Bill O’Reilly: Man of God

Sally Quinn has a rather ridiculous interview with Bill O’Reilly in the Washington Post about his allegedly deep and abiding Catholic faith, a faith which seems to do little to prevent him from lying, raging at people far more intelligent than him and trying to rub women who are not his wife down with falafel.

I saw the ‘60 Minutes’ interview where you talked about how you believe that the Holy Spirit guided you to write this book. That comment was derided, but I wanted you to talk a little bit more about what you think your earthly purpose is and how your faith informs what you do.

The problem with the secular-progressive movement is it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously. They’re so condescending and they’re so arrogant that, even though you might be a brilliant person, if you believe, you’re an idiot. So that just knocks out the whole Jesuit organization. It knocks out Thomas Aquinas, Augustine. Everybody is knocked out because they believe. That’s what the genesis of the criticism was.

When I was honest with ‘60 Minutes,’ I said, ‘Listen, I’m an ordinary guy.’ I don’t consider myself to be extraordinary. I have ideas that come to me. And as a Christian, I believe those ideas, when they’re positive, come from the person who created me. And the person who created me is God, and in Christian theology, God is made up of three elements. So of course it would be the Holy Spirit. It’s all logical.

This is what all Christians, if they understand their faith, should believe. It’s not you [who is] creating this monumental book or song or hitting 500 home runs. It’s the talent that you’ve been given and that you’re blessed with. That’s what’s doing it.

No, I’m sorry, that is not what all Christians believe or should believe. There’s a big difference between believing in God and believing that God is actually sending ideas into your head so you can write books, get famous and make lots of money. That’s arrogant and inane and that’s why you were criticized for it.

Why do you think that there is so much sneering and ridicule toward religion by people who don’t believe?

Because they don’t want to be judged. They believe that religious people are judging their behavior, and they don’t want to be judged. They want to do what they want.

Take a guy like Bill Maher. He’s probably the most visible atheist in the American media. Well, Bill Maher does not want to be told what to do. He wants to do whatever he wants. And if it’s take drugs, he wants to be able to do that. If it’s commit adultery, he wants to be able to do that. Whatever it may be, he doesn’t want anybody telling him not to. And the people that would do that would be religious people, so he strikes out against them.

Now that’s just funny. Bill Maher is an atheist because he wants to commit adultery. But Maher isn’t married, so he can’t commit adultery. Bill O’Reilly, on the other hand, is married and did commit adultery, or at least attempted adultery, with his phone sex escapades with a former employee. So apparently his faith is of no use in preventing such things. Oh, and he’s a lot like Jesus:

You dedicated your book to those who love their neighbors as themselves. I thought a lot of the O’Reilly haters would be surprised to see that dedication.

They’ll never read it, though. The O’Reilly haters are pretty much the people that have no idea what I do. And I like that — I mean, I don’t have any problem with people disliking me, and I’ll tell you why. I’m not comparing myself, but who was the most hated person in Judea 2,000 years ago?

Many, many loved him, but just as many despised him. They’re always going to do that. If you speak your mind, you’re going to have some who like you and some who hate you.

See, this is a lot like when you say “I’m not a racist, but…” or “I don’t mean to be rude.” You can say that you’re not comparing yourself to Jesus, but you did, in fact, compare yourself to Jesus. Which is just hilarious.

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  • doublereed

    Wow, he could have compared himself to basically any public figure in history to make that point. He picked Jesus.

  • eric

    You dedicated your book to those who love their neighbors as themselves. I thought a lot of the O’Reilly haters would be surprised to see that dedication.

    Makes perfect sense to me. O’Reilly is following the very common practice of dedicating his book to someone not himself.

  • John Pieret

    Why do you think that there is so much sneering and ridicule toward religion by people who don’t believe?

    Maybe it is because so many (though not all) make stupid and ridiculous comments in support of the existence of God like “The tides go in, the tides go out. You can’t explain that!”

  • Reginald Selkirk

    The problem with the secular-progressive movement is it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously.

    But when we take them seriously, we are accused of being just as literalist as teh Fundies, and ignoring the suble, so-phisticated arguments.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … Maher isn’t married, so he can’t commit adultery.

