Signs That God Is Punishing You Quotes

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[On Jerry Falwell] No, and I think it’s a pity there isn’t a hell for him to go to... The empty life of this ugly little charlatan proves only one thing: that you can get away with the most extraordinary offenses to morality and to truth in this country if you’ll just get yourself called Reverend. Who would, even at your network, have invited on such a little toad to tell us that the attacks of September 11th were the result of our sinfulness and were God’s punishment if they hadn’t got some kind of clerical qualification. People like that should be out in the street, shouting and hollering with a cardboard sign and selling pencils from a cup.
Christopher Hitchens
I believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ, and His Mother, Holy Mary. Jesus was a living baby once. He went bare-footed like we do in the summer. I saw a picture where He was a boy and had no shoes on. And when He was a man, He went fishing, like papa did once. And they could hurt Him, too, like they couldn't hurt God. Jesus wouldn't go around punishing people. He knew about people. So I will always believe in Jesus Chirst.' They made the sign of the cross as Catholics do when mentioning Jesus' name. Then she put her hand on Neely's knee and spoke in a whisper. 'Neely, I wouldn't tell anybody but you, but I don't believe in God anymore.' 'I want to go home,' said Neely. He was shivering.
Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)
During his illness he had spent every minute of consciousness calling upon God, every second of every minute. Ya Allah whose servant lies bleeding do not abandon me now after watching oven me so long. Ya Allah show me some sign, some small mark of your favour, that I may find in myself the strength to cure my ills. O God most beneficent most merciful, be with me in this my time of need, my most grievous need. Then it occurred to him that he was being punished, and for a time that made it possible to suffer the pain, but after a time he got angry. Enough, God, his unspoken words demanded, why must I die when I have not killed, are you vengeance or are you love? The anger with God carried him through another day, but then it faded, and in its place there came a terrible emptiness, an isolation, as he realized he was talking to _thin air_, that there was nobody there at all, and then he felt more foolish than ever in his life, and he began to plead into the emptiness, ya Allah, just be there, damn it, just be. But he felt nothing, nothing nothing, and then one day he found that he no longer needed there to be anything to feel. On that day of metamorphosis the illness changed and his recovery began. And to prove to himself the non-existence of God, he now stood in the dining-hall of the city's most famous hotel, with pigs falling out of his face.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
Obedience is freedom. Better to follow the Master’s plan than to do what you weren’t wired to do—master yourself. It is true that the thing that you and I most need to be rescued from is us! The greatest danger that we face is the danger that we are to ourselves. Who we think we are is a delusion and what we all tend to want is a disaster. Put together, they lead to only one place—death. If you’re a parent, you see it in your children. It didn’t take long for you to realize that you are parenting a little self-sovereign, who thinks at the deepest level that he needs no authority in his life but himself. Even if he cannot yet walk or speak, he rejects your wisdom and rebels against your authority. He has no idea what is good or bad to eat, but he fights your every effort to put into his mouth something that he has decided he doesn’t want. As he grows, he has little ability to comprehend the danger of the electric wall outlet, but he tries to stick his fingers in it precisely because you have instructed him not to. He wants to exercise complete control over his sleep, diet, and activities. He believes it is his right to rule his life, so he fights your attempts to bring him under submission to your loving authority. Not only does your little one resist your attempts to bring him under your authority, he tries to exercise authority over you. He is quick to tell you what to do and does not fail to let you know when you have done something that he does not like. He celebrates you when you submit to his desires and finds ways to punish you when you fail to submit to his demands. Now, here’s what you have to understand: when you’re at the end of a very long parenting day, when your children seemed to conspire together to be particularly rebellious, and you’re sitting on your bed exhausted and frustrated, you need to remember that you are more like your children than unlike them. We all want to rule our worlds. Each of us has times when we see authority as something that ends freedom rather than gives it. Each of us wants God to sign the bottom of our personal wish list, and if he does, we celebrate his goodness. But if he doesn’t, we begin to wonder if it’s worth following him at all. Like our children, each of us is on a quest to be and to do what we were not designed by our Creator to be or to do. So grace comes to decimate our delusions of self-sufficiency. Grace works to destroy our dangerous hope for autonomy. Grace helps to make us reach out for what we really need and submit to the wisdom of the Giver. Yes, it’s true, grace rescues us from us.
