It Would Be Asking Too Much

“I rage that a human being could choose to take another human being’s life,” she told a regional BBC program. “I rage that someone should do this in the name of a God. I find that utterly offensive.
Can I forgive them for what they did? No, I cannot. And I don’t wish to. I believe that there are some things in life which are unforgivable by the human spirit.”

The good vicar lost her 24 year old daughter in the London Underground bombings and has hung up her vestments. I can’t imagine the pain.
And she is so very right.

65 Responses to “It Would Be Asking Too Much”

  1. Crusader says:

    I respect her honesty, and can’t imagine what it must feel like.

  2. Mike Rentner says:

    There’s a formula in the bible about forgiveness that is rarely remembered in its complete form. When discussing the ability of priests to grant forgiveness it says something to the effect that “whatever they forgive is forgiven. Whatever they hold bound is held bound.”
    I’m not a christian, at all, but I don’t understand why those who call themselves christians think there is a requirement to forgive anyone for anything.
    Some evils are too great to forgive. Why didn’t the vicar just conclude that she didn’t need to forgive them?

  3. Mr. Bingley says:

    I think Mike the ‘requirement’ arises out of the belief that we are the product of our choices, that all good people are none-the-less sinners at their core, and that the option is always there for us to choose to be good. Jesus died to save us from our sins, to forgive us, and if He could do this for all humanity than we can follow His example and forgive the sins of others in the hope that it will encourage them to ammend their ways.
    That rambled a bit and it’s not meant as a sermon, btw, but just trying to explain how I see the answer to your question.
    And oh Nelly, there are people and acts that I hate, no doubt.

  4. I’m with ya on that one, Mike. Too great to forgive, indeed.
    But those who nurture in the vestments of Christ have the ultimate example ~ Jesus forgiving those who nailed him to the cross ~ as their standard. And if they feel they can’t live those words faithfully in spite of everything, that same code asks that they step aside without condemnation or rebuke. Every Christian strives to emulate Christ and his teachings (in one way or another) as best they can. Those who lead the flock are held to it.

  5. That from a Druid, mind you. Be glad Ebola’s in Detroit ~ God knows what his two cents would have looked like.

  6. Mike Rentner says:

    Okay, will we ever learn why he is called Ebola?
    Well, God damned satan. Those who murder innocents like this are right in the same category, I’d say.

  7. The_Real_JeffS says:

    A Druid? I had you tagged as an Aztec, myself. 8^D

  8. A knife wielding, heart-ripping-out, bloodsucking TREE HUGGER? I am the Queen of peace, Love and Happiness, I don’t care what cindy Sheehan thinks she is. And, with one notable exception, I would never resort to violence.
    With gas prices what they are, Kraut lives too far away to make it worth my while anyway.

  9. And the moniker came about courtesy of Bingley, who dubbed his nephew courtesy of Ebola’s peculiar penchant/affinity for contracting computer viruses long before the internet was a gleam in the average American’s bloodshot eye.

  10. Mike Rentner says:

    Ah, so now we know. Very clever name.
    Okay, how did Bingley get his name?
    And are you really a druid? How do you know what a druid even is, they all died without leaving much documentation. 🙂

  11. Dave J says:

    Mike, all good geeks know what a druid is for the same reason: Dungeons & Dragons. Duh. 😉

  12. Mr. Bingley says:

    She never played, Dave. I still have my original, well-worn set from 1979.
    Ah, the joys of “In Search of the Unknown”… 🙂

  13. Crusader says:

    And actually Mike, the commandment to forgive was given by Jesus himself.
    Matt. 18:21-22
    Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
    Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
    So it is pretty clear cut in Scripture.

  14. Mike Rentner says:

    Nothing is ever clear cut when it comes to scripture.
    I don’t have a bible in front of me, but I know that when Jesus sends the disciples forth he charges them to listen to confessions, and if they forgive the sin, then god forgives it. If they hold the sins against the person, so does god.

  15. Argue cautiously with ‘Sader, Mike. He’s our resident expert reference library, chapter and verse. I always call him when Christians down here have some whack sign up in front of a church and he can always explain it to me ~ patiently and preaching free ~ bless his heart. (The latest cutesy billboard and yard sign thing is “Got Pentacost?” What’s up with that?)
    He’s got the entire history of military aviation down cold too ~ even been quoted in an MSNBCdotcom article on the greatest fighter ever. That’s my baby bro, the multitasker.

