Sunday, April 09, 2006

The "Wicked" Gospel of Judas

I went to see the musical "Wicked" last week with my daughters and one of their friends. It tells the backstory of the Oz witches, the good one and the wicked ones. I will not be spoiling the story to say that the title character turns out not to be so wicked, but misunderstood. She is the only one who understands the true nature of the magic of Oz and its wizard.

There has been a bit of a flap recently about the "Gospel of Judas," an ancient Gnostic text recently translated and made available to the public. It tells the backstory of Jesus' apostles, the good ones and the wicked one. I will not be spoiling the story to say that the title character turns out not to be so wicked, but misunderstood. He is the only one who understands the true nature of the gospel of Jesus and His God.

Both seem to me to be interesting explorations of possible alternative pasts. Neither is likely to shake my understanding of the nature of reality. Nor is either text likely to convince me of the intellectual's favorite fantasy – that the universe has a secret at its heart that only special people can know and understand.

And "Wicked" has better songs.

32 comments:

eustochius said...

that the universe has a secret at its heart that only special people can know and understand.

kind of like the Calvinist elect? ;)

Gruntled said...

Calvinists don't claim to know or understand God's mysterious ways -- and the elect don't claim that they deserve election. Unlike gnostics, ancient and contemporary.

eustochius said...

I know the parallel isn't perfect, but taking it line by line . . . .

"The universe has a secret at its heart" -- according to Christians, realized by the incarnation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps mystery is more accurate in this context. Christians would say that there is a sacred mystery at the heart of the universe.

"only special people" -- how much more special than the elect can you get?

"know and understand" -- you're right that that's more appropriately gnostic, but in a Calvinist context there are still special people that are chosen to participate in the mystery.

Bottom line: Calvinism, and much of Christianity, has a very strong exclusivist character as well -- and many would argue a crueler and more arbitrary one.

eustochius said...

As in those who believe will have eternal life, but those who do not will be condemned. You get an especially nasty brew when you add a strong dose of predestination to the mix -- unlike contemporary gnostics who are more likely to preach universal access to inner truth to those with the desire and inclination to access it.

Just musing, Gruntled . . . .

Gruntled said...

No, I don't the parallel holds. Christians do believe that there is a mystery at the heart of the universe, but it is not a secret that only some people can know. Everyone has equal access to the main fact, and no one understands the mystery in this life.

Calvinists, unlike Arminians, do not teach that if you believe you will be saved, and if you don't, you won't. Everyone deserves condemnation. God graciously saves some. We don't know why God saves this one and not that one. We are grateful that God saves any. The elect do not know in this life that they are elect, so they have no basis for exclusivity in this realm.

eustochius said...

I apologize. I confused the issue when I paraphrased the gospel of John: "those who believe ..."

Everyone has equal access to the main fact, and no one understands the mystery in this life.

Calvinists, unlike Arminians, do not teach that if you believe you will be saved, and if you don't, you won't. Everyone deserves condemnation. God graciously saves some.

So, you're saying that, yes, everyone has access to that main fact, but well, it won't do them any good. Nice theology there, Calvin.

There certainly seems to be some excluding going on -- it's just that God's doing the excluding, which makes it all the worse.

Presbyterians don't officially (or unofficially) believe this anymore, do they?

It would be pretty bad preaching. You couldn't say: "Believe and you will be saved." All you could say is "Go on about your business. If God has foreordained your salvation, you'll act in accordance with that anyway. If not, you're screwed and there's nothing you can do about it."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there the notion that, for a Calvinist, salvation is permanent, once you're saved, you can't get unsaved? Maybe Calvinists think like this: God's evaluating people for a trial period, but once salvation is granted, it's an eternal lifetime warranty. [But I guess the reasoning goes that God already knows how you will act. So you've been specially created for damnation. How nice of Him.]

I sure hope no one believes this anymore.

People may say that we can't judge the mystery of God. I'll say, "Um, excuse me, Calvin, maybe it's your notion of the divine that's flawed, not the divine itself."

Option A: God is a very scary, arbitrary being and you are powerless before your eternal fate.

Option B: Calvin was smoking something.

Your honor, the jury has reached its verdict. Guilty BY reason on theological insanity.

Sorry, Gruntled. You can tell that I don't like Calvin.

eustochius said...

