2 - Near death experiences 2
Meditation and Reflection

TGI Monday: Near-death experiences and the mystery of the mind

 

Are near-death experiences just the mind “losing the plot” and “going a bit weird”? What is consciousness? How do we explain the thousands of out-of-body testimonials throughout all ages and cultures, which tell of people floating through the air and looking down on themselves? Is it a moment of just going to another place? Apocalypses and Gnosticism? What about angels? How do they fit in? Is the tunnel of light a glimpse of heaven or a taste of resurrection life? Do we witness a form of transfiguration? What about Jesus communing with the dead?

How do we explain the myriad of accounts of people who died and came back to life? Are near-death experiences just dreams caused by oxygen deprivation? ‘For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens‘ (2Cor 5:1). Did St Paul have a near-death experience?

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities (2Cor 12:2-5).

This is a timely debate as the Government moves to ban ‘legal highs’ and sundry mind-altering drugs. But it’s funny, isn’t it, how people are more fascinated by near-death experiences than with the unavoidable finality of what happens after death itself.

For future episodes, please feel free to send your questions directly to the TGI Monday team.

  • sarky

    Although quite interesting, it’s not really a subject that can be covered in 10 mins, ends up being a bit superficial. Also, what’s with the knitting? Had to watch twice as spent the first viewing trying to work out what she was making!!

  • IanCad

    Well. thank goodness that chocolate cake is well and truly dead and was not resurrected at this session.
    Donald Trump however, was. Is he the new Satan? It would seem so to me. The poster child of virtue signaling.

    • magnolia

      Until he is claimed by those who bemoan “gingerism” I guess!!! Unless its already happened. Best to be surprised by nothing these days…..;-)

  • magnolia

    Interesting discussion. I’d have liked to hear about correlation research between oxygen deprivation and NDEs (especially as I know that there is none, and some people have actually been MORE oxygenated and had them.

    My gift to you this morning is: https//www.nderf.org

  • cacheton

    There seems to be some confusion over the difference between ‘death’ and ‘NDE’. Ros says near the end that actual death is more important that NDE, Zoe doesn’t agree. But isn’t the difference that in both you physically die (ie: experience actual death), but if you come back to life again it is labelled as an NDE, as we could not conceive of someone being ‘alive’ after they have already ‘died’, if you don’t it is called death.

    The question then is ‘Is there some level at which those who have NDEs KNOW they are going to come back, therefore their experience may be different to those who don’t?’ But even the question involves another ‘level’, so whichever way you look at it I do not see how you can conclude anything other than that there is more to life than the physical.

    • magnolia

      Trouble is the nomenclature. I would suggest PDE (post death experience) for those who have crossed the boundary (as in being put into the morgue) and come back, and NDE for those who have begun to shut off and then come back.

      It is even more confused as some people use NDE very loosely indeed. Some use it for a time when they came near death medically and had no experience at all because under unaesthetic even. It should surely only be used when there was an actual experience!!

      It seems researchers subdivide NDEs quite a lot! After all: What is near? What is death? What is an experience? What a lot of variables!

  • len

    Having had a near death experience myself I can relay the experience and make of it what you will.

    In my far distant youth I had regular chest infections bronchitis etc and this was deemed ‘just one of those things’ by the doctors (no dosing up with antibiotics as today.)
    My mother was a trained nurse and one night felt she should look in on me to see how I was doing . She said that I was stone cold and she could feel no pulse.She somehow revived me and all seemed to be ok after that.

    I had a vision/dream/ nightmare/ during this experience.
    I was laying on a raised marble slab much as you see old tombs in Churchyards and either side of me walking as guardians were two men covered in armour(such as knights) holding a sword hilt upwards in front of the all the time a bell was tolling really slowly.

    Nothing like this has ever happened again, was this just a dream or a supernatural experience?. Perhaps one day i will know?.

    • magnolia

      Thank you for sharing that experience. Has it changed you?

      (I am just interested; I have had an NDE myself so empathise with the vulnerability you almost inevitably feel in sharing for all the risk (of loss) is with the sharer, as people can choose to disrespect what is a very precious experience to you.)

      • dannybhoy

        Go on then Magnolia, tell us about it. Did it disturb you or comfort you, or leave you perplexed?
        Were you a Christian at the time?

        • magnolia

          Ok, I was thoroughly compos mentis throughout, caught up in an undercurrent, calm, peaceful, even thoughts with wry humour, took it for granted I had “had it” (!) and saw five figures coming out of a gate/gateway, full of vigour and kindness, both male and female, with light playing and streaming around them, with different colours in it. They knew what had occurred and why I was there and were exceptionally friendly.

          Left me “on top of the mountain” for ages afterwards but not being able to identify that as the difficulty! Also it reminded me extremely strongly of the parable of the Prodigal Son where the Father rushes out BEFORE the son gets there. Same with the angels/people of light and death. But then I realized why wouldn’t that be so? Is that not the merciful loving nature of God? So Good News!

          And that happened over a decade ago, and yes I had been a Christian for over a decade or so then!

          • dannybhoy

            You were ill, in hospital, an accident?

          • magnolia

            Caught up in an undercurrent in the sea!!

          • dannybhoy

            Ah, not liking swimming much, I didn’t pick up on ‘undercurrent’.
            I’ve had occasional breathing spasms which caused me to think,
            “Is this it, am I going to die?
            No bright lights or nothing.
            On the other hand I have been in a house which had a very definite unearthly ‘presence’, and the occupants had had some pretty unpleasant paranormal experiences..

          • magnolia

            Know what you mean re that house, but hope some balancing kindly experiences come your way as well!

          • dannybhoy

            Life is absolutely fascinating; the seen and the unseen.
            I was in a meeting and saw a bandy legged person’s legs move together, and one of them actually lengthen. I stood and watched it. In the morning nothing had changed..

          • magnolia

            On your last point I thought of the birds in the parable of the sower; sometimes holding on to these things is hard! Do you know what occurred afterwards?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, we were on the same kibbutz running a Christian volunteers programme. We talked about it, couldn’t make sense of it and posted it under ‘mystery’.
            I remain ambivalent on the whole healing ministry, although I have experienced other kinds of ministry with liberating and lasting results.

          • magnolia

            I think and feel that ambivalence is highly appropriate! Not that some do not have very wonderful gifts of healing but that others have median ones, and some fake it, and some rake off exorbitant and excessive lifestyles off it. Also not all with healing gifts retain humility and some forget to advise those healed how to retain the healing.

            I happen to have only stumbled across the excellent, thank God.

            So agreed basically!

          • dannybhoy

            Developing that further Magnolia, I have spent quite a lot of time around Charismatic congregations.
            I do believe that there can be an occasion when we ask specifically for the baptism of the Holy Spirit for personal sanctification and ministry, of speaking in tongues, even the gifts such as teaching, pastoring, worship and so on.
            The flip side is that there are people who have charismatic personalities and can be led astray and lead others astray through workings ‘of the flesh’, rather than the Holy Spirit.
            I sometimes wonder if those gifts were poured out for the establishment of the Church, and then as God wills say in revivals?

          • magnolia

            Yes I have spent time in charismatic congregations; all congregations and all people, (not least me) I think fall into some sort of fault. I guess at least the charismatics fall into warm exuberant faults, and you get kindliness and hugs, and suggestions of solutions. Like anything else it is when ego and competition trump altruism and co-operative working that things get ghastly.

            There have been some ghastly excesses in the charismatic/pentecostalist churches, like the worst bits of the Toronto blessing. I have seen a youtube clip of David Wilkerson close to tears speaking of such things, but also I have been in churches where no one will pray for any substantive healing while people tangibly suffer before them. It doesn’t feel very Christlike.

