Dear Peter,

We don't know if Hitler had faith, since faith is so undetectable from  
the outside. For all we know he may have sincerely believed his  
Christian duty was to exterminate Jews. We do know, on the other hand,  
that Mother Theresa  suffered greatly from doubt, because she  
described her struggle in her own words. So because of death bed  
repentence, Hitler can enjoy same salvation as a woman who gave her  
life to nursing the sick of Calcutta? The ethics of such a religion  
constitute moral failure in my view.

Where was God when children were hung in Nazi death camps before  
inmates who were forced to watch? Or doesn't God care about Jews?

I see no need for a God who cannot or will not stop human evil. If  
it's up to humanity to choose the good, we're no worse off having to  
do it on our own without God the Scorekeeper. We don't need religion  
to tell us what evil is , especially since religion is used to  
rationalize evil deeds. Can we say "Inquisition" boys and girls?

Are all religions valid, or is there one true faith? How is a faith  
evaluated, if not by its evil consequences?

If evil could not be rationalized as God's will, we might have one  
less excuse for the evil that we do.

And please don't lecture me about Jesus and his motives -- you know  
perfectly well what I meant was Jesus did not die on the cross only  
for biblical scholars. I don't recall condescension ever being  
described by the nuns in my school as a Christian virtue; you might  
have benefitted from their teaching.


Sent from my iPod

On Mar 3, 2010, at 12:27 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>  

> The thing is, dear Diana, O! O! Diana, that nobody knows who does or  
> does
> not get into heaven for sure,
> because it is God who does the judging, and God who does the saving.  
> You
> remember the old
> bon mot, Judge not lest though bejudged.
> We do know our God is a merciful God, and he DOES want folks to make  
> it to
> heaven.
> If they know the regimen and they refuse, well then that's their  
> choice. If
> they know the regimen
> and they accept, then the chances are really good that they get in,
> according to the New Testament.
> (I won't argue it all here).
> So Hitler may well get in, if he repented in the end and was sorry  
> for all
> he did.
> Of course if he was mad, he may not have been responsibe, &c. &c.
> I'm sure what the nuns taught when you were in high scool was  
> appropriate
> for that
> stage of one's development, but a mature adult with a highly
> developed intelligence, might want/need something more to get the  
> real gist
> of it.
> Going by what you learned in high school really doesn't allow you to  
> be very
> convincing.
> Jesus did die on the cross for biblical scholars, and for everyone  
> else.
> "In the juvescence of the year
> Came Christ the tiger"
> ...
> "The tiger springs in the new year. Us he devours."
> Your reading of Gerontian is very different from mine.
> Do you find Gerontion [the character and/or the poem) very  
> threatening?
> I do hope to get a chance to elaborate my take soon.
> It's been a while since I looked at it,
> so I'm giving it the once over as time allows.
> Cheers,
> Peter
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "DIana Manister" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2010 4:16 AM
> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc
>> Dear Peter,
>> So Hitler is as likely to receive Christian salvation as Mother  
>> Theresa?
>> Who needs religion then?
>> Further, Jesus, in my understanding, did not die on the cross for
>> biblical scholars.
>> The narrator of Gerontion is not a sympathetic character, and  
>> that's a
>> flaw in the work. He judges others as if he were God, and finds them
>> to be less worthy than himself. He is guilty of big interesting sins
>> while they are guilty of offending his snobbish taste.
>> Diana
>> Sent from my iPod
>> On Feb 27, 2010, at 12:13 AM, Peter Montgomery <[log in to unmask]>
>> wrote:
>>> The thing is that even the most virtuous of people does not
>>> thereby merit salvation. Good ol Saul, hell bent on stoning
>>> Chrisitians got his socks knocked off when he was knocked off his
>>> horse.
>>> St. Augustine was a flagrant libertine of the first order.
>>> There is no human rhyme or reason to God's order of things.
>>> Also don't confuse charity with being nice to one's neighbor.
>>> Charity is a matter  of action, deeds, not feelings.
>>> Also, don't look one this guy as being presented with any pro-
>>> Chrisitan
>>> attitude.
>>> It is worth thinking about whether he has inherited a culture
>>> permeated with
>>> Christian values, to which he thinks he is totally indifferent. As
>>> such he
>>> is a fine
>>> symbolic portrait of a whole generation or two. A generation that is
>>> not
>>> particularly
>>> pleasant to look at.
>>> One doesn't have to have a highly developed Christian UNDERSTANDING
>>> to deal
>>> with the poem,
>>> but the absence of such an understanding means a whole context is
>>> not being
>>> involved in the analysis.
>>> P.
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Diana Manister" <[log in to unmask]>
>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 11:56 AM
>>> Subject: Re: 'Gerontion' -- the dramatic arc
>>>> Dear Ken,
>>>> Interesting text -- thanks. I'm trying to
>>>> like Gerontion's narrator, but find it difficult.
>>>> He's such a prig. He doesn't show much Christian charity towards
>>>> others.
>>>> And yes, reading the poem again I see
>>>> that he's not taking ownership of his situation. Like Fitzgerald,  
>>>> he
>>>> waits for a blessing from above.
>>>> What do you like about this narrator?
>>>> Seriously. Don't you find him preachy
>>>> and superior-sounding, ready to tell
>>>> everyone how it is, while sneering at
>>>> the Jew, Fresca and Fraulein von Kulp (culpable), among others?  
>>>> He's
>>>> not engaging at all. I don't want to know the significance of all  
>>>> the
>>>> names as I'm certain they demeaning.
>>>> The nuns taught us that confession is
>>>> worthless unless one tries to stop sinning, but this narrator goes
>>>> along
>>>> displaying his disgust with most of humanity in an un-Christlike
>>>> manner,
>>>> showing no contrition for it. How can he expect a blessing?
>>>> Diana
>>>> Sent from my iPod
>>>> On Feb 26, 2010, at 11:07 AM, Ken Armstrong
>>>> <[log in to unmask]>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> DIana Manister wrote:
>>>>>> Dear Peter,
>>>>>> The poem's speaker seems to acknowledge his inadequacies as his
>>>>>> own, that is he is stuck because of his personal failure.
>>>>> Not really. The poem's commands to the reader to "Think" include
>>>>> this one:
>>>>> Think
>>>>>       44Neither fear nor courage saves us. Unnatural vices
>>>>>       45Are fathered by our heroism.  Virtues
>>>>>       46Are forced upon us by our impudent crimes.
>>>>>       47 <>These
>>>>> tears are shaken from the wrath-bearing tree.
>>>>> The poem is the scene of communion and does specifically touch on
>>>>> what Peter notes. Neither fear nor courage saves us.
>>>>> Ken