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Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's possible that I killed someone.

I went for a walk with my sister yesterday, and we talked a lot about next week's Royal Family Kids' Camp. We exchanged jokes about the trials of acting happy-go-lucky while running on two hours of sleep, listening to children scream and belch and cry, and managing crises from broken hearts to broken skin. We discussed returning campers we've both known, loved, and pretended to love, both of us laughing all the way. But somewhere in our talk, my mood turned sour, as it usually does after meditating on RFKC. It's easy when you're thinking about the skinned knees and ice cream fights to think of the campers as regular ol' annoying kids, but at the end of the day, they're regular kids who've been abused. Someone out there was able to look these little girls and boys in the wide eyes, and knowingly cause them some kind of pain. I hate, hate, hate crying, so my natural defense mechanism kicked in at that point in the conversation. I said something mean. "Child abusers are among the most wretched of all human beings," I told Kelly, scowling. "I hope anyone who's ever done something like that dies. I wish death upon them. People like... like Michael Jackson. I hope they die."

That's right. The day before Michael Jackson died, I said the words, "I hope Michael Jackson dies."

Obviously, I never met the man, and obviously, nothing I thought or said yesterday caused his death, but I can't help but feel a deep sense of guilt. While I think the media has a habit of overreacting (I heard a newscaster say tonight, "We shall always remember where we were when the death of the Prince of Pop was announced," as if this is some kind of national tragedy on par with Pearl Harbor and 9/11), Michael Jackson made some good music, and he made a lot of people happy. And, more importantly, he was a person. Whether or not he legitimately committed any crime against children (I selfishly believe wholeheartedly that he did, but as I wasn't there, who am I to really determine the truths of someone else's life?), he was a person tainted by pressure and Hollywood and health. No matter what he did or didn't do in his lifetime, his death-- like all deaths-- is worthy of mourning.

Despite my frequent jesting, I believe that all people are primarily good. Despite the unpopularity of my ideas, I can't justify that one crime or sin is greater than any other. In my mind, and in my religion (I consider myself a nondenominational Christian, and I sort of do my own thing spiritually), Mother Teresa and Charles Manson are equals. I've met too many people in too many situations to believe in the ranking of souls, which is why I have difficulty accepting the concept of hell. How can God, who doesn't work on a linear timeline, who's been around before there were days and will be around after there's no universe, who creates each and every person differently and individually... how can this unconditionally-loving God choose some people over others? They say that God makes us, but then gives us the choice to accept or deny him. But if God knows our destinies before we're even born, why would he create people who will never make the cut?

Before I get responses of both kinds, I'd like to address two things right up front: 1) I am by no means denouncing religion or claiming that I have a better grasp on any idea than people who have studied theology for centuries. I have faith, I'm interested in other people who have faith, and I'm working to be tolerant of all different kinds. My questioning isn't even really doubt; I'm just trying to figure out where I stand. And 2) I'm also not blindly buying into a WASPy tradition or allowing propaganda bullshit to be shoved down my unknowing throat. My mother, though she is a serious Christian, has a very different set of beliefs from my own. And while I, admittedly, form much of my opinion based off how my dad thinks, it's not because I'm not mature enough to search on my own. My dad is a highly respected man-- brilliant and revered the state over-- and I would probably agree with his insights even if he hadn't donated to my DNA. Yeah... um, just so we're clear.

So basically, I'm feeling pretty uneasy about life in general right now. For one, I'm signing myself over to other people next week, and I have to pretend for six days like I'm not a selfish wretch for the benefit of children. For two, Jess will be in Haiti all week doing missions work, putting herself in dangerous situations and worrying me to no end. For three, I wished death upon a dead man. I'm in a weird place. I'm gonna go to bed now, I think.

Bye, guys. Hopefully I'll see you tomorrow. <3

71 comments:

lindsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rita Davenport said...

I agree. I can't understand God not letting some people into Heaven. I really wish we could have just a hint of what goes after death.

lindsey said...

Ah shit, I messed up on your comment. Anyways.
This is interesting. I respect you for not compromising your beliefs to coincide with the majority and your incredible tolerance. Religion itself is a touchy subject and it's really amazing of you to post your opinion because somebody is probably going to be offended one way or the other. So, creation with the acknowledgement of failure, so to speak? I've never really thought about it that way, but it makes a lot of sense.

You're a smart girl. I don't fangirl. But you are making me fangirl.

A.J. James said...

