I have my own, largely conflicted, thoughts regarding the man and his life's work -- I may yet get around to telling of my single encounter with him. But this is not about that. This is about the nature of public opinion.
Funerals are enlightening experiences, for those who pay attention. When my friend's pious father passed away the kids jumped at the opportunity to get in the last word. In their eulogy they noted how, in his later years, he slowly transformed from being reflexively judgemental to being a man of consideration and compassion.
I thought, Jesus -- here's hoping the kids can manage the same trick.
The eulogy struck my daughters as a bit strange, but they couldn't quite put their finger on why. Ever the helpful blowhard, I took a stab at explanation and said, "If you truly believe in Hell -- truly believe in Hell -- you will do everything in your power to steer your precious little children away from its gates."
There isn't a parent alive who doesn't believe in a Hell of one sort or another. The bulk of my childhood Sunday School class grew up to believe the worst Hell imaginable occurs when Fundamentalist Dogma gains a stranglehold on human imagination. They're only half-right (doesn't anybody read Nietzsche anymore?), but the limited scope of appraisal and perspicacity that brought them to this conclusion is an understandable self-hobbling.
It is even forgivable.
Luther's corpse takes a whipping from me on this blog, but I am grateful to him for the following exhortation: "Be a sinner, and sin boldly -- (etc.)"
If you're having trouble with that, watch Archie and Meathead trapped in a storeroom -- again.
|Was it Archie Bunker or Jean-Paul Sartre who said...?|