Saturday, November 19, 2011

Back to the BK Theory

My uncle Jim Walker (God be good to him) owned an auto-parts salvage yard. In his front office, he had posted one of those signs that used to be Xeroxed and passed around (and now are Photoshopped and sent via email and Facebook) which read: THIS AIN'T BURGER KING ... YOU GET IT MY WAY OR YOU DON'T GET THE SUMBITCH!

What a character; I loved him dearly.

Back in February on Ye Olde Other Blog, I wrote a post on the denial of Hell titled "Our Heavenly Grandfather and the BK Theory of Christianity". It was brought on by a hysterical screed against the doctrine of Hell written in what Father Z is pleased to call The National Catholic Fishwrap by Carol Meyer. Moreover, it was posted in their regular feature "Eco Catholic", which (if Meyer's post is any indication) simply means a syncretic combination of Nature-worship and the "emergent God" with an occasional mention of Jesus. The crucial line comes early on: "I don’t care if scripture mentions hell or Jesus talked about it, if saints had visions of it, or if it’s a time-honored Catholic teaching. It simply can’t be justified on any level [emphasis mine]."

Sic volo, sic iubeo: the perpetual chant of what Kate of Australia Incognita calls “the Magisterium of Me”. So Martin Luther said when asked to justify throwing out certain epistles from the New Testament: “Thus I will have it, thus I order it, my will is reason enough. … Doctor Luther will have it so, and … he is a Doctor above all Doctors in the whole of Popery.” We can call it the Burger King Theory of Christianity, where you can “have it your way”.

Naturally, as compassionate as Meyer wants to think herself, there are two major problems with denying the reality of Hell: 1) It denies God's justice, (anyone who escapes retribution on earth for their sins would escape it for all time); 2) It renders God's mercy indistinguishable from indifference, making it meaningless ... even worthless.

But there's another aspect to the doctrine of Hell that touches the atheist and the anti-Christian. I bring it up only because I've seen the argument here and there that "God would surely admit a good atheist into Heaven rather than a lousy Christian!" 

Well, as anyone should know, you don't get to go to Heaven just because you call Jesus "Lord" ... you actually have to do the Will of God (Mt 7:21-23). Which brings up the interesting question: Why would anyone who's spent his life denying, deriding and ignoring the Will of God want to spend all eternity in His Presence?

What we have here is simply another version of the BK Theory. The atheist who believes this nonsense wants the cachet of religious and moral independence, the liberty to set his own rules for his life, that "freethinking" affords him; yet he wants the assurance that, by denying God and eschewing religious authority, he hasn't foresworn all hope of Heaven ... that he can be "good enough" without God that God will accept him anyway.

Sorry, you can't have it both ways; you can't deny God in life and expect God to embrace you after death. As my late father used to say so earthily, "Sh*t or get off the pot."

 This is where Pascal's Wager applies: If Christianity is false, then regardless of whether atheism or some other religious system is true the Christian has most likely done his afterlife no harm by faithfully living a Christian life; if Christianity is true, however, the atheist has willingly elected Hell. To deny God is to deny Heaven ... that's the "opportunity cost" of choosing to say Non serviam.

Or, to rephrase my uncle's sign: