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Well, I've survived a whole week at work, and the new job has been… - Sally's Journal
August 20th, 2006
12:35 pm

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Well, I've survived a whole week at work, and the new job has been surprisingly shiny. Even the commute, long and expensive though it is, has the merit of giving me 3 hours a day with very little to do but read. Fingers crossed it continues so good!

Today's reading was John 6: 51-58, where Jesus tells us all to eat him, which lead to some more of my religious ramblings...

Imagine that you were part of a perfectly intelligent, but fairly primative tribe, living on a small island and suffering from a terrible plague. And you find a small sect of people going round saying "the only way to be saved from the terrible plague is to paint your left arm purple". Doesn't this seem daft? Especially if it diverts the economy away from manufacturing rehydration salts and clean bedding and into making purple paint. Isn't it actively wrong from them to encourage people to waste their time in pointless things that don't actually help? Without any other intelligence, isn't the right thing to do to tell people to ignore the purple-painters and get on with solving the problem?

But what if there was an aid agency with a vaccine about to arrive on the island, and it was true that the vaccine would only be given to people who had painted their arm purple? What to do then? It is still, to the best of your knowledge, utterly irrelavent to the course of the disease to paint your arm purple. But those that do so will be saved. Not everyone knows this yet though... so is the morally right thing to do to go round persuading everyone to paint their arms purple so that when the aid agency turns up everyone will be saved from the plague? I think I deduce that it is, but at the same time one has to be annoyed at the aid agency for requesting such a stupid egocentric waste of time and resources in the first place. We will go along with this because we need your vaccines to survive, but it is a wrong thing you are doing, encouraging us to waste time pointlessly painting our arms purple when we could be tending to those that are already dying of the plague, who you don't seem to be in any hurry to get here and fix. We encourage purple arm painting out of the neccessity in which we find ourselves, but we morally condemn the aid agency for insisting on it.

And then I ask you to consider a third situation where unbeknown to us, who are primative, the aid agency can, by the laws of physics, only give the vaccine to people with their arms painted purple. Forgive me for getting painfully hypothetical, but perhaps the purple paint acts as a strange antibiotic that primes the skin so it can take the madly hypothetical vaccine. It looks mad to us savages to paint our arms purple, but in the grand scheme of perfect, ineffable aid agency knowledge it's essential, not some mad self indulgent whim. Is the aid agency at fault now? I still get a gut feeling that if it's true, they ought to be able to make us understand that it's true, explain the process that means arm painting is essential. But perhaps we really are such savages that by the time they advanced our knowledge of the components of paint and the way the plague virus acts, we'd have all dropped down dead. And in that case, maybe they are doing the right thing telling us to paint our arms purple, and the correct course of action for us to do is evangilise as many people as possible to become purple-painters.

(As a sub-set of this third situation, I think for the aid agency to be truly good it ought to go round painting people's arms purple itself as and when it finally turns up. Ok, maybe it can save the people who planned ahead and have already committed themselve to the pointless ritual first, because they're primed and it's quicker to vaccinate them, but then, once the others have seen with their own eyes why purple-painting saves, they should go round offering to paint people purple.)

In a variation on situations 1-3, what if instead of purple paint you had to paint your arm with the blood of a virgin child? (Allow me the hypothetical that getting the blood from the virgin child is going to involve killing them) I think this makes the islanders despicable in situation 1 and the aid agency despicable in situation 2 and I don't see how anyone could argue against that. But in situation 3? I want a long diversion here on utilitarianism*. Ok, so now you understand that I'm not a utilitarian. I still think it's wrong to sacrifice the innocent to save all the people on the island from the plague. I think good people would die rather than take the life of another, even if that one life could save them all. I'd be really interested in what other people think is right in this situation though.

But what if the virgin child decides to give their life willingly? How could anyone make a choice of their own free will in that situation anyway, what with the pressure from both the aid agency and the islanders? What does willingly mean?

But doesn't that suggest another layer of evilness? Is it turtles all the way down? If a plague exists for which the only cure the aid agency knows is sacrifice, doesn't that suggest something greater and more despicable about the very nature of the universe, that is outside the control of even the aid agency? If Aslan is bound by the deeper magic, surely it is the deeper magic we should be worshipping, instead of Aslan?

