December 20, 2011

Something Wonderful: "And it should be, it should be, it SHOULD be like that! Because Horton was faithful! "

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Copyright © Jim Benton
Posted by Vanderleun at December 20, 2011 2:57 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Have you become a universalist, man?

Posted by: Jewel at December 9, 2010 5:32 PM

I think George MacDonald would approve.

I think I do, too.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 9, 2010 5:38 PM

I guess I don't get it, then. Or understand. It's cute, and gives me a warm runny feeling, and not in a good way.

Posted by: Jewel at December 9, 2010 7:50 PM

Sometimes wishes and prayers are indistinguishable.

JWM

Posted by: jwm at December 9, 2010 9:01 PM

Nice.

This would fit nicely under the 'Something Wonderful' category.

Posted by: cond0010 at December 9, 2010 10:50 PM

Wonderful cartoon! But where's it from?

Posted by: Erich Schwarz at December 9, 2010 11:37 PM

Who will be in charge of the seating arrangements? Will they be serving pie in the sky? What if the cannibals start eating the other guests, is there a separate card table for them? Maybe this will explain my position more fully:
http://tinyurl.com/28928th

Posted by: Jewel at December 10, 2010 1:51 AM

Everybody hurts himself. That's the whole problem.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 10, 2010 4:48 AM

Must be my straight forward redneck mentality. I just don't get it.

Posted by: Cilla Mitchell, Galveston Texas at December 10, 2010 5:32 AM

C'mon, commenters! One does not have to be a universalist to take comfort and joy from this cartoon and the first letter to Timothy in which Paul describes God as "our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." Let yourselves be comforted and stop seeking conflict in charitable posting.

Posted by: Bill from Fairfax at December 10, 2010 6:04 AM

Thanks, Bill!

God Bless us, every one.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 10, 2010 6:35 AM

I think the cartoon exemplifies a Swedenborgian sort of conception. "Isn't it pretty to think so?" It is very hard for many of us to accept that unconditional love and compassion await all of us, rather than fire and brimstone. But so it is -- not that the fires that will be required to purify us from the dross won't be hot.

Posted by: Punditarian at December 10, 2010 7:05 AM

The cartoon expresses a beautiful sentiment. It definitely should be marked as "something wonderful".

The cartoon does not mock, ridicule or hurt anyone. Death is the great unknown. Wouldn't it be nice if this is what happens after we pass on? I know I'd enjoy it, especially of all my beloved pets got to come too. What's wrong with that?

And I'm an atheist.

Posted by: pdwalker at December 10, 2010 8:05 AM

Take it from someone that was sure he wasn't getting crumbs off the floor, much less a seat at the table. Everyone of you remind someone to pass me the gravy when you arrive.

As a few of my friends have mentioned,"Thank God I didn't get what I deserved". Enjoy the meal.

Posted by: Dennis at December 10, 2010 9:12 AM

Remarking it up here, boss.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 10, 2010 9:24 AM

It's possible to simultaneously hope this is how it works out for everybody, and know (or at least strongly suspect) better.

Posted by: Rich Fader at December 10, 2010 10:41 AM

From a dear friend whose take on this is far better than my own:

"our Grandfather in heaven" who is happy only if everyone has had a lot of fun and had a nice day. This is, as CS Lewis calls it, boys' philosophy. The kind of people who believe this stuff also expect Christ to return (if He returns at all) riding a pink "my little pony" with saddlebags full of sparkly treats and lick'em-aide sticks for the survivors of the wrath of the Lamb.

Posted by: Jewel at December 10, 2010 2:52 PM

This is so awesome, that it's in danger of falling into a Black Hole of Awesome.

Posted by: Borepatch at December 10, 2010 3:57 PM

Well, Jewell, I'll take the Pink Pony over the sword of fire come to judge the quick and the dead. In which case, you'd better be packed.