  16. Mike Rentner says:

    Ever cautious, but I went to four years at a catholic school, a decade of religious instruction before that, and my brother is a priest. I’m on pretty firm ground here.

  17. Mr. Bingley says:

    I’m waiting for ‘Fly; he’s my local reference.

  18. Well, Catholics are the ORIGINAL Christians.
    (here we go…)

  19. Crusader says:

    As I suspected when you said confession, we are talking past each other, to an extent Mike. The Catholic Bible differs in many ways from the KJV I tend to read. (I’m a Southern Baptist by default, as they are about the closest to my reading of the Scriptures, even tho I disagree with them on certain things, like the whole alcohol being a no-no thing. The Catholic church has many teachings that I am just not aware of, having never really been exposed to it, so you must forgive me if I am unaware of what they teach.)
    But for me it boils down to this: if Christ, who was without sin, died on a cross for my sins, and yet was able to say “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”, then what excuse do I have for unforgiveness? It is not easy, nor is it something that happens instantly, but it is something I must try to do, at the least. But that is something for you to decide, as I can only choose it for myself. But I know from personal experience, that unforgiveness does more damage to the person that is unforgiving, than to the person who they are bitter towards. And to me, life is to short as it is.

  20. Mike Rentner says:

    Well, it’s pretty clear that he says “for they know not what they” that he is forgiving them because of the innocence of their intent.
    If the intent is to commit evil, for evil’s sake, then damnation is appropriate. Even the Baptists agree that there is a hell and that god damns people to it. So the only question is, for what do people get damned?

  21. Crusader says:

    The Greek word translated know relates more to ignorance or lack of perception, than innocence. And there was no innocence in their intent, for that matter. They wanted him dead, and did not care how many Mosaic laws they broke to get him crucified. But they did not perceive the enormity of what they were doing. Which again fits well with our world, where many people do many stupid things, failing to grasp the enormity of what they have done. Another factor of forgiveness that is often forgotten, is the fact that forgiveness does not absolve one of the consequences of their actions. Just as David was forgiven by God, yet still suffered punishment for his actions.

  22. Mr. Bingley says:

    I forgive you for that plasma grenade the other night in Halo2, Crusader.

  23. Crusader says:


  24. Crusader says:

    Oh, and Mike, this is what my name comes from. Last of the Gunslingers. (Sorry, couldn’t find a decent pic of one from a VMF here at work.)

  25. Mike Rentner says:

    I think it can be said that the people who wanted Jesus to be crucified did so with best intentions that he was incorrectly claiming divinity. Of course christians claim he was divine, so they were innocent in that regard.
    As an atheist I agree that they were wrong to urge the execution of someone for that reason, but to Jews of the day it was fairly reasonable.
    And some might say that some muslims think that flying airplanes into skyscrapers for much the same type of religious fervor is forgivable for a similar reason. But they would be wrong.

  26. Mike Rentner says:

    And thanks Crusader. I had picked up on the reason for that name. Bingley is the one I don’t get yet.

  27. That’s our Bingley: homme de mystérieux.
    incorrectly claiming divinity
    Hmmm, from my place here in the auld sod, I recollect it was more that he was claiming the Jews answered to a higher power, vice Rome and the local priesthood heirarchy. Upsetting the apple cart and their cush political/religious life styles was the catalyst for the crucifixion, with the divinity question just the excuse they seized on to justify it. (They would have gone for the ‘King of the Jews’ label if that hadn’t worked.) As a stanza from the great biblical work states:

    Jesus, you must realize the serious charges facing you.
    You say you’re the Son of God in all your handouts,
    Well, is it true?
    That’s what you say, you say that I am.


    Who is this broken man, cluttering up my hallway?
    Who is this unfortunate?
    Someone Christ,
    King of the Jews.
    Oh, so this is Jesus Christ,
    I am really quite surprised.
    You look so small,
    Not a king at all.
    We all know that you are news,
    But are you king?
    King of the Jews?
    Your words, not mine.

    See? I know stuff.

  28. Mr. Bingley says:

    actually, the correct line is
    “That’s what you say”

  29. And what would you know? You were four years old.
    And, smarty pants, what they say in the libretto and what they sing in the cast album are two entirely different things sometimes. That’s where the interpretive problem with scriptures comes in, Monsewer Mystériuex Bingley Pigdog Infidel.

