Author Topic: EP129: Immortal Sin  (Read 28076 times)

Russell Nash

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on: October 26, 2007, 07:36:44 AM
EP129: Immortal Sin

By Jennifer Pelland.
Read by Stephen Eley.
First appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated, November 2005.

Alex stumbled from the confessional, through the church, all the way to the curb. He had to get out of there. He couldn’t sit in the house of God anymore. God didn’t want him there. That was abundantly clear. Forty-one years of perfect mass attendance. Six years as an altar boy. A childhood spent praying for his grandmother’s soul to hasten her time in Purgatory. A spotless record of weekly confessions for the past twelve years. He’d even stopped having sex with Alison two years ago after she’d gotten a tubal ligation so he wouldn’t be committing fornication. He’d followed the rules when he could, and asked for forgiveness when he couldn’t. But none of it mattered. He would die unshriven.

Unless he didn’t die.


Rated R. It’s our Halloween episode. Expect to be disturbed.


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« Last Edit: September 16, 2011, 11:09:24 PM by Talia »



BigDrahma

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Reply #1 on: October 26, 2007, 05:58:23 PM
Awesome story.  When Alex touched his fingers to his lips a couple of times over the course of the story, I started wondering if he'd happened to treat a young female chess player with an unusually high level of focus back when he was at the hospital. ;D  It certainly explains his zeal.



Mr. Tweedy

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Reply #2 on: October 26, 2007, 08:45:03 PM
Comments on the story: 1.) I really liked the ending.  2.) It actually accords quite well with my idea of what Hell is: All Good (God-created) things absent, leaving the damned with just their own little egos to gnaw on.

But this really struck me for another reason, and I'm wondering if others here can give me some insight.  I wonder: To what extent is this a parody?  Is Catholicism really like this?  Is this really how some people view religion?  Alex's idea of God and Heaven and Hell is so cold and loveless and morbid, and totally alien to my understanding of any of them.  Are there really a lot of people running around who think of God in terms of contracts and rules and earning enough credits?  Is that a common view?

To me, that was the really horrible aspect of the story: Alex turns his own life and the lives of everyone he interacts into a hell because his adherence to these Rules.  Scary.

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JenniferPelland

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Reply #3 on: October 26, 2007, 09:02:29 PM
First off, thanks!

Secondly, this story is based on the way my mind worked when I was a Catholic child.  I knew I had to follow a very specific set of rules if I didn't want to spend a near-eternity in Purgatory (which was almost as scary as Hell), so I became very good at memorizing and following those rules.  The spiritual side of the religion didn't even impinge on my consciousness.  If I hadn't left the church at age 12, I worry that I could have turned into that protagonist.



Swamp

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Reply #4 on: October 26, 2007, 09:29:07 PM
Very good story!  One of the better ones this year.  I liked the self-created Hell Alex created for himself all the while thinking he was winning a war against God.  I also liked the futuristic elements of the DNA, nanotech, and cryogenic research.

In response to:
Are there really a lot of people running around who think of God in terms of contracts and rules and earning enough credits?  Is that a common view?

To me the answer would be yes--not to the extreme and calculating extent of Alex in this story, but, yes, there are people who think in this way more subtly.  They might feel that because they do X and Y that they are saved in God's eyes, while forgetting the deeper characteristics such as love, compassion, forgiveness, humility, etc that He would have us develop.  I'm not saying there shouldn't be principles on which we pattern our lives, but many get caught up in the rules so much that they forget the big picture.

Alex, as I said, is an extreme example of that.  His whole "God is Love, and He will forgive me, all I have to do is go confess to the preist" attitude conveiniently side-steped the whole repentance-godly sorrow-restitution-take responsibilty for the sin part of it.  Once that became clear to him, in his eyes, God became his enemy.  