Posted by: vanderleun at December 10, 2010 5:30 PM

Jewel:
I've always enjoyed your comments here, but I'd ask you to think again on the cartoon. Perhaps it is theologically problematic, and maybe even sentimental, to boot. The cartoon is simple, but not simplistic. Somehow it resonates very deeply with many who read it. It goes straight to that lump-in-your-throat, and gettin' all misty nerve, and hits it like ice water on a filling.
Why?
Because, religious or not, our very deepest of yearnings is to hope that (as Gerard noted) it will indeed "be like that".

Consider PD Walkers comment.

Anything that can reach people the way this little cartoon has done is touching on something, well-
wonderful.

JWM

Posted by: jwm at December 10, 2010 7:34 PM

You misspelled my name, Gerard. No penalty. Enjoy your pretty pink pony ride. The fiery sword of judgment of the quick and dead comes to dispatch on horsies of much paler hues, methinks. Or so I've read. For the man, woman and child denied justice and mercy in this life by the cruelty of God's other children, the only comfort they have in the Feast of the Hereafter is that those mean kids aren't coming for dinner. Why should they? How does that make you feel such comfort? Some kids don't 'hurt themselves' you know. I prefer to comfort myself with the hope of every tear being wiped from my eyes by a just and loving God.
So it's said that the eye hath not seen, nor ear hath heard what He has in store for those who love Him. I look forward to meeting you in the Great Beyond, without my blue pencil, Gerald.

Posted by: Jewel at December 10, 2010 8:10 PM

Jewel,

I see the point you're trying to make. As C.S. Lewis pointed out in his series, "The Chronicles of Narnia", Aslan the Lion (Narnia's version of Christ) is not tame or "safe".

But, as the preachers keep telling us, God has already forgiven us for whatever we have done (or will do) in this life. Our part of the "bargain" is to accept that forgiveness. And that's not an easy thing for us proud and petty creatures to do.

The cartoon is a visual version of an old quote from Seneca:

"We do not even know ourselves; therefore, how can we judge a neighbor? No one knows what makes a man, and only God knows his thoughts, his joys, his bitterness, his agony, the injustices committed against him, and the injustices he commits. All lives, whether good or in error, painful or happy, are only a prologue to love beyond the grave, where all is understood and almost all forgiven."

Those words are at once comforting and terrifying-- because the only thing God cannot forgive is unbelief, or, if you prefer, a refusal to accept His forgiveness. And accepting His forgiveness is a very hard thing to do.

My two cents' worth.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at December 10, 2010 8:19 PM

I'm an agnostic, and I like it. It's whimsical and good-natured. I think some people are going a little overboard with theological interpretations.

"I hurt myself" kind of made me misty-eyed. Yet there's a bit of theological (or metaphysical) depth in that simple statement. He didn't say "I died" or "I was killed".

Yes, a multitude of pets should definitely be hanging around the dinner table, and they should get all the table scraps they want. This is what awaits us on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

At least, it's nice to think so.

Posted by: rickl at December 10, 2010 9:34 PM

"The natural man wants the pink pony, needs the pink pony..."

Actually, Jewel and Mr. I-RIGHT-I, this particular "natural man" had pretty much given up on the idea that God could be anything but a hostile dictator, before seeing this cartoon. The reason I'd given up on that idea is that I'd read far too many disquisitions by people like yourselves, who by your own account are His only genuine followers.

What is it that you are trying to achieve, and how well are you actually achieving it?

By the way, I found the original source; it's here.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz at December 11, 2010 1:30 AM

Sorry if I gave you all the impression of having an exclusive club mentality. I don't judge who is and who isn't a genuine follower. I've long given up on any particular denomination as a route to the Pearly Gates, and I haven't been to church in a very long time. The only god I know of who's a hostile dictator isn't the God of Abraham. Also, I haven't posted any disquisitions, unless you count the opinions here as overly long. What do you want? An entire thread posted by yesmen? Is it possible to disagree without being disagreeable? I just disagree with the premise, that's all! Simple, no?