Hayley, I think that religion is always a sore conversation topic for a lot of people, both professional and in private lives, I had a very diverse religion experience while growing up, (until the age of 16 I was raised in the Jehovah's Witness beliefs, when i turned 16 i sought out a truth that sounded less like Our God is better than your God and more like home for four years i spent every other day in a presbyterian church I led VBS i was a christian camp counselor for two full summers and even worked as an advisor at the camp when I was 21.) When I joined the military my view of religion and of who God was was severely altered and not necessarily for the better, I spent six years in the armed forces and in the four years since my last tour of Iraq I have only been in one church... Life alters our beliefs, for better or worse. I fully believe that God is love, while i still don't buy into the one true religion idea, i agree with you that each and every soul is created equal...

I will keep Jess in my thoughts...

TL said...

I agree with what you said in this post. It's also hard for me to believe in Hell, but I think there must be a point after death where you can choose. I think you would have to actively denounce God to go to Hell, like Satan did. And who would pick eternal punishment over unconditional love? There are so many different beliefs out there that you can't really know for sure though, I'm sure you'll get many different opinions in the comments!

Indigo said...

Um, I'm not going to comment anything about God or life or anything, but I found it very alarming that the news of Michael Jackson's death got out, like, minutes after it happened. Freaky times we live in.

christina said...

I don't think God creates people who have destinies of not believing in Him and then going to hell. But He does give us free will and the opportunities to make our own choices and decisions in our lives. And those choices determine where we go, I guess. I have trouble with the concept of who is worthy of heaven and who is sent to hell as well though.

labyrinthalaska said...

It was actually strange for me to hear the news that he had died. I was at work and customers just kept coming in and saying it when they'd come up to my register. Also, Farrah Fawcett died this morning.. and I was told that Walter Kronkite died as well today.
That's 3 well-known people in one day.

But to focus on the religious aspect of your post, I am Catholic, and must say I honestly don't see how some people can go to heaven over others. I mean, supposedly there's heaven and hell, but I also believe in purgatory. But to say people that have done one small crime in their life are going to be chosen over to get into heaven for another person who did something bad, but of a lesser evil... it just doesn't make sense. I can understand the "saintly" people getting priority, but for us ordinary humans, who is to say we should be judged on who lived a better life.

Anyways, I still love your blog.

goldensnitch said...

When Michael Jackson died I couldn't believe that someone who was not seriously ill before hand, who was planning on going on tour, could just die so suddenly. It made me really worry about my mom, who is six years older than MJ, smokes, has diabetes, and high blood pressure. I'm with you that MJ probably did commit the crimes he was up against, but he is still a person and his death does mean something to his family and friends. It just hit home for me that someone could die so suddenly.

x0brittx0 said...

if you haven't read the shack by william p. young then you should. it's amazing.

i, too, am a nondenominational christian and this is something that i've thought about a lot. at one point, it was a huge struggle for me because i couldn't understand how God could create someone, let them live a life that would be so full of despair that they'd kill themselves, and then let them go to hell. i'm going to be honest - that statement alone makes my teeth itch. it's so loaded. but if we break it down, this is what we get - God created man. He designed us in His image, to love, to be loved and to live with our own free will. Our free will was one of the greatest things He gave us. see - i believe He knows every choice we will make because He knows our hearts so completely. but He allows us to live our lives and become the people we are going to become so that we can reach other humans and potentially lead them to an eternity with the Lord. Hell isn't meant for people who have affairs or who lust, lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc ... Hell is meant for people that hear Christ's call, who see Him move in their life and deliberately turn away. the fact is, God is real, He's alive, and He wants us. All of us. Deep down, we all know He's there (even people who have never heard His name). if we choose to ignore Him, His heart will be broken but He cannot intervene because He gave us the gift of free will. there's a pretty awesome discussion on this topic at a site i go to a lot. you should check it out. i think it'd really help you sort through and help you figure out where YOUR heart stands on the matter.

http://delveintojesus.com/discussions/3/Free-Will-vs-Foreknowledge.aspx

ps - i know you're worried about jess but try to remember she's loved and watched by somebody who can protect her better than anyone. :)

caroline said...

I beleive that God gives each of us oppurtunities to accept Him. Maybe our destiny can change. If there isn't a hell then why would he even bother dying for our sins?

Katie said...

I don't like how celebrity deaths get so much attention. Unless it was some war hero or nobel-prize winner or something, I don't see why people freak out so much over strangers' deaths. When my sister found out about MJ, we were sitting in a movie theater about to see Transformers 2 and she proceeded to text friends and update her facebook status about how distraught she was. It's not like he was a family friend, and he hasn't even made any good music in several years. I don't mean to say that his death isn't sad, because it is. It's sad to his family and people who knew him, but the public and media shouldn't be all up in their business. I dunno, I hate the entertainment industry. Actors and athletes are paid far too much while those who strive to do real, honest work struggle to get by. It sucks. However, I'm a huge hypocrite because I love watching movies and I still support them with my own money. Bah. Sorry for ranting!

seurat2 said...

