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No image of September 11, 2001 has impacted me more than the one you see above.  I see grace, I see calmness, I see strength.

But I also see death.

In this single frozen moment in time, I see fear face-to-face; a fear of death, a fear of the unknown beyond our consciousness on Earth, a fear that ten seconds after this photograph was taken this man was not in heaven, nor even ashes to ashes, dust to dust.  It is the fear that this man was shunned from eternal rest, cast away into the underworld.

It is a fear that coalesces spirituality with secularism.  It is not only my fear.  It is a fear so strong that even the supposed family of the Falling Man refused to believe the man was their blood.

"No benevolent God would send this man to hell for killing himself."

Those are the words attached to this image, a secret sent to the website PostSecret.com.  

This striking image and words adorned to its lower half have resonated across the Internet since the image went live early Sunday morning.  The discussion has been very enlightening the past several days, even reaching as far as Reddit.com.

These words invoke a lot of feelings and thoughts in my mind.  You may expect they would.

Because I wrote them.

The story of the Falling Man is a story worth telling.  It is a story captured in the bounds of only ten seconds the morning of September 11, 2001.  But it is also a story unbounded in its impact.

The above picture, a capture of strength, calmness, and order, belies the truth behind the Falling Man's descent toward the ground.  It is but one photograph among a sequence, the rest depicting the chaos of a flailing plunge toward Earth.

The Falling Man elicits the entire spectrum of emotions associated with September 11th - sadness, horror, and fear; courage, strength, and bravery.  That a family would shun that man as one of their own over a fear about the circumstance of his death suggests that the words inscribed in black marker on that image invoke feelings that are not exclusive to myself.

Tom Junod's Esquire piece that I linked to above elegantly completes the story of the man captured in that iconic image.  The search for the Falling Man's identity was long and arduous, but it was believed to be finished after Mr. Junod came into contact with the family of Norberto Hernandez, a pastry chef at the Windows on the World restaurant that sat atop the North Tower.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the Hernandez family fractured apart, primarily over a dispute regarding the identity the Falling Man.  Norberto's daughter Catherine offered a glimpse into why the family refused to believe Falling Man was their blood.

She asks for copies of the pictures so that she can show them to the people who believed that Norberto jumped out a window, while Catherine sits on the step with her palm spread over her heart. "They said my father was going to hell because he jumped," she says. "On the Internet. They said my father was taken to hell with the devil.

...

Her mother is standing at the front door, about to go back inside her house. Her face has already lost its belligerent pride and has turned once again into a mask of composed, almost wistful sadness. "Please," she says as she closes the door in a stain of morning sunlight. "Please clear my husband's name."

The story of Norberto Hernandez eventually became the story of Jonathan Briley.  The Hernandez family got their wish, as after further investigation it was discovered that the Falling Man was not Norberto, but instead a different Windows on the World worker.

Of all the September 11th families desperate for any physical item from their fallen loved one, to me it is quite striking that family would rejoice so much that perhaps the most emotional and provocative image from that day did not capture their family member.  The image would certainly be painful for the family of the Falling Man, but perhaps even a final image is better than emptiness.



* * *



Though the photograph above was captured on September 11, 2001, its underlying story extends beyond that single day.  It is a story that brings together spirituality and secularism into the same room and makes them debate it out.

This is why I wrote what I wrote:

I have heard before from certain groups of Christians who consider suicide a sin that results in that person's soul being sent to hell.  The argument behind this belief is as follows - because the afterlife with God is divine and eternally restful, there must be a barrier in place to prevent people from ending their lives prematurely to rush their ascent toward heaven.  An additional argument is that because "thou shall not kill" is one of the Ten Commandments, a person who commits suicide is committing a sin and cannot repent because he or she is dead.

Though, as many of the commenters pointed out on Reddit.com and the PostSecret Community, anyone who fell from the Twin Towers on 9/11 did not enter the building knowing they were going to jump.  They were forced not into a choice of not whether they would die, but how they would.  They took that decision into their own hands.  Therefore, medical examiners ruled those who jumped as homicides attributed to the terrorists.

My words are a criticism of religious (and particularly, Christian) absolutism.  Even though many claim the Falling Man had no true choice, he did indeed.  Choice for one of several methods of death, while extremely distressing and saddening, is choice nonetheless.  And the choice of the Falling Man, when interpreted through the lense of a Christian absolutist, is that of suicide.  And in that same lense, that of a one way ticket to hell.

Ironically, we hear constantly from these same Christian absolutists that their God is a benevolent one.  Except if you are gay.  Or if you resist complete authority.  Or perhaps if you take your own life, like the Falling Man did, even if that choice is one of many that results in the same end - your death.

I reject that myopic mindset.  But I believe the story of the Falling Man and who was thought to be his family lets us know that many don't.

The most interesting part about this secret and the wave of debate and commentary it sparked across the Internet is the large number of comments who thought that the secret sender (being me) is religious, which I can say unequivocally is far from the truth.  Many other comments were flabbergasted that I wrote that the Falling Man "killed himself", implying that he intended to that morning before the chaos started.  I still stand by my assertion that he indeed had a choice (in the true definition of the word, that of having options).  But with my words I reject the notion of an evil, hateful God that would send a man to hell for escaping the hell on earth that was the North Tower on September 11th.  And if God (if there really is one) would know why the Falling Man jumped, then he should certainly know that gay people can love each other as much as straight people, and that those who end their lives under the grasp of depression were not well and do not deserve whatsoever to be banished to the underworld.

That is why I wrote what I wrote.

Lastly, I sent the above secret to PostSecret on Monday (September 5th) of last week.  But that is not the only secret I revealed that week.  Only two days later on Wednesday night I revealed another secret that freed my heart and mind, only this one I did not submit online.  To the person who heard that secret (you know who you are), I want to thank you for your grace and comfort with your response.  The hour we spent talking after healed my mind and my heart, and I'm so grateful that we are even stronger friends than before.  Namaste.

Originally posted to mconvente on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (100+ / 0-)

    Even though this is somewhat about September 11th, I wanted a few days to read and reflect on the commentary about my secret that has made its way across the Internet.  Which is why I'm posting this now.

    Finally, to deflect any assertion that I actually did not send in the above secret, please address your attention to the follow two links.  

    The first is me taking a picture using my iPhone of my holding the secret before I mailed it (note the pattern of the tile floor).

    The second is me taking a picture mimicking me holding a secret in the same room.  Note the identical tile pattern and thumb shape/color.

    Thanks for reading.

    "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

    by mconvente on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 07:28:53 PM PDT

  •  Any so-called Christian who would say that this (6+ / 0-)

    person went to hell for "committing suicide" is not a Christian and likely has a ride south waiting for themselves when their time on this earth is done.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 09:50:14 PM PDT

  •  I guess I don't get it (16+ / 0-)

    the secret, I mean.  

    But then, I don't have the issue that many others have with people taking their own lives, or more accurately in this case, with people stepping in and deciding themselves how they will die in a situation of imminent death, rather than simply allowing that decision to lie with the people who intended to take their lives in the first place.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 09:52:03 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this. (5+ / 0-)

    I'm sure it made certain heads explode trying to reconcile the inherent contradictions and flaws in their thinking.

    Falling to ones death - conscious of the coming impact - must be a horrific way to die.  But we can't really know if this was a suicide, an accident, or an attempt at escaping certain death via almost certain death.

    But the words are thought provoking all the same.

    •  I believe in forgiveness. I believe in love. (7+ / 0-)

      I understand a bit of the severity against suicide--but only a bit.   I've known situations where people were ready to end it all because they'd received a diagnosis and gave into despair, only to realize that there were more options to choose than it first appeared.  

      But like you, I don't see a loving God closing down love when the choice is between burning to death, being asphyxiated, or ending it quickly.   If I, being human with limited understanding, would lovingly excuse such an act for a loved one, how could God not do so?

      "Because inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened." -Terry Pratchett

      by revsue on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:44:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I have always been troubled by (5+ / 0-)

      the idea that the falling men & women also killed a few people on the ground that might have otherwise lived.  I believe one of them was a fire department chaplain; I'm not sure of the others.  

      For that reason, I THINK I would choose NOT to jump.  But who knows what anyone would do in that situation?