Seriously, can anyone give a good reason why we should accept Calvin's theology? There may be some side benefits of humility, but it's at a tremendous cost -- it seems to set at naught any pretense that God is good in any recognizable sense, thus making Him in effect, not a god, but a devil.

SPorcupine said...

Best reason possible: because it's true.

Gruntled said...

I think you have the wrong idea about Calvinism (maybe about Christianity). God created the world and all of us. That is reason enough for us to be grateful and do what God wishes us to do. Serving God just to get something, even eternal salvation, seems petty. Everyone sins; no one deserves salvation. It is a gracious mercy that God saves any.

Aaron X said...

Bring back the Apocrypha baby, the end times are upon us!

Aaron

Gruntled said...

The apocryphal posies are in bloom!

Aaron X said...

Long-lost gospel casts Judas in favorable light

Classical Presbyterian said...

Nice discussion!

Eustochius needs to read a book: Romans.

We don't trust what Calvin or Luther said because they said it, but rather we see if they teach what Scripture teaches. If it's true, it will be in the Word, if not, it won't be.

Gruntled---nice defense of Calvinism, too!

eustochius said...

Alrighty, folks; I apologize for ranting and dragging this discussion off topic, but I note that no one attempted to grapple with or refute the general consequences of Calvin's theology, namely (1) it implies that some humans were expressly created for damnation and (2) it eviscerates human responsibility by eviscerating free will.

I received (1) an argument by faith, followed by (2) an argument that once again ignored the dark side of Calvinism, and (3) an appeal to authority.

Taking up (2), again, the bright side of Calvinism focuses on humility.

That's all well and good, but if you're going to be an honest Calvinist, you're are going to have to take seriously the direct implication that God has chosen to damn a non-zero number of persons for all eternity, and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.

Were a human person to do that to any another human person, we would all call that person incredibly evil, and drag that person before the Hague for human rights violations.

If you reply that humans cannot judge God, you're begging the question. What's at issue is whether your description of God is accurate in the first place, not whether humans can judge God.

I say that if a theology has the direct implication that God is evil (by permitting eternal suffering, especially if the one who suffers has no control over their fate), it's game over. It's a clear reductio ad absurdum. You say God is good and then your theology has Him expressly commit evil deeds. Again, if you say, who are we to define what is good?

Well, I'll say that if you're not using good in the sense that humans use the term, you're just speaking nonsense. If you don't mean good the way humans mean it, then you should be using some other word.

Paul says lots of stuff, like: "Slaves, obey your masters." You can't just declare by fiat that Paul is infallible -- not if you want to make a rational case for your position -- especially, when I'm sure that Presbyterians don't accept every thing he said, at least not how he meant it at the time. If you want to retreat to faith -- fine. You'll just be conceding that Calvinism is rationally indefensible, which is what my point was all along.

Sorry for being so harsh, but -- people, you're smarter than this. These kind of defensive maneuvers may shore up the faithful, but they just confirm in the mind of outsiders that you (plural) don't really know what you're talking about.

Somehow I bet that the average Presbyterian on the street would be horrified to learn that they were obligated to believe that certain people were predestined to damnation. Not only does it call into question God's goodness, it makes no sense in the context of Christian history. Why bother preaching the good news, if everyone's fate is foreordained? The die have already been cast.

I'm sorry, and I apologize again for my bluntness, but you guys (and gals) seem to be drinking the kool-aid big-time. If you can't defend something rationally, and you don't have some deep intuition about something, and you haven't experienced a direct divine revelation, it's total sheepdom.

If any of you feel that they have a deep spiritual sense that Calvin was right and that some are destined to be damned (or God revealed to you personally that this was the case, or revealed to you that Paul was always right), I'll leave you alone. I won't quibble with personal intuition.

[Faith is choosing to believe something, intuition is having some direct shall-we-say Platonic sense of a proposition's truth.]

However, if you just say, "It's a mystery, and I accept it on faith," I submit, as respectfully as I can, that you're not thinking critically.

[And if you choose to say that you follow tradition, well there's a lot of traditions out there. . . .]

eustochius said...

BTW, I'll leave you guys alone if you want me to; I wouldn't read your blog if I didn't find it intriguing, but I'm not sure if you had in mind having commenters that in my case were part of "the opposition" on many issues.

If you do tangle with me though, maybe'll you'll improve your ability to win over the middle if you can defend yourself critiques like mine. In any case, best wishes.