    Only with someone else’s wife – or husband …

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    The problem with the secular-progressive movement is it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously.

    That’s not a problem to me.

  • justsomeguy

    “The problem with the secular-progressive movement is it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously.”

    Not quite. I don’t take religion seriously. I don’t take faith seriously. The more seriously a person treats their religion or faith, the less seriously I treat that person.

  • Synfandel

    Who are these “O’Reilly haters”? I find his statements ridiculous, but I certainly have no reason to hate him.

  • http://adventuresinzymology.blogspot.com JJ831

    They want to do what they want

    As opposed to the religious, who want to do what they don’t want. Or Don’t want to do what they want. Or both. Either way, it’s a bit telling. That must suck.

  • http://timgueguen.blogspot.com timgueguen

    I’m not a Bible scholar, but I’m pretty sure the only people God is supposed to have created directly are Adam, Eve, and Jesus. And maybe whoever it is Cain and Abel married. Certainly not Bill O’Reilly, who I’m assuming was created by his mom and dad, unless Mrs. O’Reilly cheated on her husband.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    That’s what the genesis of the criticism was.

    I see what you did there. So clever.

    And the person who created me is God, and in Christian theology, God is made up of three elements. So of course it would be the Holy Spirit. It’s all logical.

    Such unassailable logic! When discussing religion, it is always a good idea to bring logic into the conversation.

  • http://www.thelosersleague.com theschwa

    Who are these “O’Reilly haters”? I find his statements ridiculous, but I certainly have no reason to hate him.

    PFFFT. O’Reilly haters gonna O’Reilly hate.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    See, this is a lot like when you say “I’m not a racist, but…” or “I don’t mean to be rude.” You can say that you’re not comparing yourself to Jesus, but you did, in fact, compare yourself to Jesus. Which is just hilarious.

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. The most hated man in Judea 2,000 years ago wasn’t Jesus. Since Herod was too deceased at the time, he’s clearly refering to Pontius Pilate.

  • scienceavenger

    I see Bill is having conversations with the voices in his head again.

  • Jacob Schmidt

    trying to rub women who are not his wife down with falafel.

    Is there a story behind this?

  • eric

    The problem with the secular-progressive movement is it simply cannot accept any people of faith and take them seriously.

    I take a lot of people of faith seriously. Just not you. Bill seems to have confused himself with the entire group ‘theists.’

  • eric

    They want to do what they want.

    Oh. My. God. Secularists want liberty and freedom. Alert the presses, they must be stopped!

    This brings to mind Ambrose Bierce’s definition of Christian: One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor.

  • dshetty

    It’s the talent that you’ve been given and that you’re blessed with.

    It appears that God despises O’Reilly too.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Jacob Schmidt “Is there a story behind this?”

    Yes there is.

  • John Horstman

    It knocks out Thomas Aquinas, Augustine.

    Well, Aquinas WAS brilliant at apologetics, but that’s like being brilliant at shit-sculpting. In the end, your sculpture still looks and smells like shit, however carefully it was crafted. O’Reilly isn’t even a talented shit-sculptor, just an untalented shit-slinger.

  • mary

    ” I believe those ideas, when they’re positive, come from the person who created me.”

    I wonder to whom or what he accredits his non positive ideas.

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Who are these “O’Reilly haters”? I find his statements ridiculous, but I certainly have no reason to hate him.”

    Well, I’m not sure if I’m an O’Liarly HATER. Put me down for really, Really, REALLY disliking the fuck out of him.

    I would not even dream of DOIN’ BilloTheKKKlown harn*; Otoh, I would be fucking thrilled to hear that they found his corpse along with a rack of wetsuits, 25 pounds of chunky peanut butter and a Hav-A-Heart stuffed fulla skwerlz**

    * I have tried to dream his some harm, imprecatory dreaming seems to work just as well as imprecatory praying.