I was never much of a fan of MJ although I certainly respected his talent. This mania over his death doesn't surprise me, but it does leave me a little depressed. I wonder how many people died in Iran today unnoticed while so many people were obsessing over a dead former pop star? Your comments on religion seem reasonable to me even if I don't fully agree with them. I hope your camp experience this year is the best ever, and I'm sure the kids will adore the "Pink haired girl."

Joe said...

I'm incredibly interested to know your thought process. Being entirely faithless my entire Formal-Operational life, I'm really curious as to how you can disregard ancient conventions of the belief you claim and still claim it at all. I.e., how you have a hard time believe in hell, or questions about Creation.

Anyway.

Matt said...

I agree with commenter Christina above. I think that God creates us with a plan in mind. I'm reminded now of the overused verse in Jeremiah. "For I know the plans I have for you..." I think they are just that, plans. Yes, God did create us in His image with plans laid out for us, but he also gave us a free will of our own. I believe that God wants us all to be in Heaven with Him, but He gives us the choice to follow Him or not to follow Him. He says that if we follow Him, we will get to be with Him in heaven. So, in essence, He is giving us the choice to be with Him or not. God does not send people to hell, they choose to go there by acting in disobedience to Him.

89ravenclaw said...

I would type up my opinion about the after-life, but every time I type anything out, there's way too much textual communication.

So here's me just saying: Hey, I think you're pretty cool(like).

Haley Bird said...

Hayley,
Its really cool that you're so tolerant of other's beliefs. Personally, I'm not a Christian. That being said, I would never force my opinion down anyone's throat, and from the looks of it, you don't either. Basically, I'm just thanking you for not forgetting to be awesome.
:D

Brad said...

Now see, this is why I follow your blog. Just a little light subject matter before bedtime. :P

Personally, I'm not religious(no offense anyone), but I do have something like faith. I can only explain it as an deep acceptance of the fact that there are things that I will never understand. I do admire you for throwing unanswerable questions up against your beliefs though, because belief without question doesn't really require faith, does it? I don't know, this is really not my best subject.

babyporridge. said...

i love you for writing this, & am always so proud & awed to read how articulate you are. everyone knows religion is such a touchy issue, & anything you say about it in the public sphere will be misconstrued. it is for this reason i don't personally discuss my spirituality in the public domain. as if you don't already know, i always admire your conviction & your honesty.

<3

Melody said...

I'm too scattered right now to write anything really meaningful on religion. But I'm gonna try. :D
I don't believe in God, but I can't grasp the fact that simply NOTHING happens after we die. So I believe in reincarnation. I know, I know, as far as beliefs go it's kind of easy-way-out. But it makes a certain kind of sense to me.

You kind of get another chance. If you spent one life completely miserable, your next life would hopefully be a little easier on you. If you were a horrible person and hurt a lot of people in your life, like, say, Hitler, you would have to spend a lot of time just kind of floating around without a body before you were reincarnated again, so you can kind of reflect on the pain you've caused and learn to, y'know, not do that again. I mean, nobody would want Hitler reincarnated right away. Even if he was just a baby. ...It's kind of like bringing Evil Baby Hitler to a whole new level.

...Where was I even going with this?
Basically, I think that in the long run, all our lives included, we are all equal in the good and bad in our lives and the good and bad we inflict on others'.
...That's really all I got. This comment is really long.
-Melody

toastburntbread said...

I remember a teacher once told me when a person dies God will shine a spotlight on the person. And if a person, now seeing that God is real, truly feels sorrowful for all their sins and apolgetic, they will be let into heaven.
I choose to believe this.
So everyone has a chance to go to heaven if they choose to.
This is what I believe, because I want to believe it works that way.

VicMorrowsGhost said...

HAYLEY USED THE AVADA KEDAVRA!

Catherine said...

Personally, I do not believe in any God or divine being, nor do I believe in any sort of afterlife. However, I have spent my entire education at Catholic schools, so I was brought up to believe that we are all created in God's image and given the gift of free will, that we all have the capability to do good and it is our choice whether or not we do good in the world.
The essence of this I still believe that every person has a measure of control over their own destiny and the choices they make. I believe that if one person can go through life confident that they at least tried to do good in their life then they have lived a fulfilled life. I believe it is impossible and unecessary to judge others. You can only ever do what YOU think is right.

Martin K. Smith said...

While I think that Michael Jackson's relationships with children was, for lack of a better word, weird (to say the least).. I'm not sure I can believe that he did all the things people claim he did.

