Readers.. we had another great meeting several weeks ago. Here is a brief summary.
Andrew P. cited several sources in a short discourse on love. I know, sounds somewhat, well somewhat lame prima facie. Love poetry??? Seriously? Well I am here to tell you this was as serious a topic as there possibly can be, given that the Bible tells us that God IS love. Andrew quoted the bard’s sonnet 18 “Shall I compare thee” to illustrate a kind of abstract perfect romantic love, and then read from Plato’s “Symposium”, in which the love a paederast has for a boy is discussed. Rather horrid, but illuminating nonetheless. Then he contrasted that with an insight into God’s sacrificial love, or in the greek “agape”. He pointed out that God knows that his love is going to cost himself great pain, but freely chooses to sacrifice himself for those who do not even want a relationship with him. This was a fine nuance that is profitable to mediate on. Can we say about any of our loves that they are truly disinterested? If we know beforehand how much pain a relationship will cost us, do we not weigh the cost, and mostly to our benefit?
I presented an abridged version of Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson. This was a very rewarding read. I emphasized Johnsons religious views and arguments. Several quotes:
“the great difficulty of proving miracles should make us very cautious in believing them. But let us consider; although God has made Nature to operate by certain fixed laws, yet it is not unreasonable to think that he may suspend those laws, in order to establish a system highly advantagious to mankind. “(See Lloyd G.’s summary of this very topic in our first meeting.)
“WITH respect to original sin, the inquiry is not necessary, for whatever is the cause of human corruption, men are evidently and confessedly so corrupt, that all the laws of heaven and earth are insufficient to restrain them from crimes. ” Whatever difficulty there may be in the conception of vicarious punishments, it is an opinion which has had possession of mankind in all ages. There is no nation that has not used the practice of sacrifices. Whoever, therefore, denies the propriety of vicarious punishments, holds an opinion which the sentiments and practice of mankind have contradicted, from the beginning of the world. The great sacrifice for the sins of mankind was offered at the death of the MESSIAH, who is called in Scripture, ‘ The Lamb of GOD, that taketh away the sins of the world.’ To judge of the reasonableness of the scheme of redemption, it must be considered as necessary to the government of the universe that GOD should make known his perpetual and irreconcilable detestation of moral evil. He might indeed punish and punish only the offenders; but as the end of punishment is not revenge of crimes, but propagation of virtue, it was more becoming the Divine clemency to find another manner of proceeding, less destructive to man, and at least equally powerful to promote goodness. The end of punishment is to reclaim and warn. That punishment will both reclaim and warn, which shows evidently such abhorrence of sin in GOD, as may deter us from it, or strike us with dread of vengeance when we have committed it. This is effected by vicarious punishment. Nothing could more testify the opposition”
Lloyd G. switched up the theme a little with a partial explication of lyrics from two contemporary songs. The first from Need to Breath: Keep you eyes open. Lloyd highlighted the spiritual themes present, among them an interesting line “your chains will never fall till you do”. As in repentance precedes freedom.
He also played a song that celebrated and called for God’s justice and vengeance on a sinful world. Lloyd cited it because he had remarked to a friend how little we sing about God’s wrath, and that friend had played the song for him. Sobering lyrics. I don’t remember the bands name so I will post the lyrics when I next speak with Lloyd.
Well, I am looking forward to the next meeting, where I trust Andrew will finish off The Symposium for us. I am contemplating presenting on Machiavelli’s “The Prince” . That will be a hum dinger! I am not certain if my wife will bake another pie for us next time, last time it seemed that somehow the entire pie disappeared, I denied responsibility but manfully accepted the penalty, you goons. Just kidding I think we impressed her! See you on the 26th.