    ** I DON”T hate Billious, I truly don’t; I do hate fuckin’ skwerlz, though.

  • mikeyb

    How can O’Reilly not see the ultimate irony that it is actually Christian theism which teaches you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it if you ultimately believe in Jesus. If you’re Jeffrey Dahmer and you eat people but at the last minute you repent, you’ll spend eternity with Jesus, conversely if your Anne Frank and you don’t believe, well you get the point. It’s this kind of theism that actually condones irresponsibility, not atheism.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    mikeyb “If you’re Jeffrey Dahmer and you eat people…”

    Worse, he didn’t even clear his plate. That’s just rude.

     

    “…but at the last minute you repent, you’ll spend eternity with Jesus…”

    Wrong. Highest of all, He values etiquette. The Lord’s got standards, you know. Dahmer didn’t share. Jesus thinks that’s rude. Dahmer didn’t share, not once, not ever. The Lord does, sometimes. “He shares spareribs with whom He shares spareribs, and gives none to those He gives none.” It’s right there in the Bible. Rom 9:18.

  • imthegenieicandoanything

    The historical Jesus probably WAS a local, CE 30s version of BillO. His words were cleaned up by later editors and ghostwriters to sell better.

    The Sermon on the Mount was a stinker when Jesus O’Reilly gave it, you’d better believe! Except for the boring repetitions.

  • Jacob Schmidt

    You are ever so helpful, Modus.

  • birgerjohansson

    Re. shit sculpting, there are artists in London who make paintings with feces. The next career path for O’Reilly?

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    @27:

    I would not want a painting made out of O’Reilly.

    With apologies to Mr. Tennessee Ernie Ford:

    (To the tune of “16 Tons”)

    Some people say that paintin’ is made outta paint.

    I seen it bein’ painted, I can tell you it ain’t.

    It’s got traces of falafel and snot and spit;

    but most of it’s Bill O”Reilly/Shit.

    Ya lie like Bill and whatta ya get?

    A truckload of money and karmic debt.

    Beelzebub don’t call him, cuz Bill can’t go,

    It’s not you but Rupert Murdoch who owns his soul.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    mikeyb,

    the ultimate irony that it is actually Christian theism which teaches you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it if you ultimately believe in Jesus.

    Really? I missed that Sunday School class. Instead we leaned an inconvenience regarding those in the bible who believed but were not saved. (e.g., Matt 7:21-23) Your synopsis of Christianity is much more convenient. I wish I heard about it before.

  • dingojack

    Heedle – so Jesus is as much of a deadbeat as his dad?

    Boycott Jesus!!

    :) Dingo

    ———–

    And Jesus is lousy at building, and him a carpenter too. Ever hear of foundations, deadbeat!

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Really? I missed that Sunday School class.

    Then you shouldn’t try to argue about it with those who were there. I, for one, have heard that message plenty of times, from several different denominiations. They try to avoid admitting that’s what they’re saying, but that’s pretty much what it amounts to: good works won’t get you into Heaven, and once you’re “saved,” whatever evil you did, or do in the future, won’t get you into Hell.

  • Doc Bill

    This is O’Reilly at his sneeringly best:

    They’re so condescending and they’re so arrogant that, even though you might be a brilliant person, if you believe, you’re an idiot.

    There is no person on TV more condescending than O’Reilly, none more arrogant, but many more far brilliant. However, O’Reilly thinks he’s brilliant because he gets away with being a jerk both in private and at work.

  • eric

    Heddle @29 – I don’t know what they teach in Calvinist sunday schools, but MikeyB and Raging Bee are basically right in how they characterize (non-Calvinist) mainstream protestant beliefs: these sects explicitly reject the Catholic notion that acts matter for salvation, and assert that its by faith alone are people saved. If Dahmer found faith (and asked forgiveness, etc…) in Jesus, he got in. If Anne Frank didn’t, she went to hell.

    Now, when confronted with the “do bad all your days, repent on deathbed” scenario, some protestants will try to address it by using a “no true faithful person” argument. I.e., such a bad person cannot be sincere in their faith, so they won’t go to heaven. But I think you and I can both agree that Scotsman-style arguments can be dismissed out of hand. MikeyB is right, taking protestant faith principles to their logical conclusion can be seen as condoning (or at least not ever punishing) bad behavior.

