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Conditional immortality – Sunbury Daily Item

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

As he neared the end of his life, American patriot and deist Thomas Paine turned his attention to the possibility of postmortem survival.

In a posthumously published essay, he conjectured that humans who had been exceptionally righteous would likely experience bliss and those who had been exceptionally wicked would suffer. But the rest of us, having done nothing in our lives to merit either eternal reward or punishment, would simply cease to be.

By his own admission, Paine wasnt much of a reader. So I suspect he didnt know that his defense of conditional immortality bears some resemblance to a position defended by the 2nd-century Christian theologian Theophilus of Antioch.

Before his conversion to Christianity, Theophilus had been a pagan philosopher steeped in the writings of Plato, who lived 6 centuries earlier. Plato taught that humans are born with immortal souls, a doctrine which gained widespread currency in the Greek-speaking ancient world before Christ. These souls, trapped in physical bodies, yearn to return to the blissfully immaterial realm whence they originated.

Theophilus embraced Platos belief in inherent or unconditional immortality before he became a Christian. But after converting, his study of Hebrew scripture and early Christian writings convinced him that the doctrine was incompatible with both. Instead, Theophilus argued, soul-immortality isnt a given. The soul has the potential for immortality if certain conditions are met, but also for utter dissolution. Immortality, in other words, isnt an essential or inherent characteristic of human nature.

His argument is ingenious. Everyone, Theophilus asserted, acknowledges death to be an evil. God, therefore, couldnt have created humans as mere mortals doomed to die, because doing so makes God the author of deathwhich means that God, the supreme source of all goodness, is responsible for evil. This is logically impossible and morally repugnant.

On the other hand, if God had endowed humans with inherently immortal souls, freedom and self-direction, essential conditions for moral behavior, would be jeopardized. Theophilus reasoning is a bit murky here. But his point seems to be that a carte blanche bestowal of immortality on humans would somehow weaken our moral fiber, perhaps because we would take the gift for granted. If Im confident I can never die, why bother to do much of anything? Its our awareness of the fragile brevity of life that motivates us to make the most of the time we have.

In order to avoid both of these undesirable possibilities, concluded Theophilus, God created humans in neutral mode, as it were, when it comes to mortality and immortality.

If a person freely and conscientiously chooses to keep the commandments of God, those efforts will be rewarded with the emergence of soul immortality.

If, however, a person should incline towards those things which relate to death by disobeying God, then the consequence of this free choice is, literally, ceasing to be. No eternity in heaven or hell, no possibility of redemption, and no resurrection on Judgment Day, because no soul has emerged.

Today, Theophilus is largely forgotten except by church historians. But his better remembered contemporary, St. Irenaeus, was so impressed by the doctrine of conditional immortality that he defended a similar theory. He argued that humans are created as imperfect (mortal) creatures, but that we can grow souls and acquire immortality by how we deal with lifes adversities.

When faced with suffering, said Irenaeus, we can allow it to crush us spiritually, diminishing our capacity for soul-growth, or we can respond by cultivating soul-growing virtues such as patience, trust, humility, and fortitude. Irenaeus intuition is a religious version of the contemporary slogan, No pain, no gain.

Although conditional immortality remains a minority opinion in the Christian worldit was, in fact, condemned as heretical in 1513 by the Lateran Councilit has been defended by learned theologians such as Origen in the 3rd century, Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th, and John Hick in our own day.

But perhaps the best-known defense of conditional immortality is found in an 1819 letter by the poet John Keats, written when he was already suffering from the tuberculosis that killed him 2 years later. Life, he declared, with all its joys and vicissitudes, is a vale of soul-making capable of igniting the divine spark within each of us into a full-fledged soul.

Kerry Walters pastors Holy Spirit American National Catholic Church in Montandon. His video-essays may be found on the YouTube channel Holy Spirit Moments with Fr. Kerry Walters.

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Conditional immortality – Sunbury Daily Item

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Reliving Edhi’s journey to immortality | Pakistan | – The News International

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

As it were this time last year, grey clouds are hovering over Merewether Tower as the clock strikes 12 in the afternoon. Buses, cars and motorbikes halt for a group of pedestrians trying to cross the busy thoroughfare, II Chundrigar Road, to reach the decades-old Edhi Centre in Mithadar.

With the passing of Pakistans greatest philanthropist, Abdul Sattar Edhi, on July 8 last year, the centre like all others is now looked after by his son Faisal Edhi, while one of the foundations longest serving representatives, Anwar Kazmi, sits in the office managing the day-to-day activities.

Clad in a grey shalwar kameez, he sits behind a desk teeming with stacks of files and two telephone sets that ring almost incessantly. Kazmi, 72, had known Edhi since 1962 when he took a friend to the Mithadar dispensary.

