God doesn’t want us to suffer

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Pam Frampton’s recent column dealing with the subject a person’s right to die, was both interesting and thought-provoking.

Equally interesting were certain comments made by readers, with reference to the role which they believe that God plays when it comes to matters of life or death. As a professing Christian, I both believe and know that God, through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, uses the skills/gifts of people to work miracles of healing and other forms of assistance in people’s lives.

However, I don’t believe that God knows when I will experience physical death. I don’t envision God sitting in Heaven deciding when someone is going to die. God’s primary responsibility is the nurturing, sustaining and the preservation of my immortal soul.

Yes, both God in the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament provided for people’s physical needs and instructed people to do likewise. While God knows that physical death is the inevitable fate awaiting any mortal, I don’t believe that God causes any person to die physically whenever God feels that their “number has come up.”

Neither the birth nor the physical death of any person is an act of God. Physical death, regardless of the cause — be it disease, injury or what are commonly referred to as natural causes — happens because we are physical beings living in a physical world who will eventually die, one way or another, without any assistance from God.

Contrary to what many people of my 60–plus generation also believe, God does not inflict death on anyone as a form of punishment for sins they might have committed. My Bible teaches that we stand before God to be judged following our physical death, not before.

The God I know is a God who, by God’s grace, because of a person’s faith in God, grants eternal spiritual life to all who acknowledge as Almighty and Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. God is a God of love, who sent God’s son to His physical death, and resurrected Him again, that all believers might have eternal spiritual life. The opportunity to become a believer is good supposing a person becomes a believer with his/her dying breath.

Since God is both a loving and merciful God who takes no delight in human suffering, I doubt that God would object if, when the quality of life of any person deteriorates to the point where they are merely existing, that person took steps to end their physical existence. My dad died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. For the last year of his life, he lay in a bed in a nursing home, oblivious to anything around him. The expression hell on Earth comes readily to mind when I reflect on this and similar situations, where people are merely existing, not living, trapped inside their bodies.

I can’t believe that the loving, merciful and forgiving God, in whom I believe, would object if either the suffering person, or someone empowered to make the choice for them if they could not, were legally able to end such an existence.


Herb Morrison writes from St. John’s.

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Recent comments

  • Colin Burke
    October 23, 2012 - 09:47

    Mr. Power, that a "necessary being is indeed necessary" to keep in existence those beings which do not existence necessarily, is not circular reasoning to those who take the trouble to read the whole sentence. It seems to me to be as evident to reason as the truth that because two and two make four, four and four make eight. If it is indeed false, then valid reasoning or perception can show it to be false without having to wait for 24th-century technology to catch up. As for the mythology of Bronze Age goatherds, it has been suggested that counterfeit money would never pass successfully if genuine currency were not known to be available. Meanwhile, to get back to the original topic of discussion, I might suggest that if people in the prime of life conclude rationally that suicide is the logical answer to suffering and helplessness, they will later deserve at least some degree of suffering and disability if they had not resorted to that solution while they were well able to do that without needing assistance from others who might be reluctant, on principle, to grant it.

  • Ed Power
    October 22, 2012 - 16:23

    Mr. Burke, you are still arguing in circles - " a neccessary being is indeed neccessary..."? Only if you believe - and can in no way, prove - that the universe requires a god of some type. It is not "reason", it is metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, religious alchemy that seeks to turn the 'lead' of the campfire tales of illiterate Bronze Age goatherds into the 'gold' of reality. And, like alchemy, the belief in magical beings will one day be a footnote in history.

  • Colin Burke
    October 21, 2012 - 13:03

    Mr. Power, it seemed to me that I did not say that I didn't see how other things could exist if there were no "necessary being" but rather that I do see clearly and rationally that a necessary being is indeed necessary; it was a conclusion of reason rather than a "scientific" theory. Reasoning can be valid even for people totally ignorant of science and for the rational it is more imporatnt than science. But then, I suppose I should expect someone who approves of killing people who have not done anything to deserve their being killed, to trust that scientific discovery will someday supersede such strict rationality. Meanwhile, if someone really reasons that pain or helplessness justifies suicide, and he is not merely at the mercy of his own sensations, why would he not commit suicide while he is well able to do it for himself instead of waiting until he is wholly dependent on the decisions of others. Also, a strictly rational approach this question, since what people deserve are the effects of what they do, might be that people who cannot provide their own food would be within their rights to forgo the nourishment which would keep them alive, while being anesthetized to escape the concomitant discomfort, though to be perfectly consistent they perhaps ought also to forgo anesthetic so as to demonstrate clearly that they have the courage of their convictions and that what they want most of all is to cease being helpless, even more, perhaps, than they want relief from suffering.

  • Ed Power
    October 19, 2012 - 20:49

    Be assured, Mr Morrison, that in addition to possessing both "eyes" and "ears", I also have a brain, one that is quite capable of determining the difference between your "truth" and the "truth" as I see it.. We cannot agree on the "truth", but we can agree to disagree. Pax vobiscum, sir.