Paul David Tripp (New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional)
I’ve bought a town house,” said Oswald. “In Aphrany. A huge black and white timbered monstrosity. The kind a very rich merchant lives in.” “Why in god’s name?” asked Mason. “Because Fenella once said she likes them,” said Oswald. “In a purely throw-away conversation. But for some reason, every word she speaks is seared on my brain.” Roland cleared his throat. “Bit impulsive for you, isn’t it?” “A bit?” echoed Oswald. “I forced the King to sign annulment papers to an eight-year marriage. Simply because I feel sick to my stomach at the idea of her ever belonging to another man. And the worst of it is, that the annulment is the least drastic course of action that occurred to me. For the last three months, in my head I have been drawing up legal papers to sue Thane for the eight years he spent at my wife’s side, masquerading in my rightful place. In her life, in her heart and in her bed.” He heard his voice shake with anger and realized his brothers must too. Taking a deep breath, he continued more evenly. “Each time I mentally draft the petition, I request a more severe punishment befitting of his crime.” “What kind of punishments?” asked Mason with interest, sitting back in his seat. Oswald blew out a shaky breath. “In the latest version, it was beheading.
Alice Coldbreath (His Forsaken Bride (Vawdrey Brothers, #2))
The story is told about three men who were sentenced to death by guillotine. One was a doctor, another a lawyer, and the third an engineer. The day of execution arrived, and the three prisoners were lined up on the gallows. “Do you wish to face the blade, or look away?” the henchman asked the doctor. “I’ll face the blade!” the physician courageously replied. The doctor placed his neck onto the guillotine, and the executioner pulled the rope to release the blade. Then an amazing thing happened – the blade fell to a point just inches above the doctor’s neck, and stopped! The crowd of gathered townspeople was astonished, and tittered with speculation. After a bevy of excited discussions, the executioner told the doctor, “This is obviously a sign from God that you do not deserve to die. Go forth – you are pardoned.” Joyfully the doctor arose and went on his way. The second man to confront death was the lawyer, who also chose to face the blade. The cord was pulled, down fell the blade, and once again it stopped but a few inches from the man’s naked throat! Again the crowd buzzed – two miracles in one day! Just as he did minutes earlier, the executioner informed the prisoner that divine intervention had obviously been issued, and he, too, was free. Happily he departed. The final prisoner was the engineer who, like his predecessors, chose to face the blade. He fitted his neck into the crook of the guillotine and looked up at the apparatus above him. The executioner was about to pull the cord when the engineer pointed to the pulley system and called out, “Wait a minute! – I think I can see the problem!” Within each of us there resides an overworking engineer who is more concerned with analyzing the problem than accepting the solution. Many of us have become so resigned to receiving the short end of the stick in life, that if we were offered the long end, we would doubt its authenticity and refuse it. We must be willing to drop the heavy load of guilt, unworthiness, and self-denial we have carried for so long, perhaps lifetimes. We must openly affirm that we are ready to receive all the good that life has to offer us, without argument or wariness. Then we must accept our good – not just in word, but in action. In so doing we claim our right to live in a new world – one which attests that we are deserving not of punishment, but of release, freedom, and celebration.