It's a great story concept.  What better reason do you need than facing eternal damnation in order to want to prevent your death as long as possible? (again skipping over the whole repentance, restituion thing.)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 10:37:07 PM by kmmrlatham »

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Mr. Tweedy

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Reply #5 on: October 26, 2007, 09:34:39 PM
Religion with no spiritual side?  Very scary.  I don't mean that in the fun I-have-Pseudopod-T-shirt kind of way.  Scary like cancer.  I feel genuine chills.

If that's what people think of when they say "religion," then I can see why atheism is popular.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2007, 09:39:02 PM by Mr. Tweedy »

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bolddeceiver

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Reply #6 on: October 27, 2007, 03:34:00 AM
A very interesting, chilling take on the way some people approach religion.  I'm often amazed to hear stories of people trying to game religious rules -- see the Eruv, for just one example.  I personally cannot concieve of a supreme being that could be so incredibly arbitrary as to (A) be so strict about the rules and (B) not give a damn as long as you find a loophole.  (Oh hail great logic engine?)

On a lighter tangent, in the previous-episode commentary, Stephen mentioned that he had an electric toothbrush that Chodon should talk to.  I was surprised at this kind of insensitivity, as I know for a fact that the toothbrush in question self-identifies as a milk frother.



Loz

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Reply #7 on: October 27, 2007, 06:03:31 AM
To what extent is this a parody?  Is Catholicism really like this?  Is this really how some people view religion?   ...Are there really a lot of people running around who think of God in terms of contracts and rules and earning enough credits?

I am not a theologian, but wasn't Purgatory invented to try and fudge the whole 'lead a wicked life and you go to Hell' problem? After all, if Jesus existed there's nothing in the literature about going to a boring featureless place that is like Bournemouth on a Winter weekend for a few millennia before going upstairs. I think most religions are probably like this, it's a natural extension of developing rules for how to live before and after death.

I don't mean that in the fun I-have-Pseudopod-T-shirt kind of way. 

I CAN HAS PSEUDOPOD T-SHIRT?

I did like the way this story went. I presume the chromosome and nanobot treatments worked and went worldwide which is why the protagonists former lab partner didn't care that he wasn't aging?

I'm not sure I agree with the distinction Steve is making between 'horror' and 'cautionary tale' and I think it's largely false. I don't really care though, the stories on Escape Pod tend to be better than those on Pseudo Pod and I'm hoping Pod Castle doesn't do the same for the fantasy element.



Grayven

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Reply #8 on: November 07, 2007, 05:42:49 PM
As far as twist endings go, that was one of the better ones.

But the story rang false to me. After the protagonist decided God was real, etc... it seems like he should have decided the afterlife was more important than regular life. Even if he extended his life span forever, it'd still be a blip in eternity. The protagonist would have known this, this isn't advanced theology. It struck me as false that this supposedly brilliant guy didn't notice that the universe would end someday anyway, and he'd still go to his hell.



Loz

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Reply #9 on: November 08, 2007, 06:45:09 AM
Well, although technically quite smart the protagonist was dumb and immature in many other ways, hence his murdering the waitress after finding out she was just being nice to him and didn't actually want to marry him. Plus there's also the adage of dealing with one problem at a time, if you're on the thirtieth floor of a building about to burn to death then you deal with that problem by throwing yourself out the window. The next problem involves learning how to fly in about thirty seconds. Maybe he figures he'll have an eternity on earth to work out how to get round being punished by God at the end of time, although he'll have the Morlocks and the giant crabs to deal with first.



xabra

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Reply #10 on: November 08, 2007, 09:59:54 AM
I like the ending (as I see most people did); it forces me to revisit the story I just heard or read. The story itself is high on moral a little low on scariness, after all, in our current society it appears to me that many people are already building their personal hell on earth, aren't they?

I realize that the story-time is limited, nevertheless I thought the story build-up went a little too quick and the concept of a personal hell was more important that the person creating it, surely we don't need 100+ year to create the hell-on-earth?

-Xabra



jonro

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Reply #11 on: November 11, 2007, 02:15:52 AM
I enjoyed this story quite a bit. I thought that committing the murder was a bit of a stretch for the character and I felt as though he would finally learn to fee regret after a hundred years or so. But, those decisions are up to the author. The ending was a good one. The main character managed to cheat death, but not punishment.