Anyway, that is my braindump about where I am and what I think about the act of receiving communion**. There just seems so many ways in which it could be wrong. And running through the middle is this one silver line - perhaps it is necessary, perhaps the victim was willing - so thin and slender in the midst of the evil alternatives that surround it. Perhaps declaring that line to be true is what faith is. But oh the wrongs you do if you are wrong!

*A diversion on utilitarianism.

I have said occassionally "I am in awe of Christians. I think they're better people than me for being able to believe in what they believe in, but I can't believe in it myself". The same is true of utilitarians. I have a niggling worry that they are Right. But I can't, in my heart of heart, internalise it and swallow the things I would have to do to be one myself. If I was in the hypothetical situation that I had to shoot one (blameless) man or ten (equally of worth and merit in the world) men would die I don't think I could shoot the man. I think I think it would be wrong to shoot the man. But I worry that's just me being lame. It's not my fault the world is crap on fundamental levels, and has lead me to a place where I have to make horrible decisions. But it is my fault if I do something myself that harms a man. Maybe. So perhaps my stance is not a moral stance, but an avoidance of responsibility.

Anyway, this is one of the things that I am currently most confused about (thanks, sain_bano!) I suppose I could take the line that that isn't utilitarianism, that you have to take a huge meta utilitarianism of what effect it has on the world to have people who are prepaired to shoot people for utilitarian reasons, and that under that level of knowledge not shooting the one person but letting the ten die becomes the utilitarian thing to do again. Perhaps. That would be very much a "it is physically impossible in the laws of the universe to make the world a better place by doing bad things stance, so utilitarianism will never make me do anything I consider bad by my non-utilitarian, gut, benchmark". But that's still pushed things back to that gut feeling of "it feels wrong to do this even though on a first level it looks like the utilitarian things to do", so then you're not getting your morals from utilitarianism at all, just using it to justify the morals you already had. At this point my brain falls out of my ears and I give up.

**For those amongst you who got lost in the analogy along the way, God is the aid agency, we are the islanders, communion is painting your arm purple, and eternal life is being cured from the plague.



I think, however, I would have preferred it if he'd preached on Matthew 25:45

Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed

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Comments
 
From:neonchameleon
Date:August 20th, 2006 12:58 pm (UTC)
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I have a distinct problem with the analogies from a theological standpoint - one of the fairly basic premises of most forms of Christianity is that God is omnipotent. Once you have omnipotence, the idea that the aid agency can only give to people with purple arms (or are otherwise adorned) falls apart.

And Utilitarianism always reminds me either of Esme Weatherwax or of the Witch from Into The Woods - "You're so nice. You're not good; you're not bad; you're just nice. I'm not good. I'm not nice. I'm just right. I'm the witch; you're the world!"
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
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But if God is omnipotent, where does the limitation that we can only have eternal life if we eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus come from? Is it like the aid agency in scenario 2, saying "We will only give the vaccine to people with purple arms, even though we could give it to everyone"? I think that makes the aid agency evil, and I find the conclusion that we have an evil God rather depressing. How do you rectify a non-evil God with an omnipotent one?
From:neonchameleon
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
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But if the blood analogy was meant to be either the crucifixion or communion, it doesn't hold water - Jesus died for only three days and, assuming he was God and God is Omniscient, knew this in advance. A better analogy would be if instead of offering the life, the virgin offered a blood transfusion which would leave the virgin child weakened - but not weakened into a state the child wouldn't recover from.
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
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Or just purple paint. If it didn't "hurt" Jesus to give us his blood, then we didn't do anything wrong to get it, so we're in the purple paint case, not the blood of a virgin case.

But I think the idea that it didn't hurt Jesus, or that killing people who you know will come back from the dead is OK is a bit dubious in itself.
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From:simont
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:05 pm (UTC)
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As usual, you have some colourful and entertaining analogies :-)

The one thing that strikes me as iffy in them is that receiving communion is not tantamount to actually killing Jesus, since he's long since dead anyway. And it's not as if you're using up a finite supply of his blood, requiring another crucified saviour at some future point when it runs out. It's more as if your willingly self-sacrificing virgin child had their DNA sequenced two thousand years ago and now people are able to churn out synthetic blood which is as good as the real thing; you can deplore the situation that made the sacrifice necessary in the first place (whoever's fault that turns out to be), but it's been a fait accompli since before you became an independent moral agent and no more such sacrifices are required, so there isn't any obvious moral wrong in making use of it so long after the fact.
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From:simont
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:17 pm (UTC)
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Also, come to think of it, the other thing about "the wrongs you do if you are wrong": one highly probable possibility if you're wrong about communion is that you are in fact just drinking wine and eating a wafer which somebody has recently waved their hands over in a mystic manner. Hard to see the wrong there, except for the slight waste of time. It's as if you're presented with your case 3b or 1a, but you don't know which is which; that paint pot might contain blood extracted from a virgin child by whose self-sacrifice we are all redeemed, or it might contain purple paint with no medical properties whatsoever and the aid agency doesn't even exist.

