imitations of =
good we had here on earth.

Check out C.S. Lewis's "The Great Divorce" for a beautiful literary =
picture of what Heaven and Hell is all about. Much more like Camus =
than Jonathan Edwards.

-- Ernie P.

Dr. Ernest N. Prabhakar
"And ourselves, your servants for Jesus' sake." -- II Cor 4:5b