    Where he goes slightly wrong is in imputing this view to Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly is RCC, not protestant. So he presumably thinks that how we act does matter for salvation. The sola fides theology is protestant, not pan-Christian.

  • Michael Heath

    mikeyb writes, which heddle cherrypicks:

    . . . the ultimate irony that it is actually Christian theism which teaches you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it if you ultimately believe in Jesus.

    heddle responds:

    Really? I missed that Sunday School class. Instead we leaned an inconvenience regarding those in the bible who believed but were not saved. (e.g., Matt 7:21-23) Your synopsis of Christianity is much more convenient. I wish I heard about it before.

    Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV):

    21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ 23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

    This is what mikeyb writes in full context, which reveals how heddle’s Bible passage takes on a different (though related) topic from the point mikeby makes:

    How can O’Reilly not see the ultimate irony that it is actually Christian theism which teaches you can do whatever the hell you want and get away with it if you ultimately believe in Jesus. If you’re Jeffrey Dahmer and you eat people but at the last minute you repent, you’ll spend eternity with Jesus, conversely if your Anne Frank and you don’t believe, well you get the point. It’s this kind of theism that actually condones irresponsibility, not atheism.

    So mikeby’s point stands. Christianity offers the opportunity for redemption. Given the threat that eternal suffering is at stake, there is no grace or justice offered to many morally upstanding people. That while grace is available even to some of the worst of the worst.

    heddle, you’re becoming increasingly dishonest in your rebuttals to people who point out the defects of Christian dogma to which you can’t rebut and therefore avoid or dishonestly deny. You won’t confront the evil of celebrating a god who promises eternal suffering to some. You won’t confront the evil of abusing gay children in conservative churches, including the one you attend, you won’t confront the fact Christians such as yourself assert the inerrancy of a Bible filled with:

    a) remedial miscommunication errors that increases the odds of more people suffering for an eternity (if true),

    b)contradictions and,

    c) factual assertions that have been falsified.

    It’s great you engage here; but I’d hope you’d engage in a way that doesn’t have you so obviously avoiding, deflecting, and denying.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    eric #33,

    I didn’t deny sola fide (heaven forbid). What I deny is that there is any sort of mainstream Protestant teaching that is as simple as “you’ll be OK, as long as you believe and repent at the end.” That would be a complete caricature and slander of sola fide and part of a heresy known as antinomianism, almost a form of Pascal’s wager.

    Sola fide does not rule out the possibility of a deathbed conversion (the thief on the cross is the typical example–although who can know for sure). It does not, however, in any way shape or form, suggest that one can confidently delay belief and repentance and schedule them for a later date. And it also teaches that belief is more than intellectual assent to the facts (even the demons believe, James tells us in his epistle) but includes an active faith. Sola fide teaches that is faith alone, but never a faith that is alone–i.e., a changed lifestyle (and good works) always accompanies saving faith.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Jacob Schmidt “You are ever so helpful, Modus.”

    I am. Think of it as me encouraging you to be more independent. Plus, I hear you’re dying to try that Google thing.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I didn’t deny sola fide (heaven forbid). What I deny is that there is any sort of mainstream Protestant teaching that is as simple as “you’ll be OK, as long as you believe and repent at the end.”

    Who the fuck do you think you’re fooling, heddle? “You’ll be OK, as long as you believe and repent at the end” is what sola fide amounts to, whether or not you or any other brand of Christian admits it. So do you deny it, or do you not? Either make up your mind, or admit you’re just another relentless double-talking apologist.

    Sola fide teaches that is faith alone, but never a faith that is alone…

    So I guess you’re going with “relentless double-talking apologist” then.

    …a changed lifestyle (and good works) always accompanies saving faith.

    Not in the case of deathbed conversions, which you explicitly admitted are possible.

    You can waffle all you want, but you’ll never be as substantial as a real waffle.

  • caseloweraz

    Sally Quinn: I saw the ‘60 Minutes’ interview where you talked about how you believe that the Holy Spirit guided you to write this book.