Posted by: Jewel at December 11, 2010 2:17 AM

PS. The comments here are thoughtful and reasonable, even the snarky woman whose disagreeing with everyone. A tribute to the kind of readers Gerard attracts. Click the link to the original source...if your stomach can handle it.

Posted by: Jewel at December 11, 2010 2:23 AM

Without going too much deeper into MacDonald's background (he was Lewis' mentor), suffice it to say he had a father's heart that knew all the pain and terror of losing a child to sickness, the penury of his curacy, the loneliness of his voice against the Calvinism of his day. He knew something about the heart of the fiery preachers and the people such preaching appealed to. He knew something about the tenacious heart of God and the more terrifying desire He has to see us good since He made us to be good.

He dwells outside of time and space. He has a good, long time to bring even the most heinous heart to heel. Even mine. As though my own sins were more easily forgiven than another's? I didn't create the more offensive of our species and they will not have to answer to my understanding. And that is a stumbling block for some: that God might let someone else off the hook.

Either His ways are higher than ours, or He is completely knowable and predictable and not worth another moment's consideration.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 11, 2010 6:26 AM

I'm a fugitive from Calvinism, Joan. And His ways are higher than my ways. As it should be.

Posted by: Jewel at December 11, 2010 7:14 AM

The discussion here is not revealing who is a Universalist and who a Calvinist, but who accepts the Word of God as it is, and who thinks it is just another book of human guesswork on topics beyond our knowing.

Universalism is a speculation drawn from all that is human is us. The Jewish mystics with their Kabbalah, ancient Greco-Roman writers, some of the Orthodox Church fathers, even a few of the Muslim sufis believed or at least hoped that there would be a great restoration of all things, including the "salvation" of all souls and spirits, even demons, even Satan himself. This, only in the Western culture. In the Eastern culture, in Hinduism, Buddhism, and the religions further east, the idea often doesn't even reach the point of discussion, because a different universe is posited. In Hinduism, for example, the fall and the restoration is endlessly cyclical, and the universe populated by the same myriads of beings in perpetual metamorphosis.

The Word of God as it is. People will tell you there's no such thing, because not only every religion but even every individual interprets it differently, and there is no agreement on anything.

I beg to differ. As Hypatia the great philosopher of Alexandria who was murdered by "Christian" monks says in the film "Agora": "There is more that unites us than divides us." This is true also of the plain meaning of the Bible, which is the verbal ikon of the Word of God Jesus Christ and the only divine scripture on earth (don't worry, brothers, I have my shield up). There really is such a thing as "the Word of God as it is," but it is only known by those who live in it, and in that divine House all eat at the same banquet Table the divine Food, here and now, and don't even have a thought for the sort of thing shown in the cartoon under consideration. Only fools who stand outside the House dream up such things, are given to such speculation. But the inhabitants of the House, the Word of God, they need not speculate. They live in the Word of God, know it as it is, agree on what they see, believe what they know and Who they trust, and being fed and watered by the Bread of Life and the Water that need be drunk only Once, they have left the unknowable uncertainties behind, shed their shadows, and live in the Light.

“Now Your Word is a lamp to my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105 Jerusalem Bible)

Who accepts the Word of God as it is, and who thinks it is just another book of human guesswork?

Posted by: Romanós at December 11, 2010 9:33 AM

“…this particular ‘natural man’ had pretty much given up on the idea that God could be anything but a hostile dictator, before seeing this cartoon.”

Funny, as an adolescent growing up in a traditional Catholic family where there were pictures on the wall of humans crying out with uplifted hands from the fires of purgatory to a glorified woman and baby sitting on a cloud and flanked by bodyless (read ‘heads only’) angel babies, I had this awful impression that God was a hostile dictator who would stop at nothing to roast me alive forever for my smallest breaking of His commandments (and I’d broken so many, even by the age of eight), but fortunately for me I didn’t have to wait for a cartoon like this one to deliver me from that perilous thought.

