FrGamble
FrGamble
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November 7th, 2011 at 6:16:45 PM permalink
This is actually the Gospel passage a couple of weeks from now, but it gives us plenty of stuff to chew on till then.

Jesus said to his disciples:
"When the Son of Man comes in his glory,
and all the angels with him,
he will sit upon his glorious throne,
and all the nations will be assembled before him.
And he will separate them one from another,
as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
Then the king will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father.
Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me food,
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,
naked and you clothed me,
ill and you cared for me,
in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you,
or thirsty and give you drink?
When did we see you a stranger and welcome you,
or naked and clothe you?
When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
And the king will say to them in reply,
'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did
for one of the least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Then he will say to those on his left,
'Depart from me, you accursed,
into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
For I was hungry and you gave me no food,
I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
a stranger and you gave me no welcome,
naked and you gave me no clothing,
ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
Then they will answer and say,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty
or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison,
and not minister to your needs?'
He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you,
what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me.'
And these will go off to eternal punishment,
but the righteous to eternal life."
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 7th, 2011 at 6:23:56 PM permalink
This is one of my favorite passages in the bible, and one which I wish got more emphasis among Protestants.

I'd like to ask this question of the Christians on the site, based on this passage, what does this say about the fate of good people, who treated people as Jesus would have done, but happen to belong to another religion, or none at all?
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
EvenBob
EvenBob
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November 7th, 2011 at 7:29:48 PM permalink
This is like a parent talking to a young child. "Be
nice to your little brother, or you'll be punished."

Jesus is saying "Do all this stuff not because you
want to, or because you think its right, but because
you'll be punished if you don't."

This is the old style of teaching that was present
in Jesus time and lived on for another 2000 years.
It can be effective if the punishment is real, like
robbing a bank. Its ineffective, however, in getting
modern people to be more charitable. We tend to
do what we want because it feels good, punishment
doesn't enter into it.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Wizard
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Wizard
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November 7th, 2011 at 9:01:04 PM permalink
Quote: EvenBob

Jesus is saying "Do all this stuff not because you
want to, or because you think its right, but because
you'll be punished if you don't."



I can't believe I'm arguing this side, but I think there are other passages that suggest if your motives are not in the right place they are just "acts," and don't impress the Man in the Sky much. Somebody else please explain it.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
FrGamble
FrGamble
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November 8th, 2011 at 12:08:15 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

I can't believe I'm arguing this side, but I think there are other passages that suggest if your motives are not in the right place they are just "acts," and don't impress the Man in the Sky much. Somebody else please explain it.



Probably the best illustration of this point is made by St. Paul in the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians. If you have ever been to a wedding chances are you have heard this reading proclaimed:

"If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal. And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing." (vs. 1-3)

after these verses he goes on to describe love (agape) in beautiful terms, its worth another read if its been a while since you've been to a wedding.
Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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November 8th, 2011 at 4:37:06 PM permalink
Quote: Wizard

...based on this passage, what does this say about the fate of good people, who treated people as Jesus would have done, but happen to belong to another religion, or none at all?



Based only on this passage, it is clear that charitable action counts for something at the final judgement, regardless of an individual's, "nation". However, we need to be careful not to pick and choose only verses that appeal to our humanistic idea of justice, or receipt of grace without responsibility. Reading the passage in context, (e.g., what was mentioned before, and after this passage, the audience, as well as where it fits in the Bible as a whole, etc.) helps check our natural tendency to interpret the text in a way that minimizes our sin and its consequences.

The bottom line of this passage though, is that many who profess to be followers will be uncovered at the judgement. The "goats" did not protest, nor argue that the penalty was unfair because, "no one warned them." They knew that they had the obligation/opportunity to clothe, feed, visit, etc., but chose not to follow through.

The powerful Jewish political / religious leaders at the time, were clearly in Jesus' sights with this sequence of parables. Jesus held them responsible for the mess they had made of the Temple, using their position for their own profit, comfort and glory, while the needs of the of the faithful masses were ignored. Immediately after these messages were delivered, the plot leading to the crucifixion was rolled out.

It is important to note that the Bible makes a few things very clear:
-- All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
-- God loves each indivdual, and has provided payment for the penalty of our sin.
-- God reveals himself to each individual, and offers them a choice to accept this grace, or live a life apart from him.
-- God will hold each person accountable for their choices and actions (the more revealed to you, the more expected from you.)

Giving a few bucks to a beggar, or a hundred million to build a hospital, being "good" or doing the "right" thing, in and of itself, are not going to save anyone from the judgement... but it is a step in the right direction. But the Bible also makes clear that good works alone are not enough to save. The same Jesus also taught, "...no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (John 14:6).

You have commented that professing Christians should be out in the streets knocking on doors to spread the word, helping the needy, demonstrating charity... and you are right. There is much to be done. For a great read on this topic, there is a book authored by the CEO of WorldVision, Richard Stearns called, "The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World" Interesting note: He was once the CEO of Parker Brothers, the company that produces "Monopoly".
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - Leonardo da Vinci
FrGamble
FrGamble
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November 11th, 2011 at 10:30:56 PM permalink
First off thanks to Ayecarumba for a good post.

Wizard I thought you might like this quote from Pope Benedict on a recent trip to Assisi with interrelgious leaders and for the first time a collection of agnostics. It speaks I think in some ways to the Church's thought on salvation for those who do not know Christ or His Church. I quoted it on another thread already.

"In addition to the two phenomena of religion and anti-religion, a further basic orientation is found in the growing world of agnosticism: people to whom the gift of faith has not been given, but who are nevertheless on the lookout for truth, searching for God. Such people do not simply assert: “There is no God”. They suffer from his absence and yet are inwardly making their way towards him, inasmuch as they seek truth and goodness. They are “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. They ask questions of both sides. They take away from militant atheists the false certainty by which these claim to know that there is no God and they invite them to leave polemics aside and to become seekers who do not give up hope in the existence of truth and in the possibility and necessity of living by it. But they also challenge the followers of religions not to consider God as their own property, as if he belonged to them, in such a way that they feel vindicated in using force against others. These people are seeking the truth, they are seeking the true God, whose image is frequently concealed in the religions because of the ways in which they are often practised. Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God. So all their struggling and questioning is in part an appeal to believers to purify their faith, so that God, the true God, becomes accessible. Therefore I have consciously invited delegates of this third group to our meeting in Assisi, which does not simply bring together representatives of religious institutions. Rather it is a case of being together on a journey towards truth, a case of taking a decisive stand for human dignity and a case of common engagement for peace against every form of destructive force. Finally I would like to assure you that the Catholic Church will not let up in her fight against violence, in her commitment for peace in the world. We are animated by the common desire to be “pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. - Pope Benedict XVI

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