Alan Cohen (I Had It All the Time: When Self-Improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy)
There’s just one thing I don’t understand,” she remarked, setting the periodical aside for a moment. “And that is?” She tucked her skirts around her legs, denying him further glimpses of her ankles. “Would you by chance know what gamahuching is?” Grey would have thought himself far beyond the age of blushing, but the heat in his cheeks was unmistakable. “Good lord, Rose.” His voice was little more than a rasp. “That is hardly something a young woman brings up in casual conversation.” Oh, but he could show her what gamahuching was. He’d be all too happy to crawl between those trim ankles and climb upward until he found the slit in her drawers… Rose shrugged. “I suppose it might be offensive to someone of your age, but women aren’t as sheltered as they once were, Grey. If you won’t provide a definition, I’m sure Mr. Maxwell will when I see him tonight.” And with that threat tossed out between them, the little baggage returned her attention to her naughty reading. His age? What did she think he was, an ancient? Or was she merely trying to bait him? Tease him? Well, two could play at that game. And he refused to think of Kellan Maxwell, the bastard, educating her on such matters. “I believe you’ve mistaken me if you think I find gamahuching offensive,” he replied smoothly, easing himself down onto the blanket beside her. “I have quite the opposite view.” Beneath the high collar of her day gown, Rose’s throat worked as she swallowed. “Oh?” “Yes.” He braced one hand flat against the blanket near her hip, leaning closer as though they were co-conspirators. “But I’m afraid the notion might seem distasteful to a lady of your inexperience and sheltered upbringing.” Doe eyes narrowed. “If I am not appalled by the practice of frigging, why would anything else done between two adults in the course of making love offend me?” Christ, she had the sexual vocabulary of a whore and the naivete of a virgin. There were so many things that people could do to each other that very well could offend her-hell, some even offended him. As for frigging, that just made him think of his fingers deep inside her wet heat, her own delicate hand around his cock, which of course was rearing its head like an attention-seeking puppy. He forced a casual shrug. Let her think he wasn’t the least bit affected by the conversation. Hopefully she wouldn’t look at his crotch. “Gamahuching is the act of giving pleasure to a woman with one’s mouth and tongue.” Finally his beautiful innocent seductress blushed. She glanced down at the magazine in her hands, obviously reimagining some of what she had read. “Oh.” Then, her gaze came back to his. “Thank you.” Thank God she hadn’t asked if it was pleasurable because Grey wasn’t sure his control could have withstood that. Still, glutton for punishment that he was, he held her gaze. “Anything else you would like to ask me?” Rose shifted on the blanket. Embarrassed or aroused? “No, I think that’s all I wanted to know.” “Be careful, Rose,” he advised as he slowly rose to his feet once more. He had to keep his hands in front of him to disguise the hardness in his trousers. Damn thing didn’t show any sign of standing down either. “Such reading may lead to further curiosity, which can lead to rash behavior. I would hate to see you compromise yourself, or give your affection to the wrong man.” She met his gaze evenly, with a strange light in her eyes that unsettled him. “Have you stopped to consider Grey, that I may have done that already?” And since that remark rendered him so completely speechless, he turned on his heel and walked away.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
(Orual's challenge to the gods) Now, you who read, judge between the gods and me. They gave me nothing in the world to love but Psyche and then took her from me. But that was not enough. They then brought me to her at such a place and time that it hung on my word whether she should continue in bliss or be cast out into misery. They would not tell me whether she was the bride of a god, or mad, or a brute's or villain's spoil. They would give no clear sign, though I begged for it. I had to guess. And because I guessed wrong they punished me - what's worse punished me through her. And even that was not enough; they have now sent out a lying story in which I was given no riddle to guess, but knew and saw that she was the god's bride, and of my own free will destroyed her, and that for jealousy. As if I were another Redival. I say the gods deal very unrightly with us. For they will neither (which would be best of all) go away and leave us to live our own short days to ourselves, nor will they show themselves openly and tell us what they would have us do. For that too would be endurable. But to hint and hover, to draw us in dreams and oracles, or in a waking vision that vanishes as soon as seen, to be dead silent when we question them and then glide back and whisper (words we cannot understand) in our ears when we most wish to be free of them, and to show to one what they hide from another; what is all this but cat-and-mouse play, blindman's bluff, and mere jugglery? Why must holy places be dark places? I say, therefore, that there is no creature (toad, scorpion, or serpent) so noxious to man as the gods. Let them answer my charge if they can. It may well be that, instead of answering, they'll strike me mad or leprous or turn me into beast, bird, or tree. But will not all the world then know (and the gods will know it knows) that this is because they have no answer?