  30. Crusader says:

    As an atheist I agree that they were wrong to urge the execution of someone for that reason, but to Jews of the day it was fairly reasonable.

    But that was why I mentioned the Mosaic laws, as the trial was a sham, and violated the process that was laid out. It was an illegal trial, so they were anything but innocent . They knew what they were doing, and why they were doing it, for as THS said, he was a threat to their power. Plus he ate with sinners. Ick. So he had to die.

  31. Mike Rentner says:

    Okay, but the point is that damnation does occur, or else why do theists claim there is a hell? If so, then who goes to hell? Someone must be failing to forgive them. And that someone is . . . .
    er, no, god.

  32. Crusader says:

    Correct, but the only reason that He does not forgive them is that they fail to repent and accept Christ. The only unforgivable sin is that of denying Christ.

  33. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, buying any Depeche Mode album has got to rank up there too.

  34. Crusader says:

    Close, but still (barely) forgivable. Plus it’s hell to have to listen to it anyway.

  35. Mike Rentner says:

    That must be one of them Baptist things. I don’t remember catholics making that claim. Catholics tend to believe that would get you to purgatory and limbo, but not to hell. Seems kind of unreasonable to send someone to hell that is kind to strangers, behaves all the time but doesn’t believe without evidence, yet murderers can get 72 grapes in heaven.

  36. Mr. Bingley says:

    Well, ‘reasonable’ is not a term one normally associates with religious practices, whereas ‘believe’ is the point. 🙂

  37. Nightfly says:

    Great discussion. I hope I can keep up (or that Bingley can forgive my falling behind).
    Let’s start with Heaven. Heaven, most simply put, is the abiding and undisguised presence of God, the Beatific Vision. Such a sight on Earth could be incredibly dangerous to the recipient, which is why it happens so rarely. (Think of the three apostles present at the Transfiguration. [Matthew 17 has an account.] “It’s good that we’re here,” Peter says, which is correct, but then he starts babbling. We simply can’t take it in our current condition.) On the Catholic account, this frailty of ours helps explain why God chooses to appear with some obscurity. The Incarnation itself is a great example – God, wholly God, made flesh and dwelling among us, slowly bringing the disciples to the point where Peter could confess Jesus was the Christ. Another is the Eucharist, where Christ is made present to us in the bread and wine. If we really could see everything that meant, we would never actually receive the host or the cup; we’d be too busy falling on our faces in awe and terror.
    One could think of matter itself as the veil shielding us from full exposure to eternity until we’re ready. Once we die, that veil is no longer available. Through Christ we are offered the means to live without the veil, to enjoy the Beatific Vision – indeed, the soul was designed for this. Rejecting that option means that the soul is unprepared, and the sight of God’s glory is unendurable.
    The damned are already dead and have no available escape, unless God provides it. In a sense, Hell is that provision. To the damned, Heaven would be WORSE than Hell because of God’s presence, which they have utterly and permanently rejected. Hell involves eternal torment because we are designed to be with God eternally, but even this is preferable to the damned than to be subject to the Beatific Vision. In effect, instead of living forever, the lost would die forever.

  38. Nightfly says:

    Hence, the importance of forgiveness. To Crusader’s excellent answers I would only add a couple of things.
    1. Forgive does NOT mean excuse. There is no justification for sin. “Oh, that’s all right” is NOT forgiveness – if it was “all right” or even “slightly right” there would be no need for forgiveness.
    2. Forgive also does NOT mean lack of punishment. Quite the reverse – in many circumstances BOTH are required, such as a parent who still loves his child nonetheless standing him in the corner for snitching cookies before dinner.
    As applied to the good vicar, she is right in saying that the suicide bombings are utterly abhorrent, and cannot possibly be excused. And the enormity of what’s been done personally to her family makes it hard to see that for what it is, and then offer forgiveness anyway – even if that offer is rejected. In effect, it takes Christ to be able to see sin for what it truly is and offer forgiveness – indeed, to offer His life to settle the infinite debt owed by Man to God. And that’s why, in all of this, the Bible talks of those in Christ as being “new creations,” and Jesus Himself says that we must be born anew. In order to be able to forgive that completely we have to take on that kind of character: to correct and admonish without ever hating or despairing, to be willing to be reconciled to our bitterest and cruelest enemies.
    You see why it’s so hard to do, and why it’s so easy to get it only part-right. It is a true and difficult virtue to forgive. The mistake most readily made is to ignore that difficulty, to put the reconciliation BEFORE the forgiveness, to skip the utter sinfulness of sin, as if forgiveness involved nothing more than self-delusion. Such people see the suicide bombings and, in effect, rush to comfort the guilty instead of the innocent – it’s dishonest and insulting, and it gives forgiveness itself a bad name. They say, “Now, now – turn the other cheek!” without considering how much the first cheek still stings. They don’t even consider that one can forgive the wrongdoer and yet still be obliged to wage war on them.

