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> If one believes in Christ and in this statement by him then
> death should not be feared, even though the believer is a sinner
> and performs no good acts.  This frees the believer to live
> in the here-and-now.

And, by the same logic, one who attempts to do good by man and beast and
who does perform "good acts", but who does not believe in Christ, has
only eternal damnation/death to look forward to.  What a fabulous
doctrine.

The "value of faith" is an odd one to me, honestly.  What *is* the value
of faith?  Why is it a good thing to believe in something for which
evidence does not exist?  Why is it a good thing to believe in something
without questioning it, without reevaluating it, without attempting to
discern whether the belief is valid?  Faith is held up as some objective
"good" and I can't understand why.  In every other walk of life, we
would call misguided those who believe in something without verifiable
empirical evidence.  Well, I say "we" would--there're clearly some that
would not, such as those who believes in a link between Al Qaeda and
Iraq based purely upon the word of the current administration and
despite what the rest of us call 'reality'.  Now, this might be a low
blow, but is it altogether surprising that many amongst *those* are
people who consider themselves 'Christians'?  "Faith" isn't a good
thing.  It leads to poor judgement and to the detriment of mankind.

--George