            Personally I am more of a dog person than a cat person, and prefer any errors from over-exuberance, over waggy tails,emotional expression, spontaneity, loyalty, and personal warmth to self-sufficiency and calculation, but then that might be coloured by having recently having been given a rather unjustified kicking by one or two of the latter which is taking a few days to recover from!!

            I would be decrepit without having benefited from genuine healing ministry so naturally wouldn’t be without that!!

            But agree totally about works of the flesh and not leading people astray. As always harder to do than say!

          • dannybhoy

            “I think fall into some sort of fault. I guess at least the charismatics fall into warm exuberant faults, and you get kindliness and hugs, and suggestions of solutions.”
            I like that and would agree with you. Our home group has been joined by such a person and I really value her input.
            David Wilkerson.. http://hasten-the-day.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/david-wilkerson-and-holy-laughter.html
            This is a wonderful healing..

          • magnolia

            Yes, it is a wonderful healing and thank you for sharing it with me. Yes, I agree also with the blogspot. Nothing wrong with charismatic manifestations in the right time and place, but s.o who goes up to preach and laughs for half an hour is just crazy! Also possibly has skimped on preparation! Same with crawling round on all fours making animal noises; not OK unless playing charades or entertaining children or grandchildren! Not even OK with the dog who would feel he/she was being sent up!

          • Anna055

            Wow …that’s lovely.

      • len

        The experience certainly has changed me because I now know there are dimensions to this world of which that we sometimes get a fleeting glimpse which are etched onto our minds which we cannot understand but also cannot forget.
        I realise people can ‘rubbish’ such experiences but this does not make them any less valid and I feel these experiences give us glimpses into a spiritual dimension of which we know relatively little.

    • Uncle Brian

      Not only have I never had a near death experience myself, but I have never known personally anyone who has had one. Len, the description you give of your own experience is intriguing, to say the least. Obviously I don’t want to intrude on your private life, so if you think I’m prying please feel free to tell me so and I’ll shut up, but there is one fairly obvious question I’d like to ask you: What is your own explanation, now, of your remarkable experience?

      Thanks
      Brian

      • len

        Brian, I believe that I was not meant to die at that moment in time because I was unsaved and being saved was to be a future event…I could be wrong but i feel that one day I will know.

        • Uncle Brian

          Thank you, Len.

    • dannybhoy

      Amazing.

  • carl jacobs

    It’s axiomatic If you are still alive, then you were never dead. For it is appointed once for a man to die, and then to judgment. Whatever is going on with a near death experience, it is still firmly rooted on this side of eternity. All of it. Once you cross that line, there is no coming back.

    It’s true we don’t have a clue what consciousness is. It’s even more true that we don’t have a clue what death is. We can recognize it after the fact, but we have difficulty defining its exact onset because death is the cessation of life, and we don’t have the first clue what life is. Life is not just biological, but biology all we can measure. So we are inferring the reality of a NDE from biological measures that do not accurately measure the point of death. We say people are “dead” because they meet some arbitrary criteria, but that criteria does not describe the spiritual reality of death.

    Once again the Scripture was completely peripheral to their answers. (Well, OK. They did sort of imply that the people raised from the dead in the Bible were kind of examples of NDE. The effect of which is to undermine the nature of the miracle. Lazarus was dead four days, after all.) They rooted their answers in experience – which is unfortunate because this particular experience is not dispositive of anything. People may want to have their experiences affirmed, but that does not mean they should have their experiences affirmed as some sort of spiritual truth.

    • Martin

      Carl

      Have to agree with you. NDE are not death and they seem to have more to do with the physiological events occurring. Our ignorance on the nature of life and conciousness, even the role of the physical brain is unknown. Sadly they didn’t even go deeper than what they thought and seemed to have said all they were going to say within 2 minutes.

      • carl jacobs

        It’s interesting you should say that. As I was watching the video, I touched the screen at some point because I wanted to know the time remaining. I could see where the answers were going, and I just wanted it to be done. I touched the screen at about 3:30 into the video. I don’t think they added anything significant (in a positive sense) after that point.

        To my mind, they did not present a perspective that could be uniquely identified as Christian. How would their answers differ from a non-Christian? I don’t know. That’s a problem given the spiritual centrality of death to life.

        • dannybhoy

          It seems a bit like Christianity Lite…

    • Uncle Brian

      While it certainly is axiomatic – there can hardly be any doubt about that – I would go further and say it’s primarily a question of language. What is the definition, or how many definitions are there, of the adjective “dead”?

      Medical research into the resuscitation of people who seem to have died, or who may even have been described as “dead”, has naturally developed a specialised vocabulary of its own, in which careful distinctions are made between narrowly defined technical terms such as “clinical death”, “biological death”, and “terminal states”. The distinctions serve the useful purpose of enabling researchers to communicate with one another productively about new developments and new findings. But any argument between nonspecialists along the lines of “No, he was really dead and the doctors brought him back to life” usually boils down to a misunderstanding about the standard English definition of the adjective “dead”.

      • Anton

        I would go further and say it’s primarily a question of language. What is the definition, or how many definitions are there, of the adjective “dead”?

        Try this…

    • bluedog

      Without beginning to understand it, we may find that String Theory takes us down an interesting path with regard to life and death.

  • IanCad

    Christ alone has immortality.
    It seems to me dangerous speculation to contradict the words of scripture. We are dead or we are alive. There is no halfway house.

  • Findaráto

    I wasn’t going to watch, but last week’s installment of “Four Christians and a Chocolate Cake” was so enthralling, I couldn’t help myself. Who knew that gluttony was a fruit of the Spirit? Perhaps not even they did…

    Interestingly enough there seems to have been an epiphany during the week because this time the cake was noticeable by its absence. Large Girl, who was so transfixed by its presence last week, had obviously been forewarned that today’s effort would be a Lenten fast and had brought her knitting with her to keep her mind off the deprivation.

    Knit one, purl one, knit one, purl one … what exactly was she creating as she regaled us with her dream of turning into a potato? Upon careful examination I’m pretty sure it must be a multicoloured Peruvian tuber poncho. A spud cosy to keep her King Edwards warm. Or it could be the beginnings of a much larger onesie-type garment designed to keep her from turning green and sprouting in the spring sunshine…

    Also suffering from cake withdrawal symptoms was Disabled Nosering. By the way she was shaking in her wheelchair, sorry, ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicle and clutching that mug of tea, I suspect her Sunday Wimmyn’s and Two-Spirit Holistic Encounter Group had got slightly out of control the evening before. Too much wacky baccy had been smoked, or otherwise concealed in the organic carob and loam flapjacks, and she was only just coasting down to the same mundane level as everyone else. Cake would have helped. It always does when you’ve got the munchies. But she had to make do with tea and was therefore out of it until the sugar hit her bloodstream about halfway through the clip.

    Welsh Plonker was as unremarkable as he was last time. Trying his best to sound like the voice of reason by arguing that NDEs could be the result of a blow to the back of the head (or, in my experience, the front of the head, or the side of the head, or indeed anywhere above the neck really…), he was nonetheless quick to point out that they MIGHT NOT BE! Ah ha! I see what he was doing there … the crafty devil, using Atheists own arguments against them in such a devastatingly incoherent and poorly argued manner. Clearly his aim was to try and confuse us into faith. Because if a Christian argues FOR reason, then the Atheist is honour-bound to take the opposite stance and must therefore admit that God exists, right?

