Monday, November 06, 2006

Perry: "Some Texans are going to Hell"

Okay, he didn't say that...but this is about the same thing:
Gov. Rick Perry, after a God and country sermon attended by dozens of political candidates Sunday, said that he agreed with the minister that non-Christians will be condemned to hell.

"In my faith, that's what it says, and I'm a believer of that," the governor said.

To be fair (I guess) he did backtrack a little bit after that:
A little later at another stop, the Republican incumbent clarified his beliefs.

"I don't know that there's any human being that has the ability to interpret what God and his final decision-making is going to be," Mr. Perry said. "That's what the faith says. I understand, and my caveat there is that an all-knowing God certainly transcends my personal ability to make that judgment black and white."

So in other words, he believes that those not saved by Jesus are going to hell, but God could've meant something else or could change his mind entirely.

Anyway this is more amusing than anything else. Very few who call themselves a Christian get by without believing that somebody's going to hell. It's just funny when one of them has to say it out loud.


Nate said...

It seems strange to me that this is an issue. Is the possibility of judgment really the least publicly acceptable aspect of Christianity? It's interesting that the possibility that Christians are superstitious fools (for believing in a god) is less of a big deal than that they might be thinking mean thoughts about their neighbors.

At any rate, you mis-interpret his caveat: his emphasis is on God's omniscience transcending his "personal ability to make that judgment". In other words, Perry believes some will be saved and some will be going to hell, but he wouldn't presume to know who those people are. That is, in fact, a rather widely-accepted notion in Christianity, and also the official line of the Catholic church. That you interpret his qualification as awkwardness shows that you misunderstand the theology itself.

I'm all for being uncomfortable with commonly accepted ideas about hell and judgment due to theological and epistomological concerns (why do we think hell works this way?), nothing seems easier to me than to posit that, if there is an immortal soul, there exist a diety or dieties, and morality has an objective aspect, one's morality in this life will have direct consequences upon any which might follow.

Xanthippas said...

I don't really think it's all that much of an issue at all, as I tried to imply. And I think it's foolish that anti-Perry bloggers think it's an issue. It's not, except to the extent that they are trying to embarrass him with something that it is well known many Christians believe.

Actually, I don't think I misinterpret him at all. All Christians shouldsay the same thing, that they have no personal knowledge of who in particular will or will not go to hell. And yet the bible quite clearly states (so Christians believe) that those who do not accept the salvation of Christ will not be permitted to enter heaven despite their good works. As a result, many Christians assume that those who are of another religion, such as Islam or Buddhism or Judaism, will be consigned to hell for their failure to follow the word of Christ. If I misunderstand the theology, than so do many Christians, as I've heard this straight from the mouths of many of them (of the conservative evangelical bent, at least.)

As for your last paragraph; that truly is a theological argument that I cannot engage in.