• Jack Cummins
    198
    As the resurrection of Jesus is on today's headlines I just thought I would offer another area of thought to ponder about. That is the passage about the unpardonable sin in the gospels, which speaks of this as being 'blasphemy against the holy spirit'. I read it when I was thirteen and got in such a worked up state for about 2 years and it even affected my sleep and school work. In a lesser degree, I continued to worry about it into adulthood.

    After reading in Biblical concordances, when I was 15, I came to the conclusion that blasphemy against the holy spirit was probably the underlying attitude which calls good 'evil' and is opposed to healing love. The person could not be forgiven because they were opposed to the spirit of forgiveness.

    As an adult my philosophy has gone into many territories but the passage in the Bible still fills me with fear and actually, I do find the Bible in general makes me worry about hell and damnation if I read it. That is why I do not quote the whole passage. I think I have some underlying complex about it.

    But as a philosophical problem I was reassured when I read that Jung, in his autobiography, was worried about the problem. Also, Kierkergaard was troubled by it and I have a lot of empathy with his book 'Fear and Trembling'.

    Anyway, I just thought I would raise the passage of the unpardonable sin as a matter for philosophical speculation, as a distraction from the all the worry of the pandemic. But, not meaning to be all doom and gloom, I do recommend the teachings known as 'A Course in Miracles' as an antidote for guilt, although one may question the source and basis of these 'channelled' teachings, but that is in itself another area of debate...

    So for now I just point to the Biblical notion of the unpardonable sin, asking if any others have ever been thrown into philosophical torture over this?
  • david plumb
    36
    What is there to torture yourself about? Intellectual laziness? Anyone overcome by fear of committing the unpardonable sin has surely not done so. The sin is not one simple act but an attitude of defiant rejection of the light.
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    I remember coming across this statement:

    Repent and ye shall be saved — Bible

    My take on unpardonable sins is rather simple: (another quote)

    To err is human, to forgive is divine — Unknown

    The last quote suggests to me that sin is the norm insofar as the world of humans is concerned - we err i.e. we sin. Forgiveness, as the quote clearly states, seems to require superhuman effort and thus to forgive one rises above the ranks to be united with god and get a glimpse of the god's infinite benevolence.
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    I don't think I have a big fear of committing sins now, but I managed to convince myself that I had committed the sin during the night before starting a new school and was not in good form on my first day. I worried about it for months and did not tell anyone. Eventually, I told classmates and the RE teacher found out. He called me in to see me but I don't think he realised that I had not done anything. I think he made presumptions that I had been blaspheming or swearing and did not understand the nature of my fear, which was really about the whole concept of hell.

    I think it was the whole fear aspect of Catholicism. The hell and damnation. Even now, if I have to go to church I do struggle, even though I know that Jesus preached forgiveness. I think I tap into the repressed part of Catholicism and Christianity.

    I have found Jung's critique of religion helpful in understanding the shadow side of Christianity belief. But also, I think my early struggles with religious belief were the starting point for my journey into philosophy.
  • david plumb
    36
    Jack Cummins
    Fides et Ratio - Pope John Paul's encyclical justifies how philosophy and theology are compatible. Catholics are good at the rules, aka the Catechism, to the exclusion of free thought . Some say you are already in Hell because this world is Heaven and Hell. An hour in Aleppo would make you realise which of the two you live in.
  • Philosophim
    348
    Jack, this is more a theology question then a philosophy question. A philosophy question would be more along the lines of, "Is there a wrong that humanity can commit that is unforgivable?"

    That being said, according to many interpretations, the holy spirit is God, and God is the truth. If you deny God, then you deny the truth, and you will not be forgiven on the day of judgement.

    Again, to take this the more philosophical route you could ask questions like, "How does one know the truth? How does one know God?"

    As for your personal fears about theological hell, I am sorry to hear you have suffered over it. While I do believe this should remain in the vein of philosophy, feel free to message me if you would like to discuss the theology of hell more in depth. I went through my own search in Christianity at one time in my life, and I do not mind offering to share what I learned.
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    I replied to you but wrote it in response to your comment in the thread about resurrection accidentally.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    The unpardonable sin is an example of how Christianity uses fear to close itself off from self-examination.
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    I think that the whole whole historical development of Christianity drew upon fear. In particular, the canon of teachings put together by the early Church forefathers, reflects this. Even though I do think that the idea of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be interpreted as a spiritual truth on one hand, there still fear evoked.
    in the Biblical passage.

