It eats you, starting with your bottom

I recall reading the description of CUWoCS in the Freshers’ Handbook a decade or so ago. Like many religions, they said, we believe that our god will return and condemn people to horrible torture; unlike other religions, however, we don’t claim that this somehow means our god is good.

I mention this partly because there’s a bit more discussion on C.S. Lewis and Timothy Keller’s view on Hell in a thread on my last posting.

However, I mention Great Cthulhu because of a vision that has been given to, no, vouchsafed unto, me, of the time when the Stars are Right and He returns. You can see the full horror. This is a stark reminder of the choice we all face: who will be eaten first?

Thanks to scribb1e, the D&Ders, and the Cthulhu Crochet blog.

12 thoughts on “It eats you, starting with your bottom”

    1. No, definitely it’s the people who worship him who are rewarded with some sort of choice about when to be eaten. Everyone else just has to put up with being eaten whenever he happens to get round to it.

      1. My point was, I was wondering if maybe being given the choice was MORE agonising than not having the choice 🙂

        (You might also comment that discriminating against his own worshippers would be even MORE alien and evil, but I’m not considering that, I don’t think it’s standard)

  1. Subject: one more time!
    another thoughtful set of remarks on Hell:

    http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2009/03/still-in-hell.html

    “RTC” is Slacktivist’s acronym for Real True Christian. He’s going to run afoul of the same criticism you leveled at Tim Keller, namely, he’s not playing by the rules – he’s not an RTC. (As I’ve said, I find it ironic that this is the heart of your criticism, but you’re right – the irony is neither here nor there when it comes to the soundness of your argument. That’s conceded!) Still and all, I hope you’ll take a minute.

    1. Subject: Re: one more time!
      Hmm… Slacktivist doesn’t make the same assertions Lewis and Keller make. At least in that posting, Slacktivist does not say that Hell is actually about the kind of person you’ve become, nor does he assert that becoming a Christian is the only way to become the right sort of person. Slacktivist says that there will be an accounting for evil: that sounds like a much more judicial model than the Lewis/Keller one.

      There are a couple of classes of objection in my original comment, classes which I should have separated out.

      One class contains objections that Keller is inconsistent with himself. My objection to Keller’s Lazarus/Dives stuff is the this sort of objection. Keller says he’s getting his stuff from the Bible and that we should all do the same, but his ideas of Hell don’t seem to fit with that. Of course, just how one gets stuff from the Bible is something that Christians continue to argue about, and I may be reading back my former conservative evangelical interpretation onto the text. But then, Keller may also be reading back his stuff from Lewis onto the text. How do we know who’s right?

      The other class is made up of objections that Keller’s ideas are not backed by evidence. My objection to Keller’s assertion that people who don’t become Christians will all gradually turn into Hungry Ghosts is the latter sort of objection.

      1. We don’t know who’s right. (i.e. You’re right!)

        We don’t know who’s right. (i.e. we have to guess.)

        We don’t know who’s right. (i.e. it’s not a T/F exam)

        When the question is: who will go to Hell? there are no names to be confidently named, on pain of heresy. If it’s: who has been to Hell? the answer is Jesus. One thing I think Keller does well is insist upon and explain the fact that there’s little point talking about Hell unless we’ve come to terms with Jesus first.

  2. OK, I promise the day will come when I don’t keep coming back to this parable-

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/06/opinion/06branch.html?pagewanted=print

    Taylor Branch, biographer of MLK, discusses the last Sunday sermon that King gave:

    What Dr. King prescribed in his last Sunday sermon begins with the story of Lazarus and Dives, from the 16th chapter of Luke. Told entirely from the mouth of Jesus, it is a story starring Abraham the patriarch of Judaism, set in the afterlife. There’s nothing else like it in the Bible.

    Dr. King loved this parable as the text for a fabled 1949 sermon by Vernon Johns, his predecessor at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery. Lazarus was a lame beggar who once pleaded unnoticed outside the sumptuous gates of a rich man called Dives. They both died, and Dives looked from torment to see Lazarus the beggar secure in the bosom of Abraham. The remainder of the parable is an argument between Abraham and Dives, calling back and forth from heaven to hell.

    Dives first asked Abraham to “send Lazarus” with water to cool his burning lips. But Abraham said there was a “great chasm” fixed between them, which could never be crossed. In his sermon, Dr. Johns drew a connection between the chasm and segregation.

    But according to Dr. Johns, Dives wasn’t in hell because he was rich. He wasn’t anywhere near as rich as Abraham, one of the wealthiest men in antiquity, who was there in heaven. Nor was Dives in hell because he had failed to send alms to Lazarus. He was there because he never recognized Lazarus as a fellow human being. Even faced with everlasting verdict, he spoke only with Abraham and looked past the beggar, treating him still as a servant in the third person — “send Lazarus.”

    Dr. King’s sermons drew more layers of meaning from this parable. He said we must accept the suffering rich man as no ordinary, nasty sinner. When refused water for himself, he worried immediately about his five brothers. Dives asked Abraham again to send Lazarus, this time as a messenger to warn the brothers about their sin. Tell them to be nice to beggars outside the wall. Do something, please, so they don’t wind up here like me.

    Dr. King said Dives was a liberal. Despite his own fate, he wanted to help others. Abraham rebuffed this request, too, telling Dives that his brothers already had ample warning in Torah law and the books of the Hebrew prophets. Still Dives persisted, saying no, Abraham, you don’t understand — if the brothers saw someone actually rise from the dead and warn them, then they would understand.

    Jesus quotes Abraham saying no. If the brothers do not accept the core teaching of the Torah and the prophets, they won’t believe even a messenger risen from the dead. Dr. King said this parable from Jesus burns up differences between Judaism and Christianity. The lesson beneath any theology is that we must act toward all creation in the spirit of equal souls and equal votes. The alternative is hell, which Dr. King sometimes defined as the pain we inflict on ourselves by refusing God’s grace.

    Dr. King then went back to Memphis to stand with the downtrodden workers, with the families of Echol Cole and Robert Walker. You may have seen the placards from the sanitation strike, which read “I Am a Man,” meaning not a piece of garbage to be crushed and ignored. For Dr. King, to answer was a patriotic and prophetic calling. He challenges everyone to find a Lazarus somewhere, from our teeming prisons to the bleeding earth. That quest in common becomes the spark of social movements, and is therefore the engine of hope.

    1. How about the part of Keller’s argument where Dives is corrupt (as he must be, since it is his corruption which is Hell, not that God has judged him). On Dives’ pleas for his brothers:

      King: Dives was a liberal. Despite his own fate, he wanted to help others.

      Keller: Commentators have pointed out that this is not a gesture of compassion, but rather an effort at blame-shifting. He is saying that he did not have a chance, he did not have adequate information to avoid hell.

      Keller has to say this, since on his view, Dives’ must by now be completely corrupt, because that’s what Hell is. King allows that Dives has some good left in him. Who’s right? How do you know?

      1. “Completely corrupt,” is an interesting phrase, since “corruption” to me denotes the fouling of something that at one time was fair.

        There is no foul without fair, it seems to me – something I think everyone in the scene (Jesus, King, Keller, you and me) would agree on. Keller’s rich man (he doesn’t call him Dives, after tradition, very intentionally) is dehumanized, not inhuman.

        As far as I can tell, your argument is that homiletics – the fact that two preachers will interpret a passage two different ways (because they are two different men speaking to two different audiences with different purposes) – refutes theology – the idea that there is an underlying truth to religious doctrine, it’s not just a free-for-all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *