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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Look what you made God do. Or, petty divine retribution.

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Author Topic: Look what you made God do. Or, petty divine retribution.
scifibum
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Example #1 - No apparent causal relationship:
A kid has a bad day and doesn't make his bed, sasses his mom, and hits his little brother. Later he walks into an open door edgewise and gets a cut on his face.

Example #2 - Evident cause, foreseen result:
Kid is running around the house like a maniac, mom tells him to settle down because it's dangerous, he doesn't, and runs into the door (similar injury).

Example #3 - Evident cause, unforeseen result:
Kid is energetically waving his arms around and his sister, who isn't watching where she is going, walks into his propeller radius and gets a bloody nose.

I'm bringing up each of these as examples where parents have been known to say "well that's what you get for [being a brat/running around maniacally/waving your arms]." This was a common refrain I heard often growing up. Ironically (I think; where's my Morissette Irony Reference?), I heard it most often for situations like example #1.

In that situation - where there is no evident causal relationship between bad behavior and a bad coincidence - the idea seems to be that there's a micro-scale reward/punishment mechanism to the universe, and if you aren't good, bad things are coming your way. In my experience, the mechanism was understood to be divine. The pop culture understanding of karma also fits this model.

In the other situations, where it's pretty clear that what the kid was doing led to the unfortunate result, nobody usually bothered making much of a point of it. I guess when the kid can see the mechanism of action, there's no need to describe it.

I'm curious whether others here have experienced situations like Example #1 and then been told that it was simply what they deserved, and should have expected. If so, what was the posited mechanism? Who caused the result?

It's amusing, now, to think that my parents believed in a God that would monitor the day to day behavior of a child and introduce corrective feedback via minor injuries. Especially in light of the theology of their religion, which provides for no such petty intervention in daily affairs. Of course, they didn't really believe in such a God - they were using that as a convenient angle to try to get their kids to behave better. It's still kind of amusing, though.

I've decided that my kids won't hear from me that God punished them (or rewarded them) for individual acts, or even days or months of behavior. Their behavior will have evident consequences, or it won't. If there's an agent meting out consequences for petty misbehavior, it will be me. These consequences won't include bodily injuries.

I would even say that in situations like #3, blaming the kid for the result is over the line. If there's a rule against it, and they know it, there will be a consequence - but any punishment should be commensurate with the foreseeable consequences of the action. Any accident that occurs, worsening the consequences of a mildly bad act, will be considered just an accident.

I may be petty, but I have little reason to suspect that God is.

[ May 27, 2008, 07:55 PM: Message edited by: scifibum ]

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cherrypoptart
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There is a saying: "The stupid shall be punished."

Punished by whom?

Not by whom necessarily, but what. What then? Their own stupidity. To be kind we could instead call it carelessness.

I just tell my kids to try to be careful, watch what you are doing, and pay attention to your surroundings or you may get hurt. I don't think I've ever said, "that's what you get" though. It's more like, "That's why you have to be careful."

I expect you're probably right if you believe that God probably has better things to do.

But what about our own personal guardian angel? They've got nothing better to do than teach us those splendid little lessons. Sometimes some of us would probably prefer to give them the day off though if that's the case.

[ May 27, 2008, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: cherrypoptart ]

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canadian
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I'm. Trying. To. Teach. You!
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munga
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Mormonalia:

"This mortality moment brought to you by the plan of salvation."

The idea is, pain is good for you, develops your character and makes you appreciate the good times, and God has arranged the elements to administer some pain to you in healthy streams, on top of that which you might give each other.

[ May 27, 2008, 09:18 PM: Message edited by: munga ]

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TomDavidson
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The funny thing about that quote is that, as I understand it, Mormons don't actually believe that anyone's any less mortal than anyone else, no matter their state of salvation. [Smile]
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munga
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I don't understand you?
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KnightEnder
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What's the name of the planet Mormons think our souls came from? And did L. Ron just rip that off?

KE

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kenmeer livermaile
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You're thinking of Kolob but confusing it with the Spirit World, which has no proclaimed relation to Kolob, best I can tell.

quote:
The first known reference to Kolob is found in the Book of Abraham, published in the LDS volume of scripture entitled the Pearl of Great Price. The Book of Abraham was dictated by founder Joseph Smith, Jr. as he read from Egyptian scrolls that accompanied a traveling mummy exhibition. When this show passed through Smith's town of Kirtland, Ohio in 1835, Smith was approached about the scrolls based on his reputation for having published translations of ancient texts such as the golden plates. According to Smith, the scrolls described a vision of Abraham, in which Abraham:

"saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God;....and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest." (Book of Abraham 3:2-3.)