My reason's for this stem from the fact that in all charges brought before him, he was either found not guilty (at trial) or money made it go away.

If my kid had been abused and I'd want to see the abuser go down, I wouldn't be taking a cash settlement. Would you? Or would you find for what you believed in, making sure that your kid/s and others were safe from him? I don't think it matters how much you like the man's music, how big a fan you are, if you know he did that to your kid, surely that all goes out the window?

I'm thankful that the news don't seem to be focusing on that side of his life today, more the fact that he was the one time King of Pop - Famous the world over for the music he made and the happiness he brought to people.

Funnily enough, I say this as someone who wasn't even a massive fan of his, I just find the whole allegation side of his life hard to swallow.

Scott said...

Here's a something I just came up with: God's love is a lot like bugs on a wind screen. No matter how much we want to use a mixture of antifreeze and friction to get rid of them, they'll always come back to us. For as long as we've been driving, they've always been there, and they'll always remain as long as we reach for the gas pedal.

The way you described your beliefs was so articulate. I love how you're not afraid to talk about this with us.

Zombie said...

I'm still uncertain about Michael Jackson touching little boys thing. I believe he did do something, but maybe not all the stuff the media said he did. And I believe that he paid a lot of people a lot of money to keep the issue out of court.

Whenever I think about God/a higher power or my "faith" my head honestly starts to hurt because in the end, even if you have a book of faith or whatever, no body really knows what they're talking about.

Kaitlyn w/ a K said...

Based solely on what I've read here, I think we might have pretty similar views on faith. I've been struggling with those same questions for years. I've discussed them with many different people, and I usually receive one of two responses: an "I really don't know" or an attempt to prove the Bible by quoting more of the Bible. Neither is very useful. I'm not inclined to accept the Bible, translated and edited and passed down for centuries, as 100% literal fact in its present state.

Anyway, I don't always understand it, but I love discussing religion (any religion, not just my own). If you're ever in the mood to hash it out some more, I'm almost always on skype. :-)

Leesa said...

You know, your thought about everyone being equal? I have been saying that for years. And I normally say that in God's eyes, he loves the child molester as much as the saint. And it is not just a thought but something that is consistent with scripture. And a bunch of dead theologians.

I have been boycotting news for a while now, so I heard of his death at a party last night. I am a bit older than you, and I wasted many happy hours copying his dance moves. I chose to remember the joy he brought me and my friends, dancing in our PJs. I don't remember the dark stuff, the stuff that causes me to think he is less in God's eyes, because in my mind, I believe we are all equal, but in my heart, it is hard to understand.

joy isobel said...

Hayley, you're not selfish! Don't ever, ever let yourself think that. I'm sure hundreds of people wish death upon Michael Jackson everyday, and less offhandedly than you. So, don't blame yourself. Also, have fun at camp! I'm jealous, I'm too old to go back to camp and too young to be a counselor. It's no fun to be in between.

Michael W said...

The true nature of God is really one of the trickiest questions brought about by Christianity. He's supposed to be all powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-loving, but so often His actions don't seem to reflect that. If He is all-knowing and all-seeing, how can he create people knowing that they will go to Hell? If He loves all of us, how can he stand for any of us to go to Hell? If He is all powerful, why doesn't he just bring everyone to Heaven? God contradicts Himself constantly.

I was raised Catholic, but I have always had problems reconciling God's actions with his supposed omniscience and infinite love. The problem I think is that the Bible was written by so many different people over such a long period of time that it contradicts itself many times over. Just like every person now has a different idea of what God is and what he means, so did the people that wrote the Bible. What I did, and what I think every Christian has to do, is choose the parts that allow us to make sense of the world, and believe in those.

Personally, I don't believe in Hell. I don't think there is anything a person can do to deserve infinite suffering, and even if there was, I don't think a God that loves us like he claims to would let that happen to anyone.

Katy said...

I've never understood the concept of Hell, either.

I read Dante's Inferno, and while I find Dante to be an extremely brilliant man, something confused me.

Take thieves. Seventh bolgia of the eighth circle of Hell, according to Dante. They spend their miserable eternities being chased around and bitten by snakes in a pit. Their eternities. And yet this is an eternal punishment. It never starts hurting. No one just "gets used to it," as one would when put under "eternal" pain on Earth.

And yet... these people still defy God. They never, ever, ever, never never, ever feel remorse. Because if they did, they'd be in Purgatory, and they would have felt remorseful before they died.

So why does God punish them? They aren't going to act any differently. It's a complete waste of an eternity. Why not stick them doing the Dirty Jobs in Heaven... like have them deliver people's mail or something? Or clean the bathrooms, instead of sticking them in burning coffins and being prodded in a pit of tar by the Malebranche? These people will never change. Being punished is not accomplishing anything. ughghshdgh.