Gruntled said...

"Alrighty, folks; I apologize for ranting and dragging this discussion off topic, but I note that no one attempted to grapple with or refute the general consequences of Calvin's theology, namely (1) it implies that some humans were expressly created for damnation and (2) it eviscerates human responsibility by eviscerating free will."

Fair enough.

The first thing to say is that Calvin did not want to teach, or even believe, in predestination. He thought it a logical consequence of God's sovereignty. He also said, about this and other mysteries, that he did not think it was fruitful to speculate about it -- there is no way that we can have enough information to understand all of salvation.

Second, though, predestination does not entail that "some humans were expressly created for damnation," nor that "it eviscerates human responsibility by eviscerating free will." God made people free. They can freely choose good. They all do freely choose sin, in different times and different ways. Everyone of us sins.

God did not make us sin. Predestination is not predetermination. How is this possible? We exist in time; one event follows another, one cause leads to an effect; we choose an action now, it has a consequence later. God, on the other hand, exists in eternity. From the perspective of eternity, all the events that happen in time appear as if they happen at the same instant. God foreknows our actions and their consequence, though we freely chose them.

We act freely, and freely sin. We all deserve damnation. God, out of gracious mercy, chooses to save some. No one knows who, or why, or how. We might like to believe that all are saved. Some read the biblical claim that Christ came to save the world as meaning each person in it. However, there are other passages which seem clearly to say that some really are damned. And it is intelligible to say that Christ came to save the world without entailing that each individual in it would be thus saved.

In this life, though, God gives us a general command to love our neighbors, and the common grace for everyone to do that. God also gives each of us a specific calling to do in this world. We should do this because it is right, and we should be grateful for the gift of life and a meaningful task. To say that we do what God calls us to do just for a reward later is to misunderstand the call. It is also, I think, to cheapen the call down to a tit-for-tat contract.

Damnation comes from our sin, not God's meanness. God made the world in such a way that we could sin, because it is the only kind of world in which we can be free.

eustochius said...

Thanks for your genteel response, Gruntled. Still though, you must admit that it involved a fair degree of hand-waving at the most critical points. If God knew that we would freely choose actions that would lead to our damnation, and God is truly sovereign, out of mercy, he should have prevented our births. By claiming that these are things that are outside of speculation and that we can't understand them, many would say that it takes these claims out of rational discourse, and thus, by definition, makes them rationally indefensible.


It's a kind of special pleading. IMHO, if a view requires this great of an amount of hand-waving, it's probably untrue and follows from false assumptions. To me these problems in Calvinism indicates that its conception of God is flawed. I may be able to grasp Calvin's reasoning, but I think the real heart of the difficulty lies in the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which is a more-or-less universal Christian doctrine. I think most traditional forms of Christianity suffer from similar problems; it's just that these problems are made glaringly obvious in Calvin. It' s as if Calvinism wears its absurdity on its sleeve.

It always shocks me that people, instead of re-examining their fundamental assumptions on the nature of the divine, that instead they choose to build even more elaborate structures -- that by hand-waving and logical sleight of hand -- defend a view that really isn't defensible -- not rationally anyway.

Rather than destroying the laws of logic, it seems more humble, and maybe even Calvinist ;) to think that humans can't grasp these things, and so any logical framework for explaining the divine is faulty -- including Calvinism. Why buoy up human understanding only with Calvin and deny it elsewhere? IOW, Calvinism is self-defeating.

Doesn't it involve a fair degree of hubris to think that a human could properly interpret scripture -- including Romans? Sure you may say that Calvin only made obvious logical conclusions from Romans. Well, I'm doing the same thing here to show that Calvinism is clearly false. Why should we trust Calvin's use of his sinful human reasoning, and not, say, yours or mine?

One final comment, and then I'll be silent on Calvinism. It is often said that none of us deserve salvation. Since Calvinism insists on a strict binary choice of fates, it follows that all of us deserve hell, but that we should be grateful to God for whomever he saves.

However, I think a fair number of people would rather never be born than to play this game. If the stakes are so high, and a person is risk-averse, they would rather opt out.

So, really, if Calvin is right, it's a horrific life to be awarded, and no gift of God at all.

Oh well, nuff said.

eustochius said...