  39. Mr. Bingley says:

    Such a sight on Earth could be incredibly dangerous to the recipient, which is why it happens so rarely.
    Hence the burning Bush on SNL that says “Wouldn’t be prudent…”

  40. Mr. Bingley says:

    As you say ‘Fly, a lot of times this ‘rush to comfort the guilty’ makes it seem that the act is deemed somehow acceptable.
    “Oh you poor dears, what with those zionists farming in the desert and such; what else is one to do but blow up subways in London?”

  41. Crusader says:

    That must be one of them Baptist things.

    Actually Mike, I have attended Episcapalion, Assemblies of God, Pentacostal, Presbyterian and Baptist churches, and all say pretty much the same thing. The only place I ever hear of purgatory and limbo is from folks of Catholic upbringing. From a scriptual standpoint, it is a concept I vehemently disagree with, as I find no scriptual basis for. You are redeemed thru acceptance of Christs sacrifice, and you go to heaven, or you deny Christ, and you go to hell. Again, I find little middle ground in scripture. I have heard it best summerized by a Presbyterian minister who said: You are saved by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone.
    See Acts 4:12 and Eph 2:8-9.
    And as for your example of the murderer and the ‘nice’ person, both are sinners, and both have access to a wealth of evidence, but if they choose to not accept it, then whose fault is that? Heaven is Gods, and it is he who decides what is required for entrance, not those who are seeking entrance. He has given us what is required, and if you deny it, then the fault is yours, not His. We don’t actually have free will,(since you cannot choose not to choose) but we do have the ability to make moral decisions. He gives you the ability, but what you do with it is your choice.
    As to the 72 raisins, that is a different discussion, since they worship a different god.

  42. Mike Rentner says:

    They worship the same god in the same way that catholics and presbyterians worship the same god.
    Clearly there are differences in how they “interpret” how this magic being is to be worshipped. Many protestants seemingly think it’s worse to not believe in their god than it is to kill people in a skyscraper, and muslims think it’s better to kill people in a skyscraper than to not believe in their god. Hmmm. I never noticed that particular similarity before.

  43. Mr. Bingley says:

    Many protestants seemingly think it’s worse to not believe in their god than it is to kill people in a skyscraper
    Well, I’m not sure how many protestants you know who believe this; I certainly don’t know any. What is ‘many’? 2 million? 100,000? 50 in a shack in utah? Oh sure, the MSM loves to play up the idiots like Falwell and Robertson who say stuff like that, but they most certainly are not ‘mainstream’ in any sense of the word.
    Certainly Mohammed (police be upon him) claimed that he was the prophet for the god of jakob and abraham, but to lump christians, those who follow (well, at least attempt to follow. kind of. and mostly fail.) the teachings of christ as revealed in the new testament is a bit of rhetorical overreach.

  44. Mike Rentner says:

    Well, again my defective humor gene is showing itself again.
    It’s clearly established that the same monotheistic god is involved in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. No arguments allowed against that piece of fact. It’s only how they worship that god that is different.
    I was only following the logic of the people before in this thread that say that they can forgive terrorists, but they can’t forgive not believing in their god and putting that up against muslims who act on the same idea.
    I thought it was funny. Or ironic. Or is it satire? I’m getting confused again.

  45. Crusader says:

    They worship the same god in the same way that catholics and presbyterians worship the same god.

    Sorry Mike, but you are wrong. Check out the Law of Noncontradiction. The claims of the Bible and the Koran stand in diametric opposition to each other, making many claims that cannot be both true and not true at the same time. Either one is correct, or they both are wrong, but both cannot be true. So your claim is false. We worship different gods.

