Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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11

Jul

2018

Email from beyond the grave

Author: Jim Taylor

I got an email from my friend Doug Hodgkinson the other day. Which was odd. Because Doug died seven years ago.

            I wondered where he was writing from. And if they have wi-fi connections there, wherever “there” is. They don’t have gmail addresses, anyway. Doug had a gmail address before his death, but this message came from Hestbript@ibh1mnhk6k.rereprsente.us, which reads like the proverbial roomful of monkeys whacking typewriter keys at random.

            Just in case there’s any doubt, I don’t think the message came from either heaven or hell – unless it’s the kind of hell that exploiters of human weakness and gullibility create.  I gave up believing in hell long ago; I gave up on heaven a little later. 

            The two go together, because they both assume a God who hands out rewards and punishments.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: life, Hell, heaven, death, email

5

Apr

2017

Immortality is coming! Immortality is coming!

Author: Jim Taylor

“What kind of work do you do?” the surgeon asked, tilting back in his chair. The two of us were having a get-acquainted interview.

            “I edit books,” I told him.

            “What kind of books?”

            “Religious books, mostly.”

            He leaned forward, suddenly intent. “And what’s religion going to do when medicine delivers immortality, instead of religion?” he demanded. 

            I tried to explain that religion wasn’t just about earning eternal life. And it isn’t, though many people do look forward to living forever in heaven. (No one looks forward to living forever in hell.) 

            I don’t think I convinced him.


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1

Mar

2017

Doing our dirty work for us

Author: Jim Taylor

No doubt you’ve heard that Douglas Garland was convicted of kidnapping, torturing, dismembering, and burning the bodies of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents Alvin and Kathy Liknes.

            Garland, 57 years old, was sentenced to three consecutive 25-year terms of life imprisonment. Seventy-five years might seem sufficient punishment, but Nathan’s father wanted more – eternal punishment.

            At the sentencing hearing, Rod O’Brien addressed Garland directly: “For those who choose evil, they will get an eternity of evil. A life sentence on earth is nothing compared to what waits for you.”

            Having lost a son myself, many years ago, I can sympathize with the intensity of O’Brien’s grief. I hope his belief in hell – and in heaven for Nathan -- gives him comfort. It wouldn’t, for me.

            Because I don’t believe in hell.


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Categories: Soft Edges

Tags: Hell, heaven, judgement

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