Thursday, December 17, 2009

Oral Roberts: "Rot in Hell!"

Oral Roberts founded a university on a spectacular campus and also built a hospital (now closed). It took money to do this. And some of his fund-raising efforts were spectacularly problematic. But, he was a great man, larger than life, and did more in his lifetime than most of us could do in ten.

He's dead now, gone to meet his maker (as they say). His death brought out some strong reactions. The "not dead soon enough/rot in hell" crowd came out with a vengeance, and, as far as I can tell, most of them are atheists. So, memo to God: if you're a just God, a God who cares about humankind, our aspirations, etc., you're gonna have to create a place called hell, or there are going to be a lot of disappointed atheists out there.

When an atheist (or anybody for that matter) wishes someone he views as vile or evil in hell, he is simply wishing for justice. He wants a universe where justice is done, where a person gets "what he deserves" and, if it's not done in this life (as it never is), then, for there to be ultimate justice, in an afterlife. We all have this indwelling sense of justice/injustice. We all long to see justice done.

The gospel affirms that justice will, ultimately be done. Christ's unjust suffering and triumphant resurrection both secure and guarantee it. It's in the bag. The righteous will be raised to eternal life, the wicked, to everlasting destruction. (If there is any doubt about God's willingness to punish the wicked, Christ's death refutes it. If there's any doubt about God's intent to reward the righteous (those who trust his Son), Christ's resurrection refutes it.) There will be a great re-balancing, where "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last". It's not a matter of "if"; but "when".

This yearning for "final justice", which is pretty strong and pretty innate, is one reason why I find it odd that atheists are glad rather than sad there is (as they allege) no God. And one of the reasons I'm glad I ditched atheism for a Sure Thing.

* * *

I did an informal Google poll. The results:

Oral, "rot in hell": 1600

Oral, "now in heaven": 27,000

The "now in heaven"'s have it!

Oral, enjoy your new life. See you in a bit.

And that's the way the Ball bounces.

PS -- If you've got seven minutes to spare, Oral's most famous sermon here.


SDC said...

The really sad part is, since "heaven" and "hell" are purely IMAGINARY, the sort of people that would genuinely DESERVE the sort of torture that your superstition says goes on in "hell" are never going to see that form of justice anyway. That goes for animals that put people into gas chambers, like Hitler, as much as it goes for con-men like Oral Roberts, who got rich by conning senile retirees.

Gerry said...

Interesting SDC, you assert, in full caps, that both heaven and hell are imaginary with nothing more evidential than your personal certainty. Hmmmm, so what makes your personal certainty any more certain than those who find these concepts more than just imagination? Notwithstanding your demonstrated penchant to pass judgment which presumes some position of moral certitude which makes no sense if there is no ultimate criteria - unless, of course, you are prepared to accept your perspective as an idiosyncratic certainty which is likely flawed - unless you of course are asserting infallibility which obviously gets you into a whole other pickle. It may be time to be still and know.

RkBall said...

Thank you, Gerry, for coming to my aid -- I was waiting to see if someone would. Atheists think that by simply saying something over and over it becomes true. When an extra push is needed, with CAPS ON!

SDC -- "If there is any doubt about God's willingness to punish the wicked, Christ's death refutes it. If there's any doubt about God's intent to reward the righteous (those who trust his Son), Christ's resurrection refutes it."

Neither Christ's death nor his resurrection were imaginary. Your wish that evil men would get the punishment they deserve will be fulfilled. Also, your preference to live a god-less life will also be fully honored.

Me, I know I'm a sinner, and have thus taken refuge in the arms of the crucified One, the one "who loved me, and gave his life for me".

And that too, is not imaginary.

Hey Gerry, did you get a chance to listen to The Fourth Man sermon?

4simpsons said...

While I'm reluctant to argue with anything written in ALL CAPS, I share the sentiments in your post. Skeptics can't seem to decide which is worse: That God would permit evil or that He would punish it.

He does both.

RkBall said...

4Simpsons -- delighted to have you drop by the Ball Bounces. I've been to your site in the past -- recommended on an apologetics blog. Thanks for the comment.

SDC said...