    Wrong! At which point even the camera man got bored with him and, searching for something interesting to fill up dead airtime with, was left with little choice but to focus on Welsh Plonker’s dreadfully frayed collar. Now there was a stroke of genius! It set up a subliminal idea in the viewer’s mind that priests are so terribly underpaid, they’re beginning to lose the power of coherent thought, so we really should contribute a little more to the collection plate next week.

    And then of course my favourite. Hipster Vic, having once again raided Val Doonican’s wardrobe (is Large Girl the culprit, or should we cast blame at the door of St. V de P?). I have to admit I was so hypnotized by that wagging beard, I didn’t pay much attention to the muffled sounds emanating from it, so I therefore couldn’t tell you whether Hipster Vic actually believes in NDEs, or whether he thinks they’re just a foreshadowing of the missional salvific transformatisating eucharistication of accepting Christ as your Lord. Perhaps it will become clearer next week, when I shall certainly be watching, if only to see what further theological bombshells are dropped, and whether Val’s pipe will put in an appearance.

    I also want to find out what comes of Disabled Nosering’s shocking contradiction of Large Girl’s pronouncement on the importance of deadness over not deadness. The venom in Large Girl’s eyes … will Disabled Nosering’s ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicle serve as protection from the biatch-slappin’ that such wanton revisionism most surely deserves? Stay tuned! The next episode promises to be explosive!

    • carl jacobs

      Ah. The dead arrive to speak of death. And their names are legion.

      • The Explorer

        Yes, maybe when I said a couple of threads ago that we were missing a certain perspective, I had it wrong.

        • sarky

          Are you suggesting Findy’s a satanist?

          • The Explorer

            Satanists disagree among themselves as to what is a Satanist. Obviously not in the sense of believing in a fallen spiritual being. But in terms of lack of charity, and mocking physical affliction, Findy’s right up there.

      • Findaráto

        Death or not death? I couldn’t work out from the video which is the most important for a Christian.

        Large Girl seems to think it’s death, which given how difficult life must be for her is perhaps not all that surprising.

        Disabled Nosering on the other hand is all in favour of not death, and looking at her glazed eyes and hung-over mien, you can see why. I mean, there’s someone who despite (or perhaps because of) her disability clearly enjoys everything life has to offer, whereas Large Girl just knits. And eats cake. When available, which sadly, wasn’t the case today.

        I wonder though, if next Monday they provide a sumptuous whipped cream and strawberry Victoria sponge, will Large Girl sing the praises of not death? And if Disabled Nosering’s home is raided by the vice squad and her stash is confiscated, will she then be on the side of death?

        Really, these videos, which seemed to hold so little promise after such a bleak beginning, are starting to become quite gripping…

        • carl jacobs

          Large Girl

          She has a name, Linus. Perhaps you could show her the courtesy of using it. Or are you so shallow and superficial that you think body type somehow indicates the quality of the argument.

          Don’t bother to respond. Given the frequency with which you adopt new identities, I already know the answer.

          • It’s all just a French Atheist’s Regurgitated Twaddle

          • Martin

            Carl

            He’s an Atheists, they’re always shallow because they’re so busy pretending God doesn’t exist.

          • sarky

            Yaawwwwnnn

          • Findaráto

            Of course she has a name. Everyone has a name. However in the case of Large Girl it doesn’t really matter what that name is, because within the framework of these Christian videos, names aren’t important.

            What we have on the screen before us are not four individuals but rather four Christian stereotypes.

            There’s Large Girl, who represents all the fat Christians. You know, the ones who really love the Lord … but not quite enough to renounce the demon cake and all its works for His sake.

            Then we have Disabled Nosering, who represents all the minority Christians. You know, wimmyn, and the disabled, and LGBTQI Christians, and anyone else who needs religion to have a non-threatening, organic, anything-goes face.

            Then there’s Welsh Plonker, the representative of dull, blockish white male heterosexuality. He’s the Jeremy Clarkson of Christianity, minus the personality and the wit of course.

            And finally Hipster Vic is there to represent all the bookish outcasts, theological pedants and obsessive/compulsive Aspies who know they’re just the coolest people in all of God’s creation, but for some unknown reason, nobody else thinks so…

            Names are superfluous in that line-up. It’s all about categories. Large Girl, Disabled Nosering, Welsh Plonker and Hipster Vic are symbols of the wider Christian malaise, which is that a religion for outcasts can only ever be a peripheral influence.

          • The Explorer

            “which is that a religion for outcasts can only ever be a peripheral influence.”

            If you believe that, why do you spend so much time attacking it? It’s peripheral: let it fade away of its own irrelevance.

          • Findaráto

            It is fading away, but if I can do anything to accelerate that process, so much the better.

          • carl jacobs

            Of course she has a name. Everyone has a name.

            Some of us have seven names not one if which is real. Like you for instance. And seven back stories not one of which is true. Like you for instance. And there are some here who think indulging a cheap ignorant offensive stereotype is a mark of intellectual sophistication. Like you.

            Keep it up, Linus. You are an exemplar. People need to see as much of you as possible so there is no mistaking what you are.

        • Fart away, Linus. The effect is nasty but thankfully temporary.

          • len

            Flatulento?

          • Most excellent, Len.

          • Allosexuel

            Fartulento is bitter.

            Ee les pets et rots et émet toutes sortes de bruits cacophonique.

    • sarky

      I’m looking forward to it, if only for your review.

      • CliveM

        So now you’ve seen the review, you think it was worth the wait?

    • The Explorer

      “Ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicle.” New one on me. Disabled gay studies in the States is simply termed ‘Queers on Wheels’. But I think the point there is not to want re-empowerment, because it would clash with double-victim status.

      • Findaráto

        Is she gay? I haven’t looked her up online yet because for the life of me I can’t remember what her name is. They say it every week but for some reason it just doesn’t stick in my mind. Probably because her image is so generic that it just doesn’t sit well with something as individual as a name.

        • The Explorer

          No idea if she’s gay. My point is, if there was a specific university course in the States for disabled vicars, it would presumably be called ‘Vicars on Wheels’, rather than ‘Vicars on ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicles.’ If you don’t know it, Bruce Bawer’s ‘The Victims’ Revolution’ is a fascinating read.

          • Findaráto

            England is not the US and PC speak is therefore not the same in the two countries.

            I stand by my phrase “ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicle”. Or I might just tweak it slightly to “ambulatorily challenged person’s empowerment reclaiming vehicle”, but only because I prefer ACPERV to ACPREV as an acronym…

            I think Disabled Nosering looks a picture in her ACPERV with her nose ring and her organic hairdo. I strongly suspect she’s also a vegan, although that may just be a fanciful notion on my part. I managed to find out her name and checked out her Lichfield diocesan profile and sure enough, all the buzzwords of inclusivity are right there, although I am disappointed to find out she’s a married mother of three. I was hoping for a lesbian and transgender throuple at the very least, but then I suppose Hipster Vic, who despite his right-on look is clearly a theological conservative, would probably refuse to sit in the same room as her if she were too “out there”.

            She’s “out there” enough though. She lists her “passions” as including liberation theology. How many fits of apoplexy will that cause on this blog? And the fake archbishop is promoting her videos too. Whatever will happen next? An alliance between the Queen and Peter Tatchell? Between George Carey and Giles Fraser? It must be the End of Days…

          • The Explorer

            England is not the US, but we did import PC from there (after the US had imported it from Germany), including its language. Liberation theology is another American import: albeit Latin America.

          • FART
            French Atheist’s Regurgitated Twaddle.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’d like that except it’s rude.

          • Not at all …

          • sarky

            Ban Religion And Instead Note
            French Atheists Regurgitated Twaddle.

          • The Explorer

            Disabled herself, she has a particular concern for the disadvantaged. Very understandable.