      However, I, too, don't believe a benevolent god would send the jumpers to hell.  (Actually I don't believe a benevolent god would send anyone to hell, but that's another story.  )

      "The next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be president of the United States, please, pay attention." Molly Ivins

      by janmtairy on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 09:12:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The comments about Norberto Hernandez (16+ / 0-)

    going to hell displays the moral vacuity and savagery of the belief that some imaginary dude in the sky punishes people for eternity for disobeying his whims, even if they do so under duress and for good cause.

  •  This man didn't kill himself. He died in a (20+ / 0-)

    desperate attempt to save himself, in the face of rapidly diminishing choices as to what saving oneself actually means.

    The community of fools might be small were it not such an accomplished proselytizer.

    by ZedMont on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 06:09:44 AM PDT

    •  Perspective is everything... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, ladybug53

      Thanks for the glass half full!

    •  To clarify why suicide is deemed "unforgivable" (3+ / 0-)

      in the Roman Catholic church,  it is NOT because of the reason given in the diary.  In Catholic moral theology some sins are worse than others.  For example, taking of a human life is considered a "mortal sin."  Virtually all sins are forgiveable if a person is penitent, i.e. is sorry for what they have done.  Because a suicide, by definition, cannot repent if they are dead, their unconfessed "mortal sin" means that they go to the place where people who have committed mortal sins go in this cosmology: hell.  

      Lots of Christians have a problem with hell.  Kierkegaard, a pietistic Lutheran, on his deathbed, reached the conclusion that, "in the end, we shall ALL be saved."  Many believe hell has been used to manipulate the living into certain ways of behaving.  most of our ideas of hell we owe to the imagination of John Milton and his Paradise Lost.  It is not a highy developed biblical concept.

      There's nothing wrong with Washington, DC that a direct hit by an asteroid wouldn't fix.

      by PDX Dem on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 04:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Their exists an interesting conumdrum (8+ / 0-)

    that some might do well to consider.

    If remaining in the building means certain death, and it did, then is the act of leaving the building to "almost certain death" suicide, or an attempt to escape death?

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 06:21:32 AM PDT

  •  I read this last night (17+ / 0-)

    and started and deleted a comment several times.

    The people who jumped, or fell, or were pushed will always hold some kind of intrigue for me.

    I've struggled with my own attempts at suicide and how to reconcile in a world where it's still far too often the case that the act is whispered of.

    There was an article in the New Yorker in 2003 called "Jumpers" by Tad Friend which discussed the allure of the Golden Gate Bridge as a popular destination for people....for people who want that final moment of control in a life fraught with depression and despair...even as interviews of the survivors indicate that power is often an illusion realized as soon as they go over the rail.

    http://www.newyorker.com/...

    The article was inspiration for a film in 2006 called "The Bridge" which documents some of the people who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge during 2004, with interviews of some of the family and friends.

    http://www.thebridge-themovie.com/...

    I can't say it brought me any answers to my own personal questions, but it provides something...I don't know, dialogue I guess, which in and of itself is a good thing.

    I know talking about the subject more would probably make it less likely to happen.

    I'll give you this too as a former catholic. I'm not giving any advice or answers. I can only offer my own questioning of what's right. (I've grown comfortable enough to say I "believe" that's how it's supposed to be)
    It's 2283 of the Catholic Catechism:

    "We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives."

    Thanks for a poignant diary, and secret, and thanks for sharing.

    "were we ever warmer on that day, a million miles away, it seemed from all of eternity"

    by anodnhajo on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:05:48 AM PDT

    •  A poignant comment yourself (12+ / 0-)

      Dialogue is indeed a good thing about any issue, but I think particularly suicide.

      Suicide is a painful topic to discuss because it usually occurs so suddenly and without warning, thus leaving the individual's family shocked and devastated.

      But suicide is also the paramount taboo topic.  You can talk to your school counselor about anything "in confidence" - except if you start talking about suicide.  High school is difficult enough to survive when you just be yourself, not to mention the firestorm of gossip one would generate if he/she was found to thought about or attempt suicide.  "Oh, that person is crazy!" the students would say, not to mention any Christian absolutism about suicide and hell that would could be shoved toward the student.

