Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"There Are Nights When the Wolves are Silent, and Only the Moon Howls." -- George Carlin

Happy New Year!

OK, sorry, I was way off on the date... it's July 7th, not January first, my mistake.

The question now is: will you ever be able to forgive me for making such a grave and terrifying mistake vis. the calendar? I mean, to miss it by a day or two is understandable... but by half a year? Unconscionable!

Hey, I spelled unconscionable right the first try! That must count for something!

So my beard is no more. I let it grow longer than it's ever been before, and then I up and shaved it off! Nice and trim and short again... check out the before and after shot...

Not only did my beard get shorter, but my glasses magically disappeared as well! At least the hat remained (to mock me)... I think I like my appearance better with the bushy beard... it hides more of my goofy face. Plus, the bigger the beard, the less massive-looking my nose appears to be. Yeah, that thing on my face that you thought was a two-car garage? Yeah, that's my nose... let's just say I breathe a bit more than my fair share of air each day...

No worries, though! It will grow back! The beard, I mean... not my nose... that won't grow back. Unless I lie. O_O

I decided to brave the crowds and take Youngest Daughter to see the fireworks in lovely downtown Escondido on the fourth. She was so excited - she talked about going to see them all day. We went early so we could find a parking spot by the theater, and sat for an interminable hour near the Starbucks (which had a looooong line way out past the door and along the sidewalk the whole time! Felt so bad for the employees!). The hour took so long because Youngest kept asking when the fireworks were going to start FOR THE WHOLE HOUR. Then when 9pm arrived, they still didn't start them! Then it was "why aren't they starting, dad!?" for 10 more minutes...

I tried to warn her casually that the fireworks were going to be kinda loud, and not to freak out, but Youngest assured me all would be fine. And it was all fine... until about the third firework... at which time she covered her ears, wide-eyed, and began asking to go home... yeah, all that anticipation to see the fireworks, and most of the time was spent walking back to the car, with her trembling face buried in my shoulder. Then I put her in the car with the windows up, where she curled up on the seat for the remainder of the show.

Here's another before and after shot...

From "barely-containable excitement" to "take me home!" in about 30 seconds! A new record!

Anyway, they were literally firing off the fireworks from about 100 yards away from where we parked, so going to the car didn't help things, vis. the noise. But it gave wifey and I a great view of the finale. Wifey recorded it on her phone, and I managed to get the video uploaded to my Viddler account... unfortunately, I don't know how to rotate the video so it plays upright instead of on its side...

You'll have to sort of tilt your head a bit to watch it... the finale starts about 30 seconds into the clip. As you can imagine, it was much better in person...

So here's your Theological Question of the Day, brought to you by Dave's Quest to Understand It All...

I've been pondering the idea of eternal punishment again, and the more I think on it, the less sense it makes to me. What, may I ask, is the point in keep a person alive forever only to torture them? Why not just extinguish them from existence? What could a person possibly do in a few short decades down here on earth, no matter how heinous, to warrant being kept alive FOREVER to endure unimaginable pain and torment? I mean, I know there are evil people out there... but really? FOREVER? Where's the logic in that? If they aren't fit for the kingdom, then why not merely destroy them outright? Unless it isn't forever - but merely a temporary sentence, whereby a chance will be given for parole. "Now, are you ready to play nice now?" I cannot imagine a person spending even a week in the lake of fire who wouldn't be screaming out "OK! I get it! I'll be good now! Pleeeeeeeaseee!!!!!"

Here's another angle. If the punishment is eternal, are the rewards to those that are "saved" also eternal? Will there never be a possibility that at some point in the future, a "saved" person would do something warranting punishment? Are the "sides" locked in at Judgment Day, never to change, forever? Or could a "saved" person be tossed into the lake at some future point, depending on if they screw up or not?

I guess it just boils down to my inability to grasp the idea that a person could ever warrant eternal, unending punishment for something (or a lifetime of somethings) that spanned only a few decades - our life is a vapor, remember...

OK, enough theology for today...

I'm going to end with a video I saw on TBT today, of a little North Korean girl playing a guitar like a champ. Very cool...

Dang. I don't know if that's amazing, or a little sad. Probably both. The hours it must have taken to develop such ability so young. I doubt it was her choice... probably quite a story behind that kid...

If you get a chance, go check out Logan's review of Storm Front by Jim Butcher. He was much more amenable to the book than I was. I may give it another shot in the future, who knows? For now, I'm still diving into Devices and Desires by KJ Parker. Oh, that reminds me... I lent The Folding Knife to Rebecca, who then passed it on to Abbie. From what I understand, neither of them are/were very impressed. Ah, well... such is life, eh? Maybe they can elaborate upon it in the comments section! (hint hint!)

OK, I'm done for now. Adios.


logankstewart said...

Lots going on here, Dave. Easy stuff first, eh?

1. The Speculative Scotsman, a wonderful little blog across the pond, reviewed The Folding Knife a few days ago here.

2. Fireworks are strange sideways.

3. Noooooooooooooooooooo! Not the beard.

4. Because God is a just and fair God. If you ponder the point of punishment/reward, then you might as well ponder the point of life. Why are we created in the first place, eh? Putting our heads around the concept of eternity is impossible and maddening, but I think forever means forever when it comes to the Bible. Still, the idea of Hell is tragic.