    • Dreadnaught

      I think the knitted article will be a Willy Warmer for this years Nativity donkey.

      • Findaráto

        The willy warmer possibility had crossed my mind, however I’m reliably informed that the wimmyn’s New Inclusive Translation of the God the Mother’s word states that all animals present around the manger at Christ’s birth were (of course) female. So there was no donkey but rather a jenny, and jennies don’t (unless they’re pre-op transgender) have willies to warm.

        • The Explorer

          Jennies do have willies to warm: just not their own.

          • Findaráto

            But do they need knitwear to accomplish the task?

            No, Large Girl was not knitting a sex aid for asses. It’s more likely to be something to do with her potato fixation. She dreams about being one. She’s clearly modeling her look on the peeled and boiled variety. So my money’s on it being some kind of pouch she can keep her spuds in. What else could it be?

    • What can one say? Words fail Jack.

      • Allosexuel

        Dis is rood but troo.

        Wen ee speeks et is like gaz intestinal qui sort de l’anus avec bruit.

      • The Explorer

        The guy in the wheelchair (or ambulatorily challenged person’s re-empowerment vehicle as Linus would have it) was the best.

    • IanCad

      Well you did it last week – a venomous screed directed at people who are struggling and maybe stumbling to live in accordance with the will of God.
      Good people, kind people, who would never malign you to exhibit their smarts.
      This week’s post had to top lasts. What about the next? Shock value lasts only until a greater outrage comes along. Thus it seems so with you.
      No doubt about it – you are a clever chap – an asset to the blog, but you display a writing persona, which, if presumed to be in keeping with your character, shows a man bereft of kindness and decency.

      • The Explorer

        They might not respond, but Jack has on their behalf. Jack has the ability to genuinely wind up Linus. It’s an enviable gift.

      • Findaráto

        Is it kind and decent to ignore somebody’s flagrant flouting of his own belief system?

        Perhaps Large Girl believes her gluttony and sloth are acceptable to the Lord because she regularly repents. But repentance without amendment is insincere, so overweight Christians need to be admonished or, if the Bible is true and they don’t slim down, no amount of prayer and fake repentance will lubricate their passage through the Pearly Gates.

        And what about Disabled Nosering and her liberation theology? Again, a direct flouting of biblical commandments to care not for the things of this world. She should be turning the other cheek and encouraging the victims of oppression and torture to beg for more punishment rather than inciting them to rebel. So she needs admonishing too for her wicked and ungodly liberal ways.

        Of course I’ve nothing immediately obvious to admonish Welsh Plonker for. Indeed he’s rather to be admired. Accomplishing the feat of being simultaneously as dull as ditchwater and annoyingly, one might even say provocatively, ethnic is actually quite a remarkable achievement. It isn’t, as far as I’m aware however, a sin. No, whatever Welsh Plonker’s sins are, he’s doing a good job of concealing them. Which of course makes him a total Pharisee, because look at him dispensing good advice on how to be holy while hiding his own sins away. Hypocrisy, thy name is Hywel, or Highwell, or Hewell, or Hwibble, or however you pronounce it…

        And of course there’s Hipster Vic! No fear of having to guess what his sins are. Poor vain old Hipster Vic with his stylish beard, his with-it quiff and his shabby chic motheaten woollens. He isn’t hiding his sins under a bushel, is he? Vanity thy name is … whatever his name is.

        I wonder though … is he really vain, or is that beard just a hedge against the risk of Islamic invasion? A quick costume change come the jihad and a few verses of Qur’an memorised and lo and behold!: no beheadings in Hipster Imam’s household. It’s a miracle! Saved by the Lord, alias Allah the Merciful. And then condemned by him for woshipping a rival god…

        So you see, if you judge any one of this Christian Fab Four against the standards of the faith they profess to believe in, their credibility starts to unravel PDQ. Of course you can’t do this because you’re a Christian and you’re not allowed to judge. But there’s no reason why I shouldn’t.

        Just think of me as an unwilling instrument of your imaginary God. Through mine eyes shall the scales fall from yours, and you will see clearly the false prophets and hear clearly the lies upon their forked tongues…

        • IanCad

          So! According to Gospel of Findars only skinny folk are fit for Heaven.
          Really you are stooping low. Physical appearances, noserings beards, perceived heaviness, seem to loom large in your assessment of character. None of those outward variations can be used to judge or condemn. It is very petty of you, and to pursue in this vein can only reflect even more ill upon you as an independent free thinking man.
          You should be ashamed.
          BTW. “Heavy” people live longer than the skinny.

          • Findaráto

            Your own holy book tells you that true believers will show forbearance and self-control. It also tells you that gluttony is a sin. Obesity is proof positive of gluttony, which indicates a lack of forbearance and self-control. So by the tenets of your own religion, fatties won’t be going to heaven.

            Perhaps their longer lives are merely a sign that God is giving them a little more time to repent.

            Don’t blame me. Blame God. And then blame yourself for demanding that some people show forbearance and self-control while you wink at others and give them a free pass to sin as they will.

            If a fatso can get to heaven in spite of unrepentant gluttony, why wouldn’t a gay man get there too in spite of unrepentant homosexual activity? If a lardass gets to heaven in spite of cramming obscene quantities of cake down her capacious maw, why wouldn’t an adulterer get there too in spite of regularly and unrepentantly cheating on his wife?

            Who’s really stooping low? Me because I point out what your religion really requires? Or you because you bend the rules in order to condemn those you hate and have no sympathy for, while letting those you like and do have sympathy for off the hook?

            Funny how Christians always try to excuse the sinning of those whose sins they’re also prey to themselves. Anyone can overindulge and pile on a few pounds over the holidays. So if you condemn habitual gluttons, you have to condemn yourself. And that would never do, would it?

            Oh no, being a fattie isn’t a real sin, is it? It’s completely forgivable because there but for the grace of God go you, so your fat friends are beyond criticism for their very obvious sinning because if we admonish them, we’ll also be able to admonish you. And that would never do, would it?

            That’s what being a Christian is all about. Admonishing others while flying into a fit of outrage when they dare to admonish you. Hypocrisy and double standards are the bedrock of your faith. So go right ahead and make excuses for the fatties while you berate everyone else for their transgressions. It only exposes you for what you really are.

          • IanCad

            Findars, Do you own a gym? Sell exercise equipment? Peddle dietary supplements? Was your mother so grossly obese that the experience of your near suffocation in the folds of her fat are with you yet?
            Something must account for your salvation in thin doctrine. It is obsessive, irrational and perpetual.

          • Findaráto

            No, I do not own a gym or sell exercise equipment or dietary supplements. Both my mother and my father were height/weight proportionate people whose weight never varied. So am I. This is because we were raised to eat properly and take an appropriate amount of exercise.

            Slamming back an entire chocolate cake in one sitting is an idea that nauseates me. What pleasure could it possibly provide? One small slice of cake can be delicious, if it’s well-baked using quality ingredients. But on the rare occasions when I’ve been obliged to help myself to more than I wanted in order to mollify the paranoia of an insecure host or hostess, and stop them collapsing in a fit of the vapours because they think that not taking a second helping means I don’t like their food, I’ve always ended up feeling sick, and wondering why I have to suffer because of their stupidity.

            Nancy Reagan wasn’t my favourite American First Lady. But she was right about one thing. You CAN just say no. Large Girl didn’t have to slam back those 10,000 calories on camera (and your imaginary God knows how many off…) She could have shown restraint and left us with the impression that Christians really do exhibit the fruits of the Spirit their Bible talks about. But no, there she is being fat on camera and showing us exactly how she got there. And we’re supposed to take her seriously as an example of Christian forbearance and self-control? Is that what Christianity does for people? Turns them into heaving Jabba the Huts with an uncontrollable appetite for cake?