I found out who God really was and how He deals with us by picking up that dusty old family bible one day and actually reading it, yes, cover to cover, from gory start to gory finish, except that between all that gore (which I noticed, by the way, was always to do with man’s rebellion and selfishness), I also read of a God who loved us so much that He was willing to become one of us and join us in all our suffering (yeah, ‘I hurt myself’), and provide a way out of it forever. This is the God who says, “I will wipe away every tear from their eyes” and who has it as part of His plan to make “a new heaven and a new earth.”

Wake up, brother, and don’t wait for cartoons and fantasies to deliver you from real dangers. God is no more a hostile dictator than the natural universe is, but there is danger from both to the ‘natural man’ who has chosen by his intransigence to become flakes and cinders with the rest of the created order when the lights finally go out on our world. A door has been opened to you by Jesus Christ, Him who says ‘I am the Door.’ Don’t be like the men of Sodom who, lusting after angels’ flesh, could not find the door to open it. Instead, when you hear the Beloved knocking, run to open your door, and welcome Him, lest you like the woman in the Song of Solomon have to run through the city looking for Him, and even getting beaten by the guards, may never find Him again. They say, ‘opportunity only knocks once.’ Could this be the opportunity for you?

Posted by: Romanós at December 12, 2010 7:51 AM

Romanos,

It's a small and petty God who would knock only once. God is knocking on the doors of our souls all the time, and will do so forever, if that's what it takes to get us to open the door. We just have to have the ears to hear His knocking. That is the rub.

This business of there being only One True Way reminds me of a story about the father of a close friend of mine. Mr. Mitchell (my friend's father) was born and raised Quaker, and later converted to Episcopalianism. He was a relaxed and easy-going sort, but even his patience had its limits.

He had this neighbor (let us call him "Joe") who was a hard-shell Baptist, and would always come over and button-hole Mr. Mitchell about religion and the desirability of becoming a Baptist. One day, Mr. Mitchell decided that he had had enough:

"Joe, when you go to Heaven, are there going to be any Methodists there?"

"No, Mitch, they don't believe in the correct way."

"OK, Joe, how about the Muslims and the Jews?"

"No, Mitch, they deny the divinity of Christ."

"Well, how about the Hindus and the Buddhists, and all the other people who may have never even heard Christ's message?"

"No, Mitch, they won't be there, either."

"What about the Catholics, Joe?"

"Good Heavens, Mitch! Surely you're joking!"

"Joe, don't you think that when you get to Heaven, it's going to be a pretty lonely place?"


This world needs more people like Mr. Mitchell in it.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at December 12, 2010 1:41 PM

I agree, brother, that it's a small and petty God that would only knock once. My last paragraph was alluding to the scene in the Song of Solomon (chapter 5), where the Beloved thrusts His hand through the hole in the door to try to undo the latch, because the Bride was too lazy to get up and open the door for Him, and so He left. There was no implication, unless you put it there, that the Being knocks only once; in fact, He is knocking on our door 24/7-365, but like the Bride, we're too lazy and we make excuses, "I have washed my feet, am I to dirty them again?" (Song of Solomon 5:3). The too small and petty God that you speak of may be yours, but he's not mine, nor is he the God of the Bible.
Your anecdote is one I have heard before, and again, it is a straw man that is rigged up like a scarecrow on a gallows, so you can mock it and set it afire. A man who calls himself a Baptist, an Episcopalian, a Unitarian, a Catholic, a Presbyterian, an Orthodox, a Methodist, a Non-Denominational, or whatever, is not by that declaration a Christian, nor is it a guarantee that he is follower of Jesus, a worshipper of the Father in spirit and truth, a theologian, a bible scholar or, for that matter, even a nice guy. These are all names, targets for nitpickers and accusers. The real God, the Being, the Divine Nature, as I've written, is there, is concrete, is solid, is more than real, is much more than we can imagine, yet He does scale Himself down for our puny minds and hearts to get at least the beginnings of His truth into us, feeding us like babies from a baby spoon with pabulum and fruit smoothies until we grow some teeth.
Don't be smug and satisfy yourself with a boys' philosophy of God, but be willing to risk everything and run after the Truth, because the Truth is, He is running after you.

