Wednesday, September 02, 2015

A duo of dueling fatalisms


Universalist: Do you consider yourself an apologist for atheism?

Atheist: Yes.

Universalist: How do you go about that? 

Atheist: We have atheist philosophers. An atheist journal (Philo). An atheist publishing house (Prometheus Press). Atheist weblogs and websites (e.g. the Secular Web, the Secular Outpost).

There are lots of ways to get the message out.

Universalist: Why do you expend so much time and effort in proselytizing for atheism?

Atheist: Because it's important for people to believe what's right and live accordingly.

Universalist: What happened to Hitler when he died? 

Atheist: He passed into oblivion.

Universalist: What happened to Bonhoeffer when he died?

Atheist: He passed into oblivion.

Universalist: So according to atheism, what you think or do in this life makes absolutely no difference to your final destiny. 

Atheist: I suppose that's one way of putting it.

Universalist: In that event, why is it so important for people to believe what's right and live accordingly?

Atheist: I could ask you the same question.

Universalist: What do you mean?

Atheist: Do you consider yourself an apologist for universalism? 

Universalist: Yes. 

Atheism: How do you go about that?

Universalist: We have universalist philosophers and scholars. We have a website (Evangelical Universalist). We have a universalist (Robin Perry) who's editor of Christian publishing houses (Paternoster, Wipf & Stock). 

There are lots of ways to get the message out.

Atheist: Why do you expend so much time and effort proselytizing for universalism?

Universalist: Because it's important for people to believe what's right and live accordingly.

Atheist: What happened to Hitler when he died?

Universalist: He went to heaven.

Atheist: What happened to Bonhoeffer when he died?

Universalist: He went to heaven. 

Atheist: So according to universalism, what you think or do in this life makes absolutely no difference to your final destiny.

Universalist: I suppose that's one way of putting it.

Atheist: In that event, why is it so important for people to believe what's right and live according?

Universalist: I could ask you the same question.

Atheist: You already did.

Universalist: Since both our positions are fatalistic, perhaps we should save on overhead by merging our websites, publishing houses, &c. 

Atheist: That would be more efficient. I'll have my man talk to your man about a merger. 

4 comments:

  1. That's funny!

    But I wonder about something. I don't know enough about Universalists to know if there are varieties of Universalisms which believe that while our works are not the determining factor as to whether one will be saved, works may nevertheless be the basis of the degree of rewards and honor a person receives in the afterlife. In which case, those versions of Universalism (if they exist) have incentive to "be good."

    Though, since one of the motivating factors of some Universalists is the idea that God loves people equally, that may tend to negate the possibility of Universalism (as a theological system) to affirm (or even consider) degrees of reward in the afterlife. God is (to them) like the parent who has to give his children exactly the same toys to each child even though they may differ in age, gender, interests, talents, obedience and desert. Universalists have antipathy toward the concept of the *sovereignty* of grace. It's "unfair" to them.

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    1. Well, since universalism is fictional, they can draw all sorts of arbitrary distinctions if they wish. The usual distinction is that some decedents get to heaven sooner than others. There's a purgatory after death. Depending on how evil or stubborn you are, it will take you that much longer to get to heaven.

      By the same token, even if there were degrees of beatitude in universalism, that's based on the degree of your postmortem cooperation with grace. And there's no reason that would be fixed.

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