          • IanCad

            Findars,
            I always try to be conciliatory and accommodating in my posts.
            Sure often there are wide divergences but always it is best to end on a note of harmony.
            Try as I might, I can find only one. “THE CAKE”

          • Anna055

            As someone who struggles with “weight issues” I’m inclined to agree that being very overweight probably shows a certain lack of Christian maturity in terms of Christian living. However she is unlucky in a way……. She’s probably no less mature in her Christian life than anyone else, it’s just rather obvious what her (and sadly my) besetting sin is.

          • Findaráto

            So where’s the Holy Spirit in your life then? Why aren’t you shedding the pounds because of all this restraint and moderation it should be showering upon you?

            The Bible says that true belief brings with it all sorts of benefits that both you and others should be able to perceive. They’re supposed to act as proof that there is a Holy Spirit and that it does perfect those who believe in it.

            So far, at least as far as you and LG are concerned, there isn’t much proof, is there? So who do we look to for evidence that Christianity does anything that it’s supposed to? The latest Anglican bishop to admit to meddling with young people? You know, the one who was so stoutly defended on this blog as innocent of all accusations and how dare anyone impugn his reputation?

            What a joke you Christians are. All mouth and absolutely NO trousers. Especially, it seems, if you’re a bishop and there’s a likely looking ordinand to be dealt with…

          • Anna055

            Not too sure if you want a reply or if you’re just having a happy rant, but anyway….. The short answer is that, unfortunately, all Christians sin…..including the ones we read about in the Bible, where letters to some of those Christians talk about grieving the Spirit.

          • Findaráto

            “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

            Intemperate appetite is a fleshly desire. If you’re overweight then you can’t have crucified it, so clearly you can’t belong to Jesus Christ.

            You must be one of those who cry “Lord! Lord!” and prophesy in his name, while he has no idea who you are. If he did, you’d be thin!

            Seemples really…

          • Anna055

            Yes I agreee, that verse does look rather worrying taken on it’s own…but it’s actually part of a longer passage in Galatians in which Paul is encouraging them to live in the freedom they have in Christ, rather than a verse condemning them not doing so.

            I came across a post in a Christian news site about something else recently which puts it rather beautifully I think:

            “My heart was changed instantaneously when I trusted in Christ and began to follow Him, but my mind was not. I now have a heart that genuinely loves God and desires to worship Him, but at the same time, I’m still utterly messed up and damaged by sin. The Lord is working in me and renewing my mind day by day, shaping me more and more into the reflection of Him that I was created to be. But it’s been a process. And it will continue to be a process until I receive a new, perfect and sinless body in the age to come. When that day comes, the fullness of what Jesus purchased for me will be given to me: full freedom from every sinful thing that restrains my enjoyment and worship of God.”

        • Anton

          Such long and unrelievedly negative posts! Why do you prioritise this activity?

          • Findaráto

            Such short and unrelievedly critical posts? Why do you prioritize this activity?

          • Anton

            It doesn’t take much of my time. Do you post such long ones out of a sense of duty?

  • preacher

    Well, quite a subject for a Monday morning. Something we will all experience, but at present remains a mystery. There are many issues to this question that have an important bearing to individual responses. Firstly do we survive the onslaught of death itself ? If so, is there a judgement, a Heaven & a Hell ? If so ,what are the stipulations that govern our ultimate destinations ? All significant & important, but as this presentation shows, nothing solid to rely on. Only the witness of the Bible & the faith it asks of those that read it & believe it.
    Was Lazarus really Dead for Three days ? Quite a long time to be laying in a tomb with no food or drink plus no medical attention. Well those that loved him seemed sure of the facts ” He’ll stink by now ! ” was their response to opening the tomb. But the Lord Jesus was adamant all along that Lazarus would be raised alive & well & He wasn’t even nearby during Lazarus’s illness. Result success !, so where had Lazarus been for that time ? & why was Jesus so sure of the outcome ?.
    There are several instances of raising the dead in the N.T but this has more detail, in all instances The Lord was fully confident of success.

    Let’s go next to Jesus’s own survival. We all know the story, so I’ll be brief. a false & illegal trial led to a sentence of death being passed on Him by a weak Roman governor.
    After being beaten nearly to death, He’s dragged out & publicly interrogated, then forced to carry a heavy timber beam for a considerable distance. At the place of execution, He has steel spikes driven through His hands & feet & is lifted up to die of suffocation once he can no longer bear the pain or muster the strength to pull up on His hands & push on the nails pinning His feet. He dies, murdered publicly, then a spear is driven through His chest to make sure there is no chance of His survival.
    Three days later He’s alive & showing his wounds to a group of followers who at first are sceptical themselves of His survival. But so convinced are they, that they go to many countries to tell of this message of hope, having no fear of death, they sacrifice their own lives, rather than lie & renounce the truth.
    He has made promises that are recorded in the Bible. Has He proved as good as His word ? Can He & will He deliver on His promises ? You alone can decide. This is the evidence. You are the Jury & the one on trial.
    Speculation will only confuse & offer no real answers.

    • Uncle Brian

      Don’t forget the fundamental difference between, on the one hand, the raising of Lazarus, Jairus’s daughter, and the widow of Nain’s son, and, on the other, the resurrection of Jesus. Lazarus and the others were enabled to go on living a normal human life, meaning that sooner or later they would die (again).

  • dannybhoy

    “But it’s funny, isn’t it, how people are more fascinated by near-death experiences than with the unavoidable finality of what happens after death itself.”
    Winner of Best Sentence Award!
    What it shows is that people will swallow anything as long as the Christian God is not involved..

    • Dreadnaught

      Being dead I imagine is the same as being not yet born if I remember rightly.

      • dannybhoy

        I have no idea. I remember once reading an article which said that dying was a bit like a computer powering down..
        I think it was written by A N Acer…

        It’s all conjecture. Even dreams are weird, and I do suspect that with our desire to sense of things it may be that we impose meaning on what may be the mind ‘daydreaming’ or simply reflecting on the days events.
        After all, the mind doesn’t stop working does it.

        • Dreadnaught

          I do know that the last of the five senses to shut down is hearing and that the brain cannot resume full function if the blood supply is absent for three or four minutes depending on age etc.
          The dreams we remember are in the last seconds before waking yet the experience can feel much longer in the recall of memory which fades rapidly although the essence of the dream can remain much longer. Or so I am lead to believe.

          • dannybhoy

            I dream quite a lot. Sometimes involves wild animals (bears, lions) which I am told represent anxieties. Other times its complicated interactions with people I know or knew. ,,
            Only ever remember snatches of them..
            They might indeed be a reflection of subconscious thought processes, and perhaps serve a useful purpose we don’t yet understand.

          • Dreadnaught

            I find that my dreams are usually triggered by past experiences or something I have read or seen rather than portents of future foreboding.

          • dannybhoy

            I am a practical person; a problem solver with tendencies to control freakery, so I don’t feel comfortable with things I consider vague and ‘messy’.

          • Uncle Brian

            That certainly matches my usual experience with dreams, with an added frustrating twist: I typically have a very clear visual memory of the last few scenes of the dream, but no recollection at all of the dialogue, though I invariably have the strong impression that the dialogue was very much more significant than the (visual) setting.

        • cacheton

          Christianity exists because of a dream – if Joseph hadn’t paid attention to his dream things would have been very different. And there are quite a few dreams in the OT aren’t there?

          • dannybhoy

            Danny ‘pffffts’ scornfully..