C.S. Lewis (Till We Have Faces)
This, of course, gives rise to the argument of the invalidation of the Old Testament with the coming of the New, the idea being that the actions of Jesus were so antithesis to the “laws” prescribed in Exodus and Leviticus that the modern Christian should base the standards of his doctrine on the teaching of the son of their god instead. There are several large flaws with this reasoning, my favorite being the most obvious: no one does it, and if they did, what would be the point of keeping the Old Testament? How many Christian sermons have been arched around Old Testament verses, or signs waved at protests and marches bearing Leviticus 18:22, etc? Where stands the basis for the need to splash the Decalogue of Exodus in public parks and in school rooms, or the continuous reference of original sin and the holiness of the sabbath (which actually has two distinctly different definitions in the Old Testament)? A group of people as large as the Christian nation cannot possibly hope to avoid the negative reaction of Old Testament nightmares (e.g. genocide, rape, and infanticide, amongst others) by claiming it shares no part of their modern doctrine when, in actuality, it overflows with it. Secondly, one must always remember that the New Testament is in constant coherence with proving the prophecy of the Old Testament, continuously referring to: “in accordance with the prophet”, etc., etc., ad nauseum—the most important of which coming from the words of Jesus himself: “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest part or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Matthew 5:17) And even this is hypocritical, considering how many times Jesus himself stood in the way of Mosaic law, most notably against the stoning of the woman taken by the Pharisees for adultery, the punishment of which should have resulted in her death by prophetic mandate of the Old Testament despite the guilt that Jesus inflicted upon her attackers (a story of which decent evidence has been discovered by Bart Ehrman and others suggesting that it wasn’t originally in the Gospel of John in the first place [7]). All of this, of course, is without taking into account the overwhelming pile of discrepancies that is the New Testament in whole, including the motivation for the holy family to have been in Bethlehem versus Nazareth in the first place (the census that put them there or the dream that came to Joseph urging him to flee); the first three Gospels claim that the Eucharist was invented during Passover, but the Fourth says it was well before, and his divinity is only seriously discussed in the Fourth; the fact that Herod died four years before the Current Era; the genealogy of Jesus in the line of David differs in two Gospels as does the minutiae of the Resurrection, Crucifixion, and the Anointment—on top of the fact that the Gospels were written decades after the historical Jesus died, if he lived at all.
Joshua Kelly (Oh, Your god!: The Evil Idea That is Religion)
A man can survive ten years--but twenty-five, who can get through alive? Shukhov rather enjoyed having everybody poke a finger at him as if to say: Look at him, his term's nearly up. But he had his doubts about it. Those zeks who finished their time during the war had all been "retained pending special instructions" and had been released only in '46. Even those serving three-year sentences were kept for another five. The law can be stood on its head. When your ten years are up they can say, "Here's another ten for you." Or exile you. Yet there were times when you thought about it and you almost choked with excitement. Yes, your term really _is_ coming to an end; the spool is unwinding. . . . Good God! To step out to freedom, just walk out on your own two feet. But it wasn't right for an old-timer to talk about it aloud, and Shukhov said to Kilgas: "Don't you worry about those twenty-five years of yours. It's not a fact you'll be in all that time. But that I've been in eight full years--now that is a fact." Yes, you live with your feet in the mud and there's no time to be thinking about how you got in or how you're going to get out. According to his dossier, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov had been sentenced for high treason. He had testified to it himself. Yes, he'd surrendered to the Germans with the intention of betraying his country and he'd returned from captivity to carry out a mission for German intelligence. What sort of mission neither Shukhov nor the interrogator could say. So it had been left at that- -a mission. Shukhov had figured it all out. If he didn't sign he'd be shot If he signed he'd still get a chance to live. So he signed. But what really happened was this. In February 1942 their whole army was surrounded on the northwest front No food was parachuted to them. There were no planes. Things got so bad that they were scraping the hooves of dead horses--the horn could be soaked In water and eaten. Their ammunition was gone. So the Germans rounded them up in the forest, a few at a time. Shukhov was In one of these groups, and remained in German captivity for a day or two. Then five of them managed to escape. They stole through the forest and marshes again, and, by a miracle, reached their own lines. A machine gunner shot two of them on the spot, a third died of his wounds, but two got through. Had they been wiser they'd have said they'd been wandering in the forest, and then nothing would have happened. But they told the truth: they said they were escaped POW's. POW's, you fuckers! If all five of them had got through, their statements could have been found to tally and they might have been believed. But with two it was hopeless. You've put your damned heads together and cooked up that escape story, they were told. Deaf though he was, Senka caught on that they were talking about escaping from the Germans, and said in a loud voice: "Three times I escaped, and three times they caught me." Senka, who had suffered so much, was usually silent: he didn't hear what people said and didn't mix in their conversation. Little was known about him--only that he'd been in Buchenwald, where he'd worked with the underground and smuggled in arms for the mutiny; and how the Germans had punished him by tying his wrists behind his back, hanging him up by them, and whipping him. "You've been In for eight years, Vanya," Kilgas argued. "But what camps? Not 'specials.' You bad breads to sleep with. You didn't wear numbers. But try and spend eight years in a 'special'--doing hard labor. No one's come out of a 'special' alive." "Broads! Boards you mean, not broads." Shukhov stared at the coals in the stove and remeinbered his seven years in the North. And how he worked for three years hauling logs--for packing cases and railroad ties. The flames in the campfires had danced up there, too--at timber-felling during the night. Their chief made it a rule that any squad that had failed to meet its quota had to stay In the forest after dark.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn (One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich)
still have the same personality I was born with. I am often impatient and cranky. And my first response to almost everything is “fuck you.” I don’t often stay there, but I almost always start there. I’m still me. Yet the fact that I manage to now move from “fuck you” to something less hostile, and the fact that I am often able to make that move quickly, well, once again, all of it makes me believe in God. And every time, it feels like repentance. Not the repentance of red-faced street-corner preachers waving REPENT! signs. No, that kind of repentance always sounded to me like Stop being bad—start being good or God is going to be an angry punishing bastard to you. This feels like more of a human threat than anything else. It never works on me. Who wants their spiritual arm twisted until they cry uncle? It’s bullying. I mean, fear and threat can create change in behavior. No question about it. But it doesn’t really change my thinking. Threats don’t change my heart and they don’t move me from fuck you to something less assholey in short order. Repentance in Greek means something much closer to “thinking differently afterward” than it does “changing your cheating ways.