The possibility that communion might be wrong because it was Jesus's blood but being used in an immoral manner strikes me as amusing, and what it amusingly reminds me of is a statement made by a Jew with whom I once had a theological discussion. They said that Jews do not believe Jesus to be the Messiah, and one reason for this is that the Messiah will be born of normal human beings and not conceived by a virgin through God's miraculous intercession. Presumably their actual point was that the real Messiah would not make such claims and hence Jesus wasn't him; but for one delightful moment I thought they were saying that they thought Jesus was the Son of God and hence not the Jewish Messiah.
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From:gerald_duck
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:23 pm (UTC)
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What if there was no cure for the plague, but people painting their arms purple had a placebo effect that both acted as a more effective palliative than any medicines available and, by improving the person's general well-being gave them a modest but noticeably better chance of surviving the plague?
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:28 pm (UTC)
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I think that's the situation I discussed back in this post. But it seems dubious to me that the placebo effect could be good enough to outweigh all the benifits that not wasting time with the purple paint and looking for a cure instead could provide.

And once you believe it's a placebo effect it doesn't work. You can think "gosh, I wish I believed in this, look how much better everyone else is because they do" but once you know it's only purple paint it ain't going to work for you ever again.
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From:rochvelleth
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
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I think I'm bad and wrong for thinking tangentially, but now I want to talk about consent. Noone else may want to talk about consent, in which case my comment can sit on its own and fester a bit (sometimes that's good for ideas though, isn't it?), but I'm still going to talk about it.

In the variation of situation 3 with the virgin child giving her life willingly, I think the problem I have is that I'm not sure if he[1] can give his consent. Under our laws, he wouldn't be able to, would he? I mean, I know it's against the law for anyone to give consent in the matter of being killed... {insert euthanasia debate}. But children can't actually give consent to anything, can they? Sex is of course the big example that has lots of legislation enforcing it.

So, firstly, I don't know if I think that the child *can* give his life willingly. With a child, there's always the possibility of further education - that's one reason why I agree with religions that only baptise/initiate adults in a lot of ways. Indoctrination is surely a bad thing, because on the one hand yes, you can teach the child to be good and helpful to mankind; but if you teach said child that they should sacrifice their life to help mankind, then aren't you maliciously taking the child's life? So I think I conclude that if we really are talking about a *child*, it's wrong for him to give his life even if it saves lots of other people, because he isn't really doing it consciously.

Now, if it were an adult, I'd have to say that I think it *could* be OK. An adult (however you class this - I'd rather it involved passing a test than reaching a certain age if I had to think about it ethically) should have the experience to know how he feels about giving up his life. And I find myself quite in favour of people giving up their lives for others *if they truly make the decision themselves*. What greater gift could you give someone than to die so that they can live? (I suppose it depends on how you feel about life, but bear with me)

There's a problem with this - the culture in question might have all these thoughts, and then decide to get round it by keeping back some children and not allowing them to have sex, and breeding them to a level/age where they officially *can* make the decision to give their lives. When they get there, of course, they're going to expect them to do so. Economically this might make sense, but ethically it's surely bad and wrong.

This brings to light a problem with *my* way of believing things - I have a pretty steadfast belief that ethics/morality/whatever rests in the mind and actions of the individual. This causes lots of contradictions I haven't ironed out yet, but I still adhere to it. Anyway, *my* beliefs aren't what's in question here really, so I'll move on.

Right, now I've got to Jesus. Now, Jesus usn't a child, he's an adult. But he's also God's son *and* divine, and you'd think that'd make his temporary mortality easier to bear. The Bible makes clear of course that it doesn't - I love the Bible for this, it wouldn't feel so relevant to people if it didn't have an emphasis on the struggle of mortal humanity. Anyway, though, Jesus was in fact sent to earth by God, so we have God sending his son to die. The question is whether Jesus is really consenting to die to save mankind. Considering that he complains to God, you'd think he might be protesting rather than consenting. But then he *is* God... maybe the Trinity is there to stitch up matters like this?