    What a coincidence! Al Franken made a similar claim at the beginning of his book, in which Bill O’Reilly figures prominently. The title? It was Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them.

  • eric

    Heddle:

    Sola fide does not rule out the possibility of a deathbed conversion (the thief on the cross is the typical example–although who can know for sure). It does not, however, in any way shape or form, suggest that one can confidently delay belief and repentance and schedule them for a later date.

    So the confidence that someone can actually do it is low, but its possible, right? The possibility seems to me to be what Bee and MikeyB are claiming: this theology asserts that its possible to do bad all your days and repent at the end. As long as your repentance is sincere, any prior acts don’t stop you from getting into heaven.

    Sola fide teaches that is faith alone, but never a faith that is alone–i.e., a changed lifestyle (and good works) always accompanies saving faith.

    Largely irrelevant to the question of whether deathbed conversions can be valid. Okay, so the person’s lifestyle changes for the last 1-24 hours of their life. The mafioso kills, steals, and rapes his way through life and then with his last breath, finds faith, and fulfills your requirement (“a changed lifestyle (and good works) always accompanies saving faith”) by willing all his ill-gotten-gains to the church. Or to use your own example, a theif waits until he is nailed to a cross, physically unable to commit any more thievery and minutes/hours away from dying, and then undergoes a “lifestyle change.” That theology does not exactly encourage moral behavior throughout ones’ life.

    The only way I can see sola fides as encouraging good behavior is if one DOES adopt a No True Scotsman argument, and makes the claim that a person can be judged to be a sincere/unsincere believer by their acts. Maybe Calvinism does that – you know more about that sect than I do. But I don’t think you speak for all or even most other mainline protestant sects if you claim they all use that logic.

  • dingojack

    Raging Bee (@37) – Mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Waffles.

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    More properly:

    /’mmmmmmmmmm.ˈwɑ.flz. ʢʢʢʢʢʢʢʢʢ/

    😀 Dingo

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    I can only speak for the faith I grew being abused by, but the RCC unequivocally taught that you could pretty much; be a mass murderer; fuck anything with a suitably sized hole; eat steaks all day on Friday, cheat at business or on your wife; kill people or piss on the Eucharist (well, maybe not THAT one) and as long as you said the MAGIC WORDS:

    “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.”

    AND meant them, well, that was your “Get Out Of Hell–Free!” card.

    I was too weak and fearful of retribution, back then, to ask them if that would include some cleric who was buttfucking an altar boy when he infarcted.

  • http://heb712.blogspot.com heddle

    eric,

    Largely irrelevant to the question of whether deathbed conversions can be valid. Okay, so the person’s lifestyle changes for the last 1-24 hours of their life. The mafioso kills, steals, and rapes his way through life and then with his last breath, finds faith, and fulfills your requirement (“a changed lifestyle (and good works) always accompanies saving faith”) by willing all his ill-gotten-gains to the church. Or to use your own example, a theif waits until he is nailed to a cross, physically unable to commit any more thievery and minutes/hours away from dying, and then undergoes a “lifestyle change.” That theology does not exactly encourage moral behavior throughout ones’ life.

    That would be true, again, if Christianity taught or even actually sent the message “do whatever you want, wait to the end and repent”. While it doesn’t rule out the possibility of that happening, as an exception rather than the rule, it nevertheless condemns this as a theological approach as antinomianism–sort of the opposite end of the spectrum from legalism, and just as wrong. This is obvious in Calvinism–where the faith required is a gift and not something you muster from yourself. In Calvinism there is no hope whatsoever of saying–I’ll just believe and repent as the end draws neigh. But even in mainstream Arminianism they do not believe that all the faith you need is from within (that would be Pelagianism–also considered a heresy), in Arminianism you must cooperate (as opposed to Calvinism where you are knocked off your horse) with so-called prevenient grace. So even with Arminians, if the prevenient grace is not available (God has turned you over, mafioso hit man, to your own nature, as in Rom 1) you have no hope in a death bed confession.

    Not to mention your view of “fulfills the requirement” is nonsense. The requirement is not to do nice charitable things–plenty of people from all religions or no religion do good deeds. The “fruit” that is genuine is to do good works through faith in Christ, not to get a ticket stamped. Without that such deeds are, according to the bible, “filthy rags.”