BTW, as I reread your response, there is a certain beauty and elegance to it, but in my view, it is a beauty that only can be maintained if one does look too closely at the edifice. There may be a certain pragmatic value to a Calvinist outlook -- and even a beauty -- but at the end of the day, imo, it just ain't so (just isn't true).

Gruntled said...

Most Christians do not become Christians because they thought through all the logical systems and picked one through Occam's razor. Christianity begins with God and our connection with God. Intellectuals like Calvin, thee, and me, come to the table very late to try to provide some account of how God works and how our connection to God can best be understood. But none of our accounts are adequate.

Yet God remains, and so does our connection to God.

My theology teacher in college said that he had concluded, after 30 years of studying theology and service as a priest, that the doctrine of the Trinity is true -- but that every possible theory of how it works is heretical.

You say, on the one hand, that Calvinism is horrible because it has no place for human freedom, and also, on the other hand, that "If God knew that we would freely choose actions that would lead to our damnation, and God is truly sovereign, out of mercy, he should have prevented our births." If God prevents the existence of those who would freely choose sin, then there is no freedom.

I point this out not to say there is a contradiction in your argument (though I think there is), but rather to cite it as further proof that there is a deep mystery at the heart of Creation. I don't think that Calvinists have esoteric knowledge of that mystery; rather, we trust that God, who does understand that mystery, is good.

Tom Strong said...

I think the very concept of hell - at least as it is understood in the Christian tradition, and probably the Islamic as well - is a refutation of freedom. There are two ways to understand hell from this vantage point:

1) It is a punishment created by God for the wicked and unbelievers - those who choose to stray. As it is an eternal punishment for sins committed in time, it is inherently out of proportion to the crime. Giving people the freedom to choose evil, then punishing them out proportion to that choice, does not give them freedom, but a mockery of it.

2) It is a prison of human's own design - we create a place of distance from God, and if we are not careful we get locked into it permanently. Many modern Christians describe hell in this way in order to insulate God from being at "fault" for it. But this too is a denial of freedom, because hell remains eternal - once you are in it, you cannot choose to leave. In other words, the freedom granted us by God is finite, but the punishment is infinite. And God, again, is ultimately responsible for creating such a reality.

Unless, of course, God isn't responsible for the nature of reality. But then God ceases to be God, as he becomes beholden to reality rather than creator of it.

Of course, few people really believe in God because of hell. Those who do are always halfassed in their faith, because they believe out of fear rather than out of love. Hell is just a way to bring them into the fold - it doesn't keep them there.

Gruntled said...

I don't think we can have the scale to know what is proportionate in relation to God.

Freedom is a good thing, but it is not the highest value. God is the source of value. God's goodness is the highest value I can grasp.

I have thought in several of the discussions about religion that some comments start at the wrong end -- they write as if God could only exist if the writer approved of God's plan. This is so wrongheaded I don't know where to begin.

Aaron X said...

Some interesting points Tom Strong.


Speaking of predestination, or perhaps we could call it fate, I know I'm going straight down to burn in those everlasting fires, heretical heathen and chronic sinner that I was born to be.

But I have little doubt that I'll be seeing some of you down there, some of you who are just positive you're going to wind up at the pearly gates. Boy do you guys have a rude awakening coming.

In fact hell is a lot like prison, everybody says they're innocent, and are absolutely positive that they shouldn't be there. Beelzebub gets a lot of that in Hades.

But on the bright side, I'll keep a seat warm for you, and save you some damned marshmallows to toast over your roasting souls. And just between you and me, all the happening parties and interesting people are in hell, not to mention all the most tantalizing women.

Aaron

Gruntled said...

At least we will be able to keep blogging there ...

(Seriously, when we try to talk about the next life, we so quickly come up against the limits of metaphor that I think Calvin is right -- on some issues, it is not fruitful to speculate.)

Tom Strong said...

Freedom is a good thing, but it is not the highest value.

I can agree with that. But you sure see a lot of Christians nowadays placing an extraordinary emphasis on freedom - saying that God wants us to be free, truly free, and that's why we're allowed to make so many terrible choices.

Which is amazing to me, given how little emphasis "freedom" is given in the Bible. A lot of modern Christians (especially evangelicals) often seem to put Freedom above God, though they don't say it that way. I suspect the Church fathers would be perplexed by such talk.

I do think you're right that discussing the afterlife is not fruitful, at least not in a spiritual sense. But then, I don't think analyzing God is that fruitful, either. It can be entertaining, though!