    I don't think that the fear I imagined, especially as a teenager was simply of my own making.

    As the gospels were written down long and canonized many years after the life of Jesus it is quite likely that the political aspects of The Church were responsible for this fear.

    Philosophy enables the disentanglement of ideas and political factors which influence the development of these ideas.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    Yep. Simply recognising the logic of the unpardonable sin undermines its self-service. The penalty for self-reflection is eternal damnation. A god that sets such rules is evil.
  • KerimF
    99


    About the unpardonable sin (on the Gospel), Jesus reminds me that... if I meet someone who cannot believe/perceive that a divine spirit of love (somehow as true friendship in the material world) exists and has the power, if accepted by two independent beings, to unify them and let them be seen by any outsider as if they were One Being having One Will/Power... the person in question has a human living flesh only to take care of and has, therefore, no choice but to be guided solely by his instincts like any other non-human living thing.
    The good news is that, such a person (a typical one on earth) is satisfied, if not happy, the way he is. And he is ready always to serve the material world by building it and/or destroying it (in exchange of living one or more natural pleasures); as all other living things have certain important roles to play in the world before returning back to the state of void; the state before birth.

    This hint from Jesus is one of many practical hints that help me live in a balanced stable way with whoever I may meet or know without being confused or surprised :)
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    Perhaps, as Jung argued the picture of God, as portrayed in the Biblical Jahweh story, has a wrathful side. This is in contrast to the forgiveness of Christ, and this is the dark side of religion.

    But of course if people don't want to be forgiven to be forgiven that is their problem not God's.

    Of course, the idea of eternal hell is the absolute punishment but perhaps it is best seen as an image rather a concrete reality.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    That's just more belief in god is necessary for being good. Self-serving Christian bullshit.
  • Banno
    9.5k
    perhaps it is best seen as an image rather a concrete reality.Jack Cummins

    Yep. Best to cover the nasty bits of one's religion when walking in public.
  • KerimF
    99
    That's just more belief in god is necessary for being good. Self-serving Christian bullshit.Banno

    I can't see myself Christian.
    Jesus to me is the source of the perfect knowledge (Science of Life Reality) I was looking for (I am a man of reason not faith).
    So to me, Jesus is certainly not another idol to be worshipped and he didn't bring the world a new magic (believe/repent ==> you are saved :) ) as all Churches/Denominations around the world insist on.
  • KerimF
    99


    In reality, we have to admit that it is usual that someone cannot perceive the love as I mentioned earlier while he does perceive very well the sexual one :D
  • KerimF
    99


    Similarly, in the material world, if it happens that someone in not interested, at all, in loving any other sexually, his attitude is also unpardonable by most people in the world :)
  • Jack Cummins
    198
    Of course sexuality is the missing part of this discussion because it is the biggest shadow of religion.

    When I was struggling with ideas of an unpardonable sin that was prior to my own adolescence. Later, I struggled immensely with issues of my own sexuality, especially in my twenties which led me to question religious beliefs much further.

    The Catholic Church is the most repressive regime as far as sexuality. There have been so many instances of priests abusing children, while the official position of the Church condemns gay and transgender people, as well as forbidding abortion.

    While I started out in life worrying about committing an unpardonable sin, the more real concern is the shadow aspects of the Catholic and Christian moral stance, especially those about sexuality.
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    The above response is a reply to your comment.
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    I gave the issue some thought. It seems that when we're in the domain of sin there are, at a minimum, two players: 1. the sinner and 2. the sinned (the wronged). It seems to me that so long as player 2. the sinned exists in one form or another, fae can always pardon player 1. the sinner. If, however, player 1. the sinner completely destroys player 2. the sinned, it would mean that there would be no one left to do the pardoning. In short, a sin that annihilates the sinned, is unpardonable.
  • Jack Cummins
    198

    Well, I was the sinner last night.

    I was staying with my mum and while responding to a thread on this site my mum came rushing up the stairs and said the lights had gone out downstairs. I was a bit annoyed to be disturbed when I was in the middle of writing on my phone.