  • Ed Power
    October 19, 2012 - 20:19

    Again, Mr. Burke, your argument is basically "Can't explain it, must be God", which was a perfectly reasonable assumption forty centuries ago, perhaps even a century ago. As a religious argument, it makes perfect sense. As a scientific one, it lacks substance. Modern science does not state that the universe came from "nothing".To the best of my knowledge it never has, certainly not in the modern age. Modern science also has mathematical models that suggest that existence exists outside our existence - to paraphrase your wording -or, in other words, that something exists where religion claims it doesn't. These mathematical models of a parallel universe, or multiple universes (multiverses), were unavailable twenty four centuries ago when the brilliant Aristotle tried to explain the universe, they weren't even available a decade or two ago. They are recent inventions, the result of the exponential growth in computer processing power, and experiments like those conducted at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson - impossible just a few short years ago - is just one more step in the ongoing process of understanding "Existence". Imagine what thinkers like Aristotle, Archimedes, Hypatia of Alexandria, al Khwarizimi, ibn Firnas, al Burini, Omar Khayyam, Da Vinci, Newton, Einstein, Tesla could do with these tools today...........

  • Will Cole
    October 19, 2012 - 17:32

    With apologies to C. Burke, but I’ve neither the time nor inclination to try to set on a straight course those who are hopelessly fixated on going around in circles (as Ed Power alluded). On a related note, a previous commentator mentioned a quote from a book by the late great Carl Sagan: “There are demon-haunted worlds… regions of utter darkness.” How apt a quote in the context of this discussion. Regardless, I remain optimistic that those who continue to desperately harbor the superstitious belief that some sort of deity(s) will happen along to save humanity from itself... will perhaps eventually manage to summon the courage to find their way out of their own particular region of darkness. On the notion of “god”, it seems to me the convenient invention of a mind that has developed enough intelligence to formulate profound questions, but has not developed enough to answer them. In some ways then, it is nothing more than a gauge as to the intellectual maturity of a civilization. A world totally devoid of Christians, Moonies, Muslims, Taliban, Jihadists, Hindu castes, Crusaders, Branch Davidians, Arnaud-Amalric “Kill them all - God will know his own” Cistercians , Spanish Inquisitors, Heaven’s Gate-ists, People’s Temple kool-aid drinkers, etc, etc… may well be as close to a utopian society as humanity will ever get.

  • Colin Burke
    October 19, 2012 - 09:50

    Mr. Power, it is true that your arguments and mine cannot both be true, but you have not answered my argument as it stands. Reason alone, apart from "scientific" explanations, sees clearly that things which can cease to exist receive their existence from without and that their final cause must be Something or Someone which does not receive existence but already is (already has been and always will be) perfect existence without beginning or end, the source of his own being -- Aristotle's "unmoved mover," the creator who is not himself created. My reasoning is not "circular": it does not begin with the premiss that God cannot die but with the perception that things exist which can cease to exist and concludes from that that something must exist which cannot cease to exist. (And calling an argument philosophical does not show it is false; the notion that science will someday explain everything without a need for philosophy is itself a philosophical doctrine, for no experiment has established that it is true.) Mr. Cole, if what I have said is irrational, why don't you explain how? If not, why do you scold me?

  • Ed Power
    October 18, 2012 - 20:46

    Mr. Burke, you can get as philosophical as you wish, but there is nothing in our existence that requires a god. Religious people always trot out this argument as definitive proof of a "God", "Creator "or "Intelligent Designer", but this a false assertion. It is, in reality, a default setting - "Can't explain it? Must be God". There is a rather funny video of Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly smugly using this very argument with an Atheist guest on his show - not that the guest got to say very much in between O'Reilly's famous diatribes- "Tide goes in, tide goes out! You can't explain that!" (Apparently, Mr. O'Reilly is unfamiliar with the moon.) The list of natural phenomena once attributed to gods, demons and other magical creatures is a lengthy one - day, night, celestial bodies, rain, thunder, lightning, floods, droughts, volcanos, earthquakes, tsunamis, meteorites, comets, storms, lunar and solar eclipses, fire, the seasons, sex, birth, illness, death and on and on and on. As the library of scientific knowledge increases, the power of gods, and the number of things attributed to the gods diminishes. The Hebrew god once created the Universe, and then destroyed his creation with a global flood. Now the best he can do is appear on burnt toast and misshapen potato chips. How the mighty has fallen. You state that God exists outside our existence - a transdimensional sort of being - because he cannot cease to exist. To be true, this would require that any such being exist in the first place. This is a good example of circular reasoning. "God exists because he cannot die and because he cannot die he therefore must exist because he cannot die." It doesn't answer why there must be a god. It is certainly not proof of any god, but even if it were, it still wouldn't answer the question "Who created the Creator?" It must have come from somewhere. How was it created? For whose purpose. Did it spring from a supernatural sort of "Big Bang"? I would argue that god cannot cease to exist because he didn't exist in the first place. Religionists claim that the Universe couldn't "start from nothing" - which is a misrepresentation of current physics - but then assert that it is possible for a god to exist outside of nothing - without explaining how this could be so. I would suggest that if god can exist outside of nothing, then the universe can exist outside of nothing as well. I'm sure that isn't how a physicist would phrase it, they would state it more elegantly, far more lucidly, and would have the mathematics to explain it. Were we to be around in a few billion years, we might be lucky enough to witness the death of this Universe as it collapses back into its singularity, and the creation of the new one on the other side of.........? In all likelihood, a few billion years after that Big Bang, on an obscure little planet near a hot yellow star, newly sentient creatures would look at the world around them and begin to create new gods to explain it all.