Roney

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Reply #12 on: November 18, 2007, 11:43:27 PM
Even if the backups are restored, I don't think my comment is coming back: I think I posted it just after the outage started.  Let's see if I can remember what I wrote...

I love it when the SF philosophy of "let's extrapolate this simple idea until we break it" is applied to things other than science or technology.  In this case, taking the rules-lawyer tendency that bedevils Catholicism and pushing it to its absurd conclusion made for a creepy protagonist and a gleefully twisted story.

I'm a bit surprised at the ignorance of Catholicism expressed on this thread (I think there was some more before the posts were lost... that's a thought: the forum now has its very own Dark Ages) by people who, it seems, have some flavour of Protestant Christian belief.  To my outsider's eyes, it would seem quite important to Protestants to understand why their faith split from Peter's church.  But maybe I shouldn't be surprised, as many of the flaws of the old Catholic church (corruption; an obsession with sin; priests as authority figures with a monopoly on interpreting God's will) seem to be creeping back into some Protestant American churches -- the televangelists shouldn't be able to make any headway if mainstream churchgoers understood the importance of the Protestant Reformation.



MattArnold

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Reply #13 on: November 20, 2007, 05:50:56 PM
Immortal Sin is an idiot plot. It would have worked better had the author not taken every opportunity to focus with a magnifying glass on the viewpoint character's inability to add one and one to get two.

Moderator: Post edited to remove personal insults aimed at the author.  The character needed to have lines of reasoning that, while flawed, at least some way marginally approached plausible or compelling. I expect to hear rationalizations that are clever, that make some twisted kind of sense. Without that, he is simply not interesting. A dull, reflexive animal, suitable for a bit role in a story, at most.

The story then proceeds to reach moral conclusions about life extension by easy, lazy routes. I got the impression from a couple of statements in the intro and outro that it was somehow intended to be scary or disturbing. Nothing scary, nothing thought-provoking, nothing emotionally engaging, nothing even interesting.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2007, 09:26:09 PM by Russell Nash »



DKT

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Reply #14 on: November 20, 2007, 06:29:38 PM
My original comment seemed to have been lost, but I really enjoyed this story.  I found it pretty creepy, specifically the idea of gaming the rules (as I think Bolddeceiver originally said).  It's the dark side of religion, the letter of the law instead of the spirit of the law, and the ending was chilling. 


DarkKnightJRK

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Reply #15 on: November 26, 2007, 05:02:31 AM
I liked it--very twisted. With the evangelical movement currently going on and the rise of technology that can extend live, I can very much see this sort of thing happening. It kinda reminded me of a technological, modernized take on Faust, where the main character is trying to beat God rather than the Devil.

First off, thanks!

Secondly, this story is based on the way my mind worked when I was a Catholic child.  I knew I had to follow a very specific set of rules if I didn't want to spend a near-eternity in Purgatory (which was almost as scary as Hell), so I became very good at memorizing and following those rules.  The spiritual side of the religion didn't even impinge on my consciousness.  If I hadn't left the church at age 12, I worry that I could have turned into that protagonist.

Allow me to personally say to you that you did a great job with your story. :)



DDog

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Reply #16 on: November 26, 2007, 08:16:05 PM
This story was pretty disturbing for me. I had this huge feeling of deja vu in the beginning though, when Alex is talking about leaving his wife and Cassie is rebuffing him, and I can't pin down why.

For some reason I saw the rule-following to the consumption of all sense not so much as a symptom of Catholicism but of, perhaps, really extreme OCD that happened to latch onto Catholicism. It reminded me of the godspoken on Path in Orson Scott Card's Xenocide; Alex is obviously brilliant, but crippled by his rule-fixated frame.