When the gospel does take root in the heart, the sign of it is that Christians are led to “establish their complete happiness in him.” Unless people experience this, “they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to him.”154 You don’t have true saving knowledge of God until you long to know and serve him. Such a soul “restrains itself from sinning, not out of dread of punishment alone; but because it loves and reveres God as Father. . . . Even if there were no hell, it would still shudder at offending him.
Timothy J. Keller (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
4 The Lord GOD [the Father] hath given me [Jesus] the tongue of the learned [Father taught Me well], that I should know how to speak a [strengthening] word in season to him [Israel; see 2 Nephi 7:4] that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned [German: the Father is constantly communicating with Me and I hear as His disciple]. 5 The Lord GOD [the Father] hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back [I was obedient and did not turn away from accomplishing the Atonement]. In verses 6–7, next, Isaiah prophesies some details surrounding Christ’s crucifixion. In verse 6, especially, He speaks of the future as if it is past. 6 I gave my back to the smiters [ allowed Himself to be flogged; see Matthew 27:26], and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair [pulled out the whiskers of My beard]: I hid not my face from shame and spitting [see Matthew 26:67]. Here is a quote from Bible scholar Edward J. Young, (not a member of the Church) concerning the plucking of the beard, in verse 6, above: “In addition the servant [ Christ, in Isaiah 50:6] gave his cheeks to those who pluck out the hair. The reference is to those who deliberately give the most heinous and degrading of insults. The Oriental regarded the beard as a sign of freedom and respect, and to pluck out the hair of the beard (for cheek in effect would refer to a beard) is to show utter contempt.” (Book of Isaiah, vol. 3, page 300.) 7 For the Lord GOD [the Father] will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded [I will not be stopped]: therefore have I set my face like a flint [I brace Myself for the task], and I know that I shall not be ashamed [I know I will not fail]. 8 He [the Father] is near that justifieth me [approves of everything I do]; who will [dares to] contend with me? let us [Me and those who would dare contend against Me] stand together [go to court, as in a court of law—go ahead and present your arguments against Me]: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me [ face Me]. 9 Behold, the Lord GOD [the Father] will help me [the Savior]; who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they [those who contend against Me] all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up [the wicked will have their day and then fade away and reap the punishment]. Next, in verse 10, the question is asked, in effect, “Who is loyal to the Lord and is not supported by Him?” The answer, as you will see, is no one. 10 Who is among you that feareth [respects] the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? [Answer: No one, because the Lord blesses His true followers with light.] let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon [be supported by] his God. the sparks that ye have kindled [rather than Christ’s gospel light]. This shall ye have of mine hand [German: you will get what you deserve]; ye shall lie down in sorrow [misery awaits those who try to live without God].