    I stopped writing reluctantly and then discovered the source of the problem. I had left a tap on in the bathroom accidentally because I had been immersed in reading a reply to my comment on this site

    I spent a long time in the night, with my elderly mum assisting, trying to soak up all the water. In the end I climbed up and have got the electrics working again, but the bathroom carpet is still wet

    But responding to this thread led me to the sin of carelessness and although the wronged against, my mum, did not die she gets anxious, so will she forgive me? Probably every time I use the bathroom she will remind me to turn the taps off properly.
  • KerimF
    99
    While I started out in life worrying about committing an unpardonable sin, the more real concern is the shadow aspects of the Catholic and Christian moral stance, especially those about sexuality.Jack Cummins

    One doesn't have to worry, at all, about the sole unpardonable deny of the divine spirit of love.
    If someone cannot (or is not supposed to) love others, as revealed and lived by Jesus, he simply lives following his instincts of survival that also guide him how to serve life in the world as all other living things are created for. He serves it by building in time of peace and/or destroying in time of war. He, as all other zillion of living things, will end up returning back to the state of void (the state before birth).

    My uncle is a Catholic priest (I am not sure where he is now). He insisted always that 'Jesus only' has the right (and the ability) not to be interested, at all, in having any sort of sexual relationships (by marriage or friendship). The irony is that he used seeing in me a big sinner for my total lack of interest in such relationships. Doesn't this mean he was fortunate for having the chance not to be a sinner, as I am, in this respect?!!! By the way, he used living and working in Paris since many decades ago.

    In reality, the sexual moral (its limits) is always defined by man. Therefore, it is different in different religions and doctrines. And It is also different in the different inherited cultures and rituals.
    For example, I recall when I was much younger (studying at the university), I went to Nantes (West of France, by the Atlantic) as a trainee at the 'Electricité de France' for 2 months (in summer). It took me a month before realising that trying to be an ordinary friend with any boy, I met at work, was a sign of being gay. Naturally, soon after I discovered the city moral of friendship, I was able to become a friend to a local young girl (also a trainee) and, on the same day, she invited me to her family house, I used to be with her most of the day, visiting many places in Nantes (I had enough money to cover any expenses). Unfortunately, I disappointed her because she was very beautiful, to me in the least, but I didn't try to kiss her even once; I was just a good sincere friend.
    Back to the city where I live, the exact inverse moral of friendship in Nantes is applied in it :)
  • KerimF
    99
    it would mean that there would be no one left to do the pardoning. In short, a sin that annihilates the sinned, is unpardonable.TheMadFool

    Actually, when someone hurt another (he sinned due to a self-reaction in response to an unexpected external action, by mistake or lack of knowledge) and for one reason or another:
    {1} he couldn't meet the other side to ask him forgiveness
    {2} it was impossible for him to correct what he did.
    ... he won't feel bad (guilty) if he really admits he did wrong, before himself and anyone he knows.

    Believe me there is always a way to correct any damage indirectly; in case doing it directly is impossible.

    Only denying the unifying love... has no cure in this life and afterlife as well :)
    Denying it is expected from a human who perceives he has a living flesh only to take care of and let it survive, at any cost and as long as possible; as an individual or species. After all, this is exactly what all other non-human living things are supposed to do... guided by their instincts.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    593
    So for now I just point to the Biblical notion of the unpardonable sin, asking if any others have ever been thrown into philosophical torture over this?Jack Cummins

    A long time back I had a short bout with this sort of torture.

    It's difficult to believe but up until 33 years ago I was on my way to become a Christian Apologist.

    Our University had debates over 'god issues' as a practice for philosophy majors to work on skills in debating. I sucked at debate for the most part (still suck at it), but was a sort of 'one trick pony' in defending god's existence.

    In one of the open debates this was the issue at hand and on the counterpoint of my point were two Freshmen who we're worse at debate than I was, so I (knowing this was an exercise in debate) flipped the script and made an effort to help them with their criticism of my positions. Probably for the first time ever I had to pay attention to the counter position and actually debated myself out of my own belief. It was funny to watch as I used two different voices in the debate against myself... it added a comic element to the rather schizophrenia nature of the debate with myself.

    Funny thing was my professors were concerned about me having a possible existential meltdown as a result. Truth is it was just like flipping a switch... no more... no less.

    Considering my active debate with myself was over 90 minutes... YIKES!... I don't really want to give you a manuscript. Most of it was basic and rather boring.

    Anyway...

    I've kind of reach the point in terms of trying to understand the logic in this sort of metaphysics and don't bother trying to understand it anymore.