  46. Mr. Bingley says:

    Sorry, perhaps my satire recepter isn’t working terribly well this morning (odd, really, considering that I was reading a biography of Alexander Pope on the boat ride in). my bad.
    anyhoo, i don’t think anyone has said that they can’t forgive not believing in their god; that’s really not something that’s ours to do, rather it is god’s to do and act upon as he sees fit. in effect, christians are called to lead the horses of the world to the well of heavenly bliss and to extol the virtues of imbibing but the ultimate decision as to whether to drink is the horses, not the person showing the well. You are not forced to drink, and if you choose not to your head is not lopped off. oh sure, we believe that after you die things will be unpleasant for you, but you have the free will to make your decisions.
    yes, again, mohammed took the god of the old testament as the basis for his allah, but the differences are much more than merely how he is worshipped, it seems to me, but rather how he and heaven are described, so, in fact, i would say that a good argument can be made that they are not, in fact, the same monotheistic god.

  47. Crusader says:

    I was only following the logic of the people before in this thread that say that they can forgive terrorists, but they can’t forgive not believing in their god and putting that up against muslims who act on the same idea.

    The problem is, you are confusing whose forgiveness is being discussed. Forgiving a terrorist means you are forgiving someone who has done something against you, whereas what do I have to forgive someone for who chooses not to believe in the God I do? Have they done anything against me by their choice? No. So I have no cause for forgiveness, or for grievance. They have nothing to do with each other in the context you are trying to use them in. One regards mans forgiveness, while the other regards Gods forgiveness. And again, just because you forgive someone does not mean that they escape any punishment for their actions. Whatever logic you were following was not one that has been presented in this thread.

  48. Mike Rentner says:

    No, you’re wrong. It is the same god, just recognized differently.
    If you put a potato on a pedestal and one man calls it a potato and another man calls it a spud, it’s still the same thing they’re looking at. Even if one man says it’s a rock and another says it’s a lump of coal, they’re still referring to the same thing.
    Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all worship the same god, just differently, and the leaders of all these religions agree with that.
    The three religions all contain the same literature in part. All three use the old testament, and Islam recognizes the holiness of Jesus, if not his divinity. They all claim to worship the god of Abraham. Jews through one of his sons, Muslims through the other son, and Christians through Jesus who also claimed to be a son of Abraham.
    So, yeah, it’s the same god, they just disagree on what he says.

  49. Crusader says:

    Looks like Bingley beat me to it. He’ll have a plasma grenade with his name on it next time we play Halo 2……

  50. Mike Rentner says:

    Point taken regarding who is doing the forgiving.
    But I still think it’s funny. 🙂

  51. Crusader says:

    Again Mike you are incorrect. Per your logic, both Isaac and Ismael are the chosen seed. But they both cannot be. Jews and Christians agree with the one, but Islam says the other. One of many examples that is more fundimental than just ‘worship’ as you claim.

  52. Mike Rentner says:

    Whether they are correct is irrelevent. It’s still the same god. They just say he said different things.
    If Bingley says that you said 2+2 is five, and THS says that you said 2+2 is three, they’d both be referring to you as the person saying it. Of course 2+2 is four, so they’d still both be wrong in what you said, because I know you’re better at math than that.

  53. So, yeah, it’s the same god, they just disagree on what he says.
    There’s that other mono-theistic society, too.

  54. Mr. Bingley says:

    from one viewpoint, i agree with what you are saying about the god of these three religions.
    however, your examples provide the validation of my perspective. you may call it a potato, i may call it a spud, dan quayle may call it a potatoe for all i know, but none of us disagree that it is a starchy food that tastes best when it is baked and smothered in sour cream and cheese. the characteristics that make it whatever we decide to call it are not in dispute. with regard to god, as you say “they just disagree on what he says”, yet what he says is what he is, so in a very real sense they are not the same god.

  55. And I would never say “3”…okay, maybe I would, but that doesn’t make you right.

  56. Mr. Bingley says:

    three sis.”
    “Ooops, sorry”

  57. BASTARD !!! Mock me and I shall SMOTE you a second…THIRD time!!

  58. Crusader says:

    Well said, Bingley.

  59. Mike Rentner says:

    Though shalt not count to 2, except in passing to three.

  60. Mike Rentner says:

    I hate typos.
    “Thou” shalt not count to 2, except in passing to three.

  61. Mr. Bingley says:

    No defective humor gene there, Mike! Watch out, or we shall expect more of it 😛

  62. Crusader says:

    Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it.

  63. Nightfly says:

    It’s pretty funny that we can’t agree on God or forgiveness, but quote the Holy Texts of Python and all is right with the blog!

  64. Mr. Bingley says:

    Heh. Humor is a great and needed unifyer.

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