      Thank you for being so open about your struggles.  I am starting to see the beginning of removing the taboo label around suicide, especially in light of the "It Gets Better" campaign.  That is a good thing.

      Thanks for reading.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:31:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Important to remember, too (7+ / 0-)

        I think, that talking about suicide is also a form of treatment for those with suicidal tendencies.

        In a strange way, suicide really is the quintessential libertarian "test case". Except when it isn't of course, since as human beings we are always connected to some other human beings, thus do our actions and choices impact on and have implications for other human beings.  

        If human beings have free will, then control over the means and time of one's death, where possible, control over the very fact of one's life should rest with that free-willed individual.  And yet...

        I would not be alive today were it not for a profound sense of responsibility I felt compelled to honor to the people whom my own suicide would have impacted.  While I'm not always sure that I made the right decision, I am crystal clear about what the reason was why I made it.  No libertarian, I.

        Religion is, among other things, one of the tools that humankind has developed to help it deal with, and most often simplify these complexities and contradictions of human existence, responsibilities (both for and to), actions and consequences.  Religion is a tool here.  It is not the only tool available and developed by humans to work through these dilemmas, nor is it always the best tool for every case.  But it is often the only tool that some people have for that purpose.  (Or the only one they know how to use).    

        Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

        by a gilas girl on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 10:12:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  suicide rarely occurs suddenly and without warning (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        anodnhajo, Naniboujou, Creosote

        most who battle suicidality battle it for months or years and some eventually lose the battle.  It may seem sudden and without warning to those who have been ignoring the pain and despair, but not to the person feeling it.  That may be harsh, sometimes the stigma of mental illness, or other societal pressures, cause the depressed to hide their pain with varying degrees of success.  One of the reasons for the devastation the family feels is that with hindsight they can identify the signs that they missed and blame themselves for

        The exceptions may come from those who experience increased suicidality as a side-effect of various medications (Prozac is one) -- the closest I ever came to losing my battle was shortly after being put on Prozac.  

        I don't mean this as an attack against you ... we need to be aware of the difficulty of living with depression and suicidality.  It is a long term struggle.  Therapy can be very effective and needs to be a) not stigmatized and b) covered by insurance (10 visits a year is insufficient treatment for major depression).

  •  Thanks for the link to (5+ / 0-)

    Falling Man by Tom Junod from September 2009.  I remember the picture on the front page of our local paper, probably 9/12/01, but no further discussion of it, or the numbers of people who jumped. And thanks for this detail in your diary:

    medical examiners ruled those who jumped as homicides attributed to the terrorists.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:28:59 AM PDT

  •  I come from a line of "Christianity" that would (10+ / 0-)

    make the claim that this man is going to hell.  Then again, the "Christianity" I was raised in would probably make the argument that he'd go to hell anyway, for any number of minor reasons.

    Anyway, it's insane for anybody to suggest that somebody who chooses not to wait in an office for a certain death in this kind of a freak situation is "committing suicide."  It's also unimaginably cruel to argue that he "went to hell."  Even if one thinks that - which, in itself, is cruel - why would somebody feel the need to say it?  Would those be the first words out of Jesus's mouth?

    It boggles the mind how these people can call themselves Christians.

    "It's very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or, as I like to call it: 'marriage.' You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn't gay park it." - Liz Feldman

    by Chrislove on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:30:03 AM PDT

    •  And, to avoid miscommunication, I'm not suggesting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente, Creosote

      that you, the diarist, are "insane" when you say:

      The most interesting part about this secret and the wave of debate and commentary it sparked across the Internet is the large number of comments who thought that the secret sender (being me) is religious, which I can say unequivocally is far from the truth.  Many other comments were flabbergasted that I wrote that the Falling Man "killed himself", implying that he intended to that morning before the chaos started.  I still stand by my assertion that he indeed had a choice (in the true definition of the word, that of having options).

      I agree, he had a choice.  But, because the choice was between methods of death, I have a hard time calling it "suicide"...at least, based on my understanding of what "suicide" is.

      My comment was aimed at so-called "Christians" who forcefully state that this man committed suicide and went to hell.

      "It's very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage. Or, as I like to call it: 'marriage.' You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn't gay park it." - Liz Feldman

      by Chrislove on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:44:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There are many strains of Christianity (6+ / 0-)

      that seem to have a profound interest in the process of populating hell.  

