Friday, March 30, 2018

The Value We Have

I've long felt that there is only one thing that has true intrinsic value.

He is God.

He is it -- in and of Himself, irrespective of anything else. The only intrinsically valued thing.

Everything else has instrumental value, that is, anything else has value in the perspective of the one doing the valuing. There is one qualified exception to that, however, and it is an important one.

It is that one thing that is instrumentally valued by God, and in a sense does have a certain amount of intrinsic value if we see that for what it is.

That other thing?

The human soul.

If we see the human soul the way God does, we can see it too has a measure of intrinsic value. From that we can value lots of things in lots of ways. We can value things the way we want to, but that leads to all kinds of evil. We can also value things the way God does, and that requires some measure of understanding of His will and purposes particularly when it comes to the way He loves us while at the same time giving us the freedom to make those kinds of value assessments.

I share this because the Bible confirms this, and it does so in a number of ways, but the way I want to elucidate right now is this. It is indeed quite appropriate in that this Sunday is Resurrection Day, since the biblical truth about your destiny is that you are indeed resurrected when you die.

Yes, it doesn't matter who you are or what you did, you will be resurrected. Good, bad, righteous, evil, doesn't matter. You will live forever. Remember, God made you to be an eternal being because of the value He placed in you.

The issue is, will you be resurrected into life, or will you be resurrected into judgment? Will you be in His embrace because you accepted Jesus' atoning sacrifice for your sins, or will you be given over to the consequence of your reprobation, the rest of eternity dwelling in a place God made specifically for you?

Yes, that place is Hell.

One thing that doesn't happen is that you "disappear."

This is somewhat of a big deal now that Pope Francis revealed in an interview that he believes unrepentant sinners will just disappear when they die. Though he didn't exactly say "There is no Hell," there is no other option. He's essentially saying it.

There has been some media attention regarding this statement, and the church is wrestling with the dissembling it must do to try to hold its grip on the faithful, but it is indeed what someone who is completely out of the presence of God and given a position of tremendous authority would say to try to get people to like them. The pope is a Jesuit -- they are experts at this kind of thing.

This idea is also just a corollary to the whole humanist atheist nihilist empiricist perspective that more and more people seem to be very comfortable adopting. There is no life after death, when you die you're done, you vanish, good thing the pope said there is no "Hell" because the whole thing is a superstitious fairy tale, so get over it and get with what us intelligent people know, sheez. Oh and what a great guy the pope is for being honest about things, way to go.

Frequently Heaven and Hell are not capitalized, probably because of some silly journalistic stylebook law. I capitalize them here, by the way, because they are real places. Live in Chicago or New Zealand? Real places. The Bible often itself makes reference to the Greek term, Hades, always capitalized.

What's with how people consider these places now?

First of all, see how the pope is drawing more people into Hell by getting them to appreciate him while drawing them away from Christ who warned about Hell like crazy. He's a great guy because he's insisting no one will ever be in such a place, ::whew::! On the face of it, however, dispensing with Hell also dispenses with morality and freedom. He confesses he's a nihilist after all. And one more thing, the idea of "annihilism" -- that bad people merely disappear when they die, they're annihilated -- has been heretically argued within sects of Christianity for centuries, almost always as a way to kind of soften the magnitude of God's perfect justice, so it doesn't hurt so much. It is nothing new.

Second, all I can think about is how much people are not as much drawn to the pope or any schnazzy guy like that as they are to David Hume.

Yeah, David Hume, the philosopher who said you can't know anything unless you see it or touch it. I mention him because this is exactly what so many brazenly declare.

"Hell! Ha! Where is it? I don't see it! Show me where it is. When I look up I see a sun and stars that are gas and fire, nothing else. When I look down I see ground and we know there is just molten rock underneath. There is no Hell, there is no Heaven, so stop it."

"So you are skeptical about the existence of those things, of Heaven and Hell?"

"Of course I am!"

"Are you sure about that?"

"I'm very sure!"

"Well I think then that I'm more of a skeptic than you are, because I'm skeptical of that. I'm skeptical of empiricism, that you can only know something because you can see it or touch it. No, there are things we can know for sure, and certainly some things to be skeptical about. The real question is, what are the evidences of things and what are the best explanations of things? There are hundreds of things we can know for sure without seeing or touching them -- one of which is the truth that David Hume's empiricism is hokum because empiricism itself is not something you can see or touch, thus making it self-defeating!"

The quite interesting thing about David Hume is that he developed his thinking from instruction he received from Jesuits. Look at his life, and look at how much he resided in the company of Jesuits and how influential they were in his life. I recently read an article -- from The Atlantic even! -- about how he was profoundly affected by Jesuit dabbling in Buddhism -- the religion of nihilism! Jesuits are experts at widely disseminating ideas like empiricism through their academic institutions and media channels.

So it comes full circle, really. A few hundred years ago the Jesuits taught a middling philosopher a way to rationalize the wholesale dismissal of God, that idea continues to weave its way prominently through a Catholicized populace exceedingly ill-equipped to challenge it, and the pope simply presents a bold confirmation about what they really believe about it.

It isn't just the pope. It is everywhere, from all stripes of grandly publicized poobahs who proudly spout these things only because all they know now is existence outside the presence of God. As Cain's minions that is all they understand.

It is fascinating -- as sorrowfully harrowing as it is -- that they can't get how much like Hell that is.

But hey, there's a place for them just the same -- always and forever.