David J. Ridges (Your Study of Isaiah Made Easier in the Bible and the Book of Mormon)
O sirs, how many souls, then, have every one of us been guilty of damning! What a number of our neighbours and acquaintance are dead, in whom we discerned no signs of sanctification, and never did once plainly tell them of it, or how to be recovered! If you had been the cause but of burning a man's house through your negligence, or of undoing him in the world, or of destroying his body, how would it trouble you as long as you lived! If you had but killed a man unadvisedly, it would much disquiet you. We have known those that have been guilty of murder, that could never sleep quietly after, nor have one comfortable day, their own consciences did so vex and torment them. O, then, what a heart mayst thou have, that hast been builty of murdering such a multitude of precious souls! Remember this when thou lookest thy friend or carnal neighbour in the face, and think with thyself, Can I find in my heart, through my silence and negligence, to be guilty of his everlasting burning in hell? Methinks such a thought should even untie the tongue of the dumb. . . . [H]e that is guilty of a man's continuing unregenerate, is also guilty of the sins of his unregeneracy. . . . Eli did not commit the sin himself, and yet he speaketh so coldly against it that he also must bear the punishment . Guns and cannons spake against sin in England, because the inhabitants would not speak. God pleadeth with us with fire and sword, because we would not plead with sinners with our tongues (410-11).
Richard Baxter (The Saints' Everlasting Rest)
The Holy Scripture is called the Book of the Old and of the New Testament. When a notary has drawn a contract or other deed, when a testament is confirmed by the death of the testator, there must not be added, withdrawn, or altered, one single word under penalty of falsification. Are not the Holy Scriptures the true testament of the eternal God, drawn by the notaries deputed for this purpose, duly sealed and signed with his blood, confirmed by death? Being such, how can we alter even the smallest point without impiety? “A testament,” says the great Ulpian, “is a just expression of our will as to what we would have done after our death.”898 Our Lord by the Holy Scriptures shows us what we must believe, hope for, love and do, and this by a true expression of his will; if we add, take away or change, it will no longer be the true expression of God’s will. For Our Lord having duly expressed in Scripture his will, if we add anything of our own we shall make the statement go beyond the will of the testator, if we take anything away we shall make it fall short, if we make changes in it we shall set it awry, and it will no longer correspond to the will of the author, nor be a correct statement. When two things exactly correspond, he who changes the one destroys the equality and the correspondence between them. If it be a true statement, whatever right have we to alter it? Our Lord puts a value on the iotas, yea, the mere little points and accents of his holy words. How jealous then is he of their integrity, and what punishment shall they not deserve who violate this integrity! Brethren, says S. Paul,899 (I speak after the manner of man), yet a man’s testament, if it be confirmed, no man despiseth, nor addeth to it. And to show how important it is to learn the Scripture in its exactness he gives an example. To Abraham were the promisesmade, and to his seed. He says not and to his seeds as of many, but as of one; and to thy seed, who is Christ. See, I beg you, how the change from singular to plural would have spoilt the mysterious meaning of this word. The Ephrathites [Ephraimites] said Sibolleth, not forgetting a single letter, but because they did not pronounce it thickly enough, the Galaadites slew them at the fords of Jordan.900 The simple difference of pronunciation in speaking, and in writing the mere transposition of one single point on the letter scin caused the ambiguity, and changing the janin into semol, instead of an ear of wheat expressed a weight or a burden. Whosoever alters or adds the slightest accent in the Scripture is a sacrilegious man and deserves the death of him who dares to mingle the profane with the sacred.
Francis de Sales (The Saint Francis de Sales Collection [15 Books])
Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of contact with actuality. It offers purely imaginary causes (“God,” “soul,” “ego,” “spirit,” “free will”—or even “unfree”), and purely imaginary effects (“sin,” “salvation,” “grace,” “punishment,” “forgiveness of sins”). Intercourse between imaginary beings (“God,” “spirits,” “souls”); an imaginary natural history (anthropocentric; a total denial of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary psychology (misunderstandings of self, misinterpretations of agreeable or disagreeable general feelings—for example, of the states of the nervus sympathicus with the help of the sign-language of religio-ethical balderdash—, “repentance,” “pangs of conscience,” “temptation by the devil,” “the presence of God”); an imaginary teleology (the “kingdom of God,” “the last judgment,” “eternal life”).—This purely fictitious world, greatly to its disadvantage, is to be differentiated from the world of dreams; the latter at least reflects reality, whereas the former falsifies it, cheapens it and denies it. Once the concept of “nature” had been opposed to the concept of “God,” the word “natural” necessarily took on the meaning of “abominable”—the whole of that fictitious world has its sources in hatred of the natural (—the real!—), and is no more than evidence of a profound uneasiness in the presence of reality… . This explains everything. Who alone has any reason for living his way out of reality? The man who suffers under it. But to suffer from reality one must be a botched reality… . The preponderance of pains over pleasures is the cause of this fictitious morality and religion: but such a preponderance also supplies the formula for décadence… . 16.