------------------

I know what you mean about child abusers. I have two little sisters, and just typing this, thinking about someone... I can't even type it.

Tenley Nadine said...

Um... I don't really know how to answer your question because I haven't studied religion in depth. I can only tell you what I believe and hope it helps... and it probably won't, but I'll tell you anyways.

I think that God gives everyone opportunities to accept him and turn there life's around (wow, that sounded cheesy). And he gives those same opportunities to people he knows will never accept him because he treats everyone equally and is always trying to helps us no matter what.

So yeah, thats my very brief description of what I believe. Well, actually its only a part of what I believe (the part that applied to your question), but whatever.

Driscoll said...

I think I will always remember where I was when Michael Jackson died. His death is really a freaky coincidence for me. He died at 2:26 on June 25,2009 and I was born at 2:26 on June 25, 1993. Isn't that freaky?

I'd also like to mention how horrible I feel or Farrah Fawcett. I mean she died yesterday, but then Michael Jackson died and everyone like forgot that she had just died after fighting cancer for years.

Elrich89 said...

Oh, this religion, how boring it all is. There is no sin, there is no spiritual punishment, there are only people who commit crimes and the sentences they receive.

Religion is a man-made construct, and I am terribly sorry to say, but believing otherwise is, in my opinion, senseless.

God is nonsense. How can a benevolent, pure, force of GOOD not be, at the same, EVIL? In order to be omnipotent and omniscient, he should be both, should he not?
Tosh. Balderdash. Codswallop. Gobbledegook.

I am a staunch atheist, and yet I would never attack somebody over their belief, simply because I hate to upset and confront people.

notaclareintheworld said...

The thing about Michael Jackson is that he was in the spotlight for making some really, really great music and changing the music industry quite permanently. Thriller is one of the most highly rated and one of the top selling albums of all time. Michael Jackson also practically created the modern music video and contributed half, in not more, of the dance moves we use today. And I think people should remember him for these accomplishments.

On the other subject, I want to agree with everything commenter Matt said. I'm not very religious, but in my brushes with the church I've learned enough to know that free will is the most important thing God ever gave us. Maybe there are several possible destinies, and God knows what all of these paths will be and were they can split.

Stefan said...

I think a lot of people will remember where they were when he died. He means a lot more to those in their 30s then to us younger folk.

Sarah.Brooke said...

Well, this is how I see it. God loved us so much that he made us, then gave us a choice, to receive him or not too. Then came the time, where he loved us SO MUCH that He honored our decisions.

If He only made people who would accept Him then, people would argue we have no free will. But God DOES give us free will. Another reason that there are people go to Hell is because, God loves us enough to punish us.

It's that sort of "tough love". I personally think it is an amazing thing, that he can love us so much to act on what WE want. Not what He wants. I don't think God likes to see us suffer, but he chooses to be a fair and upright judge.

Those are just my thoughts.

Mercy said...

I'll always remember that I heard about the Prince of Pop's death from Hayley G Hoover.

babyjustrun said...

wow that sucks. the thing with mj.
i feel guilty just because, while we didn't know whether he did the things we heard he did, most people our age as kids were rude and spread rumors and close-minded lies about michael jackson. he had been a big joke from grade 4 to almost 7 for me. and now i look back, i know that most kids in most countries did that, and that's what michael jackson had been dealing with for the past 10 years or so. just being made fun of.
i dunno, it's just really sad to see others hurt, and the ranks of the celebrities have lost a few loved ones lately.

anyhoo, on the note of the religion, hell confuses me too. i choose not to believe in religion at all, as most of it seems silly to me. however, hell is hard to understand in my mind. i'm not really sure how anyone, even God could possibly decide whether a person's sins are bad enough to warrant hell.

Pippa said...

My aunt is a foster parent and she specifically looks after young, medically fragile children. It is heartbreaking. These are sometimes tiny little babies and yet they have already been treated so horribly in life. My aunt, the saint, says she just has to give them love because that's what they've been missing the most.

Also, I respect that you write about your faith and doubt and questions in your blog. That takes courage. I really do respect everything you said because I relate (I come from a strong Christian, specifically Catholic, background but I formed my own beliefs, too).

Hope said...

I'd just like to say that God doesn't actually choose you. Everyone is already chosen by Him - you just have to choose Him back. Hell is not like Dante's Inferno. If you hate God, and Heaven is being in God's love all the time, forever, for eternity, then Heaven is your hell.

At least, this is what the Orthodox Christian Church believes (and which I am a part of). I hope Heaven is actually like this, because of exactly what you said.