Edhi called for a compounder to tend to my friend, while he sat down on a bench and spoke to the rest of us for a long time. We discussed local and world politics; I was quite politically charged at the time and was associated with the left. Over the course of that conversation, it turned out that we shared similar thoughts and he asked me to come by more often. That was the start of a bond that lasts to this day, he reminisced.

Referring to the famous strike by students in 1964 near DJ Science College in which many were injured, he said Edhi had stepped in personally at the time to tend to the victims. We had to strategise because had we taken those students to the civil hospital they would have been booked by the police. So we took them straight to Edhi sahab who tended to the injured.

Our friendship grew stronger because of our like-mindedness and finally in 1970, I started working with the Edhi Foundation; at the time, though, the foundation was much smaller in scale as compared to what we see today.

Speaking about the late humanitarian, Kazmi said that Edhis four core principles simplicity, truthfulness, hard work and punctuality were what catapulted him to greatness. His thoughts always translated into actions. Also, I dont remember him ever mincing his words; he couldnt care less about repercussions.

Against the tide

When Edhi pursued his mission, he was going against the norms of his community, said Kazmi.

He told the Memon community that he only wanted to work for humanity and wasnt interested in the dynamics of any particular community system, solely because they were controlled by men seeking profits. He said he didnt want to pave the way for those who would always be needy.

Known for his journey from an 8×8 dispensary to one of the worlds largest humanitarian organisations, Edhi had told the world that he would not seek donations because he was sure that common people would come forward to help him when they saw his efforts.

The people did help him. When they saw his tireless work ethic, they came forward in droves to donate. It was with their assistance that after a few years Edhi acquired a second-hand vehicle that he transformed into an ambulance. At the time that was our only ambulance and it went all over the city to help people in distress, Kazmi narrated.

Faith and fury

Though he was considered a man of few words who had an impassive expression, Kazmi recalled a time when he saw Edhi immensely angry.

One of the worst tragedies to have occurred in Karachi was the 1987 bombing in Bohri Bazaar, the first of its kind in the city. I was sitting with Edhi when the news started filtering in; within minutes calls were made to all units of the city and all ambulances were told to rush to the scene.

Kazmi recalled that all vehicles were soon out in the field, except for one that remained parked at the centre. We found out that the ambulance driver had gone to say his prayers. I seldom saw Edhi sahab as upset as he was when we told him the reason; he was incensed that the driver had chosen to go for prayers instead of helping those battling for their lives. His words at the time were, Any man who cant understand the essence of humanity cannot work with us.

A motorcyclist (R) pays his respects to Abdul Sattar Edhi (2nd L), as he travels to his office in Karachi.

He had also once called out the military dictator, General Zia-ul-Haq, for giving room to religious fanaticism, urging him to instead provide basic necessities for the people.

At the time, Edhi sahab spoke at a well-attended event and told all those present that neither did Pakistan need enforcement of religious laws nor did the people want it. He said the villages needed more schools and hospitals, not mosques and madrasas. The criticism against him after this speech was instantaneous but Edhi never did back down from voicing his opinion, said Kazmi.

Ignoring naysayers

It is hardly a secret that there was a widespread propaganda campaign against Edhi owing to his secular notions.

He was called chanda khor, dehriya, and other such names but he never responded to anyone. We were young and always itching to give a rebuttal but he said apna rasta khota na karo (dont add obstacles in your own path), Kazmi laughed.

Instead, he added, Edhi would always refer to an example of a beggar entering a village. He would say that a beggar carries a stick with himself to ward off stray dogs. If a dog comes too close, he just waves the stick to make it step back. Similarly if they would come near me I will signal them with the stick because I cant let them impede my path. If the beggar would waste his efforts in fighting all the dogs, he wouldnt be able to survive.

Passing the mantle

Over the course of the year that has passed since Edhis demise, many questioned the capability of his son, Faisal Edhi, to pick up where his esteemed father left off.

He raised Faisal to one day fill his shoes. Ever since his childhood, Faisal accompanied his father on relief work. He knew he would depart one day and while Edhi sahab is undoubtedly irreplaceable, he moulded Faisal in way that I am sure he would prove his mettle in a few years.

Yaar it only takes a minute, get more of them

Recalling the time when the charity foundations communications system was being transformed into a wireless one, a visibly amused Kazmi said Edhi had stopped talking to him owing to their disagreement over the new system.

Faisal Edhi

Edhi sahab was reluctant because he feared it would be costly and useless. We would be sitting right next to each other but he grew silent on me and refused to come near the vehicles after the system was installed. Finally, a Sri Lankan engineer took him to test the system and from the Tower centre Edhi was able to connect with the volunteers in different areas of the city. When he found himself speaking to Haji Iqbal from Moosa Lines or Raju in Korangi, Edhi sahab started laughing and turned to me and said, Yaar, it only takes a minute, get more of them.