Various (30 Human Science Masterpieces You Must Read Before You Die)
For two thousand years prior to the creation of the world, all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were hidden. During that time, God gazed upon the letters and delighted in them. Then, when God was about to create the world, all twenty-two letters engraved upon His crown came down and stood before him, from tav to aleph. The letter tav approached first and said: "O Lord, create the world through me, for I am at the beginning of the word 'Torah.'" God replied, "Tav, You are worthy and deserving, and in the days to come I shall command that you be put as a sign on the foreheads of the righteous, so that when the destroying angel comes to punish sinners, he will see the letter on their foreheads and spare them." But the letter tav was sad that it would not be used to create the world, and it left the presence of the Lord. Then, one by one, each of the other letters came forward and pleaded with God to create the world through them.
Howard Schwartz (Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism)
Yes. We were talking about those excluded from the flock of sheep. For centuries, as pope and emperor tore each other apart in their quarrels over power, the excluded went on living on the fringe, like lepers, of whom true lepers are only the illustration ordained by God to make us understand this wondrous parable, so that in saying ‘lepers’ we would understand ‘outcast, poor, simple, excluded, uprooted from the countryside, humiliated in the cities.’ But we did not understand; the mystery of leprosy has continued to haunt us because we have not recognized the nature of the sign. Excluded as they were from the flock, all of them were ready to hear every sermon that, harking back to the word of Christ, would in effect condemn the behavior of the dogs and shepherds and would promise their punishment one day. The powerful always knew this. Acknowledging the outcasts meant reducing their own privileges, so the outcasts who were acknowledged as outcasts had to be branded as heretics, whatever their doctrine. And for their part, maddened by their exclusion, they were not interested in any doctrine. This is the illusion of heresy. The faith a movement proclaims doesn’t count: what counts is the hope it offers. Scratch the heresy and you will find the leper. Every battle against heresy wants only to keep the leper as he is. As for the lepers, what can you ask of them? That they distinguish between two definitions of the Trinity or of the Eucharist? Come, Adso, these games are for us men of learning. The simple have other problems. And mind you, they solve them all in the wrong way. This is why they become heretics.
Umberto Eco (The Name of the Rose)
During his illness he had spent every minute of consciousness calling upon God, every second of every minute. Ya Allah whose servant lies bleeding do not abandon me now after watching over me so long. Ya Allah show me some sign, some small mark of your favour, that I may find in myself the strength to cure my ills. O God most beneficent most merciful, be with me in this my time of need, my most grievous need. Then it occurred to him that he was being punished, and for a time that made it possible to suffer the pain, but after a time he got angry. Enough, God, his unspoken words demanded, why must I die when I have not killed, are you vengeance or are you love? The anger with God carried him through another day, but then it faded, and in its place there came a terrible emptiness, an isolation, as he realized he was talking to thin air, that there was nobody there at all, and then he felt more foolish than ever in his life, and he began to plead into the emptiness, ya Allah, just be there, damn it, just be. But he felt nothing, nothing nothing, and then one day he found that he no longer needed there to be anything to feel. On that day of metamorphosis the illness changed and his recovery began. And to prove to himself the non-existence of God, he now stood in the dining-hall of the city’s most famous hotel, with pigs falling out of his face. He looked up from his plate to find a woman watching him. Her hair was so fair that it was almost white, and her skin possessed the colour and translucency of mountain ice. She laughed at him and turned away. ‘Don’t you get it?’ he shouted after her, spewing sausage fragments from the corners of his mouth. ‘No thunderbolt. That’s the point.’ She came back to stand in front of him. ‘You’re alive,’ she told him. ‘You got your life back. That’s the point.
Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses)
For I will pass through the land this night, and I will kill all the firstborn of Egypt, both man and beast. Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am Yahweh. 12:12 The blood will be a sign upon the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. No evil shall come for your destruction when I punish the land of Egypt.