Maddy said...

I think it's inspiring that you are able to dicuss your faith so openly and honestly on the internet. Based upon what I read here, it looks like we have similar views on faith. I've struggled with the same questions for a while now. I do, however, think that while God does have a pretdetermined plan or destiny for each of us, we are also given free will and thus able to decide on our own whether or not to accept Him.

Best of luck with the camp next week, and I will also be sure to keep Jess in my thoughts and prayers.

Becka said...

I'm a Christian- Church Of England.

The biggest problem I have ever had with faith (so far) was when I came back from spending three days visiting Auschwitz, Auschwitz Birkenau, and other places like that. At first I was just, you know, hideously upset because of what I'd seen there- I'd been studying it for well over a year, but until you've visited, it doesn't hit home, (though I don't think anyone not directly involved can possibly understand.)

Anyway, it was a few days before I was ready to do anything other than cry and feel sick. When I was ready to think about things, the first one was 'By my churches teachings, those Jews, Poles, Slavs, whoever- most of them wouldn't have gone to heaven.' Whilst I can believe that the Holocaust was not any sort of punishment or whatever from God, I couldn't believe that they had gone through everything they had in order to go to hell. Thats not right.

I realise that all of that is utterly unhelpful, but know there are others stuggling with the same concepts. And pray, Hayley. I'll be praying for you.

Rachel said...

Religion itself is always a touchy subject for some people, and I respect you for staying true to your beliefs.
I agree with you, though. God makes us all individually, and He knows everything we will do and our destiny before we even live on this earth. But why did He create a person if He knew that they wouldn't accept him?
My mother did the same thing when Steve Irwin died. We were talking about how his show wasn't on anymore, and the next morning, it showed he had died. So don't feel guilty.

Sarah said...

The Bible does tell us that all sin is equal in God's eyes. Just like our human nature is inclined to "rank people" by how "worthy" we believe them to be, we also tend to rank sins. God, however, loves us all the same, while also treasuring us all as individuals, delighting in us.

As a person who wants to study theology for the rest of her days, I could start blabbering on about the pre-destination/Calvinist v. Free Choice v. Augustinian determination but I won't. The way I understand it, Biblically, is that while God made humans knowing they were going to screw up and sin, he still gave us free will. Without free will, we would be robots programmed to love God, not really loving Him. Instead, He lets us screw up all we want, but continues to pursue us relentlessly, asking us to turn to Him. He gives us salvation as a free gift in the form of Christ. His omniscience implies that He does know who will choose to accept this gift and who will not, but I don't think this is the same thing as not having free will. God gives, we choose to receive or not to receive. I could talk about this for hours.

Redcabbageispurple said...

I was going to comment about your remarks about religion, but then decided against it. Not because I was going to be rude or sarcastic or anything like that, but instead my reasoning being that, even though you most likely would read these like you say you do, I still wouldn't be able to actually say anything meaningful and truly helpful.

abstractmina said...

You have to remember who wrote the bible, who told you if you did things bad you would go to hell. Unless your an undercover saint, humans did, God did not. Humans aren't perfect, and we can't translate God's word perfectly. That's why I choose and pick what to believe. Why would God be against gay relations when he destined them to have them? I believe that is a total human opinion. The bible says masterbation is wrong, and plenty of men do it daily, and woman, but there not worried about being damned to hell when some of them say that if your gay you will be. Things just don't add up!

Valerie said...

I struggle with the same ideas all the time. Free will? Pre-destination? I was talking to my student ministries leader about it a while back and he was explaining the Lutheran idea about it. Something like God chooses people to go to heaven, but he doesn't choose people to go to hell. I don't understand. And honestly, I don't think I ever will. What God does is so beyond me. It's just unbearable sometimes to think that people I know could go to hell. I do agree with the idea that sin is sin, no matter if you lied once or if you killed someone- you still are not right with God.

At the moment, I am not really coherently explaining my beliefs. It's quite difficult to write down...

I am so happy that you are able to post your Christian beliefs to a large audience without fear of ridicule. I really admire you for that!

HarryLime67 said...

A very thoughtful blog… thank you for it. I just wanted to comment about where you lose me a little. I share your notion of Mother Teresa and Charles Manson being equals (a complicated idea so succinctly stated – very nice). You wrote “People like Michael Jackson… I hope they die”. You also wrote that you don’t “believe in the ranking of souls” (I don’t either btw). I’m just having difficulty reconciling those two statements. It seems to me that if you truly believed the latter, you’d be incapable of believing the former. I don’t quite follow how you can select a particular group of deviant sinners (e.g. child molesters) and wish death upon only them. Wouldn’t your own philosophy corner you into choosing to either wish death on all of humanity, or none of it?