      Perhaps they have first dibs on the real estate rights there?  

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 10:14:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Years ago, a young man I had babysat (20+ / 0-)

    over a long period, until he was in his mid-teens, committed suicide at nineteen. He came from a hardcore Catholic family, church daily, the rosary three times a day, communion weekly. He put a shotgun to his head. The service was performed by five priests, and he was buried in a Catholic graveyard. In the sermon, the priest said he suffered from mental illness, and he died of it: his death was seen as a result of illness, not suicide. This gave much relief to his family, and I was surprised and pleased to see the church had moved forward a bit.

    "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

    by cv lurking gf on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:31:40 AM PDT

  •  Assumption (13+ / 0-)

    I wonder why people assume it was a suicide and not some kind of 'leap of faith'.  With death imminent, isn't it possible that he decided to put it in God's hands and jump?  Miracles are possible for believers.  You could even argue that not jumping was akin to a lack of faith - allowing yourself to just die without giving God one more chance to save you.  

    I have been away from God for a long, long time so I do not speak with any authority.  But I can see someone thinking 'I am going to give this to God' and jumping.

    Meet me in Cognito, baby

    by out grrl on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:42:08 AM PDT

    •  That is true (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mconvente

      If your only chance of living is a miracle, start praying and jump. The odds of angels catching you is low - but people have survived worse falls than from the WTC. The record is a fall of 33,000 feet by a stewardess.

      In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

      by blue aardvark on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 04:08:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Know (3+ / 0-)

        And we will never know.  I guess I just prefer to think of it as an act of grace as opposed to an act of terror.  A surrender to God rather than a conscious decision that it is preferable to fall than to burn.  The picture has a purposeful feel to it.  The posture is sure and that just doesn't say 'suicide' to me.  But, again, we will never know.  

        Come to think of it, even assuming there is a religious element assumes a great deal.  

        From my own perspective, I would probably say 'Well, you have always been the luckiest f*cker you know, so give it a go'.  A different kind of faith.

        Meet me in Cognito, baby

        by out grrl on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 06:11:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wonderfully said, thank you (6+ / 0-)

    I saw the posting to Post Secrets a day or so ago, and was moved by the image. Finding this backstory truly completes it for me.

    Thanks for posting this.

    "I mean, it -- I mean -- and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell." -- Rick Perry, 9/7/11

    by Senor Unoball on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 08:22:15 AM PDT

  •  Not a Suicide (8+ / 0-)

    I would say this man was killed by the suicide extremists, not by himself. He was not given a lot of options.

    I have some Conservative viewpoints. That does not mean am "Stupid" or "Evil". I would hope that a forum such as this will respect that. To feel that people who do not agree with you are always wrong is "Stupid and Evil"

    by Big Daddy Danno on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 08:35:07 AM PDT

  •  suicide (5+ / 0-)

    Coerced self homicide is not voluntary suicide-two different concepts.

  •  Ambivalent...but not about the diary (9+ / 0-)

    (Parenthetical comment on the man who jumped:  I think it's horrific to have been driven to to this but the deal (probably) was that the fire was so hot that the thought of falling to death was preferable to burning to death, which we probably all fear the most.)

    I loved the diary - and the powerful message it conveyed.  I know there are people out there who see the world in black and white (heaven and hell) terms.

    The immature religious traditions throughout history exist to keep followers in line by "scaring hell out of them."  That's what we are talking about here.  

    Being a Catholic, and being surrounded most of my life by Jesuits, I can tell you that most of them openly question the existence of a "real" hell in the archetypal sense of the term.  

    Again I Loved the Diary - it was poignant and I love good thoughtful writing, but I think we (including me) here at DKOS have a tendency to spend too much energy reacting to the extreme views on the right.  

    What we are discussing here is something that most people in the US, I would guess would think is a complete non-sequitur.   Of course, there are a smaller subset of people who still buy the medieval view of Christianity as the relevant theological thinking.  

    I just don't want everyone to think that the whole "he jumped, he's going to hell" view is supported by mainstream theological thinking...it is not

    Many "born agains" are a very unhealthy lot emotionally and psychologically.  Psychologists will tell us to beware of anyone who exhibits "black and white" thinking patterns.  That's what this is, and we should beware of it regardless of where it comes from - Right or Left.