OK, I've run out of argument now. But I thought it was interesting.

[1] It might be more natural to assume it's a girl, because virignity is prized in girls in more cultures than it is in boys, I think, but in any case I just wanted to avoid sayin he/she all the way through.
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)

Consent

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It is interesting. I suppose I'm not interested in whether or not children can consent, as it doesn't seem to be a part of the analogy that throws any light on the theology. Jesus was an adult, and many people assume adults should be able to consent to die. I don't know. I think suicide and euthanasia are probably wrong, but I'm not sure... I think of all my beliefs they might be the ones most due to social conditioning. But once it becomes about saving other people then I think people should be able to consent. A man can risk running into a burning house to save his son.

But yes, Jesus must have been a bit of a hothouse child being groomed for his one job, and can anyone who has grown up with that sort of pressure from God actually be able to consent with any sort of free will at all?
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Help! I'm lost in a maze of twisty analogy, all alike.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:41 pm (UTC)
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* Your child-Jesus analogy is fascinating. I had always supposed that people supposed that communion didn't harm Him in any way, but was an acceptance of his sacrifice, and that once He had chosen to do it there was no point in rejecting it for His sake.

* About half way through I automatically composed a meta-analogy: purple-vaccination. The tribe probably *wouldn't* have any idea why vaccination works, and explaining it couldn't help. What a decent agency would do is treat as many people as possible and say "See, look, the ones we help are surviving, do the same thing."

Here is where people disagree: do we or do we not see lots of people living eternal life showing us that communion works?

* Is being purple necessary? Maybe the aid agency will tut and frown, but treat them anyway?

* If being purple is necessary and no-one decided that, it's just physics (and God didn't design physics) then I don't think anyone is evil, it just is :(

* It seems to me there is no consensus if being purple is necessary, nor if the aid agency decided that or not, which would seem a necessary prerequisite to knowing if it's a good thing or not.
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:53 pm (UTC)
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once He had chosen to do it there was no point in rejecting it for His sake

Well, there is some of that. Have you read the mad american thing about the pushups and the doughnuts? It seems a bit ungrateful that Jesus nobly offers himself up to die, and then we sit here all superior and say "no, actually, give me eternal Hell but don't kill Jesus". But maybe that's the Right thing to do.

The tribe probably *wouldn't* have any idea why vaccination works, and explaining it couldn't help.

One assumes that God has a lot of spare time on his hands to explain things. And that he's pretty good at explaining them. So maybe you'd have to vaccinate the first few people without being able to explain to them what was going on, just to save them, but then surely you could start the long, slow process of educating them so they did understand? I think that's what a good god would be obliged to do. I'm not sure if that's what we see being played out in creation or not.

Maybe the aid agency will tut and frown, but treat them anyway?

I think a good aid agency would have to do that, if there wasn't any physical reason why they had to be purple. But if there wasn't any physical reason why they had to be purple I don't think a good aid agency would ask them to be purple in the first place, so I'm not sure that's enlightening.

it's just physics

So you don't think you can have good physics and bad physics? I think I disagree. Yes, it Just Is, but we can still judge the way it is, if we could imagine it being different. A world where sharp pointy objects felt a physical attraction to any brain capable of thought would be a world with Bad Physics, in my opinion, because I like thinking things, and don't want them all to be bashed on the head with sharp pointy rocks.

It seems to me there is no consensus if being purple is necessary, nor if the aid agency decided that or not, which would seem a necessary prerequisite to knowing if it's a good thing or not.

What's worse, we seem to be living in a world where there are other people going round telling us to paint our arms red instead of purple. It's one thing thinking "if I don't waste too much time on this I may as well try it as better safe than sorry", but if your arm can't be red and purple, we live in a world where we can't even apply that reasoning.
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From:cartesiandaemon
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)

Utilitarianism

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I view the one-ten choice as, both choices are wrong, you have to do the best you can. In this instance I think I agree with utilitarians that saving ten is better, though I don't know if I could *do* it, nor would I condemn anyone who chose moral principles (eg. don't kill) and stuck to them even in extremis.

