Friday, September 28, 2007

Eschatology, ghosts and forgiveness

No one could ever say the Religion Newswriters are single-minded. We've talked about a little bit of everything in today's sessions. Some of them will make great stories for when I return. Others will make good blog items. And still others are just short observations that I share now.

* Many people believe in or claim to have experiences with ghosts or the paranormal. But many of those same people are church goers with beliefs in heaven and hell. How are the two things reconciled?

* In a panel on the end times, Darrell Bock of the Dallas Theological Seminary argued that the strange images in the book of Revelation is not the first century author trying to make sense of 21st century life. Instead he said the book uses standard images and symbols of the time. Of course, Jesus could return at any time so we should be ready. More on the eschatology panel later - fascinating stuff....

* A counselor who specializes in forgiveness said forgiveness can only be achieved after someone has grieved - it is rarely an automatic response. It comes from a place where we realize we no longer want to be part of the hurt.

* And I'm coming home with a stack of books. All of them look fascinating if you're interested: "Mormon America" by Dick and Joan Ostling; "Faith in the Halls of Power" by Michael Lindsay; "Jesus Freaks" by Don Lattin and "Not in Kansas Anymore" by Christine Wicker


MS said...

* Your first question assumes that ghosts and the paranormal are from neither heaven nor hell. A priest friend of mine once said, "If it isn't from God, it is from the devil." The term "paranormal" is widely used for anything unexplainable at the time of the event. It doesn't have to mean the "paranormal" event must be something spiritual.

Many people use the term to describe supposed encounters with beings from another planet. That is less of a spiritual event than a "ghost" sighting. One can believe in "ghosts" and the paranormal, and still believe in heaven and hell.

* I would argue with the concept of forgiveness as defined here. Sometimes a person doesn't need to grieve, even for a second, in order to forgive. If a person wrongs you in the eyes of the perpetrator, but you feel no scorn, pain, hurt from the event, are you able (is it necessary) to grant forgiveness to the perpetrator who believes they hurt you? On the other hand, are you truly granting forgiveness, or simply telling the perpetrator you were never hurt in the first place?

Diane Haag said...

On forgiveness - the guy speaking was talking about trully difficult events, such as the betrayal of a spouse or the murder of a child.

In those cases, sometimes people seem to be very quick to say "I forgive." He was arguing that true forgiveness usually comes after a process.

In the cases you cited, you probably don't need that time.

D Michael said...

I hope you like my book, Faith in the Halls of Power. I think it makes sense of an important group in American public life, and if you were intrigued with the 10 myths about evangelicals that I shared at the RNA conference, then you'll really appreicate the book