      • sarky

        Who cares???? You’re a long time dead, why waste one minute, whilst alive, worrying about it.

        • Anton

          Funny though that people can’t stop themselves doing.

    • carl jacobs

      People love the idea of possessing secret knowledge. This is very similar to people chasing after prophesy.

      • The Explorer

        Not sure. Prophecy, after all, is biblical and common property. Wanting to possess secret knowledge, by contrast, is gnostic, divisive and unchristian.

        • carl jacobs

          I was thinking of two things:

          1. Nostradamus.
          2. The way people misuse the Book of Revelations to embed every political twitch in the Middle East into prophesy.

        • Dreadnaught

          Do you think there is a difference between a prophesy and a promise; I’m thinking for instance, McArthur when he left the Phillipines in WW2.

          • The Explorer

            That’s a deep question, and probably best answered by someone deep, like Carl.

            McArthur promised to return to the Philippines, and did so. Two things could have prevented him. 1. Insincerity (not applicable in his case.) 2. Meaning to keep his promise, but getting killed before he could do so.

            Biblical prophets had two main functions: 1. commenting on the state of their society, 2. recording visions that they themselves might not know the meaning of.

          • carl jacobs

            someone deep, like Carl.

            Pffffft!

          • “Pfffft,” indeed. You’re an American. You can’t be “deep”. It would be unnatural.

            Anyway, you must forgive our dear Limey friends; they have a greater tegard for and weakness for the “supernatural” than us clod-busters in the Americas. Pagan goblins and spirits in every manse and hedgerow just a few generations ago, Gypsy palm readers in every village fair, pretentious theosophy cranks in the colleges, “spiritual” vicars, and don’t forget all that gobledeygook from India they sent over along with their remittance notes.

          • carl jacobs

            You’re an American. You can’t be “deep”. It would be unnatural.

            Hrmmm. You know. You might be right. I have today been perusing something called “War Plan Red”. It was the output of an hypothetical planning exercise by the US War Dept in the 1930s to account for the possibility of war with Great Britain. Evidently the American planners decided that their best response would be to occupy the large uninhabited wilderness north of the United States in the expectation that Britain would have been somehow inconvenienced. Certainly this could only have improved the British strategic position.

            It’s possible this plan does reveal a fault in the American character.

          • carl jacobs

            To my shock and horror, I discover that Canada also had a plan to invade the United States! One has visions of the dreaded Canadian Moose Cavalry sweeping through Cleveland. (Their Motto: “Mind you, moose bites can be pretty nasty.”)

            We might be amenable to letting you keep Cleveland…

          • I’m surprised you people know about Canada. It’s north of Ohio, is what I used to tell American students at Ft. Lauderdale on my first spring break there. And I’ll trade you our Hamilton for your Pittsburgh, instead. A magical place. My friends and I were heading to Florida, it was night time, I was nineteen, tripping on mushrooms, singing through the entire “Harvest” album by Neil Young in the back seat and weeping with unalloyed joy over the sublime beauty of the bridge and all the lights and shiny stuff. Neil Young is Canadian, btw.

          • carl jacobs

            You don’t want Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is old and needs a new timing belt. Cleveland on the other hand never left the garage except to go to church on Sunday. Low mileage. Almost like new. We’ll throw in a new set of tires and some seat covers if you agree today.

          • CliveM

            Tyres

          • carl jacobs

            Prophesy is God’s promise to fulfill that which He has decreed. He watches carefully to ensure His word is fulfilled. It is therefore rooted in both His sovereignty and His power. MacArthur declared that he would return. But he did not possess the power or sovereignty to guarantee that his promise would be fulfilled.

          • The Explorer

            A suitably deep answer.

        • cacheton

          What is ‘secret’ about this knowledge? Might you mean subjective; this is the domain of personal experience isn’t it?

          • The Explorer

            Not sure that I understand the question. In fact, I am sure: I don’t. However, my objection to Gnosticism (or one of them) is that it seeks to exclude: salvation is open only to those with gnosis: secret knowledge. Postmodernism also seeks to exclude: postmodernist statements are written to be incomprehensible to normal people. Only fellow adepts can understand. It’s about seeing how few people you can communicate with as the criterion of success.

          • cacheton

            Well I have been called both of those things, not sure why. Because this exclusion idea is new to me.
            But the point is that understanding is dependent on personal experience. And I suppose personal experience can be called ‘secret’ (??)
            I would suggest that a lot of this ‘incomprehensibility’ is due to feeling threatened. It is easier (and seen as acceptable) to say you don’t understand than address certain things.

          • The Explorer

            Being intellectually challenged can have two meanings: 1. having one’s opinions questioned, 2. being thick.
            In my case, when I say I don’t understand it’s because of explanation 2.

          • cacheton

            Feeling threatened is more in the emotional domain, not the intellectual one. The intellectual will follow the emotional, not the other way round (subjectivity reigns didn’t you know), so if you are emotionally threatened you will ‘not understand’ even the most basic logic.

          • The Explorer

            I disagree. I know plenty of people who cannot understand even the most basic logic, but not because they feel emotionally threatened. There’s a more mundane explanation.

  • Anton

    NDEs appear to relate to the religion of the culture of the person experiencing them. So I’m not sure how significant they are as conveyors of religious truth. Ros Clarke made the key point: that this subject offers an outstanding chance for Christians to preach that Jesus died and came back to life, meaning that he can tell interested persons what happens with total reliability.

    • carl jacobs

      That is a good point. But it doesn’t directly address the question which I think they side-stepped. To talk about NDE, you begin with first principles about the nature of death and let them drive the conclusion. You don’t start with experience.

    • magnolia

      “NDEs appear to relate to the religion of the culture of the person experiencing them.”

      Whilst this is so to a certain extent I think we then need to separate the experience from the interpretation of the experience. It might be that s.o. sees a loving character emanating light, for instance. Who he or she interprets that as could be different acc. to his/her culture, but an initial indentification could be a bit wrong!

  • Dreadnaught

    A near death experience is slamming your car into a motorway bridge and surviving – everything else is from the dream machine of the living brain.

    • carl jacobs

      Not sure we would agree on every jot and tittle, but in general I think that is a good summary.

    • magnolia

      And what tells you that; could it be that same living brain you have just described as a “dream machine”?

      The philosophical principal there is inherently self-undermining.

      • Dreadnaught

        I did not say that; note the word ‘of’.

        • Anton

          Where?

          • Dreadnaught

            the edit has only just come through.

          • carl jacobs

            The edit to the sentence to include the word “of” was already present when Dreadnaught originally responded to magnolia. I read Dreadnaught’s post, and immediately checked for the word in the sentence. It was there.

          • Dreadnaught

            Thank you.

    • len

      Being ‘nearly dead ‘is a state some churches are in ….does this qualify them?

    • magnolia

      Thing is that dreams tend very strongly to the sub-real, aka surreal. They may be vivid, but they chop and change, and have you going from one setting to another. Sometimes they follow a thematic trail and impossible things happen in terms of physical or character sequence. A character can change from one person to another, as can places. Other times themes chop and change.

      In contrast research shows that NDEs tend to be much more sequential, and make sense both thematically and in terms of character and place. Frequently they are perceived as MORE real than reality, super-real, not surreal.

      It is a very different thing we are speaking of. I am not just asserting this, as the processing of thousands of stories, sifted also for internal signs of veracity attest to this in research, as per the NDE website I have provided a link for.