I also weigh being active-passive and someone being deserving-choosing-forced in deciding, because that feels right to me. I have to consider something I *do* having *more* weight than something I don't, else I'd go mad considering all the things I don't. Also because it feels worse to kill someone than let someone die. However, letting someone die is still bad, it's only right if it's counterbalanced by something worse.
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From:smhwpf
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
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I do like your musings. :)

The sort of problems you discuss arise if one adopts a sort of technical/magical view of God's grace. You must do X to be saved. Why? Because God won't save you otherwise. Why not? What a rotter! Deeper Magic. So Deeper Magic is greater than God? No, it's fundamental to God's nature. Well, God has a funny nature. And the Penal Substitutionary theory of the atonement is morally problematic - it argues that because Justice is fundamental to God's nature as well as mercy, he can only show mercy if someone is punished for sin. And yes it's all very loving and merciful for God to take that punishment Himself in the person of Jesus, but how can the punishment of the innocent satisfy justice? (I think there are defences of this, but I won't go into them here.)

I think the starting point for all of this has to be about relationships. God's relationship with humanity, peoples' relationships with each other, indeed the relationship that exists at the heart of the Godhead - the Trinity.

Humanity's relationship with God and with each other is broken by Sin. (What exactly is 'Sin' is a whole nother matter, but I think it's reasonable to argue that things are generally pretty Messed Up.) Christ's Incarnation, Passion and Resurrection are about restoring that relationship, by God making Himself directly present to us, sharing our human life and suffering, and overcoming sin and death bv dying and rising.

I think that the importance of the Incarnation in this - of Jesus's life - is often downlplayed, at the expense of His death and resurrection. Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God being here now, of His presence bringing it about - he talked about the 'bridegroom' being present, of this being cause for celebration now. He went around healing and forgiving sin (which in contemporary Jewish thought were more or less equivalent.) This was not dependant on him having died and risen yet. He was in the process of restoring the broken relationship there and then.

I think the question of the role of Christ's death in this is difficult, or rather Mysterious. Like I say I don't entirely like the Substitutionary Theory, though I think it offers some understanding. I think fundamentally "Christ took our sins upon himself" is accurate, but that may mean many things. My own favourite theory is that, in forgiving those who killed him, who called for his death, who abandoned him, etc., he forgave the sins of all. God, at that moment, forgave us all, in person, in the flesh. Then in rising from the dead, he showed that death did not have the final word, that new life could come from even the most terrible suffering and despair. This all fits in with the relational view described earlier.

The importance of the death of Christ does raise the question of what if Jesus hadn't been killed? Presumably everyone involved had free will. What if the crowds had said to the High Priests, "Sod off, we like Jesus!" and called for Jesus to be released? Would Jesus have had to say, "er, sorry guys, thanks and all, but that wasn't quite the plan, and I'm afraid you're all going to hell now 'cos no sacrificial death and resurrection". It seems rather problematic.

Of course, had Jesus survived that incident, he would have carried on getting himself in trouble with his message, and might well have had the opportunity to be brutally killed and forgiven everyone later. But as I say, I believe Jesus's life was part of the Redemption of the world, so perhaps, and this is maybe somewhat unorthodox, it would have gone on even without his death. God's plan of grace encompassed both people following Jesus and crucifying him.

TBC...
From:ex_robhu
Date:August 20th, 2006 04:49 pm (UTC)
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My own favourite theory is that, in forgiving those who killed him, who called for his death, who abandoned him, etc., he forgave the sins of all.
So does that mean everyone (Christian or not) will avoid eternal punishment?

What if the crowds had said to the High Priests, "Sod off, we like Jesus!" and called for Jesus to be released?
Was this possible? Was it possible for the people involved to not play out events such that Jesus would be killed?

Out of interest... :-) What kind of Christian are you? (I know labels are annoying but they give a vague indication)...
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From:smhwpf
Date:August 20th, 2006 01:57 pm (UTC)
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...continued from previous

So, in short, my view of Salvation is not some arbitrary piece of magic, but about God restoring the world's relationship with Himself through self-giving love.

Now this brings us on to Communion. Christ's presence in the bread and wine is one means by which this grace is brought to us, it is one of the channels through which the new relationship is effected, and indeed a very important one. The very word Communion expresses the fact that it is about relationship, not about some magical piece of arm-painting that somehow makes God's grace possible.

It is not the only such channel by any means, and most mainstream churches certainly don't teach any more that only Christians can be saved. But it is a means of 'communication' that is given to us.

