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September 24, 2006

The Body—Temple of the Holy Spirit, or Fetish of the Holy Spirit?

Montag on October 20, 2006 06:47 AM EST writes:
Manifestations of Faith

Even as we realize the need to talk between faiths to increase our understanding, we may still find ourselves condemning our own co-religionists.
The same standards of what is acceptable religious belief as described above would, if applied to the Lord Buddha, condemn him as a wild man seeking suicide.
These standards would decry Gandhi's fasts as the work of mindless terrorists.
What life do these people mean to save this grandmother for?
A life of poverty wherein she finds herself an object of scorn and ridicule?
Perhaps Granny has born enough suffering and decided that it is time to leave suffering behind.
That is one point that never dawns on thepeople of Reason who heap scorn upon her; maybe Granny has attained Nirvana.
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Greg N. on September 29, 2006 08:48 AM EST writes:
Stacia Brown: I do think the second commentator, Mary Beth, got at the character of the faith of the elderly woman who died because she clung to her belief that Jesus demands a "whole" body for Resurrection. She certainly explored, to my satisfaction, where the woman's beliefs fell short. But I think you're right--many of Western Christianity's many strange and irrational ideas about death and resurrection probably are more in line with the rural grandma's outlook than Mary Beth's. But to whose credit is that--Mary Beth's or gangrene granny's?

Look, I hate the American health care system as much as the next person. I've been screwed by doctors. I'm all for alternatives--other forms of health care, new ways of looking at how we live and die. But I don't have a problem with criticizing flawed religious beliefs that often do far more harm than good.
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Chuck The Web Guy on September 28, 2006 08:04 PM EST writes:
Yeah, I got one for ya'

Some years ago I met a Mormon woman online, and we shared the similar tragic experience of a stillborn child. While sharing our stories, she learned that we chose cremation for our baby, and boy was she shocked, appalled and aghast. Apparently the Latter Day Saints believe that resurrection of the body requires that it be "intact." Jeez, imagine all those wormy corpses rising from the ground!
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stacia brown on September 28, 2006 07:53 PM EST writes:
The history of Western Christianity is chock full of strange and seemingly irrational beliefs about death, self-preservation, suicide, and the body that - in many ways - are far more in keeping with that rural grandmother's outlook than with the scathing and extremely high-handed indictment of her convictions by your second commentator. A more interesting editorial would have tried to dig between the lines to explore what motivated that kind of belief about the body and about what might be learned about the character of that faith - where it had strengths, where it fell short. (Has the author ever read Carolyn Walker Bynum's Resurrection of the Body?)Somewhere along the way we were supposed to leave room for a diverse dialogue about what it means to seek the good, and about what might have to be sacrificed in order to attain it.
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JM on September 26, 2006 10:24 AM EST writes:
Godless Stories

This is fascinating, bizarre stuff. Spalding was right in his blog. Somebody should compile a book of weird religion stories that boggle the mind and make you wonder about the God supposedly at the center of them.

Anybody remember that tragic story last year about the Baptist pastor who was electrocuted to death when he grabbed a mic while standing in a baptismal pool in front of his packed church? I think SOMA did something on it. It was horrible and sad, and it makes you wonder how the congregation reconciled it with their notion that God is all-powerful and all-loving, the orchestrator of everything that happens. Jesus taught that if God's eye is on the sparrow, then it must surely be on each one of us. Where was God's eye when that pastor got zapped?
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John Sparks on September 25, 2006 08:08 PM EST writes:
Thanks to Mary Beth Crain for her insights on my piece. Perhaps I neglected to deal with the other side of the coin, though the same arguments could have been made: I also recall a case from my college/clinical training days wherein a local independent Charismatic preacher was taking donations for a new church building. He discovered that he had unknowingly accepted money that had been won in a card game. Remembering that Matthew has Jesus say, "if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee; for it is more profitable for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than thy whole body be cast into hell," he took a hatchet with him the next time he assumed the pulpit and...luckily, someone had the presence of mind to tie a tourniquet around his wrist stump and transport him to the hospital before he bled to death. Maybe for a while I should stick with more innocent memories, like the young preacher who once got the words "foal" and "ass" reversed in his Palm Sunday text...
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