Posted by: Romanós at December 12, 2010 2:32 PM

Romanos,

Um, the point of my post was not to put down Baptists, or any other sect. The point was to put down narrow-mindedness, and all of us are guilty of that at one time or another in our lives.

Or, to put it another way: when it comes to matters religious, we may all be mistaken.

Even you and me.

Hale Adams
Pikesville, People's Democratic Republic of Maryland

Posted by: Hale Adams at December 12, 2010 3:14 PM

As Basil of Caesarea says, "We are all deceived."

Fortunately, the truths of faith in Christ and in the authority and reliability of the Bible as God's Word still stand.

Narrow-mindedness, brother, can only be put down if you are willing to put down the Son of God for it.

"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it," says Jesus (Matthew 7:14).

Is He lying, or telling the Truth?

Ah yes, but then, as Pilate asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:38)

Brother, I already know we are not speaking the same language, so go in peace.

Posted by: Romanós at December 12, 2010 3:31 PM

Props to Hale Adams.

Posted by: Daphne at December 12, 2010 4:01 PM

Pffft!! The disciples were all scardy-fied and hiding behind closed doors for fear and sorrow and bewilderment, and Jesus didn't even knock. The original Die Hard, he just strolled right on in.

Yeah, that's the kind of Hero I'm looking for; the kind of God worth finding is the One who is looking for me even when I'm stupid and scared and in a state of betrayal to save my own skin and don't even realize that He's alive. One who calls my unbelieving bluff and gently trumps,showing His wounded hand.

If merely correct thinking will count us among the saved, then we are all lost. I've walked that path of control and called it faith. Better to ask for knowledge than assume one knows anything.

I only know one thing. And even that was given to me, so underservedly. Oh, happy day!

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 12, 2010 7:16 PM

"If merely correct thinking will count us among the saved, then we are all lost."

Bravo, you have spoken true!

"The disciples were all scardy-fied and hiding behind closed doors for fear and sorrow and bewilderment, and Jesus didn't even knock. The original Die Hard, he just strolled right on in.

"Yeah, that's the kind of Hero I'm looking for; the kind of God worth finding is the One who is looking for me even when I'm stupid and scared and in a state of betrayal to save my own skin and don't even realize that He's alive. One who calls my unbelieving bluff and gently trumps,showing His wounded hand."

These words are so awesome and true, sister, and written with such invincible gusto, that I wish to quote them in my blog tonight, without any comment, just an image. Will you allow it? And may I give your real name (which I do not know)?

Romanos

Posted by: Romanós at December 12, 2010 7:44 PM

Joan,

I couldn't wait, but published it at Cost of Discipleship, http://cost-of-discipleship.blogspot.com/2010/12/overheard-and-glad-i-did.html

I postscripted a caveat, saying that if you didn't give me permission to quote you, the post would be taken down, and of course, I will honor that.

But your words were like the "astrapi tis theotitos" with which Christ shattered the power of Hades in going down to death, they shatter the false, religious image, and leave only what is really there.

I hope you will permit my post.

Thanks,
Romanos

Posted by: Romanós at December 12, 2010 7:59 PM

"... what's your next step?"

1. To love people. As best I can. Failing daily, getting up and trying again daily.

2. To become less ignorant, daily.

In other words, to pursue Truth and Good.

Those aren't the answers you probably want to read -- I think you'd be displeased with any answers that didn't end in Chesterton's Orthodoxy -- but Truth and Good are the only two ideas I've come across that aren't lies, grandstanding dominance games, guesswork by blind primates, or outright junk. God isn't the answer at all if He is considered more valid than Truth, more authoritative than Good -- if He is, then religion becomes devil worship.