The Gospel passage makes it very stark "Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man you shall not have life within you". But everything in the Gospels tends to be phrased in terms of absolutes, which may well be something about the way language was used. Sometimes, like in Matthew 25, Jesus makes it sound like salvation is entirely about Works, about whether you help the poor and visit the sick and so forth. Some times it's entirely about whether you believe in him or not. Sometimes entirely about whether you forgive others, and in this case entirely about whether you eat him. They can't all be true in this absolute sense, which means I think we need to look at the whole picture when forming a theology of salvation, based fundamentally on grace, where these are all about ways in which grace is received.

Hope that makes some sort of sense. :)
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From:atreic
Date:August 20th, 2006 02:09 pm (UTC)
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That was all really interesting and helpful :-)

But it is a means of 'communication' that is given to us.

So, sort-of-almost, not "you must paint your arms purple", but "you must come to the place where we have all the vaccines"? But then you get back to the Deeper Magic of "well, why can't you move these vaccines to where we actually are?" Although I suppose one of the fundamentals that you can never change is that you can't make people like / behave nicely to other people, no matter how hard you suggest that is what they should do. If the way to be saved is to love, you can never make someone act with love. But if God showed us more love, would it not be easier to love him back?

Then again, does that not run us up against the problem of "sheesh, I killed my son for you, how much more love do you need?" Because I feel I do need more. I don't feel God's love hugely active in the world. Except if I do, it's acting through the wonderful people who I share my life with. But isn't that their love, not God's love? Some of them don't even believe in God. *brain melts again*

They can't all be true in this absolute sense

I do think it was very irresponsible of Jesus (or the Gospel Writers, if it wasn't actually His fault) to go round saying all this stark, absolute, contradictory stuff. If I was the Son of God I'd be much more careful to only say things that were True, and not get sucked into rhetoric. After all, God knows people are crap, and really shouldn't give us more ammunition. Still, he was only human.
From:ex_robhu
Date:August 20th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
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Here's a thought. How do you think the morality of it is affected if it was the aid agency that created the plague in the first place?
From:ex_robhu
Date:August 20th, 2006 04:50 pm (UTC)
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I have said occassionally "I am in awe of Christians...
You are a Christian yourself now though aren't you? A Catholic Christian?
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From:emperor
Date:August 20th, 2006 10:19 pm (UTC)
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Catholic in the "One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" sense, I think :)
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From:ixwin
Date:August 20th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm pretty much in agreement with the opinion in your second paragraph re. utilitarianism. I don't think it just comes down to a post-decision justification of one's gut reaction though - I think you could get two meta-utilitarianists who had different ideas of the right thing to do in a given situation, and it would be possible (although not inevitable) for one to convince the other to change their mind.
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From:king_of_wrong
Date:August 20th, 2006 07:47 pm (UTC)
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Today's reading was John 6: 51-58, where Jesus tells us all to eat him

That was probably just meant for Mary Magdalene (and/or Judas Iscariot, depending on how slashy you like your holy books) ^_^;

OTOH, from the wibbling after the cut, I assumed this was to do with the recent AIDS conference and the US' policies on AIDS aid. I guess that's pretty definitely Scenario 2, however.

No, I don't have any real point here, I just thought I'd chip in...

If I was in the hypothetical situation that I had to shoot one (blameless) man or ten (equally of worth and merit in the world) men would die I don't think I could shoot the man.

I'd shoot the one. Hell, I'd shoot the ten. Maybe I'm not the sort of person who should be giving moral guidance...
From:ex_robhu
Date:August 20th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
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*pre-emptively shoots king_of_wrong*
From:stephdairy
Date:August 20th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC)
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Why the blazes would anyone want eternal life anyway? I get quite bored enough on lonely Saturday afternoons without the contemplation of there being infinitely many of them.

(S)
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From:filecoreinuse
Date:August 21st, 2006 08:25 am (UTC)
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Why can't you just explain why the arm needs painting? Either a member of the tribe assumes the technology of the aid agency is explainable to them and will accept the explanation above or they will assume it isn't and be willing to take it on trust since they don't know what is required for the, apparently, magical vaccine will work.

Seems pretty simple to me.
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From:sashajwolf
Date:August 21st, 2006 02:29 pm (UTC)
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If Aslan is bound by the deeper magic, surely it is the deeper magic we should be worshipping, instead of Aslan?

No - the Deeper Magic is just The Way Things Are. Worshipping it would be like worshipping gravity.
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