  • Inspector General

    Your Inspector keeps an open mind about NDEs, but poses these questions: If the soul is ‘looking down’ on its corporeal body prostrate, exactly what is it using to see with. Eyes? Same goes if sound involved, Ears. Two sensory organs associated with a physical world which wouldn’t be much use in a spiritual destination we assume the soul will arrive at, if it hasn’t been judged as doomed, that is. Presumably, new senses will be activated there to replace what was useful when physically alive…or perhaps we are destined to be ‘absorbed’ into the greater mass and lose whatever identity we had. Scary stuff, what!

    • “perhaps we are destined to be ‘absorbed’ into the greater mass and lose whatever identity we had.”

      *sigh*

      • carl jacobs

        Is this some new Roman dogma I haven’t heard about, Jack?

        • As you know, Catholic dogma and doctrine never contradicts scripture.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Except that ‘Catholic dogma’ defines what Scripture means.

            Wish the other person typing would hurry up.

          • carl jacobs

            So the RCC now claims the Scripture teaches we will be absorbed into a greater consciousness? This new Pope is having an impact, I see.

          • Martin

            Carl

            That’s what I’ve heard too.

          • carl jacobs

            Two witnesses Jack. The thing is confirmed. So how long has the RCC been pantheist?

          • Two deluded and misinformed witnesses …

          • carl jacobs

            Both you and the Inspector confirmed it, so … We’re just trying to learn about Catholicism here.

          • As Jack said, the Church never contradicts scripture and Saint Paul is clear about our Resurrection bodies.

          • carl jacobs

            Did the Pope know this when he made his infallible teaching about pantheism not contradicting Scripture? This is all very confusing.

          • If the Church ever declared it then it would surely be true. However, they would only declare it if it were true.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And since they would declare it to be true it would, by definition, be true.

          • You’ve got it.

          • carl jacobs

            So by definition the RCC can never contradict Scripture. That explains how the Pope could make pantheism Scriptural. We have progressed my understanding. So what then does the Pope say about channeling Christ consciousness?

          • Pantheism is not scriptural, Carl, and no Pope could ever make it a dogma of the Church. The Magisterium of the Church (Ordinary and Extraordinary) develops our understanding of scriptural revelation.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But if the Catholic Church were to say that pantheism is in accordance with Scripture, then, by definition it would be and that would have been the Church’s position all along.

          • Yes, but the Church would be prevented by God from making such a statement if it did in fact contradict scripture. Besides, the Church has already declared pantheism a heresy and, as it is infallible and indefectible in matters of faith and morals, she cannot contradict herself at a later point.

          • carl jacobs

            So by definition whatever the RCC infallibly declares is approved of God. Everything else would be an unachievable counter-factual.

          • Whatever the Church infallibly declares to be a dogma revealed by God is, of course, approved by God.

          • carl jacobs

            But of course you only see this revelation through the declaration of the RCC. In fact, the simple existence of the declaration is prima facie evidence that the revelation has been received. Any restriction placed upon the Magisterium would be invisible because it must take the form of a declaration that was prevented from being given. You can’t ever see what doesn’t happen. You only see what does happen. If it happens, it is therefore an infallible declaration approved of God. You are thus bound to obey any infallible declaration of the RCC. Is this correct?

          • Not entirely clear what question you want Jack to answer. A Catholic is called upon to accept all infallible dogmatic propositions made the Church and all indefectible doctrines and teachings.

            “Infallibility depends not on a magic formula but on the very nature of the Church herself as a perfect society salvifically bound to Christ until the end of time.

            Because the Church is an indefectible society ordered to salvation, she must not only have the light of Christ’s teaching but she must have this light in such a way that she cannot, as a body, fall into error in the matters of salvation for which she was constituted (namely, matters of faith and morals).

            Indeed, as John Henry Cardinal Newman so wisely observed, if the first generation of Christians had a living and infallible guide, it would create a marked difference in dispensation if subsequent generations lacked such a guide. In fact, it would be a signal that the Church had already been effectively destroyed.

            Thus we logically expect that the Church must possess an infallible teaching authority (or Magisterium), and this is exactly what we find in Scripture, Tradition and the Church’s mode of operation from the earliest times. Peter was given the keys to heaven and the power to bind and loose. Christ prayed that Peter would not defect in faith so that he in turn could confirm the faith of his brethren. The earliest Christian community understood that this authority must be passed on to Peter’s successors for the Church to remain what it was, and it acknowledged Peter’s successors in the bishops of Rome. From the first Christians looked to the popes for decisions about the Faith. Heretics and orthodox alike sought vindication in Rome, and this authority was scarcely challenged for several hundred years until a portion of the Church came under pressure from the Byzantine Emperor.

            As a matter of fundamental ecclesiology, then, we find two significant truths. First, all the members of the Church are bound to obey Peter and his successors when they purport to settle questions of faith and morals. Second, all the members of the Church cannot be bound to error without the Church being destroyed, the gates of Hell prevailing against her, and Christ’s promise to be with her until the end of time made void. Therefore, from both the promises of Christ Himself and the very necessity imposed by the nature of the Church, the Holy Spirit must preserve the popes from error when they exercise their supreme authority to teach about faith and morals to the whole Church.”

            https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=432

          • carl jacobs

            That’s all well and good, Jack. What it means is that:

            1. If the RCC infallibly declares for pantheism, you are obligated to give your assent.

            2. Your judgment that it will not do so is nothing more than your private judgment on the matter – a judgment that has no authority and is not dispositive.

            3. The RCC is utterly beyond any ability to be held to account.

          • Carl, as a Catholic, Jack trusts God to guide and direct the Church. So, to him, the possibility of her declaring a heresy or a teaching as revealed truth or binding doctrine is nil.

            This judgement is not a private one. It is a matter Catholic faith, backed by scripture, as interpreted infallibly by the Church, and codified in dogma and doctrine.

            What do you suppose has held the liberal-progressive tide back in the Catholic Church this past 50 years? It is the inability of the ‘reformers’ to change that which has already been infallibly or indefectibily declared by the Magisterium.

            You want to hold the Bride of Christ, the Magisterium and the Vicar of Christ to account? To whom or to what body? The Church will answer to Christ, and Him alone, when He returns.

          • IanCad

            Thanks for that Jack. It helps me to understand where good Catholics are coming from.
            I don’t agree with you of course, but loyalty, being one of the truly abiding virtues, marks you as a man of integrity and of faith.
            Keep well my friend.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But the Catholic church decrees what Scripture means and what God has said. If the Catholic church says something is so it is so whatever may be claimed to have been said before.

          • len

            The RCC is a religious system developed over centuries it is a counterfeit of Christianity and sadly Jack it holds you and millions of others firmly in a vice like grip.

            As John Macarthur says” Oh,
            they’ve got a clever system. How to preserve error, how to perpetuate
            error, make heresy infallible and the arch heretic unassailable,
            irreformable and absolutely authoritative. It is possible that the
            final antichrist could be a pope because the final antichrist will be a dominating world leader.”

            http://www.gty.org.uk/resources/sermons/90-291/the-pope-and-the-papacy

          • Martin

            HJ

            Because the church declares it to have been revealed by God.

          • Martin

            HJ

            But if the Church declared it, then God would have approved it. Every pronouncement of the church does not contradict it’s previous pronouncements by definition.

          • Inspector General

            Don’t let yourself be held back by dogma on issues seemingly settled centuries ago, long after Christ himself, Carl. The Inspector doesn’t…

          • carl jacobs

            Oh, I’m never constrained by RC dogma. 😉

          • Inspector General

            Your Reformation men would have included flat earthers…

          • Martin

            IG

            They only had to go up a mountain to see it isn’t flat, so I doubt it. It’s a nineteenth century fiction.

          • Inspector General

            Martin – that inane comment is worthy of a tick up. Enjoy…

          • Martin

            IG

            Nothing inane about it. Lets stop thinking that our forebears were unthinking idiots.