If you’ll tolerate two more points… I liked that you’re curious as to why God would “create people who never make the cut”. I fear my response will be taken as assholish, but my honest knee-jerk reaction is: Why wouldn’t She? Seriously. Perhaps She puts them here for those that do “make the cut” to have to engage and interact with, but I don’t know.

As for Michael, I don’t know if he diddled with kiddies or not, and I do think he got really weird in multiple ways later in life. But for me, when I was in grade school, the Jackson5 were totally BADASS. And I was about your age when Thriller came out, so to me, to say “he made some good music and made a lot of people happy”… just isn’t getting it. I respect that that is your perspective, but it is such a gross understatement to me. Michael was peerless. He was my generation’s Elvis. He was, deservedly, iconic. Perhaps you could just allow that the newscaster you heard wasn’t necessarily “overreacting”, but rather that her or his use of the pronoun “We” just doesn’t include you. Because it most definitely includes me. I’m a grown man, but watching some of the televised coverage, I’m not ashamed to admit, I’ve wept.

Maddy said...

p.s. You should read C.S. Lewis's 'The Problem of Pain' if you ever have time. It explores a lot of the questions you brought up in this blog.

Keira said...

If it's any consolidation, I've been saying pretty much the EXACT SAME THING about Michael Jackson since like, 2002. It feels horrible contributing to the pressure and judgement that possibly makes famous people, who are total strangers to us, cave in. Still, I can't help but think that that's the price of having millions of total strangers worship your music and your art. If I'm allowed to "fall in love" or fangirl over a celebrity I've never met based on his singing and acting, it's completely rational to justify hating and judging others based on similar, but negative publicity. At least, that's the conclusion I've been dwelling on recently. I love reading your blog because you wonder about similar problems as I do... :)

Jim said...

well obviously your wishes didn't cause Michael Jackson's death

but just in case could you just say "I wish Jim, the writer of this comment had 10 million dollars!" ?

Thanks!

Kaitlin said...

I don't really know much about reglion. I mean, I'm a practicing Catholic and all, and I believe in God, but I don't know what to think about the Bible. I know we are supposed to take it as fact, but I always seem to factor in the reality that God didn't write the Bible, and well he had a huge influence on it, obviuosly, it was written by humans, who, like everyone else, were imperfect. We can't expect them to have been all knowing, and aware of the change that would come 2000+ years later, so we have to apply the lessons to today, and it's sometimes hard to interpret what is time-sensitve, or human influenced.

Weird with the MJ thing, but how many people, randomly, do you think say that every day when they think about what he may or may not have done?

Good luck at camp. :)

Ravenclaw2313 said...

I have an overly religious aunt who has maxed me out on the God discussion side. Let me just say I'm still trying to figure out what I believe.

Michael Jackson however I can say a few things about.
1) You didn't kill him, because not even you can have that much power.
2) He was an amazing artist and a very talented performer. These facts can't be challenged and his death is a blow to the entertainment industry.
3) No matter the public opinion his family loves him and his life is worth mourning.
4) He was relatively healthy and only 50. He had a tour planned and was preparing to launch a move to rival the moonwalk. The fact that he died so suddenly of a heart attack is scary. It reminds us all of our mortality.
5) All child abusers do derserve to die, and conviently they all will at some point or another.

The world we live in is a funny place. Literacy rates have gone down, less books are getting published, but our desire for escapism is still strong; the public has simply decided to replace fiction/fantasy about dragon with fiction/fantasy about celebrities.

elle said...

don't worry, a day before heath ledger died i did something similar. my friend and i were talking and she was worshiping heath ledger. now, i hadn't seen anything he'd been in so i didn't know how amazing he was. all i knew was that i was tired of hearing about him so i said, "i hope he drops dead because of how much you're talking about him". even though it was terribly mean, it had the desired effect. you have no idea how bad i felt the next day. my friends still blame me for killing him...

and i agree x0brittx0, you should read The Shack if you haven't, it's brilliant.

Ben said...

"why would he create people who will never make the cut?" Isn't it about God giving us all free will?

Anonymous said...

michael jackson...hehe. freaky coincidence how that all fell into place like that though.

**have a sparkling Day**

<33

Larangutang said...

Well, I guess if anybody gets anything out of Michael Jackson's death is that (even though it's been said a million times before) you can't take life for granted. He had this whole big tour planned and in the blink of an eye he was gone. Just goes to show you..

On a more positive note, have fun at the kids camp. Even though they can be annoying at times, kids always find some way to make me laugh :P

The Blazing Snow said...

