Saturday, July 21, 2012

James Holmes can still go to Christian Heaven

Here's a cheery thought.  Mass-murderer James Holmes, who the evidence suggests is a Christian, undoubtedly did a terrible thing, but according to his religion, he still gets to spend an eternity in heaven if he just says,"Sorry, Jesus, my bad".  It doesn't matter what terrible things you do in your life, according to standard Christian dogma, because Jesus was all about forgive and forget, right?

Of course, you may be thinking, why does Jesus get to declare his sins null and void?  What about the victims who actually suffered?  Jesus is effectively saying, it doesn't matter what the victims think or how you hurt them.  As long as you believe in me, here's your "Get Out of Hell Free" card.  Besides, it doesn't appear that Holmes is in possession of all his marbles, so there is a good chance that he is not even entirely aware of all that he did.  According to Christian doctrine, he can repent for this and then go do it again, and again, and again.  As long as he finally repents on his death bed and accepts Jesus then all will be forgiven and he will get to enjoy the same eternal bliss as the most innocent and peaceful people who ever lived.  

Can you imagine that conversation in Heaven.  
Holmes:  "Hi, Saint Peter".  Sorry abuot that killing a bunch of people thingy, but Jesus said it was all good because I believe that He turned some water into wine a couple thousand years ago and then walked on it. "
Peter:  "Very good, Mr. Holmes, we will put you in the suite right next to Mother Teresa.  By the way, what kinds of fantasies would you like to experience in heaven?"
Holmes: "Well, I was wondering if you could dress me up like the Joker, and let me kill people again."
Peter:" Naughty, naughty, Mr. Holmes.  Anyway, it's heaven so people can't die anymore.  But we could let you pretend to kill people.  Here's a video game console."


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I'm just trying to help people think about the consequences of their belief systems. As with Columbine, there will be religious fanatics coming out of the wordwork, insisting that more fantasy and more religiosity is the "answer" when it actually contributes to the problem.

    2. Google is your friend. James Holmes is and was an agnostic, according to his own profile, which confirmed was genuine.

      Now, why even suggest that he was a Christian? What does it matter? When twelve people die, why is it important to you to (somewhat dishonestly) convince yourself that he was "one of them"? You might want to do some soul-searching about that, and you might discover some irrational hatred towards certain people groups in there.

      Then perhaps, you might need/want some of that sweet, sweet grace for yourself. We all do.

    3. Try to pay attention to dates. This was written before people were sure about any of this. What is clear, however, even now is that he was raised a Christian, and as I already corrected you, being agnostic does not preclude religious beliefs. There is nothing dishonest about pointing out that he was raised a christian and that at least one local minister thought that Holmes had attended his church. It's not because I dislike Christians that I point this out. It is because many so-called christians love to claim, as Robertson did in the Sikh temple shooting, that atheism or satanism, etc is to blame for these kinds of incidents. In reality this doesn't appear to have anything to do with it, but there is always a concerted effort on the part of christians to attempt pawn off blame on others whenever anything bad happens. That is because they have no reasonable answer for why god allows such things to happen in the first place.

      In any event, you've also missed the central point alluded to in the subject line. Whether Holmes is a current or former christian he can still do a death bed conversion and end up in heaven with these other people just by saying "Oopsie! I'm sorry Jebus".

  2. Forgiveness is not quite that simple. The apology needs to be sincere. And while humans aren't able to determine what is in another's heart, I believe that God can. It is hard to stomach the notion that Jesus came to forgive all who truly seek forgiveness because we have such difficulty being forgiving in our lives. We think that if we forgive that person will take license to hurt us again, thinking us weak.
    But I believe that God's love is greater than humankind's hatred, and His capacity for forgiveness is infinite. I am heartbroken for the families who have been touched by this tragedy, and I can't imagine forgiving Holmes for his actions. But I believe that people change and people can be redeemed. And if Mr Holmes is truly repentant, he will be forgiven. And while that kinda gives me the creeps, it is also a comfort to me knowing that God's forgiveness is possible for anyone if they truly seek it. And I think that God grieves the victims as well. If we are all God's children it makes sense that he hurts for each and every one of us, even Mr. Holmes.

    1. Thanks for the input Kristy. In my scenario I am suggesting that Holmes may very well end up feeling truly sorry for what he did one day. But is that enough? Imagine if Mr. Holmes walked into court and said, "Your Honor, I am truly sorry for what I did, and I promise to try hard not to let it happen again, so how about letting me go free?". Now imagine that the judge said, "Sounds great, James. Case dismissed." I think that judge would be lynched in three seconds flat along with Mr. Holmes.

      Yet, even though we would reject as utterly ridiculous this behavior from a human judge, we say that it is perfectly reasonable for God to behave this way. Why is that? Why shouldn't we expect God to be at least as reasonable as a human judge?

    2. I expect God to be the perfect judge. And if God judges this man worthy of forgiveness, that's fine with me! Jesus said ALL sins can be forgiven because he willingly sacrificed himself for us.

    3. You might expect god to be a perfect judge, but, if he lets the guilty go without punishment then he has proven himself to be otherwise. God is proclaimed to be fair and just, but this means precisely that he cannot let people off the hook for things they do, even if he knows they are sorry about it. Fairness is a logical concept and cannot be suspended because someone feels bad about actions later on.

