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Fear to believe

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exnihilo
917110.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:33 pm Reply with quote

Or possibly the 'traditional' Christian view that if the father was a bad man he's unlikely to be in the same place as good people.

 
'yorz
917117.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:17 pm Reply with quote

So the whole crucifiction thing 'for all mankind' had some small print as well? What a load of crock.

 
CB27
917131.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:16 pm Reply with quote

I didn't think this was going to be a discussion on whether religion is right or wrong, or what the teachings are precisely, but more to do with how to help people who fear death because of what they've been taught.

 
exnihilo
917135.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:26 pm Reply with quote

'yorz wrote:
So the whole crucifiction thing 'for all mankind' had some small print as well? What a load of crock.


Perhaps so. But as this seems to be a Christian afterlife we're talking about surely the distinction between Heaven and Hell (and indeed their suburbs for some) is relevant?

 
'yorz
917141.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:48 pm Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
I didn't think this was going to be a discussion on whether religion is right or wrong, or what the teachings are precisely, but more to do with how to help people who fear death because of what they've been taught.

But one is tightly linked to the other, isn't it? It is precisely that which people are taught that causes the agony. So what can you do to counter that, to bring solace? You can't just invent something to dilute the message, can you?

<Ed> When you believe for 100%, you take on board everything the book and its interpreters throw at you. The problem is those who cannot for whatever reason fully embrace the message, and then got stuck between hope and fear, without being cushioned by belief.

 
'yorz
917144.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:56 pm Reply with quote

exnihilo wrote:
'yorz wrote:
So the whole crucifixion thing 'for all mankind' had some small print as well? What a load of crock.


Perhaps so. But as this seems to be a Christian afterlife we're talking about surely the distinction between Heaven and Hell (and indeed their suburbs for some) is relevant?

But how can a wavering person believe in hell when there's also the forgiveness for the original sin through the crucifixion?
(I'm playing devil's advocate here)

 
exnihilo
917145.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:58 pm Reply with quote

You'd need to ask a Catholic. Forgiveness is available for all but given to all.

That said, if you don't believe how can you fear?

 
'yorz
917152.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 4:18 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
She never was a believer as such, but she'd always wanted to be able to believe.

My main concern indeed is with those who are not convinced, but have been saddled with enough ideas to make them fear the Hereafter because of who may await them.
What could be said to assuage that fear without lying?

When discussing this with Hassan el Kebir, he automatically assumed I was talking about my aunt. I wasn't, but his observation now make it two people that I knew/heard of who were petrified of what lay ahead of them and were literally hanging on for dear life.

 
CB27
917187.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:43 pm Reply with quote

Ahh, I misunderstood and thought this was about comforting someone who was dying. If the question is about how can you stop religion from teaching fear, the answer is you can't.

However wonderful your intentions may be in starting a faith, however sweet and sacharin it's dogma will be, there will always be a point somewhere down the line where either the originator or subsequent leaders will look to use their religion to justify an action they want to take, or an action they want taken, or to attack an action they don't like.

Even if you think you're avoiding punishment by only offering rewards, the lack of a reward is itself a form of punishment. Once punishment exists, it means people will avoid certain actions/thoughts to ensure they aren't punished.

Personally, my ideal would be to have a society without religion, though I think mankind seems not ready for this just yet. This won't get rid of the idea of reward and punishment (legal systems, consumerism, etc), but it can take out the concept where you can't question laws, or that your thoughts are are harming other people.

 
Spud McLaren
917197.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:56 pm Reply with quote

'yorz wrote:
What could be said to assuage that fear without lying?
Dunno. If somebody's got to that stage, then they've lived with their concepts for a very long time and they'd take some shifting. That takes either a lot of time or a deeply cathartic event.

If neither is available, tell the lie, if it stands a chance of being believed.

 
Jenny
917208.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:18 pm Reply with quote

I have no clue whether there is anything you might describe as consciousness for an individual after his or her body dies, but I think if I wanted to comfort somebody in that circumstance I would say that as the message of all of the great religions is that, as Philip Larkin (an atheist, but a perceptive one) says, "what survives of us is love", then after death we would not encounter anything we wouldn't experience as loving.

I'm rather with Peter Pan, who thought death would be a very great adventure - and if it isn't, there won't be a 'me' to know about it. No problem, either way.

 
Arcane
917215.  Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:33 pm Reply with quote

I woul have told her to think that her hereafter is anything you want it to be; and that the door is firmly locked on her father (as it will be with mine). She served her sentence on earth and she deserved nothing of it that should carry over. I don't believe in any god, I don't know what happens after but I do like to believe in time as an abstract construct with no limit - only man has tried to measure time. Reincarnation could simply be an endless cycle of life that means we've all been here before, we just can't get our heads around the idea of what we know literally going on endlessly.

 
sally carr
917270.  Sat Jun 16, 2012 4:20 am Reply with quote

I can go along with that.

 
'yorz
917278.  Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:22 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Ahh, I misunderstood and thought this was about comforting someone who was dying.

It is. It is about people who don't dare to die because of what they fear is waiting for them at the other side. Again - my point is that if everybody's soul is already saved, then everybody will be in that Hereafter, whether you like them or not. I have no idea if anybody managed to put this woman's mind at rest. But there will be more people in that same situation. My aunt in the end was helped by an extra dose of morphine for medical reasons, that also made her relax enough to give over. With her it was also mind over matter, struggling not to go. It is an appalling situation.
The notion of a Hereafter is in principle a nice one if you need that, but it can also be a source of agony, apparently.
As far as I know, the idea about sin and guilt is put there by religion for whatever reason; however, it surely cannot be the case that this side-effect was intentional. But it's there, and how can it be handled without lying?
So I guess that yes, I am very angry, but also - what could theologically be feasible to help people with their transit if they are completely enwrapped in fear? Is there something written that could diffuse that fear, or is a little white lie called for?

 
RLDavies
917290.  Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:04 am Reply with quote

If someone is actually at the point of death, it's too late to engage them in theological debate to try to change a lifetime of belief.

I see nothing at all wrong in telling a lie to bring comfort to a person's final moments -- even an outright, absolutely-contrary-to-facts utter lie. It would be cruelty to do otherwise.

And in this case we can't even speak dogmatically about a "lie", since nobody knows what the truth is.

Even if you're not remotely engaged in the person's beliefs, and can't bring yourself to lie about your own beliefs, you can make "if-then" statements, such as: "If there is a God of infinite love, then he would never allow the hurtful parts of someone's soul to persist in Heaven." If you can't even go that far, then really you shouldn't be near the deathbed.

 

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