I reckon God is very much like us and is simply entertaining himself with all this power he has, watching us scrabble around trying to rule the world.

He got the ball rolling with the big bang and now he watches. Who does he let into heaven? Is there a heaven for us or does God not let anyone in and has us disappear after death?

I don't know, but I reckon he lets everyone in and if people don't act right (the way he wants) in heaven, he kicks em out/obliterates their soul. Cause he probably can.

Also, all the different religions - he probably laughs at the speculation.

And actually, He is probably a She - you know: women are the vessels of life; carry babies, give birth, make milk. Kind of more caring and a more important part of creation (like, I heard women can get pregnant from cells in the bone marrow now?) ... Or, he could be some odd-looking creature like the depiction in South Park. Fact of the matter is, he's the one with power and he's just letting us figure things out by ourselves, watching us. Not intervening, just watching.

Life is up to us.

Shelby Rebekah said...

I'm working in a kids camp this summer too, I love kids. :) But then again, so did Michael.



...too soon?

Anonymous said...

I'm not religious. The way I personally see it is that no one knows where the hell we came from. They never have and we probably never will. I don't feel the need to subscribe to any aspects of religion or feel ashamed that I admit no one has a clue!

kira902k said...

Ah, that sucks about..what you said about MJ. It really is sad that he died but not any more or less sad than the death of a random stranger.
Like you said, everyone is equal.

I mostly agree with your religious views as well.
<3

Anonymous said...

read c.s.lewis' the great divorce if you want to understand hell.

Freya said...

I have to say I believe Micheal Jackson and the whole having kids in his bed was purely innocent. Because he himself is purely innocent because he never really grew up. I dont think he realised that what he was doing was inapropriate and I dont think he didnt anything more than have the kids in his bed.
But still that isnt really sociably acceptable.

And regardless of his personality he was a musical genious, and without him we wouldnt have Justin Timberlake, and you wouldnt have a nickname for confusing boyfriend JT.

Im rather bad with religious discussion but being agnostic im rather skeptical about god and his picking and choosing.

Dont worry about Jess too much Hayley, she seems like a pretty strong person and im sure she'll be fine :).

Rosie said...

I view religion, and the subject of god in general, like most people perceive fairytales. Yes, they are interesting and quite fun to listen to. In the end, however, they are simply pretend.

I'm an atheist and I'll say it loud and proud, shouting it at the top of my lungs for the world to hear. I do not insist that those who believe in god are wrong. It doesn't matter to me what you believe in.

I personally hate the idea of heaven or hell existing. People spend so much time worrying about their immortal souls and the world they will go to after death that they forget about this world. I wish people thought about the "here and now", not the "now and later." Perhaps if the fear of hell and the want of heaven did not exist we could fix up this world, the one we actually know exists.

Religious debates are rather fun, if you ask me. I like hearing about what others think on the subject. If this offends anyone I am sorry. Religion is a touchy subject for some, I know that.

Jenny B. said...

To me, I view hell this way:

A father has a son, and he loves the son very much. But if the son decides to leave the family and shut out contact with them, no matter how much the father loves the son, he will write him out of his will. The son won't be expected to participate in Christmas events or reunions, will he? Nor will he receive any inheritance. But if the son comes back, he will be welcomed with open arms.

I really know how you're feeling, sometimes I question my faith, sometimes I don't know where I stand on important issues. I get so confused sometimes.

Really cool of you to post your opinion and be open-minded. I try to be like that as much as I can.

Katy J said...

I don't think that God chooses any one individual over any other individual. He gave us the gift of free will. Heaven is open to anyone who wishes to enter, as long as they are willing to die to their selfish whims, and follow him. I'm not saying you have to be perfect to get into heaven. That is far from the truth. What we have to do is allow him to take control over our lives and choose actions that honor him. Those who choose not to deny God, and refuse to accept him into their lives, are the ones who end up in Hell after they die. God does not want us to be in Hell. To be honest, I don't understand why. But I do know that if I did, I would be God, and that would be a problem. I don't think that hell was created for as a punishment by God, for the people who decide not to be with him. The reason it is such a terrible place is because it lacks God's presence. I hope that made sense.

<3

Christian the Heretic said...

You should listen to this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVACUjHn6yU

Christian the Heretic said...

No, really.

It's not spam.
It pertains to the topic.

Anonymous said...

He didnt commit the crimes they accused him of.

Jess L. said...

I definitely know that feeling you've got about michael jackson. My grandmother's husband died, but while he was still living he was really wearing her down, and he was a jerk. And in the same hour that he died (not that I was aware of it until hours later) I told my friend Matt "We're all just sorta waiting for him to die". Yeah. Definitely felt bad for a few weeks.