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Doganharp

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Reply #17 on: November 26, 2007, 10:03:58 PM
I couldn't follow it like I do other stories. I just listened to half of the episode and turned it off because I realized I had NO idea what was going on. I'm not sure if it was the narrator's accent or the fact that she spoke too quickly for my western ears or what. But I thought I'd come on here and appeal to Mr. Eley to perhaps pick more universal VO artists in the future.



Russell Nash

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Reply #18 on: November 26, 2007, 10:09:14 PM
I couldn't follow it like I do other stories. I just listened to half of the episode and turned it off because I realized I had NO idea what was going on. I'm not sure if it was the narrator's accent or the fact that she spoke too quickly for my western ears or what. But I thought I'd come on here and appeal to Mr. Eley to perhaps pick more universal VO artists in the future.

I think you posted in the wrong thread.  Better luck next time.



Mr. Tweedy

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Reply #19 on: November 26, 2007, 10:43:01 PM
I'm a bit surprised at the ignorance of Catholicism expressed on this thread (I think there was some more before the posts were lost... that's a thought: the forum now has its very own Dark Ages) by people who, it seems, have some flavour of Protestant Christian belief.  To my outsider's eyes, it would seem quite important to Protestants to understand why their faith split from Peter's church.  But maybe I shouldn't be surprised, as many of the flaws of the old Catholic church (corruption; an obsession with sin; priests as authority figures with a monopoly on interpreting God's will) seem to be creeping back into some Protestant American churches -- the televangelists shouldn't be able to make any headway if mainstream churchgoers understood the importance of the Protestant Reformation.

Yes and no.  I understand the huge importance of the Reformation, but, I don't consider myself to be a part of any tradition.  Everything that happened between the times recorded in the Bible and my own lifetime is just interesting trivia.  What Saint Anybody said about anything can never amount to more than good advice.  Frankly, I look with suspicion upon any tradition.

It's good to learn about history for its own sake, but it has little relevance to my religion.  My religion isn't something that grew and evolved over 2000 years to become what I believe today.  It is my own.

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Darwinist

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Reply #20 on: November 27, 2007, 01:24:58 AM
First off, thanks!

Secondly, this story is based on the way my mind worked when I was a Catholic child.  I knew I had to follow a very specific set of rules if I didn't want to spend a near-eternity in Purgatory (which was almost as scary as Hell), so I became very good at memorizing and following those rules.  The spiritual side of the religion didn't even impinge on my consciousness.  If I hadn't left the church at age 12, I worry that I could have turned into that protagonist.

Pretty much sums up my pre-high school education as well, and that is why I loved the story.   As children my classmates and I spent more time memorizing prayers, the rosary, bible verses, etc. than exploring the spiritual side of this religion.  We kept track of our petty little sins for the sacrament of confession and were taught to fear a wrathful god and his purgatory.  It is nice to out from under this yoke.  Now I can have a cheeseburger on Friday during lent without risking eternal damnation.     

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.    -  Carl Sagan


Vomithaus

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Reply #21 on: January 04, 2008, 05:08:39 AM
I think at the core of this story is the point that the focus of living for some people is still staying alive.  It is the most valuable thing we have, and we tend to elevate it above all.  To someone who does not truly believe in an afterlife, this seems like common sense.  However, since the afterlife is eternal, it is THAT that we should be trying to protect at all costs.  In the end, the protagonist was trying to do both (1st one, then the other).

Most people have not killed anyone, but there are a lot of people living the very same philosophy.



eytanz

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Reply #22 on: January 04, 2008, 08:47:31 AM
I think at the core of this story is the point that the focus of living for some people is still staying alive.  It is the most valuable thing we have, and we tend to elevate it above all.  To someone who does not truly believe in an afterlife, this seems like common sense.  However, since the afterlife is eternal, it is THAT that we should be trying to protect at all costs. 

I'm not sure that's really in the story so much as the story allows the reader/listener's biases to come out. I saw the story as a tale of how dangerous a fantasy the notion of an afterlife is. I don't think there is any notion more harmful ever invented by man, for the exact reason you give above.