  • Will Cole
    October 18, 2012 - 19:46

    According to C. Burke, "the fact that anything exists is evidence for the existence of God." That irrational little gem reminds me of the naive arrogance of Joey Smallwood when he pronounced on one of his (many) hare-brained schemes that "This will work because I SAID it will work".

  • Herb Morrison
    October 18, 2012 - 15:41

    Mr. Power: I have stated my truths and chosen to move on. Since you have neither the ears to hear nor the eyes to see the truth, as I have attempted to reveal it to you, I wish you the best as you attempt to deal with any challenges, with which you are forced to deal with, relevant to the choice that you have made within the context of this particular debate.

  • Colin Burke
    October 18, 2012 - 09:16

    Mr. Power, the fact that anything exists is evidence for the existence of God. One argument based on that evidence is: Things exist which can change. Things which can change can cease to exist. Things which can cease to exist need something else, which itself does not change and cannot cease to exist, in order to keep them existing. This "necessary being" or "Supreme Being," who therefore is his own existence instead of merely receiving existence from without, is what philosophers call "God." Whether this God of the philosophers took on a human nature, out of mercy for mankind, as Christianity teaches, is something (today's) Christians believe on historical evidence. It has been said that Christians believe because they have evidence, such as miracles, for what they believe and disbelievers disbelieve because they have a doctrine of disbelief. One evidence for the mercy of God as Christianity teaches it is that you and I are not suffering agonies instead of discussing such matters more or less calmly and reasonably. Another such evidence is the fact that cats can be friendly to humans (I know that can sound merely frivolous to the unreflective).

  • Ed Power
    October 17, 2012 - 21:59

    Mr. Morrison, it seems that you confuse parody with plagarism. How unfortunate, I thought it was rather good. In my opinion, the irony was outstanding. Forgive me if I do not attempt to refute your rather lengthy rant. You obviously feel that, in your "opinion", you pretty well covered all of my sins, heresies, apostasies and blasphemies. In my opinion, your comments are long on rhetoric and short on substance, with a rather large dollop of offended self-rightousness added for good measure. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks. (Shakespeare - paraphrased - I would hate to be accused of plagarism....) Any update on when your church will be hosting the lecture series by atheist, agnostic and secular scholars...?

  • Ed Power
    October 17, 2012 - 21:29

    On the lack of any evidence for one, Mr Burke. Religions for millennia have claimed the existence of a God/Creator/Supreme Being, therefore it is their responsibility to provide evidence of one. Or two. Or as many as they may desire. So far the evidence has been, shall we say, notably absent. Religions do, however, demand that people suspend their critical thinking skills and deny or ignore any evidence - historical, scientific or any other - that conflicts with their holy writings and belief systems. This is why we still have people being taught that God created the Universe in 6 days, taking the 7th off to admire his handiwork. One creative creationist chap - Archbishop James Ussher - even fixed the date: Sunday, October 23, 4004, BCE. (It must have all been very confusing for the extant Chinese, Indian, Persian, Sumerian, Egyptian and other civilizations scattered across the world to witness the Hebrew god creating the Earth and Heavens around them.) This is why there is a facility in Kentucky - which misidentifies itself as a Museum - that details the "History" of the world using the Bible as its sole reference source. It famously features an animatronic exhibit of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, surrounded by various types of dinosaurs, some of which sport harnesses and saddles. Who needs reality when you have the Flinstones? Who needs proof when you have the Word of God? So, please excuse me if I choose to withold my belief in a deity until there is some actual evidence of one. Or a Trinity of one(s). Until then, I will remain a skeptic.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 17, 2012 - 18:27

    Mr. Power. I have decided to leave you with some food for thought. You have, in a previous post accused me of being arogance. The truth is that there is a very thin line between arrogance and self-esteem. whether or not a person's motivation for acting, speaking, or writing is arrogance or self-esteem, the intentintention of the person's action or words is the determining factor. The reaction that any group or individual might have to anything which I speak, write or do, is beyond my control. Sipmly because you choose to react negatively to my viewpoint, which you are entitled to do, does nothing to negate the validity of the stance i have taken relevant to the debate in whixh we have engaged.

  • Colin Burke
    October 17, 2012 - 10:43

    Mr. Power, what arguments for the existence of God have you considered and how have you refuted them? And on what evidence do you argue that there is no God?

