Friday, October 06, 2006

Alterations: Can you widen these pants for me please?

BBC – Magazine (Friday, 6 October 2006):

“The Pope may be about to abolish the notion of limbo,
the halfway house between heaven and hell, inhabited
by unbaptised infants.

[…], the church held that before the 13th Century, all unbaptised people, including new born babies who died, would go to hell. This was because original sin - the punishment that God inflicted on humanity because of Adam and Eve's disobedience - had not been cleansed by baptism.
This idea however was criticised by Peter Abelard, a French scholastic philosophiser, who said that babies who had no personal sin didn't even deserve punishment.
It was Abelard who introduced the idea of limbo. The word comes from the Latin "limbus", meaning the edge. This would be a state of existence where unbaptised babies, and those unfortunate enough to have been born before Jesus, would not experience pain but neither would they experience the Beatific Vision of God.”

Not popular
According to church historian Michael Walsh limbo is so unpopular it has all but dropped out of Catholic consciousness.

Some argue that the question of limbo has taken on fresh urgency because it could be hindering the Church's conversion of Africa and Asia, where infant mortality rates are high.
An article in the UK's Times newspaper this week suggested that the "Pope - an acknowledged authority on all things Islamic - is only too aware that Muslims believe the souls of stillborn babies go straight to heaven".

_ _ _ _

While I believe that the whole notion of 'original sin' is in stark contrast with the belief that we are created in the image of God, and that original sin is a man-made misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Bible, and while, therefore, I am all for the idea of abolishing 'Limbo' and all limbo-related beliefs, people still need to stop and think whether religion should be based on either what is (or isn't) popular at a certain time in history, or on who happens to be Pope or Chief Rabbi, or Grand Ayatullah at the time. Most churches (not only Christian) have been very willing to ‘slightly’ alter doctrine in order to hold on to the faithful, or to compete with other religions for the remaining ‘heathens’ of the world. With all these ‘slight’ changes over the centuries, does any religion remain true to the original teachings of the Prophets?


Anonymous said...

Amen brother! ;-)
My reaction to this is similar to someone rushing into a news paper office with the exciting news that he has discoverd how to make a bicycle..perhaps this was important a few centuries ago, when relatively minor distances were serious obstacles to communication and community solidarity. But today we are concerned about spaces that spread out inside ourselves as well as across continents and oceans.. The Pope is doing his best to move into the the 17th century. That is progress, but at what cost?

Edo River rising

Faisal said...

Nice to hear from you Edo River San.

"At what price?" is a very good question. I am guessing that short term, you retain more of your membership, or even maybe gain a bit. Long term however, you have more and more man-made elements in your religion (but you're still going to call it 'religion').!!!

João Moutinho said...

Congratulations for your blog.

Faisal said...

muchas gracias joao.