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Reply #23 on: January 04, 2008, 04:40:39 PM
It struck me today that this story reminds me of another I've read. It was Cool Air by Lovecraft. This story is more up to date and told from the doctor's perspective, but is reminiscent all the same.

I think at the core of this story is the point that the focus of living for some people is still staying alive.  It is the most valuable thing we have, and we tend to elevate it above all.  To someone who does not truly believe in an afterlife, this seems like common sense.  However, since the afterlife is eternal, it is THAT that we should be trying to protect at all costs.  In the end, the protagonist was trying to do both (1st one, then the other).

The belief that we have a very short time to secure our eternity has always seemed funny to me. That in less than 100 years we have to do/say all the right things in order to secure the next 100,000,000,000,000,000... I know first impressions are important, but WOW.
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

[edit: quoting]

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


eytanz

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Reply #24 on: January 04, 2008, 04:50:47 PM
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

Only applies to life, obviously.



Russell Nash

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Reply #25 on: January 04, 2008, 05:43:08 PM
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

Only applies to life, obviously.

If that were the case, I'd be bored with the afterlife really damn quick.



Thaurismunths

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Reply #26 on: January 04, 2008, 08:00:19 PM
Also the wide spread belief that after you get in to the after life, that's it. From then on there are no more questions, no more answers, no more challenges, obstacles; just infinity. What happened to “The only thing constant in life is change?"

Only applies to life, obviously.
Well, to hell with the after life then!

And to be fair life never changes, life is life and can only be life or not life. Non-living things change (matter, circumstances, charges, etc). There for by "life" I assumed that François de la Rochefoucauld meant "existence."
« Last Edit: January 04, 2008, 08:05:07 PM by Thaurismunths »

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eytanz

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Reply #27 on: January 04, 2008, 08:12:35 PM
I should point out that my earlier response was deliberately stupid - I don't actually believe in an afterlife (in fact, as I implied above, I find the notion rather obscene), so I can't really give any intelligent defense of the notion.



robertmarkbram

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Reply #28 on: January 07, 2008, 09:19:52 PM
I came back to this thread, not because of the story (which I remember as being enjoyable) but because of the end song. Creepy Doll by Jonathan Coulton is about the most amazing horror song I have ever heard! I listened to another of his songs - Merry Christmas from Chiron Beta Prime - from Ep 138 as well, and I will have a look at buying his music now. :)

Btw, if you like that song, you might like Nightmares and Fairy Tales by Serena Valentino - a two part adult comic featuring a really spooky doll!


Thaurismunths

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Reply #29 on: January 07, 2008, 11:04:13 PM
Btw, if you like that song, you might like Nightmares and Fairy Tales by Serena Valentino - a two part adult comic featuring a really spooky doll!
Actually, I think it's up to volume 21.

How do you fight a bully that can un-make history?


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Reply #30 on: January 10, 2008, 06:06:14 AM
i think that if there is an afterlife, it would most likely be beyond our realm of comprehension.  We get too caught up in our scientific rules, (much like the protagonist did with his cathoic ones) and start thinking we have a grip on things.  In a similar manner, we spend so much time trying to be happy, we ultimat fail at it.

I think there is a significant part of the story where his wife says something like  "i dont know why other people dont notice it, but there is something wrong with you". 

would 'ultimate' happiness mean eternal life?  would it be better here on earth, or in 'heaven'?  perhaps the story suggests we should stop trying to achieve is for our own personal gratification.



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Reply #31 on: January 12, 2008, 08:40:31 PM
Our discussion of how to get into heaven has been split off and moved here.



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Reply #32 on: February 06, 2008, 07:34:29 PM
Hey, since there's a decent amount of people who dig both this story and other Pelland tales on EP, I thought it might be worth noting that Unwelcome Bodies, her first collection of short stories coming out soon from Apex Books.  Alas, Burning Bush and Snow Day aren't in it, but there's some other killer content there, but Immortal Sin is, as well as Captive Girl and some other absolutely killer content.  If you pre-order, you get a Pelland signature. 