Truth and Good are surprisingly difficult to put into practice. It can take a lifetime to merely start.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz at December 13, 2010 10:33 AM

Erich,

Are you mad? Get a grip, brother, not a gripe!
You don't know me worth beans to say such things as "Those aren't the answers you probably want to read -- I think you'd be displeased with any answers that didn't end in Chesterton's Orthodoxy." I've never even read Chesterton.

Truth and Good are, apparently, only ideas to you, but to us, they are attributes of the Divine Nature, of God.

To write, "God isn't the answer at all if He is considered more valid than Truth, more authoritative than Good -- if He is, then religion becomes devil worship," is pure nonsense. You can't say God is more valid or less valid than Truth. Why? Because He IS Truth. The same goes for Good. God more authoritative or less authoritative than Good? That's saying, "God is more valid/authoritative or less valid/authoritative than God." Again, it is nonsense.

I like your points 1 and 2, at the beginning of your comment. Those are my two points too. Congratulations! We're both human!

Posted by: Romanós at December 13, 2010 2:14 PM

"The word I'd use is 'impossible'."

And yet, we have observed a Nobel Peace Prize being given in 2010 to Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident who is not Christian.

I don't agree with you that Truth and Good are completely impossible for mortals to achieve in any way, or that Jesus is required for them. I think they're fantastically difficult and that nobody I personally know -- Christian or not -- has gotten very far in pursuing them. That doesn't make the pursuit worthless; on the contrary.


"... those comments you directed at me and the others are ... meaningless and somewhat insulting."

They may be wrong, but they're hardly meaningless, or you'd have nothing in them to refute -- it'd be like refuting gibberish. Calling them meaningless is substantively untrue.

As for "insulting": really? In what way?

Posted by: Erich Schwarz at December 14, 2010 7:52 PM

"Truth and Good are, apparently, only ideas to you..."

You write that because you think an idea is "only". Plato knew better.

Posted by: Erich Schwarz at December 14, 2010 8:00 PM

And there's the ikon of Plato, along with the other ancient philosophers, on the walls of the exonarthex, the outer entry porch of an Orthodox Christian temple, demonstrating that they are recognized and valued for the wisdom with which the Divine Logos invested them, but which was partial, incomplete, because He had to reveal it fully, and that only in His becoming a man Himself. Their ikons are there, but on the outer wall, not the inner wall, of the temple, because their earthly lives were too early to receive Him. Yet with Adam and Eve, with the patriarchs and prophets and saints of Old, they too were relieved of their sojourn in Hades by the Living God, who went down to the depths, like a diver retrieving some lost treasure in the dark depths of the sea, and brought them up to Light, captured and presented as tribute to God His Father.

All who truly seek Life will find it, and no others.

Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Posted by: Romanós at December 14, 2010 9:05 PM

I'm late to the party, but there is a Jewish tradition that the first question asked of a soul after death by the Lord is, "Did you enjoy my world?"

I don't understand the animus this cartoon could evoke, It's simple and profound.

Posted by: Joe Y at December 24, 2010 10:41 AM

you may not uses this image of mine without my copyright notice attached.

Posted by: Jim Benton at February 13, 2011 1:43 PM

Is Kim Jong Il going to be seated next to Vaclav Havel in the Heavenly Feast?

Posted by: Jewel at December 20, 2011 7:15 AM

I still think this is wonderful. Thanks, Gerard.

Posted by: Julie at December 20, 2011 7:43 AM

"Is Kim Jong Il going to be seated next to Vaclav Havel in the Heavenly Feast?"

Was Christopher Hitchens a child of God? These questions and others will be answered in the fullness of time.

I hated this cartoon a year ago and I still hate it.

Posted by: I-RIGHT-I at December 20, 2011 7:45 AM

I take it the little fellow's name in the cartoon isn't Himmler.

