Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mañana seré un tigre entre los tigres

The troubles of our proud and angry dust are from eternity, and shall not fail.
- A. E. Housman

There is such a thing as good. Existence is a positive good. To worship any being that is other than omnibenevolent is idolatry. I cannot abide in the religion of my birth because Hell is unworthy of God. All other religions are grey and tasteless to me, and I see their logical flaws as I cannot see the flaws of the religion of my birth. Nobody wants to change my mind about anything, and I have lost the taste for monologue, so I vaguely think of things to post and then discard them, unwritten.

I still cannot fit Angel into the logical framework of the Buffiverse, as I embark on the perilous and increasingly ludicrous journey of the fourth season. The main thoughts that recur to me are:

* The continuing 'vampires and mobile phones' shtick is highly amusing.

* Angel shoulda been staked a long time ago. Nothing I have seen has swayed me from my initial position that it would have saved everyone a world of pain to dust him when he first appeared.

* Everyone's characterisation continues to swing wildly from pillar to post, to an even greater extent than in Buffy.

* Notwithstanding the above point, Cordy is so much more a hero than Buffy the whiney.

* Dave sure was right about that stubble wrangler.


Marco said...

In that case, did you get my emails or have I used an old discarded address. I am quite keen for that moral relativist questionnaire. I wouldn't actually want my post my thoughts on questions, but rather have the whole thing ready such that the underlying calculations are opaque to likely participants.

Dave said...

My theory of Angel is that is should be watched in its entirety as being centred on and primarily about Wesley. He's the only character who changes meaningfully and believably, and episodes that don't feature him are inevitably the weaker for it.

That said, you're right about Cordy. And Angel, for that matter.

Nato said...

"...Hell is unworthy of God."

Without knowing your concept of hell to understand why you believe it to be unworthy of God, I've always found it a source of comfort to know that one day justice will not only be done, but will be seen to be done.

At the risk of throwing too many omni's around, omnibenevolence (if I take the literal dictionary definitions, "all desiring to do good to others") cannot be the only attribute of a deity worth giving your life and allegiance to.

I don't want to get into the old "omnipotent? omnipresent? then why is the world so stuffed?" debate, because that has been comprehensively responded to by greater minds than I.

What I would say is that without justice, benevolence and its closely related kin of charity/mercy/grace has no meaning.

And once I've seen the last half of Angel Season 5 (it may be in my birthday bag this weekend), I'll throw my 2 cents in there as well re: a theory of Angel :-).

The characters who crossed over from Buffy to Angel certainly took more interesting narrative arcs - Wesley, Cordy, Darla, even Spike.

Oh, for Firefly to have not been consigned to the corporate dustbin of TV Scripting by was shaping up as possibly Whedon's best work yet. :-(

Dr. Clam said...

Great to see you, Nato!
Justice would merit a finite punishment for a finite creature. Justice, in the deeper sense of allowing each creature a truly free will to chose separation from God, would merit annihilation- the complete absence of good. I am keen to know more about your concept of hell, Nato, if you envision it in a way different from the classical Christian/Muslim concept.
As for omnibenevolence, I hadn't realised until just now how recent and rarely used a term it was. I mean that worshipping an entity just because it is powerful, or just because it knows everything, or just because it has done good things for me, is idolatry: the only reason for worshipping God is because He is Good. You are doubtless aware of 'God is Light, in Him there is no Darkness.' I think omniscience is a necessary precondition of what I have called omnibenevolence, but don't care much about the other omnis.
About the first thing I did when I started blogging was to get stuck into Hell as one of the most abominable memes sucking at the veins of humanity.
My take on the problem of pain is here.

Dr. Clam said...

And Firefly, of course, rocketh.

winstoninabox said...

But Nato, without knowing your concept of Hell, it is difficult to undertake a debate about the worthiness of it. I can glean that justice makes up a big part of it. The following speculates on what your view of Hell might be. If I am off the track then please ignore it.

What is justice? Justice must be more than punishment. It must address the initial wrong. Dangerous wrongdoers are imprisoned for people for the protection of society, not for justice. I can't imagine why those souls in Heaven must be protected via separation from those in Hell. Maybe so they can reflect on their misdeeds as they burn in a lake of fire. But that would be rather pointless if there were no chance of parole. Besides torture have nothing to do with justice. That's revenge.

Justice must ask "who was wronged and how can this be addressed?"

If one committed only one sin, and that sin was to ignore the grace of God then certainly no mortal nor their soul, is hurt by this action. So I find it a little unsettling that one's eternal soul (and my meager research skills have turned up that the soul wasn't always considered eternal. some believe it died at death) will irrevocably be punished for a crime that harms only God. It does fit partially with my idea of justice in that the one wronged has a hand in the punishment meted out. But certainly doesn't fit with my idea of free will. If one chooses not to play the "God belief" game, one is actually playing without realizing it, because at the end we're all judged whether we want to be or not. Hardly free will.

God requiring such blunt instruments as the carrot (Heaven) and the stick (Hell)all smacks of a very human interpretation. At least we can tell He passed Psychology 101.

And as for the philosophical gymnastics of whether those ignorant of Christ's teachings because they were born before his teachings, and/or happened to be on the wrong continent don't go to Hell, or go to some kind of Limbo, or go somewhere else... sheesh.