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Reply #33 on: September 17, 2010, 03:01:03 PM
Loved this story! 

Usually I like a story better if I can root for the protagonist, but sometimes it's good to just have a straight-out bastard as the protagonist and see him try to get away with it.  It was pretty creepy to think that some people might actually think like this, maybe even to this extreme, yet was also kind of funny in his single-minded myopic pursuit of his absurd goal.

I love religious discussion, and I love to see alternate views of religion.  I have yet to find any particular religion that feels entirely RIGHT to me, and rules like this are why I can definitely say that Catholicism is not my thing.  Particularly 2 things:
1.  That confession will wipe your soul clean.  Whenever I consider this, I come to the same conclusion that this guy does--if that's true than you can get away with ANYTHING as long as you live long enough to confess.  Religion is, to me, primarily a way to provide comfort in the face of death, and to help guide people to live a "good" life, for some definition of "good".  But this real seems to encourage just the opposite, the sort of behavior in this story.  Which is much of why I loved the story.
2.  On a similar note, the concept that infants are born with sin and will go to Hell if not baptized.  I've always found this absurd.  Sin is a result of choice, and a newborn does not yet have the capacity to choose anything, everything is just a reaction to a stimulus until your brain develops more.  Infant death is a terrible thing to experience, and no parent needs the added guilt of "Oh no, we didn't get the priest here in time and now Baby's going to spend an eternity in Hell."  Like I said above, I see one of the major appeals of religion the opportunity to provide comfort in the face of death, and this is the polar opposite of that.  If that's the official rule any deity has created, well, I have a lot of trouble putting faith in that deity.




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Reply #34 on: September 17, 2010, 04:04:02 PM
2.  On a similar note, the concept that infants are born with sin and will go to Hell if not baptized.  I've always found this absurd.  Sin is a result of choice, and a newborn does not yet have the capacity to choose anything, everything is just a reaction to a stimulus until your brain develops more.  Infant death is a terrible thing to experience, and no parent needs the added guilt of "Oh no, we didn't get the priest here in time and now Baby's going to spend an eternity in Hell."  Like I said above, I see one of the major appeals of religion the opportunity to provide comfort in the face of death, and this is the polar opposite of that.  If that's the official rule any deity has created, well, I have a lot of trouble putting faith in that deity.

I have always struggled with that concept of infant baptism as well.  I just figured it was due to being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We believe that children are born free from sin becuase of the Atonement of Christ.  Baptism is for 1) a remission of sins, and 2) commiting your life to following Christ, neither of which is possible for an infant.  Baptism is performed when the child turns eight, when they understand right and wrong.

If you're interested in a more in depth explanation, I blogged about it when my oldest daughter was baptized.

BTW, I really enjoyed this story as well.  I should give it a re-listen.

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Reply #35 on: September 17, 2010, 04:16:46 PM
I have always struggled with that concept of infant baptism as well.  I just figured it was due to being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We believe that children are born free from sin becuase of the Atonement of Christ.  Baptism is for 1) a remission of sins, and 2) commiting your life to following Christ, neither of which is possible for an infant.  Baptism is performed when the child turns eight, when they understand right and wrong.

If you're interested in a more in depth explanation, I blogged about it when my oldest daughter was baptized.

BTW, I really enjoyed this story as well.  I should give it a re-listen.

Yes, infant baptism bugs me for that reason as well, that the child is unable to choose for himself whether they want to commit.  Adult baptism makes way more sense to me.  I don't even care for confirmation (not sure if that's just a Lutheran thing) because there's a lot of peer pressure for it at that age.  I went through it mostly because I didn't want to be the only one in my class who didn't.

And, while I'm ranting, the whole Adam and Eve story bugs me.  Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise for seeking knowledge.  So... if you follow that line of thinking, every time we try to learn we are... compounding that first sin?  So maybe the way to redeem yourself is to sit on your couch and watch reality TV.  Except that TV was invented by scientists who had to learn a bunch of stuff to invent it, so you'd only be basing your sin on the sin's of another. If learning is sinful you certainly can't read the Bible, because that requires you to LEARN how to read, and then LEARN the teachings.  Heck, even learning the story of Adam and Eve makes you guilty of learning, and learning how to speak is sinful too!  Ack!  How do I live without learning!  Maybe I can redeem myself with some strategically placed head trauma, maybe if I can knock that knowledge right out of my brain I can redeem myself!!!