  • Herb Morrison
    October 17, 2012 - 08:17

    Mr. Power, it has been a struggle for me to formulate an appropriate response to your latest post (rant might be a more accurate description) which in my opinion amounts to little more than a facetious, palgarism-filled, ill-concieved, knee-jerk reaction to my posts, while maintaining an acceptable level of good taste and a measure of integrity and truth. However, at the risk of stretching, if not exceeding what constitue the acceptable the boundaries of good taste, in the interest of speaking what, in my opinion is the truth, your latest post, at least in part, could most tastefully be described as a load of bull-droppings. I trust that you are feeling, what's the word I'm lookin for - relieved now that you have gotten that off your-uh- chest? . Obviously I am being a tad facetious, however, in this instance, you left yourself wide open and being the mere mortal that am I couldn't resist the opportunity to deliver what admittedly might be described as a cheap shot. Mr. Power, you advise me to choose my words more carefully. As the younger crowd might express my sentiment: "Say what?? You'll pardon my expression of consternation. After all, apparently, as documented in your most recent post/rant, you have been so impressed by my choice of words, that you have chosen to borrow. much of what I wrote in a previous post. ( Plaigerize is such a nasty, term, however, given that you chose in an earlier post, to accuse me of plaigarism, in my humaness (there I've admitted once again that I am indeed human despite your assertion, to the contrary that I am incumbered with delusions of Divinity, which you made in more than one of your earlier posts) Furthermore, I must call you on your perchance for tarring all Christians with the one brush. Your attempt to discredit both Christians and Christianity by utilizing a descroption of both Christians and Christianity which bears little resembleance to any form of contemporary Christian or Christianity with which I am familiar. Given both your obvious, disregard for the rights of Christians in general and myself in particular to practice our right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech, you will pardon me if, in my humaness I seriously doubt your sincerity when you refer to other people's rights. You have the right to your distain for orginized Religion in general, and Christianity in particular. You can't, have your cake and eat it too. (Wait , wait, didn't someone accuse me of doing that in a previuos post??) In light of the distain, if not out and out contempt, which you have demonstrated for the rights both Christians and other organized religous groups enjoy in our society, your feeble attempt to demonstrate any type of conciliatory attitude toward such groups falls on deaf ears, drowned out by the blaring hostile words which you in my opinion, have hurled like stones in the posts you have made. As for me. I have spoken what I believe is the truth and nothing but the truth an will be moving on.

  • Ed Power
    October 16, 2012 - 20:01

    Mr. Morrison, you need to choose your words more carefully. Simply because you choose to believe that Belief without proof is a reality, doesn't give you the right to misrepresent your personal opinion as if it were an indisputable statement of fact. "In my opinion it is equally unacceptable when people, like yourself, appear to be attempting to use the Telegram website in an attempt to pass of their own opinions as if those opinions represented the truth and nothing but the truth, within the context of a given situation." I find your statement, as contained in the previous sentence, curious. Curious, and rather arrogant. I purchase the Telegram daily, and read the 'Letters to the Editor' religiously (pun intended), but I have been unable to find any letters from atheists, agnostics, unbelievers or non-believers demanding that people Believe in our non-Belief and obey the Word of our non-existent deity or suffer Eternal Damnation at the bony hands and cloven feet of our non-devil. There are regularly, however, letters from religious.....zealots that 'counsel' we lesser mortals for the error of our ways. This is done, naturally, solely for our benefit as we are either too stunned to know the "Truth" or have been so horribly corrupted by Satan's Secular Humanism that we are unable to realize it. I would describe that as arrogant. Although condescending would work too. For that matter, so would patronizing and hubris. I do not, as you claim, seek to restrict your freedom of speech. I am just pointing out that when you venture forth from the cloistered echo chamber of your church or chapel, don't expect to have your proselytizing and pronouncements go unchallenged. This is the difference between a theocracy and a democracy. In the former we non-believers wouldn't be able to speak - most likely we would be terminally silenced. In the latter, we can and do speak. We tried the first one for about 18 centuries and didn't like it. We chose to rule ourselves and not be ruled over by cabals of clerics and their obsequious moanarchs. We chose enlightenment over ignorance and superstition. Education over indoctrination. We have no intention of returning to the Dark Ages. So, by all means, continue posting your comments, I will do likewise. And, in the interests of free speech, when may I expect to see your church announce that they will be hosting a series of lectures by prominent atheist, agnostic and humanist scholars?

  • Frank
    October 16, 2012 - 15:36

    Herb sure likes to pontificate!! Too bad much of it is just drivel!

  • Herb Morrison
    October 16, 2012 - 14:56

    So, Mr. Calahan, God is a word. If that be true, what explaination do you have for the fact that people yourself and Mr. Power, whose attitude in my opinion, based on your posts, can best be described as being high in self- absorbtion, appear to get their jollies by attempting, in a God-like manner to convince the rest of us mere mortals, that you are unilaterally entitled, to dicatate to us both when and how we should exercise either out Right to freedom of speech, which is guatanteed under the terms of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, or our right to Freedom of Religion, which the last time I checked, was still guaranteed under the terms of the aforementioned Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Now, Mr Callahan, tell me, and everyone else who frequents this site, that God is just a word. As long as there are self-absorbed people there will be no shortage of mortal pretenders, albeit miisguided pretenders, whose delusions of superiority, if not indeed Divinity, will continue to be motivated, by their high degree of self-absorbation, not to forget their deelusions of Divinity to victimize and exploit the more vulnerable, gulable members of the human race, by taking away their rights and freedoms of any description to the point where these victims become so lacking in self-esteem that they can be easily manipulated by those among us who have an insatiable need to satisfy both their dilusions of their own Divinity and their own grandeur.