Gruntled said...

I think moderns tend to take if for granted that liberty, equality, and fraternity are the highest values. This would be puzzling to any ancient and probably non-Western sensibility.

Aaron X said...

Professor Wesson, you mentioned the limits of speaking in metaphors when talking about the "next life". I imagine you choose your words carefully being a teacher and responsible intellectual, and I've always wonder about that phrase when Christians use it, next life.

It sounds better than afterlife, and it does create the image of life continued, life everlasting as it were. Perhaps you don't make any distinction between those two terms, but I've never been quite clear exactly what constitutes the next life or afterlife for modern Christians, or perhaps I should limit that to Protestant/Anglo-Saxon Protestant belief. But I'm not really clear about the afterlife for Jews or Muslims either in any of their various permutations. And Catholics, that seems like a whole nother story as well. The only religions that I am quite clear as to what constitutes the afterlife are those that stem from the east, the Hindus and the Buddhists. Their beliefs are quite tangible to my mind, and were even easy for me to grasp what I was child.

But I digress that's just distracting me from my point, stepping away from speculation concerning the next life for a moment, I think I could pretty thoroughly describe what could be seen as hell at least as I experienced it. I imagine it's probably different for everyone, but I'm pretty sure I've actually been there and could give you a vivid descriptions of my experiences.

Although I must admit I don't think I could do it justice with words, it's one of those things that seems to be beyond the confines of written language, at least to some degree. But I'm willing to give it a shot.

Perhaps I could even come up with a dissertation on the subject. Of course I don't have any hard evidence to back up my memories but when it comes to matters of faith who does anyway? But within the confines of my mind I do have what I think is a wealth of material.

Of course you think I am joshing you, or perhaps crazy, but who knows maybe when I speak about hell, I speak of it from experience. Often when people speak honestly about the things they've actually experienced, it has the ring of truth that's hard to deny if you're listening. You get back to me if you want the inside scoop on that afterlife thing, now will you?

Aaron

Aaron X said...

Here's a little teaser to wet your appetite.

Dante had it right. Apparently he'd been there as well.

eustochius said...

You say, on the one hand, that Calvinism is horrible because it has no place for human freedom, and also, on the other hand, that "If God knew that we would freely choose actions that would lead to our damnation, and God is truly sovereign, out of mercy, he should have prevented our births." If God prevents the existence of those who would freely choose sin, then there is no freedom.

I was unclear in my logical structure. I first stated that I thought Calvinism eviscerated human freedom. You replied that people still choose freely even though their fates are predetermined; it's just that God, being all-knowing, would know what they would freely choose to do.

I implicitly granted that for the sake of argument though I should have made it explicit. Since I implicitly conceded that point, the contradiction vanishes.

[Besides, why didn't God create a race of angels, who according to some traditions, always freely choose the good. He's omnipotent isn't he?]

However, your claim that there would be no freedom were God to prevent those who would be damned from being born is plainly false. First, those who would be saved would still freely act. Second, I'm sure that those who would have been damned would have freely chosen not to be born. A life of sin ain't worth an eternity of suffering.

Christianity begins with God and our connection with God. Intellectuals like Calvin, thee, and me, come to the table very late to try to provide some account of how God works and how our connection to God can best be understood. But none of our accounts are adequate.

Maybe because, at least as traditionally conceived, Christianity is false. Maybe some fundamental theology has to be altered.

I have thought in several of the discussions about religion that some comments start at the wrong end -- they write as if God could only exist if the writer approved of God's plan. This is so wrongheaded I don't know where to begin.

Gruntled, human's only sources of knowledge are sense data, reason, and perhaps -- platonic intuition, or spiritual experience. (The knowledge, etc. of of others' must be carefully scrutinized.)

I can agree that religious speculation likely does follow a religious intuition or experience. However, that speculation should be grounded in that intuition, in that experience, and in what can be logically extrapolated from it.

Calvinism is awash in Christian assumptions. It assumes that you only get one shot at life -- it rules out reincarnation. It assumes that there is an eternal afterlife -- it rules out annihilation. It assumes that humans being are, by nature, on a path to hell. It assumes a binary division of the afterlife.

It doesn't take into account many other possible solutions.