          • carl jacobs

            Robert Sungenis. Geocentrism.

          • Anton

            There weren’t any. The ancient Greeks were first to twig that the earth was round and the knowledge was never lost in Europe. The argument in the late mediaeval/Renaisssance era was whether the sun went round the earth or vice-versa. But that isn’t the same thing.

          • len

            If the Inspector gets ‘absorbed’ I expected the greater good will have been served?

          • len

            except for when it does?

      • IrishNeanderthal

        It seems that the following commenters have missed the point of your quotation marks.

        Perhaps <blockquote> </blockquote> tags might help.

        • They understand and are being deliberately mischievous.

          • carl jacobs

            Who? Me?

    • cacheton

      ‘exactly what is it using to see with’

      consciousness

      • Uncle Brian

        A dog barking woke me up at around 2 a.m. this morning. As soon as I was awake, I was conscious. But I was in the dark. I couldn’t see anything until I switched the light on. Being conscious isn’t sufficient by itself to be able to see things.

        • cacheton

          Not through physical eyes it isn’t, but that is not the situation we are talking about is it.

          Plus when you are asleep your unconscious mind is still active. You are not dead.

        • Inspector General

          That would be Sir Barkalot. He used to live in Gloucester…

          • Anton

            Maggie Smith knew what to do with such dogs in “Keeping Mum”.

          • Uncle Brian

            And with their owners, too!

          • Uncle Brian

            Is that the first line of a limerick?

          • dannybhoy

            Perhaps our Inspector is a living illustration of a limerick…..:0)

          • Uncle Brian

            A dashing Inspector of Gloucester
            Had a beautiful girl friend but lost her.
            His mates at the Mouse
            And Wheel said, “Don’t grouse!”
            ………………………………..

          • Inspector General

            That reminds a fellow. Must visit one’s lady friend from Throckmorton. She’s awfully good fun

            {Ahem}

    • len

      New Age Catholicism?.

    • IanCad

      The soul cannot exist without the body or without the breath of life.
      To believe otherwise is to embrace Satan’s first lie:
      “You will not surely die”
      The high road to Spiritualism.

      • chiefofsinners

        Here you go again. Lest any readers be led astray I refer you to Revelation 6:9 and 20:4.
        Consider also those raised from the dead. Did they live on without their souls?
        No, the soul is immortal, hence 1 Thessalonians 5:23.

        • IanCad

          Chief,

          Yes! We did go over it before. Several times. Surprising then that you should again raise the issue. I am almost led to believe that you did not read my responses.

          Rather than plough old ground I shall confine my post to addressing your cited texts and making a general comment.

          Both texts from Revelation are based on what John saw in vision – Heaven – in the future, after the Resurrection. Remember, he was in the Spirit.(Rev. 1:10)

          As with the Revelation texts, 1 Thess. 5:23 is a favourite proof for those of your theological persuasion.

          “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

          However, understood within the context of the times it was written, it shows nothing of the sort.

          Paul was preaching that the return of Our Lord would be in the lifetimes of the Thessalonian church. It was a message of urgency. That the soul cannot exist – or be – without the spirit and body, should make the immediacy aspect of the passage apparent.

          The doctrine of the immortal soul and its partner in crime; Eternal, everlating, burning hell is, primarily, an invention of the pagan Hellenists. It was expanded on by early church philosophers – particularly Augustine, and has been profited upon by countless church treasurers and assorted charlatans ever since.

          Slowly the cobwebs of superstition are lifting and may they continue so to do.

          • cacheton

            ‘The doctrine of the immortal soul..’

            Doctrine? Who needs doctrine when you know you have a soul?

          • IanCad

            Not when you’re dead. Spirit (Breath of Life) and the dust of the Earth makes a living soul. It is the spirit that returns to God.

          • chiefofsinners

            And what of those raised from the dead by Jesus and Elisha?

          • IanCad

            “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” Matthew 10:8

            Those who were brought back to life still have to face death. They were not given immortality. Neither could it have ever been given to them for then they would not have been dead.

      • cacheton

        No no no, the body is brought into existence by the the soul and the breath of life…… , and disintegrates all by itself when these leave it.

        No surprises there.

        • IanCad

          Sorry, I should have replied to this post but did so to your one below.

    • Andre´Kristian

      No superiority of force, be it celestial, ethereal or corporeal, will ever be able to obliterate the awe-inspiring identity of the Inspector General. Bonny boatswain! Am twinkling of joy at the mere thought of it 😉
      Spoken freely from a faithful heart, Andreas.

  • Sputum Flange

    The most remarkable near death experience recalled to me is as follows.
    An Anglican Vicar working in a church near to the large Houston Children’s Hospital was disturbed by an agnostic mother and 3 year old child who wanted an explanation of the following. The child was born prematurely and cared for in the Children’s Hospital in Houston, When she was about 2 weeks old, still below normal gestation age, she arrested, died and was revived by the doctors. When she left the hospital, she was no more than 6 weeks old, and the family left Houston. Three years or so later, the family were driving by the Hospital at which point the little girl piped up, ” Oh look Mommy, that’s the building where I met Jesus and he told me to go back home to you.” Remarkable because they didn’t as a family talk about Jesus and the child had never seen the exterior of the building. It was freaky enough for the mother to swerve into the neared church and ask to speak to the vicar.
    His name is John Price and the book this event gave rise to is:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Revealing-Heaven-Christian-Near-Death-Experiences/dp/0062197711/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458057049&sr=8-1&keywords=John+Price+near+death

    • Inspector General

      Good Lord!

      • Sputum Flange

        Yup, that’s pretty much the conclusion of the book. He is indeed good.

  • Johnzh

    Oh Dear, this is painful.

    Years ago Meridian TV wanted to feature me on their ‘Action’ afternoon show because I was doing something a little unusual at the time which they thought was newsworthy (https://youtu.be/v5v1llwxNbc) In response to their request I said that I would pray about it and let them know my decision. At the same time this was happening there was a late night show on Meridian TV being aired most evenings which was where a group of ‘Christians’ sat around a table discussing so called ‘life matters’, it was horrible, it was boring, it was banal and overall I found it embarrassing that those watching it might think that it had something to do with Christianity.

    Deja vu – “Your mind can persuade you that you are a potato” Please Lord bring on persecution, so we can either ‘persuade’ others by our suffering or at least be dispatched to Heaven.

    • Anton

      “O Lord, persecute me, but not yet” – St Augustine, adapted.

    • cacheton

      ‘Your mind can persuade you that you are a potato’

      Anyone who says this when talking about dreams has NIL knowledge of what dreams are and how they communicate. Therefore I would not get too upset about it, though I agree it does not look good to be talking about something you very obviously know nothing about. One has to wonder why they did not do some research first.

      • magnolia

        “Your mind can persuade you” is an ontological statement that I find close to impossible to grapple with! Far from Descartes indeed!!

        I think we are into the realms of schizophrenia in which case there is more than one personality operating,so that it is a separate discussion about mental illness. Since there is no perceivable correlation of diagnosed schizophrenia with NDEs it is not really at issue!!

        On a slightly facetious note (!) is this putative potato-identifying person also a cannibal, with a chip on each shoulder?

  • Philip Lishman

    A flower on a plant cannot be seen by the plant; the plant cannot know the beauty of the flower that is part of its own body, as we who can see it can know it.

    Arguing by symmetry, It is reasonable to believe that our own bodies have parts that our bodies’ own senses cannot discern, just as with the plant and its flower, but which can be only fully appreciated by a being with senses as superior to our own as ours are to the plants.