Posted by: gedaliya at December 20, 2011 11:55 AM

I appreciate the sentiment behind this cartoon, but Jewel is right: it reeks of universalist theology of the happy-clappy, cheap-grace, praise-band wishful-thinking school.

Fact: Only members of the Church get into Heaven. We have Jesus' word on it. Sheep go to Heaven; Goats go to Hell. This means that some people will not be there. That being said, we have no way of knowing for certain who is or is not a Sheep. Christ Himself said [Matthew 25:31-46] that some who think themselves Sheep are actually Goats, and vice-versa. Best strategy: spend less time guessing the eternal destiny of others and "strive to enter" the sheepfold every day. Luke 13:23-30... brrrr.

Posted by: B Lewis at December 20, 2011 2:46 PM

It's not so shallow as it seems. It's not a blithe take on feel-good religion. It's a hard truth. Harder still because we want to feel that we have some sort of righteous standard of degree and intensity against which to contrast our self-assessment of our spiritual progress. Or lack thereof.

The light of our human, finite understanding is so dim next to the uncreated Light of Life that when we look upon its face, His face, that one glimpse will tell us that our best thoughts, our best moments as humanity don't even make it through the starting gate.

Comparing our earthly understanding of good and evil to its eternal meaning will be seen as a gasping blasphemy of the Eternal Good. It is too high and marvelous for any of us. Our earthly measurements will dissipate into the vapor of boundless Love, unending joy. We shall shake ourselves and realize we but dreamed a good or terrible tale. Lives lost to evil are not lost to Heaven and the evil that men have done will be powerless to be done again.

To imagine even a memory of evil, to care about retribution, anger, resentment or vengeance in that Presence is to imagine oneself as perfect; an omniscient and final arbiter of what we barely understand.

We lost over 600,000 men in the brutal Civil War. 50 years after its end, there was a reunion and re-enactment held for the survivors. They lined up on respective sides of the lines, ready to charge. But the men, at the sound of the battle cries gave a collective groan and with grateful, glad hearts rushed to embrace their former enemies and wept with brotherhood and common joy that they had awakened from that nightmare together.

Posted by: Joan of Argghh! at December 20, 2011 3:54 PM

Joan, that was beautifully put. To it I would add the following:

Isn't it possible that, just as all men are created in the image of God - no exceptions - and just as all of creation is, in fact, of God, that somehow at the end of eternity in the unfathomable after, all things will indeed return to Him who made them?

This is not at all to say that there is no justice, nor even that there is no Hell; Lord knows, we give ourselves a taste enough of that even in the here and now. Rather, it is to say that there is a hope that somehow, given time enough to be cleansed of our sins - following an eternity in hellfire, perhaps - all shall be redeemed. God's ways are not our ways, and His love is not ours. Inconceivable as it may be, I do believe that He loves even the most unlovable, despicable and vile human beings who ever lived, and longs, as any good parent does (times infinity) for even those to find their way home. Even if all that remains after all that purification is an atomistic speck of ash.

Posted by: Julie at December 20, 2011 4:57 PM

After reading this cartoon and the comments that followed I would simply say this: There needs to be some desire to have a direct connection to God. Some where inside there needs to be devine contact. We must each have a revelation, a devine contact which in and of itself, however brief, will reveal God's presence in this world and our lives. Without personal revelation, no matter the philosophy, the cartoon, idea, etc, they will all be subject to doubt. When people ask about Tim Tebow, I say God doesn't care about football, he cares about Tim. And when Tebow loses surely he will not challenge God for failing him. Seek Gods presence and then step back from it and allow Grace to work.

Posted by: alex at December 20, 2011 5:08 PM

It could be worse. Kim Jong Il and his father could really be gods, and we'll be in for a hell of a surprise when we all get to heaven.

Posted by: Jewel at December 20, 2011 6:11 PM

Having been a believer for 18 years, an atheist/agnostic for 30, and now a theist for the last 20, I am convinced we will see many "true believers" in Hell and many atheists in Heaven. It isn't what you believe that counts but what you do.

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