    • Bill Callahan
      October 16, 2012 - 20:34

      How did you extrapolate that straw man out of one sentence?! Clearly you are looking for an argument but you won't get one from me unless you are willing to address my actual statement rather than hurling baseless ad hominem attacks. And besides I may not agree on how you arrived at the final point of your letter but I completely agree with it. John 1:1 John 1:14 etc.

  • Bill Callahan
    October 16, 2012 - 13:17

    "God" is a word and the argument ends there.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 16, 2012 - 07:55

    Mr. Power, you need to choose your words more carefully. Simply because you choose to believe that Faith without proof is a fallacy, doesn't give you the right to misrepresent your personal opinion as if it were an indisputable statement of fact. The fact that faith healers and the other individuals coerce people into believing that they have special by preying on people's need for healing or perhaps people's need for security is not acceptable.In my opinion it is equally unacceptable when people, like yourself, appear to be attempting to utiliize the Telegram's website, in an attempt to pass off their own opinions as if those opinions represented the truth and nothing but the truth, within the context of any given situation. Furthernmore,Jesus did not and does not encourage His followers past or present to force their beliefs on others. It would appear to me that you just might be claiming the ability to read minds? If this is indeed a fact, wouldn't that put you in the same category as the deceptive persons for whom you have shown such distain within the context of your most recent post? In conclusion, in your original post you stated; I do not feel compelled to force my beliefs on others. It appears to me that considering the content of your succeeding posts, for someone who is not intent on forcing their opinions on others, you have doine one hell of a job of attempting to do just that.

  • Ed Power
    October 15, 2012 - 19:37

    "Within the context of this discussion, Faith not proof is neccessary." Faith, not proof.....and therein lies the fallacy. Gods exist only as long as we have faith in them. Every good magician - and con artist - understands that the most successful deception requires that the person being tricked, or conned, buys into the deception. The stronger the belief, the greater the resistance to acknowledging one has deceived. Snakeoil salesmen, Nigerian Letter conmen, televangelists, faith healers, psychics and other scammers have known this for decades, but priests and shaman have known it - and prospered from it - for millennia.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 14, 2012 - 20:11

    Mr. Kennedy. the point, which you have apparently missed, the point of my article. The point of my article that God is a merciful, forgiving and loving God. A God who sent Jesus, G od's only Son to to be crucified, and buried. A God who sent His only Son to hell, and a God who resurrected His Son, all because God doesn't want the souls of me, you, or anyone else on earth to suffer the same fate. However, the words of Jesus, as recorded in Scripture state very clearly that whether or not a person's immortal soul sppends eternity in Hell or Heaven, is determined by the choice we make. We cannot save our own soul. By God's Grace, because of my faith in God, and in Christ as Saviour and Lord yes, Mr. Kennedy I believe that both Spiritual Salvation and eternal Spiritual life are mine. You and every other human on this earth have the opportunity to enjoy the same. However, the choice is yours. The fate of your immortal Soul, or Spirit if you prefer, is up to you. Mr. Power, your assertion that I have any desire or need to prove anything to you, within the contexct of this discussion, indicates to me that you regard our debate on this particular issue as some sort of competition. As for me I am content to state my case and move on, in accordance with the instructions, which Jesus gave to His Disciples during His Ministry on earth. Speak the God's truth and move on being that instruction. Within the context of this discussion, Faith not proof is necessary. I choose to have Faith in God, and in Christ as Saviour and Lord. I respect your right to your contradictory point of view. Obviously, your mind is made up. However, in closing, I reiterate I find it contradictory that while you freely exercise your right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, you obviously don't hesitate to attempt to deny me the right to exercise those same rights, because you are not interested in what I have to say. It appears that for someone who doesn't believe in God, you have no difficulty wanting to play God. Mr. Smith,for your information, what I said was that because the Bible is inspired by God but was written by human hands. I will stand by what I said. I stated that that social norms such as the subjugation of women were the product of the social norms which existed in a male-dominated society, this is historical fact. I stated that I believed that the genocidal acts committed by the Children of Israel, in God's name were not Divinely inspired, that is what I choose to believe, and I am not alone. Nowhere did I state that only the nice things which happened in the Bible were inspired by God. The torture and crucifiction of Christ was inspired by God, as was Christ's descent into Hell. Mr. Smith, you suggest that adherants to organized Relegion, including Christianity,avoid corrupting the world by kweeping to themselves. Speaking as a professing Christian I am charged by God, through Christ , to go into aall the world and spread the Gospel by preaching and living the Word of God. Why am I instructed to do this? So that God will have the opportunity to "stand at the door and knock." in order that the souls of all people who hear that knock, open the door to their souls and surrender their lives to Christ, might be avail of spiritual support in this life and eternal spiritual life in the next world. Finally your assertion that organized religion is responsible for corru[ption in the world is misguided. Simply because there have been incidents of corruption within some Churches, this does not mean that everyone affiliated with organized religion has been guilty of corrupt behaviour.