    If I look at the story narrative itself...

    A god intentionally creates beings to be imperfect, then subsequently blames and holds accountable the imperfectly created beings for the imperfections that same god intentionally placed into them?

    How stupid is that?

    If there's any 'unpardonable sin', it was made by the god itself.

    There is no sin except stupidity. - Oscar Wilde
  • KerimF
    99
    A god intentionally creates beings to be imperfect, then subsequently blames and holds accountable the imperfectly created beings for the imperfections that same god intentionally placed into them?Mayor of Simpleton

    Yes, God intentionally creates beings, also as humans (not just microbes and viruses) to play bad roles against me.
    Without the existence of such humans, I would have no chance at all to feed my soul with the permanent joy by living the unconditional love and care towards them.

    By the way, these humans, you call imperfect, are also made/created so that they are very satisfied, if not happy, the way they are... till they return back to the state of void (the state before their birth).

    As you see, there are no losers but winners (though a few winners only in reality).
    So where is the problem?!!!
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    593
    Yes, God intentionally creates beings, also as humans (not just microbes and viruses) to play bad roles against me.KerimF

    The 'me' of metaphysics... no matter how much happens in the universe... it's all about 'me'.

    It should be called 'ME'physics.

    OH... the humility! ;)
  • KerimF
    99
    The 'me' of metaphysics... no matter how much happens in the universe... it's all about 'me'.

    It should be called 'ME'physics.

    OH... the humility! ;)
    Mayor of Simpleton

    Do you mean that on has to think of 'OTHERS'physics?!
    It happens that the only object/device under test that I can be sure that the results of any test on it are real genuine is MY BEING.

    I mean, do you think there is another object, in your reality, which could be more important to test and analyse than your own being?!
    If it is the case, I am real curious to know what it could be. Thank you.

    Sorry if I didn't understand well your point.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    593
    Sorry if I didn't understand well your point.KerimF
    WOW!

    If I have to explain it... well...

    ... that might explain it.

    There are cases in which folks become so full of themselves that there really isn't room for much else.

    Anyway... my initial comments were directed to Jack, but I will leave this for the fun of it.

  • KerimF
    99
    There are cases in which folks become so full of themselves that there really isn't room for much else.Mayor of Simpleton

    Even at work, I don't base my designs 'blindly' on any work done by someone else. And every time I had a chance to discover a novel solution (in electronics), I took advantage of it in my own projects without waiting someone to confirm it is a useful solution.

    Yes, there is no room in my reality for 'OTHERS'physics. But this doesn't mean I don't respect other's works, ideas and beliefs. I also believe that they surely know what is good and bad for them more than I do.

    Therefore and concerning this thread, should I imitate others who used focusing on the resurrection of Jesus body while ignoring that the entire world witness now the living message of Jesus (after its total death 2000 years ago, as I explained on my first reply on this thread)?
    Edited: sorry, on
    "It is more reasonable to believe in the resurrection of Christ than to not."


    By the way, I don't argue or debate because I didn't meet yet one mature person who thinks he may be wrong in whatever he believes is true and/or real... and useful to him.
  • Mayor of Simpleton
    593
    ... I took advantage of it in my own projects without waiting someone to confirm it is a useful solution.KerimF

    I don't argue or debate because I didn't meet yet one mature person who thinks he may be wrong in whatever he believes is true and/or real...KerimF

    I have really nothing to add, but it makes for a great punch line in and of itself, even if nothing goes over your head.
  • TheMadFool
    7.5k
    @Jack Cummins I hope you're still interested in the subject of unpardonable sins as I have something more to add: Speaking from what I've gathered from the school of hard knocks, how pardonable a sin is to someone is directly proportional to how big that person's ego is. In fact, to tell you the truth, the very nature of sin changes drastically with the size of one's ego.

    Perhaps ego isn't the right word; a better word would be sacrosanct in the broadest sense of that word. So, you could get away easy by spitting at my picture hanging on a wall somwehere - it's a pardonable sin - but be sure that you'll find yourself in a whole lot of trouble if you spit at a church, a temple, a synagogue, or a mosque - it's an unpardonable sin.

    An intriguing aspect, to my knowledge, of Abrahamic religions is god always pardons sinners. I believe repentance is a big deal in these religions. I wonder then why lowly beings like us should be offended when some of us poke fun at god and religion?
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