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4 Comments
  1. G-Veg permalink
    July 8, 2009 7:34 am

    I am curious as to why the a respect for life is not paired with a respect for death in social justice teaching.

    The Church seems to be saying that the struggle for individual deification that denies the value of creation and the sanctity of life can never be true to any justice cause because it is at once uncharitable and myopic. However, it strikes me that, at least in my experience, this base impulse is usually paired with an absolute fear of and repulsion of death.

    Take, for example, the spectacle of Princess Diana’s or Michael Jackson’s funerals. Both resembled more the elaborate burial rights of ancient Egypt than the commitments of Christianity. It is almost as if the closer individuals come to “greatness,” the more fearful the afterlife is. This is to say that individual deification cuts us off from charity in this life and salvation in the next.

    I don’t think I have heard it paired this way in school or church and I wonder if there is a defect in pairing the two that I am missing.

  2. July 8, 2009 10:10 pm

    Joe’s article is excellent, as usual!

    GVeg, I’m not sure I understand your stand on the life-death issue…

    but it would seem logical to observe that those who deify the material life they can see, would be afraid and in denial of what happens after that is gone… or in other words, that they would fear the immaterial life which is always intuited by the human heart, but which the corrupt mind focused only on the temporal may not want to incline its ear to…

  3. G-Veg permalink
    July 8, 2009 10:47 pm

    enzo de’Selvaggi,

    I appreciate your response.

    As I understand it, early Christians expected the Tribulation at any moment and the persecutions must have been affirming in the sense that they must have seemed to be the signposts at the gateway to the end times. I can imagine that it is easier to be focused on the things above if one expects to be there soon.

    A theology teacher in college once said that death is our “turn to join the Tribulation already in progress.”

    I always liked that phrase because it was at once modern in the sense that it incorporates evolution and the physics of time into theology and harkens back to a supreme truth. However, while I KNOW that death awaits us all, I have a sneaking suspicion that part of my religious challenges is that it is not so clear and present as to scare me as it ought.

    I suspect that many people are in the same place – knowing that they will die and suspecting that they will be judged but not focused on it in a way that would alter behavior.

    It is this point that I was asking about.

    Why does the Church concentrate on life rather than focusing equally on death?

    Can one be redeemed without fearing God?

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