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Reply #36 on: September 17, 2010, 04:19:30 PM
Maybe I can redeem myself with some strategically placed head trauma, maybe if I can knock that knowledge right out of my brain I can redeem myself!!!

I realized after the fact that this line could be seen as insulting the intelligence of those who are religious.  That wasn't what I was trying to say, so I just thought I'd clarify.



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Reply #37 on: September 17, 2010, 05:12:06 PM
And, while I'm ranting, the whole Adam and Eve story bugs me.  Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise for seeking knowledge.  So... if you follow that line of thinking, every time we try to learn we are... compounding that first sin?  So maybe the way to redeem yourself is to sit on your couch and watch reality TV.  Except that TV was invented by scientists who had to learn a bunch of stuff to invent it, so you'd only be basing your sin on the sin's of another. If learning is sinful you certainly can't read the Bible, because that requires you to LEARN how to read, and then LEARN the teachings.  Heck, even learning the story of Adam and Eve makes you guilty of learning, and learning how to speak is sinful too!  Ack!  How do I live without learning!  Maybe I can redeem myself with some strategically placed head trauma, maybe if I can knock that knowledge right out of my brain I can redeem myself!!!

I understand your frustration.

Actually, the Fall of Adam and Eve is very complex.  As far as I've worked it out for myself, it was necessary for them to fall so that the Plan of Salvation for all humankind could take place, but God also needed to establish the law of Choice and Accountability, or Agency, for us to choose for ourselves rather than God forcing us to follow him.  They needed to be given a choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If they had remained in the Garden of Eden, we would never have existed, and the Plan would have been frustrated, but they needed to make that decision for themselves.  In my opinion, with that knowledge, they gained a deeper understanding of God's purposes, including their role, and that of Christ and the Atonement.

Okay, I will stop now.  I don't want to spin off into another thread.

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Reply #38 on: September 17, 2010, 05:24:58 PM
Actually, the Fall of Adam and Eve is very complex.  As far as I've worked it out for myself, it was necessary for them to fall so that the Plan of Salvation for all humankind could take place, but God also needed to establish the law of Choice and Accountability, or Agency, for us to choose for ourselves rather than God forcing us to follow him.  They needed to be given a choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If they had remained in the Garden of Eden, we would never have existed, and the Plan would have been frustrated, but they needed to make that decision for themselves.  In my opinion, with that knowledge, they gained a deeper understanding of God's purposes, including their role, and that of Christ and the Atonement.

Ah, I'd never heard that aspect of it before.  That makes it even worse!  He gives us a test and then ensures that we can't pass it!

Ah, I love to discuss the implications of various religious beliefs.



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Reply #39 on: September 19, 2010, 03:14:35 PM
Actually, the Fall of Adam and Eve is very complex.  As far as I've worked it out for myself, it was necessary for them to fall so that the Plan of Salvation for all humankind could take place, but God also needed to establish the law of Choice and Accountability, or Agency, for us to choose for ourselves rather than God forcing us to follow him.  They needed to be given a choice between the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  If they had remained in the Garden of Eden, we would never have existed, and the Plan would have been frustrated, but they needed to make that decision for themselves.  In my opinion, with that knowledge, they gained a deeper understanding of God's purposes, including their role, and that of Christ and the Atonement.

Ah, I'd never heard that aspect of it before.  That makes it even worse!  He gives us a test and then ensures that we can't pass it!

