Category Archives: Religion

Did Judas go to Hell?

This quote was posted on Facebook by Stuart Richardson, a person I shared a class with. It is truly thought-provoking and fits with Good Friday, so here it is:

Many Christians believe in the existence of Hell, but most do not share a single concept of it. Some Christians believe that Hell is only for non-Christians; others have decided that it is only for “truly evil” people.

This leads me to my question: Is Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, in Hell?

First, we can affirm that Judas was a man and, therefore, was no greater than any other human.

Virtually all Christians accept that God is All-Knowing. Similarly, all Christians accept that God sent Jesus to die for the sins of humanity. In order for Jesus to die, someone had to betray him and someone had to execute him. If we acknowledge that God is All-Knowing, then he would have know who would betray and who would execute Jesus prior to that person being born. Thus, by allowing that person to be born, God understood that one day that person would become a betrayer or murderer, and as an unrepentant sinner, this person would one day die without the forgiveness of God. This leads us to a fundamental dilemma.

If we accept that Judas was deserving of Hell, then God essentially made a human who sole purpose was to be a sinner. The argument can be raised that Judas chose to betray Jesus on his own accord; however, it still remains that some had to betray Jesus at some point–someone had to sin. This means that God specifically created a human to be a sinner. This means that the distinction between sinner and saint is completely arbitrary and subject to God’s whim, which presents a theological impasse. There is absolutely nothing that a human can do to change his standing with God.

On the other hand, we can accept that Judas did not go to Hell. In most Christian circles, Judas is the prototypical “sinner.” So, if he didn’t go to Hell, then no one can go to Hell.

Since I believe that all life has meaning–which is given by God–then I cannot accept the former because it depicts a life that is void of meaning. The latter, however, depicts a life that overflowing with meaning. Therefore, it stands to reason that Hell cannot exist.

I have come to believe that people create their own living hells.

What do you think?

Ever since I learned the pope was resigning, I have been wondering how a name is chosen for the pope. This gave me my answer.

“What’s in a name? Clues to be found in next pope’s moniker” by Laura Smith-Park, CNN (4 March 2013)

The secret election to pick a new pope has yet to begin. But whoever is picked may already be mulling over a choice of name — and what it means.

The Forever Imminent Apocalypse

All of you know that Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. In fact he will only be pope for a couple more days. In several news and gossip articles, there is mention the Prophecy of the Popes. According to this prophecy, Pope Benedict XVI (soon to be Bishop Joseph Ratzinger) is the second-to-last pope of the Catholic Church. The next pope is supposed to see us to the end of the world, or at least the end of the “city of seven hills” (most likely Rome).

Let’s just say that this is likely just another apocalypse theory. It seems that people can’t go long without finding some other possible way and time for the world to end. Yes, the world will end some time, but it’s very likely that it won’t end in the next one thousand years. If homo sapiens can manage to live until the end of the Solar System, then there is nothing to fear for the next 4.5 billion years. That’s according to scientists’ prediction of when the Sun will cease to exist as it is now. For those of you who are Christian, here’s a quote from the Book of Matthew (KJV):

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

~ Matthew 24:35-36

Remember, there will always be someone out there who says “the end is nigh.” It is your choice whether you believe this, but no one will really know when the world ends. In the grand scheme of things, it does not matter when the world will end. What really matters is what we say and what we do in the present.

Also, God bless Bishop Joseph Ratzinger and whomever the next pope will be.

 

There are no children of Satan

“Consequently, if you believe God made Satan, you must realize that all Satan’s power comes from God and so that Satan is simply God’s child, and that we are God’s children also. There are no children of Satan, really.” ~ Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

Sacraments: Matrimony

In Catholicism, there are seven sacraments. One of these sacraments is matrimony. We also know about their celibate clergy. The clergy are supposed to be closest to God and are expected to go to heaven for being holy men and women. If this is true, then the clergy should be following all of the sacraments. This makes me wonder: How can we say that the clergy are essentially guaranteed to go to heaven, when (in the Catholic faith) they are celibate and one of the sacraments is matrimony? They can’t ever participate. Please feel free to comment.

Where are the female apostles?

“Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married and the Catholic Church, by far the largest in Christendom, says women cannot become priests because Christ chose only men as his apostles.” ~ Naomi O’Leary. ‘Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ papyrus is a fake fragment, Vatican says. (28 Sept. 2012) MSN.

I find the Catholic Church’s reasoning behind having only male priests is ridiculous. I’m fully aware that doctrine and interpretations of the New Testament only name male apostles, but I still see room for doubt when it comes to only male apostles. How do we really know if Jesus only had male apostles? Isn’t it possible that there were female apostles?

I have to say that the women mentioned frequently in the biblical stories (Mary Magdalene, the other Mary, etc.) were around often and long enough that they could be considered apostles. If there was ever a written record of female apostles, it didn’t fit the social rules of women. It’s very probable that if there were any female apostles, they were stricken from written record because the men couldn’t be nearly as domineering.

Even if only male apostles was a 100% fact, that doesn’t mean women can’t teach or lead churches. Women teach their children. There is no reason to believe that women can’t teach the doctrine of a religion or their own spiritual beliefs.

I have never found citing only men being named apostles as a reason for why a woman couldn’t be a priest(ess), minister, pastor, or some other church leader. Find a new reason that is valid. We don’t live in a world where one sex is better than the other. Men and women are equal, especially in God’s eyes.

Love Thy Neighbor

Proselytizing: Keeping Answers Clear & Simple

New Era is a Mormon magazine for teenagers. They posted a link on September 3 for questions and answers. It’s titled “Answering Difficult Questions about the Church.” This, of course, is preparing teenagers for when they will go on their missions to spread the Good News and the Book of Mormon. People are guaranteed to ask questions about what the missionaries are trying to get us to believe. No. 3 on the list is: Keep answers clear and simple. It goes on to say:

Most people do not expect or want long, complicated answers. Stick to the point and make sure to use plain language and avoid words or phrases that are not understood or mean something different outside of the Church. Keep your answers focused on gospel doctrine rather than speculation or rumor.

I guess I’m not most people. I’m Christian. When other denominations try to proselytize to me, I want the nitty-gritty details. I want to know the beliefs before I join. When I ask a question, not only do I want the truth, I want the details of the beliefs so that I can truly examine the differences and similarities between their beliefs and mine. People are always surprised what the members believe, when they join a group.

If they can’t answer me, I will likely not be interested in joining or learning more. I may decide to examine their scripture or their traditions. If I have a question, I want the answer. It’s fine if you don’t know the answer, but if you do know the answer, tell it to me. Simplifying the answer may make you generalize or leave out some parts that may pique my interest. If you want me to seriously consider joining your faith, I want the full answer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my rant. I’m also sorry for not posting for a while, but I’m back!

Christian Fiction: Jesus’ Perspective

There are different religious fictions, however Christian fiction is the most common in the U.S. It can vary from an inspirational story in modern times to something involving mythical creatures. From there it can also explore the end of the world and the prophets and their relatives.

Anne Rice has done something different. She wrote Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt which is about young Jesus. Yes, it is literally from the perspective of Jesus when he was younger. I find it to be a good book. What do you think of someone trying to write from the perspective of Jesus, if your Christian? Could you imagine what it would have been like for Jesus growing up?

I think it took some bravery and imagination to be able to write a great story from his perspective. I couldn’t fathom what was going through Jesus’ head while he was growing up. Anne Rice’s book enters new territory and bring Jesus to life. It makes him more human and real, in my opinion. She did a great job writing this.

God Has No Religion

“God has no religion.” ~ Gandhi