To the contrary, Mr. Ball, I haven't yet seen anything that suggests that the stories of "miracles" in your cult aren't just as imaginary as the claims of "miracles" in any OTHER cult. If it's simply a matter of claims, why is it that you hold the claims of "miracles" of those other cults to any sort of a higher standard of evidence than you do your own (for example, the Muslims' claim that "Mohammed rode above Jerusalem on a winged horse", or "Joseph Smith was given a book of gold by an angel", which are both just as unbelievable as any of the claims made in your little magic book? As for this so-called "resurrection", what sort of actual evidence do you have that anything of the sort actually happened? Not only does your little magic book contradict itself numerous times regarding the substance of said "resurrection", there are several more-believable explanations for what might appear to be a "resurrection" that don't involve any of your supernatural hocus-pocus whatsoever. I am as comfortable asserting the fact that there is no "heaven" and no "hell" for exactly the same reason I am comfortable asserting that there are no green and orange zebras on Pluto; there is no reason or evidence whatsoever for me to believe the contrary, and if you insist there is, then the burden is on you to prove it.

Patsplace said...

Now that's what you call a powerful sermon!!!

RkBall said...

SDC: I see you've been to Athiests R Us and picked up some of the usual "talking points".

Anyone who puts evidence for miracles in the same category as evidence for green and orange zebras on Pluto doesn't deserve an answer.

Having said that... the differences between the NT miracles and the ones you mentioned include the following principles/elements:

-- multiple attestation vs. single witness
-- inclusion of embarrassing details which tend to confirm the validity and truthfulness of the account
-- time lapse between the alleged miracle and its reporting
-- character of the miracle
-- character/contents of the associated message
-- character of the associated messenger
-- context e.g., which sacred book the miracle claim occurs in -- there are contextual reasons for believing the Bible and disbelieving Joseph Smith
-- independent corroboration in extra-biblical/sacred book sources
-- statements by enemies which support the miracle claim

That must be close to 10. And that was without even having to think about it.

RkBall said...

PatsPlace: Oral's, or SDC's latest post?!

SDC said...

"-- multiple attestation vs. single witness"
- all of which come to us through the single source of your little magic book; why should I believe YOUR little magic book as a stand-alone source, when neither I nor you would do the same for any other cults' little magic books?

"-- inclusion of embarrassing details which tend to confirm the validity and truthfulness of the account"
- such as? The chief "embarrassing details" which I can recall from the myth involve things that speak AGAINST its truthfulness, for example the fact that we're told that this "resurrection" was "discovered" when one or more women (the different accounts tell different stories) women went to "anoint the body", which they would have been FORBIDDEN to do, as Jewish law prohibits men from having anything to do with a dead female body or vice-versa, AND prohibits anyone from interfering with a body once it has been placed in a grave.

"-- time lapse between the alleged miracle and its reporting"
- which specific time lapse? Since none of the "new testament" was written within 40-60 years of the supposed "miracles" it purports to report on, how is this in any way believable? If there was actually someone that could "raise the dead", "walk on water", "feed thousands with a few loaves and fishes", and so on, how is it that only this obscure offshoot of the Jewish cult took any notice of it? Methinks that if something like that happened, it would have aroused a certain amount of notice, and it would have been widely reported, but we see nothing of the sort in contemporary reports.

"-- character of the miracle"
- which is supposed to mean what, exactly? Is one "miracle" supposed to be any more believable than another?

"-- character/contents of the associated message"
- again, so what? If someone says something that has a certain degree of truth to it, is this a "miracle", let alone an indication that said person was "resurrected" or "the son of god"?

"-- character of the associated messenger"
- which, once again, is simply a single source, written by true believers; why is that any more of an indication of the truthfulness of your little magic book than the claims of the Mormons' little magic book are "evidence" for theirs, or the claims of the Muslims' little magic book are evidence for theirs?

"-- context e.g., which sacred book the miracle claim occurs in -- there are contextual reasons for believing the Bible and disbelieving Joseph Smith"
- actually, there are contextual reasons for disbelieving BOTH of your little magic books, as they both contradict themselves, and neither have any sort of independent verification.

"-- independent corroboration in extra-biblical/sacred book sources"
- the only sort of "extra-biblical" corroboration of your little magic book comes in the form of Roman reporters who wrote words to the effect that "Christians believe that their prophet was resurrected after being crucified". If I write a book saying that Mormons believe that THEIR prophet was "given a book of gold by an angel", does that mean that an ACTUAL angel ACTUALLY gave Joseph Smith an ACTUAL gold book, or does it merely mean that this is the sort of codswallop that they believe?

"-- statements by enemies which support the miracle claim"
- once again, "such as?"

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"