Bart Marshall (The Torah: The Five Books of Moses)
According to the book of Genesis, “God created man in his own image.” According to Aristotle, “men create the gods after their own image.” As should be clear by now, Aristotle seems to have been onto something, especially when it comes to the minds of gods. So, in theory, some of the more basic features of the human mind should be fairly standard equipment in gods, especially the gods of “primitive” religions. That seems to be the case, and one of these features deserves special consideration: the part of the human mind shaped by the evolutionary dynamic known as “reciprocal altruism.” In light of this dynamic, much about the origin of religion, and for that matter much about contemporary religion, makes a new kind of sense. Thanks to reciprocal altruism, people are “designed” to settle into mutually beneficial relationships with other people, people whom they can count on for things ranging from food to valuable gossip to social support, and who in turn can count on them. We enter these alliances almost without thinking about it, because our genetically based emotions draw us in. We feel gratitude for a favor received, along with a sense of obligation, which may lead us to return the favor. We feel growing trust of and affection for people who prove reliable reciprocators (aka “friends”), which keeps us entwined in beneficial relationships. This is what feelings like gratitude and trust are for—the reason they’re part of human nature. But of course, not everyone merits our trust. Some people accept our gifts of food and never reciprocate, or try to steal our mates, or exhibit disrespect in some other fashion. And if we let people thus take advantage of us day after day, the losses add up. In the environment of our evolution, these losses could have made the difference between surviving and not surviving, between prolifically procreating and barely procreating. So natural selection gave us emotions that lead us to punish the untrustworthy—people who violate our expectations of exchange, people who seem to lack the respect that a mutually beneficial relationship demands. They fill us with outrage, with moral indignation, and that outrage—working as “designed” —impels us to punish them in one way or another, whether by actually harming them or just by withholding future altruism. That will teach them! (Perhaps more important, it will also teach anyone else who is watching, and in the ancestral hunter-gatherer environment, pretty much everyone in your social universe was watching.) This is the social context in which the human mind evolved: a world full of neighbors who, to varying degrees, are watching you for signs of betrayal or disrespect or dishonesty—and who, should they see strong evidence of such things, will punish you. In such a social universe, when misfortune comes your way, when someone hits you or ridicules you or suddenly gives you the cold shoulder, there’s a good chance it’s because they feel you’ve violated the rules of exchange. Maybe you’ve failed to do them some favor they think they were due, or maybe you’ve shown them disrespect by doing something that annoys them. Surely it is no coincidence that this generic explanation of why misfortune might emanate from a human being is also the generic explanation of why misfortune emanates from gods. In hunter-gatherer religions—and lots of other religions—when bad things happen, the root cause is almost always that people in one sense or another fail to respect the gods. They either fail to give gods their due (fail, say, to make adequate sacrifices to ancestral spirits), or they do things that annoy gods (like, say, making a noise while cicadas are singing). And the way to make amends to the aggrieved gods is exactly the way you’d make amends to aggrieved people: either give them something (hence ritual sacrifice), or correct future behavior so that it doesn’t annoy them (quit making noises while cicadas are singing).
Robert Wright (The Evolution of God)
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life. 20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. 30 When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. 31 Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, 38 and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.
by some miracle – I manage to get him into the study. As soon as his feet have cleared the doorway, I pull him a little further and then I set him down. My arms are aching and I am a little short of breath, but I immediately reach down to check his pulse at the neck. Before I can do that, however, he sits up and looks at the open double doors. “She's still coming,” he says, with utter shock in his voice. “Look!” With that, he raises his left hand and once again points straight ahead. I cannot help myself. I turn and look toward the doors, but all I see outside is more rain falling in the darkness. I can just about make out the dark smudge of the summer house in the distance, but there is still no sign whatsoever of any human figure out there. “You can see her!” His Lordship shouts. “For God's sake, man, what's wrong with you? She's right there!” “Sir, I -” “She's almost at the steps!” I open my mouth to tell him that I see nothing, but for a moment longer I watch the darkness, just in case a shape suddenly appears. It is foolish to entertain such fancies, yet I do entertain them, if only for a few seconds. “Lord, deliver me from this horror,” His Lordship says, making the sign of the cross against his chest. “I will face my due punishment, but I beg you, do not make me face her, not like this.” Still watching the darkness, I begin to imagine – in my mind's eye – the sight of Her Ladyship coming closer and closer to the door. I imagine her in that stained and tattered night-dress that she wore when last I saw her, with her hair hanging down and her eyes filled with anger. She walks with her arms hung down at her sides, and her progress is steady as she reaches the steps. It is a most terrifying image but, as I quickly remind myself, it is merely something that I have conjured in my imagination. It is not real. “Here she comes,” His Lordship whimpers. “For God's sake, man, she's on the steps now. Can't you see her?” I hesitate for a moment
Amy Cross (The Haunting of Aldburn Park)