Thus, I think, and no offense, that your approach is the one that is horribly wrong-headed. At least if you actually want the TRUTH. If you want the truth about the nature of the divine -- or about anything -- you've got to apply the tools you have available to the question. You can't just ignore all sorts of alternative possibilities and all the spiritual experiences of all the people of other's religions.

If you want to claim that humans can't know anything about the divine; fine, then retract your support of Calvinism. But if you think that humans can know something, however small, about the divine, we're back to where we started.

IF, however, you just want a tradition that is good for families and good for connecting to the divine, then we're talking something different, here. If you withdraw your claim as to the TRUTH of Calvinism, I will withdraw my complaint. If you just want to argue the PRAGMATIC benefit of Calvinism, that is another discussion.

Let's do an analogy here. Every system ever invented has flaws. Quantum mechanics, for instance, doesn't handle relativistic effects too well, and so we have relativistic quantum mechanics to take care of that. And then we can toss in Quantum Electrodynamics for even further improvements. And even Newton does surprisingly well for everyday phenomena, even though it has catastrophic failures in small or very fast situations. However, Aristotle's and Descartes' physics totally suck. They can barely explain even the most mundane of phenomena.

I would say a system like Neo-Platonism, or Buddhism, is like Newtonian classical physics. It's got some solid support, but some serious difficulties as well.

But Calvinism is like Aristotle's physics -- maybe it works a little in certain places but overall, a miserable failure.

If we want to understand a phenomenon, we have to start from scratch and examine our assumptions.

But I really just don't understand how anyone could think Calvinism was even a reasonable attempt at explaining the divine. I would rank it under the most ludicrous theologies ever propounded.

Although there is a certain charm in your theology professor's response, I can't help but feel that it is just a cover for very lousy theologies. Again, it just seems like a very special form of special pleading that will defend Calvinism or whatever from skeptical attacks, but completely destroys their credibility. If you don't want to apply logic to your system, fine, but in so doing, you've lost your right to critique other metaphysical systems. It's a completely defensive manuever that will only convince those who have already made the commitment.

I apologize for the length, and I appreciate your efforts in other areas -- marriage, family -- but it just bewilders me that someone of your intellectual capacity would consider Calvinism a viable theology. I feel like I'm arguing 2 + 2 = 4 here, but you still want to say that 5 (or in this case 12,878i) is the right answer.

eustochius said...

For clarity, I should note that when I granted, for the sake of argument, that Calvinism need not eviscerate human free-will, I then in turn focused on the inconsistency, imo, between the goodness of God and Calvinism.

I think this inconsistency is the nail in the coffin for monsieur Calvin.

eusto said...

Oh, and the fact that most people don't use Occam's razor in determining their religion is irrelevant as to whether they ought to be using it. If we're after truth, and not just a description of psychological and sociological phenomena, we've got to come up with some method for establishing it.

And I think that method should include a little bit of Occam, btw. If you say I believe what I believe because of faith, well that's nice. But we haven't moved forward on the truth question.

I think the "data," broadly construed, point to a variety of possible theological models. Maybe the data are consistent with Neo-Platonism, maybe atheism, maybe a spruced-up and modified form of traditional Christianity, but Calvinism??? No way, man. Unless you want to toss the assumption that the divine is good. You can do that if you want. The way I see it is that Calvinism can be true only if God is evil. That's a possibility. But my personal spiritual experience indicates otherwise.

Come on Gruntled, Lutherans don't pay much attention to a lot of what Luther said, maybe the time has come for Presbyterians to do the same for Calvin. Calvin burned heretics after all, didn't he? Can we trust such a man to have to have correctly divined the nature of the divine?

If you've ever watched Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, I would definitely award Calvin the "Worst Person in the World" award that Keith awards every day. For like a year.

eustochius said...

Oh, I can't shut up on this. It's so fun -- I was born a philosopher I guess. Gruntled, you say that humans cannot judge scale when Tom mentioned infinite punishment for finite deeds. Don't you find it weasely to the nth degree when people claim, arbitrarily, hey you can use logic for this part of the theology and not there. It's like a used-car salesman who says, "Whoa, don't touch that part." It's total bill-of-goods salesmanship, in my view.

Liberate yourself, Gruntled, choose Erasmus! From what little I know, it's seems that this humans-are-destined-to-damnation deal has only lead to people smacking their kids, and putting scarlet letters on people, and not dancing, and all that. ;)

Aaron X said...

Damn, I gave up on this thread too soon.

eustochius

I like your logic.