It's way off topic, I know, but reading the book of Exodus recently I noticed something similar... and unlike what Swamp said above, this is explicitly stated in the Bible: Moses repeatedly goes to the Pharaoh and demands the liberation of the Israelites, and calls down plagues to demonstrate God's power. On each such occasion, Pharaoh agrees, plague is lifted... and then Pharaoh changes his mind and refuses to let the Israelites go. Why? Because he's just a cruel prick? No, because the LORD has hardened his heart! God is manipulating the Pharaoh just to have more opportunities to show how badass he is!

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Reply #40 on: September 19, 2010, 03:39:11 PM
Depends rather on the translation and context, actually.  Elsewhere, the Bible also states that God "stops the sun" from moving in order to extend a day and let people win a battle.  Obviously, if that literally happened, then it would have zero impact, as the sun doesn't move around the Earth.

This is not news to anyone who has studied the Bible.  Frankly, if one's faith is shaky enough that these sorts of issues send it crumbling down, then one probably wasn't in the right religion in the first place.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 09:12:58 PM by Scattercat »



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Reply #41 on: September 20, 2010, 06:47:55 PM
It's way off topic, I know, but reading the book of Exodus recently I noticed something similar... and unlike what Swamp said above, this is explicitly stated in the Bible: Moses repeatedly goes to the Pharaoh and demands the liberation of the Israelites, and calls down plagues to demonstrate God's power. On each such occasion, Pharaoh agrees, plague is lifted... and then Pharaoh changes his mind and refuses to let the Israelites go. Why? Because he's just a cruel prick? No, because the LORD has hardened his heart! God is manipulating the Pharaoh just to have more opportunities to show how badass he is!

Come to think of it, I think that, according to the text I had in confirmation class, God entered the heart of Judas and triggered the betrayal.  That one really bugs me.



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Reply #42 on: September 21, 2010, 04:18:22 AM
2.  On a similar note, the concept that infants are born with sin and will go to Hell if not baptized.  I've always found this absurd.  Sin is a result of choice, and a newborn does not yet have the capacity to choose anything, everything is just a reaction to a stimulus until your brain develops more.  Infant death is a terrible thing to experience, and no parent needs the added guilt of "Oh no, we didn't get the priest here in time and now Baby's going to spend an eternity in Hell."  Like I said above, I see one of the major appeals of religion the opportunity to provide comfort in the face of death, and this is the polar opposite of that.  If that's the official rule any deity has created, well, I have a lot of trouble putting faith in that deity.

I have always struggled with that concept of infant baptism as well.  I just figured it was due to being raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  We believe that children are born free from sin becuase of the Atonement of Christ.  Baptism is for 1) a remission of sins, and 2) commiting your life to following Christ, neither of which is possible for an infant.  Baptism is performed when the child turns eight, when they understand right and wrong.

Having been to a few infant baptisms, I have come to the conclusion that there is some value in them. Mainly because they are not for the infant, but for the parents and community. In the ones I have seen, the parents, god parents, and community all vow to help raise the child "in the way of God". This is quite a beautiful sentiment, even if you don't believe in God. Stripped of all religious associations, the ceremony basically says "We accept this new child into our community and promise to help raise him/her, so that they become a good and productive member of our society". Now that is something I can get behind.



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Reply #43 on: September 21, 2010, 04:35:52 AM
Having been to a few infant baptisms, I have come to the conclusion that there is some value in them. Mainly because they are not for the infant, but for the parents and community. In the ones I have seen, the parents, god parents, and community all vow to help raise the child "in the way of God". This is quite a beautiful sentiment, even if you don't believe in God. Stripped of all religious associations, the ceremony basically says "We accept this new child into our community and promise to help raise him/her, so that they become a good and productive member of our society". Now that is something I can get behind.

Strip it of the religious associations and the damnation angle, and I have no problem with it either. But the religious associations are invariably present.

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Reply #44 on: September 16, 2011, 02:41:50 PM
Not a comment on the story, but I followed the link in the title and it took me to episode 133 instead of 129...



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Reply #45 on: September 16, 2011, 11:10:09 PM
Not a comment on the story, but I followed the link in the title and it took me to episode 133 instead of 129...

Fixed. :) Thanks.