In an explanation of an Egyptian hypocephalus that was part of the Book of Abraham scrolls, Joseph Smith interpreted one set of hieroglyphics as representing:

"Kolob, signifying the first creation, nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God. First in government, the last pertaining to the measurement of time. The measurement according to celestial time, which celestial time signifies one day to a cubit. One day in Kolob is equal to a thousand years according to the measurement of this earth, which is called by the Egyptians Jah-oh-eh." (Book of Abraham, Facsimile 2, Figure #1 explanation.)

The Book of Abraham describes a hierarchy of heavenly bodies, including the earth, its moon, and the sun, each with different movements and measurements of time, where at the pinnacle, the slowest-revolving body is Kolob, where one Kolob-day corresponds to 1000 earth-years:

"...Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord's time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.

"... The planet which is the lesser light...is above or greater than that upon which thou standest in point of reckoning, for it moveth in order more slow; this is in order because it standeth above the earth upon which thou standest, therefore the reckoning of its time is not so many as to its number of days, and of months, and of years. [This is in reference to the moon: see Genesis 1:16.]

"And where these two facts exist, there shall be another fact above them, that is, there shall be another planet whose reckoning of time shall be longer still; and thus there shall be the reckoning of the time of one planet above another, until thou come nigh unto Kolob, which Kolob is after the reckoning of the Lord’s time; which Kolob is set nigh unto the throne of God, to govern all those planets which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest." (Book of Abraham 3:4-9; see also Book of Abraham, Facsimile #2, explanation to Figure #2.)

THe Mormons sing a hytmn about it:

If You Could Hie to Kolob, 284 - William W. Phelps

1. If you could hie to Kolob In the twinkling of an eye,
And then continue onward With that same speed to fly,
Do you think that you could ever, Through all eternity,
Find out the generation Where Gods began to be?

2. Or see the grand beginning, Where space did not extend?
Or view the last creation, Where Gods and matter end?
Me thinks the Spirit whispers, “No man has found ‘pure space,’
Nor seen the outside curtains, Where nothing has a place.”

3. The works of God continue, And worlds and lives abound;
Improvement and progression Have one eternal round.
There is no end to matter; There is no end to space;
There is no end to spirit; There is no end to race.

4. There is no end to virtue; There is no end to might;
There is no end to wisdom; There is no end to light.
There is no end to union; There is no end to youth;
There is no end to priesthood; There is no end to truth.

5. There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.
There is no end to glory; There is no end to love;
There is no end to being; There is no death above.

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canadian
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Ironically, there is an ending to the hymn.
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hobsen
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Whatever the status of Kolob, the hymn is a very nice one, expressing a sense of wonder toward the universe we can all commend.

One reason for the popular link between bad behavior and "bad luck" is that people who feel guilty often engage in self-punitive behavior. If someone feels guilty over cheating on his wife, he may get into an auto accident. The problem is that such behavior can spiral out of control; if that guilty man ends a paraplegic, the "punishment" will do neither him nor his wife any good. And the Greeks had a saying for such consequences: "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad."

So it is best to think very carefully before doing what causes feelings of guilt, regardless of whether there is anything morally wrong with it or not. Avoiding a guilty conscience helps to avoid becoming accident prone. That does not mean a person should never do what makes him feel uneasy - sometimes that is necessary and morally required - but it is always psychologically dangerous.

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scifibum
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Interesting...thanks hobsen.
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Viking_Longship
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It's not a big jump to the idea of the law of karmic return.

However I recall Jesus telling some of his diciples that a man wasn't crippled because of his or his paren't sins, that's just how it was. I guess that extends to minor injuries as well.

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Jordan
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quote:
scifibum:
I'm bringing up each of these as examples where parents have been known to say "well that's what you get for [being a brat/running around maniacally/waving your arms]." This was a common refrain I heard often growing up

You see, what I usually got told was that it "served me right," which I always understood to mean, "You're getting no sympathy from me, young man, after the way that you've been behaving."

Love the thread title, by the way! [Big Grin]

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TheSteelenGeneral
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Kolob?
I complete rely on South Park for anything about the LDS.

i agree with jordan, good thread title, although I thought it was about sharon stone and china.

quote:
Originally posted by canadian:
Ironically, there is an ending to the hymn.

ROTFL!!!!!

scifi,
I don't think my parents ever told me something like your situation 1. Never something like "you deserved that" where there was NO clear causal relation.

However, about god having something better to do? This is a personification of god bordering on blasphemy.
We're only six billion. Since god's everywhere, and all powerfull, I imagine that It can handle such a small number.

Also, above reasoning is only for those who need to see some sort of reasoning behind god.
I imagine that real believers just blindly accept whatever is coming their way. This would explain nicely why 80% of evangelicals support bush ... [Wink]

[ May 28, 2008, 01:40 PM: Message edited by: TheSteelenGeneral ]

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scifibum
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Sharon Stone and china kind of fit, although it ceases to be amusing/pathetic and becomes rather offensive when in that context.

There will probably be a South Park about people who think disasters are sent by God to punish the wicked, if there hasn't been already. A Kenny death could be the punishment in question.

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