People were made to worship God and give Him glory. If we don't do that, we're condemned to die from breaking the law. Likewise, here on earth, heinous crimes result in death sentences or life in prison. Maybe God looks at all those who reject Him as heinous criminals, as it was their sin (and ours) that led to the heinous death and torture of His Son. God's judgment is like a "life in prison" sentence for that. Thankfully, God's mercy extends in that He's forgiving of those that confess their sins and depend on Him.

Your theological questions make me think too much. I'm sure there's more on this I could write/say, but I've no time.

Abbie said...

hey dave, nice fireworks video! I love the sound of them!

About your question, here is what I have gleaned from Lloyd in his sunday school classes, lol :)

The reason it is going to be for ETERNITY is because those in the lake of fire are the ones deserving of it. Lake of Fire (LOF) people are of course judged by God but Lloyd thinks that basically they are those who will not ever admit that there is God or subject to Him. thats why its forever. They made up their mind and that was the worst sin you could have, i guess.

Also, about the unending "rewards", Lloyd always loves to give the "field trip" analogy. How it goes is if someone in the Kingdom thinks their will is better than God's, then one of the rulers will take him to see LOF and say, if you aren't going to submit to God's will, which was proved on earth to be the ONLY and BEST will, then you will end up here.

So, I think I agree with Lloyd's opinion. It makes sense to me....

Drydoryssus said...

Hmm ...

To be frank, I don't like the direction the aforementioned comments go, this sort of "worship, obey, and believe in me (God) and only me (1st Commandment) or I'll fry you in Hell till God (me) knows when".
( Doesn't that also mean non-Christians go to Hell anyway ? )

I mean, God's supposed to be a loving father, and as such he rewards and punishes accordingly, to bring out the best in you. Yet this attitude is more fit to an extorting bully rather than a loving father.

How is eternal torture supposed to make you better ? The furthest a father (God) should ever go is to give up on you and kick you off his house (kingdom/existence), not hold you down and make a hell of your life (death).

One could as well say that the concept God is out of human logic and therefore can't be compared to a human father.
A strong point for off-logic/theologic arguments, but seriously, the way it's extensively used to ultimately seal up the route of every train of thought pondering the divine, really gets on my quirky nerves.

And after all, aren't God's teachings all about being nice and virtuous without prospect of reward ?
What's the point of eternal Heaven / eternal Hell if that's valid ?

Scenarios/questions to contemplate :
1. Is God vindictive ? ( Absurd ! )
2. Is God unloving ? (Absurd !! )
3. Is God unforgiving ? ( Absurd !!! )
4. Is the clergy trying to scare us ? ( Hmm ?.. What say you ? )

Sheesh, Religion 's full of bad-mannered absurdities.
That's why I prefer Math.

You look much more majestic and serious with the beard, by the way ...

David Wagner said...

I don't know, Logan... I can't really see the "just and fair" in the idea of eternal punishment without chance for parole (so to speak). We didn't really have a choice, whether or not we were born "sinners" separated from God. He made us that way! And what if a person that rejects Him is rejecting an incorrect version of Him? Or what if his/her upbringing made it impossible for him/her to embrace God? Like extreme abuse at the hands of parents who claimed to be believers, etc.?

I'd like to think that if there are people who will be in the lake forever that it will be a ridiculously minuscule number, and that everyone would be able to look at the story behind that particular person and say, "In this case, I understand the eternal punishment."

Still, if God can do anything, He can change a person's heart, can't He? Would it really be unreasonable to think He could heal some hopelessly broken, rebellious person, so they can be at peace and allowed a place in His kingdom to thrive?

Abbie: Again, the issue of "deserving" such an unending, horrifying punishment... what would be the point in creating people who were born condemned... and born condemned to such an unimaginable fate! I just don't get it. It would much infinitely more sense to me if the lake itself existed forever, but those that need to spend time in there are constantly rotating. Like Extreme Prison or something. Otherwise, I just don't see the point... again, why not destroy offenders outright? Why keep them alive forever in such torture?

Dry: I'm apt to agree with you that it doesn't really strike me that the punishment (if it is true as widely presented and embraced) in any way fits the crime(s).

I guess I'll just have to read the Book some more to see what it literally says. If it turns out that indeed it is eternal punishment, then I suppose I'll have to accept it... though I'll hold my nose to do it... (it takes two hands to hold a nose of my size...)

By the way, I think I am going to grow the beard back. I miss it.

Abbie said...

well, like i said to you later, we just have to trust that God knows what he is doing and that he is going to do it fairly and justly, no matter where he puts us. :/

havah said...

Happy New Year to you, according to my spring cleaning calendar.

The beard. Hmm. You could get rid of it entirely you know. *hides*

I didn't get to see fireworks this year, so thanks for the display! I think the sideways look was pretty cool actually. I always want to take my one nephew, but he gets scared of loud noises too -- the vacuum used to make him nuts -- so I'm a little wary.

Theological Question. Like I don't have problems of my own? (j/k) The way I look at it is that if, through your rejection of Christ/God, you are eternally separated from God, then He's not going to be there to scare away the bogey man for you -- so blame the devil for what happens after that.

Great guitar player; sad little face.

Sorry I haven't been reading or commenting more. I've been in crisis mode.