  • Charles Kennedy
    October 14, 2012 - 15:45

    Let me see if I got it straight. If Jesus pays for my sins he is punished and dies for 3 days after which he is reinstated back to his original postion in heaven. If I choose to pay for my own sins I have to burn in hell for all eternity. QUESTION: Who in the hell do you think got the best deal??

  • Ed Power
    October 13, 2012 - 17:20

    Mr. Morrison, you are being just a tad disingenuous. Nowhere in my comment did I state that "you" were threatening me with Divine retribution or any other such fantastical nonsense. I stated, rather clearly I might add, that "it is common - disturbingly common, however - for people of various religious stripes to pen letters to the Telegram advising people to follow the Word of God - their version of the Word, anyway - or suffer the consequences". A review of the comments posted to this letter, as well as to other recent letters to the Telegram, would confirm this. I also have no need to refute anything that you post as the onus would be upon you to offer proof of your claims - a matter of Extraordinary Claims Requiring Extraordinary Proof - as there isn't an iota of evidence to prove the existence of a god or gods of any type. Faith, belief or hope is not evidence. Neither are the words of illiterate Bronze Age barbarians who believed the Earth to be flat and the lights in the night sky to be the light of Heaven shining through the firmament. The sad thing is, the old Hebrew 'scholars' who recorded the tales of their god weren't particularly original, as many of their stories were adopted - and adapted - from older Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian mythology. The Genesis story of Noah's Ark and the Flood, for example, is startlingly similar to the account of Unapishtim and his Great Boat recorded in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, and the latter is a far more entertaining read. It is a good thing the Bible isn't being written today because, in today's litiguous society, the Sumerian author would be suing the Hebrew one for plagarism, and would be leaving the courthouse with a nice fat cheque in his hand. But I digress. Do not think me "troubled", Mr. Morrison, as I am confident that, in the not too distant future, the Abrahamic god will join his Greek and Roman brothers - and the thousands of other gods/demigods/demons and other magical creatures men have created over the millennia - in the Mythology Section of the local library. There, they will be able to share tales of their might and majesty over jars of ambrosia.....

  • Doug Smith
    October 13, 2012 - 15:49

    Mr. Morrison, in regard to what is divinely inspired in the bible and what is not, I’m afraid you are having your cake and eating it too. So according to you, all the acceptable parts of the bible are the divinely inspired parts and the violent, discriminatory , sexist, evil parts of the bible are the result of social norms of the time and bible editors putting stuff in and taking stuff out. How very convenient . Let me make clear your other point concerning my saying that, “… it is best that people from organized religion not use public communication.” I didn’t say they were to be legally unable to use public communication. It is just that for society’s betterment organized religions should self-restrict themselves to their own followers and not corrupt society with their views. Doug Smith, GFW

  • Herb Morrison
    October 13, 2012 - 14:37

    Mr. Power. I did not coerce you into reading my post. You have chosen of your own free will to do so and to post a cpomment.Perhaps it is not my post that you are responding negatively to, but it is your inability to refute what I have posted which has motivated you to respond with so much enotion, that is troubling you? Oh, by trhe way, I have never stated or implied that anyone who doesn't convert to Christianity after reading my posts, will suffer any form of Divine retribution. You appear to feel threatened. Why?

  • Herb Morrison
    October 13, 2012 - 13:55

    Mr. Smith, in response to your latest post I ask you to consider the following response. Back in the 1960’s, a stand-up comedian named Flip would use the excuse “the devil made me do it,” in response to any negative criticism of his words or actions while onstage. As a “rookie Seminarian,” One of the first things I was taught was that the Bible was inspired by God, but was written by human hands. In your most recent post you erroneously assert that everything recorded in Scripture was inspired by God. In actual fact, a considerable number of incidents recorded in Scripture, which are attributed to Divine inspiration from God, are more likely attributable to the social norms, which existed within the society in which the Bible was written. Then you need to consider the fact the original writings of Scripture, were sometimes edited by people who felt inspired to add to or obliterate portions of the original Scripture writings. The end result is that not all that is recorded in Scripture is Divinely inspired. Neither the subjugation of women, which is evident in both the Old and the New Testaments, or the violence and disorder, which accompanied, attempts by Christians to both preach and live their faith were/are Divinely inspired. The subjugation of women in Biblical times was a product of the fact that the society in which Jesus lived was male-dominated. Consequently, the subjugation in Biblical times was the product of a social norm of that day and not attributable to Divine inspiration. In like manner, the disorder, which surrounded Christians of Jesus day, as they attempted to both preach and live their Faith, was a product of the negative reaction that non-believers of that day had to the words and actions of Christians. You might want to read the Beatitudes: Blessed are you when men shall persecute you, revile you, and say all manner of evil against you, for my sake. ( Hence the pitting of brother against brother which you refer to in your post) Once again, such action was not Divinely inspired contrary to your misguided, ill-informed assertion to the contrary. Finally, Mr. Smith, your suggestion that Christians should be denied the opportunity to assert either their legal right to freedom of speech or their equally legal right to practice the Religion of their choice, is utter nonsense at best.