  •  going to hell? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, LKC, congenitalefty

    I would say that the tea baggers audience that cheered the idea of letting a sick man die because he didn't have insurance would be sent directly to hell, if there actually was such a place, instead of the man who took his own life in a freefall instead of a burning, horrible death.  How can you possibly believe that there is a "GOD" up there pointing at people and some get to come to the fun party and some get to burn because they were or weren't a certain religion?  Go ahead and believe if it brings you comfort, but never damn others because they don't' follow your made up game.

    "My Momma always taught me to play by the rules, and if you don't that's called cheatin'." - Donna Brazile

    by jjmn on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 03:45:13 PM PDT

    •  I don't believe it (0+ / 0-)

      It was only a sentence or two in my diary, but I do mention that I am far from religious.

      "Give me a lever long enough... and I shall move the world." - Archimedes

      by mconvente on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 04:44:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it is everyone's personal right to believe (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mconvente

        But to condemn anyone in that position to their "hell" is not only sick, but shows what is wrong with religion.
        I wasn't sending this to you personally, and apologize if you took it that way.  I was sending it to the haters and people who think if you put a dollar in a plate on Sundays, and are an ass the rest of the week, month and year, you have a reservation to nirvana por vida.  If anyone does, that dear courageous soul does more so than the cars lining up at my local church which addded a 20 MILLION cross so theirs would be taller than the one across the way. God bless.  One wonders what $20 million would have done to the homeless and poor, and needy, you know, the ones the good Christians are supposed to be helping.

        "My Momma always taught me to play by the rules, and if you don't that's called cheatin'." - Donna Brazile

        by jjmn on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:29:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I must quibble (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente, Creosote, Thestral, marykk

    Not with the conclusion that God didn't send that man to hell. With the idea that a person in a burning building chooses whether or not to flee the flames.

    A pretty well-established way of getting people to exit a building is to set that building on fire. Flame throwers were used for this purpose in WWII, and soldiers would run out of burning buildings toward men with guns who were doubtless going to kill them.

    The fear of being burned to death is so primal that I don't think you can really say a person fleeing the flames, even by jumping out a window 1,000 feet up, is choosing the manner of their death. They are choosing not-fire and that's it. The consequences of the act of escaping the flames being death is really not consequential.

    I doubt a single person trapped by the flames with access to a window stayed and burned.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 04:02:31 PM PDT

  •  If there were such a thing as hell (4+ / 0-)

    I think most if not many would look around them and say we are in it.  

    The concept of an all loving, omniscient, Father/Mother God persona who is punishing and condemning flies in the face of all logic.  

    Life is what we choose to make of it in relation to the experiences and circumstances we have.  The way we live our lives is its own reward or punishment if we choose to hold it in that perspective.

    The original meaning of the word "Sin" was:  fallen short of the mark.  Then humans and religions of all manner of beliefs molded it into the thing we think it means today.

    I do not mean to denigrate anyone's belief system or religion but this hell and condemnation stuff cannot co-exist with the "judge not lest ye be judged" edict they claim to believe in.

    If you are a "believer" and it brings joy, comfort and fulfillment to your life, then I am all for it and it is certainly the right path for you to follow.

    It certainly is no comfort to me in its present presentations.  I follow my own path of Love and compassion, forgiveness, and encouragement for living a little "better" everyday in any way that I am able.

    JMO

    Blessings and hugs
    Shirl

    *the blogger formerly known as shirlstars

    by Shirl In Idaho on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 05:51:29 PM PDT

  •  May your God bring you comfort. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mconvente

    I really wish only well for every human on this planet.  If one finds comfort from their respective God, then so be it.  I am happy for them.

    I, personally, believe that all religion is a fairy tale developed to control the peasants and the rabble for the benefit of the wealthy and those in control.

    Think Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Baker, Jim Jones.  The Christian locks to the doors of heaven were jimmied long ago.

    Let us all mourn the reality of all of the carnage done in the name of very many religions.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by Randolph the red nosed reindeer on Tue Sep 13, 2011 at 07:48:33 PM PDT

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