      As far as "sacrifices" no sacrifice changes the fact that these people were killed. Nobody thinks that if I go kill a puppy or a goat or what have you, in response to Mr. Holmes's actions, that this will make what Mr. Holmes did alright. Similarly, killing another person in response to the actions of Mr. Holmes would be equally irrelevant and change nothing about the situation. That is especially true if this alleged "sacrifice" took place thousands of years before the event in question. Hope that helps.

    4. Aaron, you are asking great questions, and getting quite close to understanding Christianity, I think.

      God DIDN'T and DOESN'T let evil go unpunished. He took the punishment upon himself. That's the reason for the whole "dying on the cross" thing.

      It aggravates our sense of justice when that punishment is taken by Jesus for someone else's awfulness. But it's water in the desert when it's for YOU.

      Beside the point anyway, if Holmes were hypothetically to actually become a Christian, he would then be perfectly willing to pay his debt to society. That's called "restitution". Sure he could go to heaven, but he would not be opposed to suffering for what he did first.

    5. A wise person once asked, "If God punished all the evil in the world on Sunday, where would you be on Monday?"

      Don't be quick to toss out the idea of grace. When a person does so, it tells me that they have not really thought very deeply upon the subject.

      Consider that about 3000 years ago, slavery was not considered immoral by ANYONE, women were considered inferior to men by ALL men, and it was normal to toss unwanted babies out to die. Those were the societal norms. Are you certain, that had you happened to have been born in the pre-Christian world, that you would not be a sexist, slave-holding baby-killer? How much of our own goodness is really our OWN goodness, and not just social conditioning? I cannot answer that question for you, but I encourage you to think about it. Under different circumstances but with your same biology, you could very well be a James Holmes. As the saying goes, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."

  3. Aaron, it seems to me that you think "hell" is the only just end for this man. I don't know that to be true. I think it is entirely possible that by the time this man stands before God, he could have been through hell right here already. That said, God being a perfect judge means that God knows what is right and just for each of us. He knows our hearts and minds and knows what has happened in our lives to bring us where we are. He knows if we are truly repentant vs. faking it. God doesn't have to guess.
    As to your remarks on sacrifice... When Christ came, the only way people understood to rid yourself of sin was through a sacrifice. We live in different times now and it is difficult to understand that tradition for us. That sacrifice did indeed buy forgiveness for all sin. Past and yet to come. That is what Christians believe. Because God is good.
    If you don believe it, you don't,, that's fine too. For me? I figure if God will forgive even THIS guy, I should be golden. After all, guns give me the creeps.

    1. I didn't say hell was appropriate because infinite torture for finite crimes is also evil and immoral and makes God worse than the Devil. Sin and forgiveness is not something that can be purchased like a Slurpee at 7 Eleven. It's not just that I don't believe that killing a puppy, or anything else, could somehow make people's sins disappear. It's that such a concept makes no logical sense and therefore there is nothing in which to actually believe. It's just an absurdity. Don't worry Kristy, you don't need to apologize or be forgiven for being an imperfect being. By definition, only God is perfect, so he could not possibly expect us to be perfect. I suspect that you have never done anything in your life that merits prolonged punishment, and certainly nothing that merits torture. You have nothing to fear if God is truly just and if he is not then there is nothing you can do about that either. So just stop worrying and thinking that you need mumbo jumbo to save you from imaginary perils. You'll be fine without any of that baloney. If you chose to waste your life on it anyway then that is your prerogative, however.

      As far as guns, I think they need to remain legal, but it should be more difficult to get them to ensure that the people who have them are responsible and not menaces to society. That's why the founding fathers said they should be well-regulated.

  4. I choose the mumbo jumbo because I love my relationship with God, not due to a fear of eternal damnation. I also think, like you, that infinite punishment for finite crimes seems unjust. I I believe that God is just. And I think that He is more than capable of dispensing justice to us all. This man will face that judgement one day, and I pray for him; just like I am praying for the families that were harmed by his actions. The hell we create here on earth is a punishment in itself. Mr. Holmes will have to live in that hell for quite some time before his turn for judgement.

  5. Mr. Holmes will primarily face justice because there is a human-created justice system. God could have acted to strike Mr. Holmes dead on the spot, as the Bible describes god doing, particularly in the Hebrew Old Testament. However, He appears to have not done any of that. Only the human justice system appears to be doing anything.
    Perhaps there will be divine justice on Judgment Day, but who knows when (or if) that will be. Also, perhaps Mr. Holmes will be punished, but we have many examples of evil people on Earth, such as various dictators, who enjoyed the most lavish lifestyles for many decades and never faced justice, or only finally were removed when they were old and gray, after killing and injuring tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. God doesn't seem to be very good at assisting with the dispensing of justice on Earth, despite claims in the Bible that he did this in the past.
    You claim that you have a relationship with God, but it is not clear how that can happen when He doesn't even appear to interact in the most extreme situations. A relationship requires frequent two-way interaction, but it sounds like your relationship is mainly an absentee, one-way street. If that works for you that's fine, but some of us need something a little more two-way, with definite feedback, not just vague intuitions and dreams.