  • Doug Smith
    October 12, 2012 - 19:30

    PeterTwo, your statement, “Kindness, tolerance, compassion, forgiveness… are all hallmarks of God”, well, nothing could be further from the truth. Obviously, you are unaware of God’s plan for the people on earth as found in Matthew 10:34 where god says that he did not come to earth to bring peace but to bring a sword and to turn mother against daughter and father against son. You also seem to not know of the countless times God himself killed people beginning with the Great Flood. I don’t see much compassion or forgiveness in that. I suggest a rereading of your bible so you can get your facts straight. Mr. Morrison, yes it is best that people from organized religion not use public communications since organized religion has such a history of violence and killing and have assigned women to a second class status, therefore we don’t need to hear any of their evil propaganda. Anyone with a knowledge of history and current affairs knows what I have said is only too true. Mr. Burke, I have to disagree when you say that it took courage for God to be crucified. Remember he was God so he knew how it was going to turn out. He knew he would be going back to his fulltime job of being God in heaven. For an example of real courage we need only look to the Canadian Martyrs. The torture they underwent was unbelievable and much more than God experienced on the cross. Peter L, the churches and religions need to be attacked because they bring so much pain and suffering to so many. Look how the Catholic church treats gays and lesbians, won’t allow contraception, won’t allow abortion, treat women as second class. In Alberta some Catholic bishops are trying to prevent school girls from getting a vaccine that will prevent certain forms of cancer. Bottom line, religions are always trying to inflict pain and suffering instead of trying to liberate people from evil. Doug Smith, GFW

  • Skeptical Cynic
    October 12, 2012 - 18:33

    There are demon-haunted worlds... regions of utter darkness. — The Isa Upanishad, (India, ca. 600 B.C.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Demon-Haunted_World

  • Ed Power
    October 12, 2012 - 17:35

    The difference between our two positions, Mr. Morrison, is that I do not feel compelled to push my non-belief on others. I do, however, feel compelled respond to people who insist that I - and everyone else - should live according to the standards set down by illiterate Bronze Age goatherds millennia ago. I feel no need to condemn other people for their biologically dictated sexual orientation or to 'counsel' others on their lifestyle. Nor do I feel the need to criticize them for the decisions that they are forced to make in their personal lives. It is quite common - disturbingly common - however, for religious people of various stripes to pen letters to The Telegram advising readers to follow the word of God - their version of the Word ,anyway - or suffer the consequences. It is an old and tired drum, one that has been beaten ever since men invented gods to explain the world around them. It is long past the time to learn a new tune.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 12, 2012 - 15:35

    To the person who identifies himself as PeterTwo I offer the following "food for thought." to begin with, Yes, indeed, God does have a job description. God works in and through Christians to spread the Good News of of the Gospel. Secondly, tthe onus is not on any person to save their own Soul. We don't weild that kind of power. Only a Divine, forgiving, mercuful, and loving God has the power to do save Souls. As Christians, by God's Grace, through our faith in God and Christ, we are afforded Spiritual strength in this life, and eternal Spiritual life in the next. God, throughChrist, by the Power of the Holy Spirit, "Stands at the door of each and every heart of each and every person on this earth. However, God will not force anyone to accept the truth of the Gospel, that truth being that humans can only attain eternal Spiritual lifeby believing in God and in Christ as Saviour and Lord. Peter Two, I am curious to know how you have reached the conclusion that kindness, forgiveness, and other principles associated with Christianity, principles which you rightly assert are observed by athiests, as they live their lives , are more visable today than ever before. From my vantage point in the world, for example, crimes of violence, exploitation, and violation of trust, and a steady decline in the power and influence that the Christian Churchs of any Tradition are able to exert within the context of any given situation affecting people in the worls of the Christian church, indicate that people of the world are, in increasing numbers, not living their lives in accordance with either Christian principles or basic ethical principles which call for people to treat each other with appropriate respect and dignity.

  • Too Funny
    October 12, 2012 - 14:10

    Apparently the inability to agree is not limited to economists but also extends to bible thumpers.

  • Petertwo
    October 12, 2012 - 11:04

    I was interested to read Herb Morrison's comment on "God's primary responsibility" , He, God, has a job description? The onus on a Christian is to be responsible for their own soul, no one can change another, not even God. Re- the Old Testament. God says, through the Bible, that this is the way for His people to live, Jesus being the human example to follow. Notice His, not everyone is or wants to be, or has been properly introduced to a Christian way of life. But it is there always for those who can see the better way that it is. Kindness, tolerance, compassion, forgiving, et al are all hallmarks of God. They are more visible today than they used to be, and even atheists exhibit these characteristics, while denying God. All the good things come from God, kindness, tolerance......there is no law against these. At least that's my opinion.

