Thursday, March 31, 2005

Schiavo: "A recipe for illusion, terror, and the killing of the soul"

Garrett has allowed me to join his Sparkgrass party.

These bones shine with brightness.

So aside from concurring with Garrett's comment on the Schiavo case, I offer for your consideration this excerpt from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Easter Sermon. It wasn't about Schiavo and assorted players, but I think it relevant...

Paul does not say that we shall live for ever; he says that we shall die and that we shall be raised as Jesus was raised. Forget spiritualism and cryogenics; forget supposed evidence for ‘survival’. Paul doesn’t think we are going to survive but that we are going to live again because of God’s action. Here and now, we must indeed once to terms with the reality of death, and we must put to death all in us that binds us to our narrow self-interest. Indeed, you could rightly say that Paul’s teaching is really that we must put to death our refusal to die, because that refusal to die, that fearful denial of our limits, is the root of our selfish and self-paralysing habits of sin. A healthy human environment is one in which we try to make sense of our limits, of the accidents that can always befall us and the passage of time which inexorably changes us. An unhealthy environment is one in which we always look for someone to blame and someone to compensate us, and struggle to maintain fictions of our invulnerability to time and change.

Societies as well as individuals fall victim to these diseases. We react so often with panic and hostility to the presence of persons and cultures who are different and blame them for our own dysfunctions. We maintain a ludicrous confidence in technology to solve the environmental problems it has itself intensified because we can’t believe that our capacity to generate wealth and comfort for ourselves is anything other than infinite. We fantasise about a state of security so complete that nothing and no-one will ever threaten us. We need to hear that all this is really the denial of death - that it is what Paul elsewhere calls ‘the works of the flesh’, the closing up of ourselves in the face of a reality we can’t fully control.

What Paul is telling us is this. If your hope is that this life will be protected and prolonged, that your comfort zone as you understand it will never be challenged, that you will never have to face the reality of being mortal and limited, God help you. It’s a recipe for illusion, terror and the killing of the soul. But that doesn’t mean that your ‘real’ life only begins on the far side of death. Rather it means that here and now you learn to live not by self-defence but by opening up to what God gives.
Read it all if you wish. The emphases are mine.

Captain Sacrament


Pepper said...

Exactly. My girlfriend (coming from a strong Christian conservative household) made a very similar point to explain why even the evangelicals were against the Republicans on this one. If you truly believe in Christian doctrine, there's no really no point in trying to cling to life in the face of extreme physical incapacitation. After all, why would you want to keep someone from reaching the kingdom of Heaven? Plus, they're just going to be resurrected in the future anyway.

Pepper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garrett said...

Of course, by that logic, Christians should all go around shooting each other :)

Not really, but ya know.