    Heath,

    So mikeby’s point stands.

    No it doesn’t. It grossly misrepresents broadly accepted Christian doctrine. But it is consistent with your crude stereotype, so I understand why you like it.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    That would be true, again, if Christianity taught or even actually sent the message “do whatever you want, wait to the end and repent”.

    Well, “Christianity” (as in, lots of Christians) does indeed send that message; so I guess that means eric’s point is true.

    While it doesn’t rule out the possibility of that happening, as an exception rather than the rule…

    An “exception” that seems to happen every fucking day. Sort of like a rule.

    …it nevertheless condemns this as a theological approach as antinomianism…

    Ooooh, some unspecified “it” entity slapped a fancy word on it! That changes everything we observe on the ground…how?

    Notice how heddle is pretending to speak for “Christianity” as a single “it” entity, separate from the actual Christian PERSONS whose bullshit we’re disputing? How does what “it” says trump what THEY say?

    The “fruit” that is genuine is to do good works through faith in Christ, not to get a ticket stamped.

    In other words, you have to get your “fruit” stamped, not get your ticket stamped. “Distinction without a difference” sounds like an understatement here.

    Without that such deeds are, according to the bible, “filthy rags.”

    I’ll take their “filthy rags” to your empty suits any fucking day. Most meaningful good deeds tend to get your clothes dirty anyway — if that violates Heaven’s dress code, then fuck your Heaven and fuck your prissy little empty suit of a God.

    This is obvious in Calvinism–where the faith required is a gift and not something you muster from yourself.

    We can always count on our resident Calvinist to take a ridiculous doctrine and add yet another layer of ridiculousness. If only he could do the same thing to our remaining polar ice…

  • colnago80

    Billo the clown: The tide goes in, the tide goes out, you can’t explain it. A statement like that tells you anything you want to know about him.

  • colnago80

    Re Raging Bee @ #44

    Just think, you and I pay part of Heddle’s salary.

  • Michael Heath

    Me earlier:

    So mikeby’s point stands.

    heddle writes:

    No it doesn’t. It grossly misrepresents broadly accepted Christian doctrine. But it is consistent with your crude stereotype, so I understand why you like it.

    My tens of millions vs. your relative handful. So no, not a “crude stereotype” but instead Christianity as its practiced by most protestant denominations and as democommie points out, Catholics as well.

    And again you misrepresent what mikeby wrote. He never claimed someone could be saved out of convenience at the end of their life – you manufactured that strawman; where we all get Christian doctrine provides some latitude for God in his judgment for those who cynically convert.

  • freehand

    You don’t even need to wait for your deathbed to convert. As a Southern Baptist, I was taught that people were innately perverse, and always one moment’s diversion from the most foul acts imaginable. As long as one felt genuinely sorry afterwards, one was OK. And since we were taught to feel guilty for everything we did, this was not difficult to achieve. And none of that inconvenient apologizing to the human who felt offended by your action(1). No, the only offended entity who counts is God. Act imperfectly + feel guilty + apologize to God = profit!

    .

    Sorry Heddle, but that’s what I learned, and as far as I can tell, it’s the message of Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, and numerous other denominations adding up to tens of millions of Christians in the US.

    .

    Now, I did learn that good acts weren’t worthless. There’s a verse about “laying up one’s treasure in Heaven” which was interpreted to mean that one acquired more consumer goods on the layaway plan by good deeds. As a kid, I remember thinking, why do we need a mansion in Heaven? Does it rain cold rain at night? Is heaven filled with damp and chilly homeless saved souls, with no chance of getting a roof over their head? I thought that the minister’s son-in-law took entirely too much glee in the idea of the big mansion he was “building” by trying – always unsuccessfully as far as I could tell – to save souls.

    .

    Heaven: the big box afterlife.

    .

    (1) A mean word, theft, rape – it’s all sin, pretty much interchangeable as being “not perfect”. Remember, even thinking of adultery was as bad as committing it. Might as well hang for a sheep as a lamb, eh?