    October 12, 2012 - 10:10

    Why should churches have to pay tax if no other charatible group doesn't have to? Why not also tax the boy scouts, hockey clubs, Board of Trade and everyone else? This is just another attack on the church. It should be noted here that the monies that churches receive is already taxed in the hands of the congregation. Yes a small percentage tax break is allowed on their donations for those who claim the donations to the church, but not all do. Churches also give to other charities and missions, and run most of the food banks in the country. There would be quite a stir, and many would go without food if not for that service. Again, the monies they receive are already taxed. Also, I always wonder why the athiests feel they can respond in the media to churches and religious people, but feel that churches and religious people cannot make public comments. Ther have even been attacks on the church this week, see a column by Pam Frampton that has no reference to churches or religions, but someone still used it to attack churches and religion.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 12, 2012 - 09:49

    Mr. Burke. I agree that courage has value. However, given the fact that Scripture states that humans are made in God's image, I don't believe that it took any anount of courage on God's part to create either male or female. I do believe that any courage that we humans demonstrate, by our actions and words, is a product of our Christian Faith, which enables us to rise above our own humaness, our own shortcomings, do do those things which are deemed to be courageous.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 12, 2012 - 09:00

    Mr. Power. Now let me get this straight, which is a challenge since your post is, in part at least, rife with contradiction. It is acceptable for you to utilize a public medium to express your opinion of organized Religion and how they conduct their affairs, however, it is not acceptable for either myself or anyone who chooses to be a part of an organized Religionous group, to utilize that same public medium to either express their views or comment on situations or events occurring within the Society in which We live, from the perspective of, in my own case, a professing Christian, or from the perspective of someone whose organized Religious group operates using a belief system which differs from my own. Is that contradiction or not. Furthermore, you chose of your own free will to read my post and respond to it. You don't need to agree with what I have posted. What you need to do is to learn to respect both my right to freedom on speech and my right to freedom of Religon. These rights are guaranteed by the laws of the Country in which we live.

  • Colin Burke
    October 12, 2012 - 08:47

    I believe that self-denial which is more than trivial requires courage, that it is a privilege to be allowed to do anything God does, and that God practiced courageous self-denial in his sacred humanity when he was crucified as Jesus Christ. I believe that courage itself is worth having, whether or not it has redeeming value in the sight of God.

  • Herb Morrison
    October 12, 2012 - 07:49

    Mr. Burke. I believe that self denial is a Christian principle. The ultimate in self denial is recorded at least twice in Scripture. "God so loved the world that God gave God's only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in God, has everlasting life ."We, as Christians are commissioned to follow God's example, if necessary, as pointed out in Scripture, which tells us that. *Greater love has no person than this, that they lay down their life for another person." Consequently,I believe that any suffering which I incur while acting in accordance with God's will is not a form of punishment inflicted on me by God. Furthermore within the context of self-denial, and given that we are saved by Grace through Faith, and not by our good works, when I practice self-denial I am not attempting to earn my way into Heaven I am simply doing what God, through Christ, by example has taught me I should do. Since there is no redeeming value in in suffering, at least in God's eyes, and since I believe that suffering is not a the result of God's trying to punish me for my transgressions, given that I can repent of my sins with my last breath and obtain Spiritual Salvation, and eternal Spiritual life, wherever would anyone get the idea that there is redeeming valure of any description associated with human suffering? I believe that I will not be judged by God until I stand before God in God's Heaven. I do not believe that human suffering is not an "act of God."

  • Junior Innis
    October 11, 2012 - 20:53

    I think that some people become bored with life and being ill they want out. Maybe we have to walk a mile in someone elses shoes to understand it

  • Ed Power
    October 11, 2012 - 17:42

    I won't hold my breath waiting for some imaginary deity/deities to start paying taxes, however it would be nice if the churches and propertites held in it's many names were taxed like mine, and it's income was taxed like mine. Then, and only then, will god be able to offer it's opinions on matters of Public policy. In the meantime, I will refrain from darkening the doors of churches, mosques, synogogues and temples to offer suggestions on how they should run their affairs, and they can keep their beliefs inside where they belong and out of the personal affairs of others. If I should ever feel the need for religious advice or guidance - heaven forbid (pun intended) - I'll call you. I do suggest, however, that you not wait by the phone.

  • crista
    October 11, 2012 - 13:20


  • Colin Burke
    October 11, 2012 - 11:22

    Part of what I believe about God and suffering is that God would rather that people accept suffering instead of choosing to do what is unjust, and that some people need to suffer in order to realize properly which choice they would actually make. Also, if doing injustice is worse than being allowed to suffer, being allowed to suffer is necessary to show some people how bad injustice really is. We can pray for courage, perhaps, while hoping we will not have it gravely tested, but we, rightly, cannot deem our courage genuine until it is tested. (It took real courage for God to create beings who could oppose his own will, right?)

  • The atheist
    October 11, 2012 - 09:57

    Lets hope that public policy is not based on the god myth. Now if god starts paying taxes then god can have a say.