He said Edhis chief concern was that public money would be wasted on what he thought would be a huge investment. To our luck, the person who took up the task felt he was indebted to Edhi sahab because he had found his intellectually disabled daughter through an Edhi home.

I cant dodge a bullet with my name on it

Going back to the time when the army patrolled the streets of Karachi, Kazmi said an incident in Aligarh Colony made them take the risk of venturing out during curfew time.

Nobody was stepping out because of the volatile situation in the city during the 90s. When we received the news about shootout and that causalities were feared, Edhi sahab and I headed to Aligarh Colony.

Soon, security personnel intercepted us and told us we could not proceed further. We tried to reason with them and, finally, a senior officer who recognised Edhi sahab told the men to let us through. It was a fierce clash between Mohajirs and Pakhtuns but both sides stopped as soon as we entered the area.

That was the kind of risk Edhi sahab was always willing to take. There were times when even we would advise him against a certain plan. However, his reply was always the same; if a bullet is fired with my name on it, no force on earth can divert it elsewhere.

Excerpt from:
Reliving Edhi’s journey to immortality | Pakistan | – The News International

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Billionaires dream of immortality. The rest of us worry about healthcare – The Guardian

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

We arent worthy of immortality. Indeed, weve already passed our sell by date. Photograph: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Last week, as the Senate was still trying to deny healthcare to 22 million fellow Americans, a friend asked me whether I would choose to live forever if I could. We were discussing Silicon Valley billionaires and their investments in new biotechnologies that they hope will enable them to do what no human has ever done: cheat death. The technology includes some dubious treatments, such as being pumped with the blood of much younger people.

Both of us agreed we do not wish for immortality, though we are both extremely happy with our lives and healthy. Wanting to live forever is fundamentally selfish. Its obvious why immortality appeals to billionaires such as Peter Thiel. It obviously wouldnt to the millions in the US who wont have health insurance if the Republicans pull out the vote on their bill.

Peter Thiel, the PayPal founder who is a friend of Trump, is one of the Immortalists. Lucky that he will never run out of money, especially since the Senates version of repeal-and-replace Obamacare is such a generous giveaway to the billionaire class.

The only reason its getting any Republican votes is that, as the New York Times reported a few days ago: The bills largest benefits go to the wealthiest Americans, who have the most comfortable health care arrangements, and its biggest losses fall to poorer Americans who rely on government support.

It should be called the John Galt Bill after the hero of Ayn Rands Atlas Shrugged, the doorstopper of a novel that is akin to the Bible for certain conservative politicians, including House speaker Paul Ryan, who hands out copies of the book to newly elected Members (the House version of the healthcare bill is even more Galtian than the Senates). Its the only book Im aware of that Donald Trump claims to have read.

Keep in mind that at her funeral in New York in 1982, Ayn Rands body lay next to the symbol she had adopted as her own a six-foot dollar sign, according to Susan Chira who covered the service for the Times. A few years ago, The Atlas Society, which keeps the Rand flame alive, urged Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to unleash our inner John Galt. They must be celebrating because even they could not have come up with a more hard-hearted piece of legislation.

If the White House actually fights for the bill, it will be because it repeals the higher taxes on estates and the Medicare surcharge that helped fund Barack Obamas expansion of healthcare to cover the poor. Although he has said the House version of the bill is too mean, hes happy to see his billionaire friends evade the governments hand in their pockets. (Hey, wed certainly like to see your taxes so we can figure out how you would make out, Mr President.)

In an effort to reduce the meanness of the bill somewhat, McConnell is reported to be considering something wealthy Republicans hate, preserving the Obama laws 3.8% tax on investment income in order to provide more money for combatting opioid addiction and other services to the poor. Its unclear whether that would unlock enough votes to pass a bill.

The Presidents 71st birthday a few weeks ago made him one of the oldest surviving boomers, those of us born between 1946 and 1964 a generation that is notoriously selfish and also physically fit (though the presidents recent photos on the golf course raise questions about the latter). In the presidents case, the typical baby boom self-centeredness has blossomed into a raging form of megalomania.

In 2020, the president may be running for re-election and I will be one of the many boomers who have officially become senior citizens. More importantly, it will also be the year that the number of those over 65 will be larger than those under 5. Thats unhealthy for many reasons, not least of which is the pressure it will put on Medicare and Social Security.

The billionaire class does not need to worry, however, because their tax savings from the repeal of Obamacare, if it ever passes, will easily pay for a lifetime of concierge medicine (well, maybe not, if Thiels plan to live forever works out).

Since modern American politics is always a revenge cycle, one way to look at the Republican health repeal measures is as payback to Chief Justice John Roberts, who infuriated Republicans in 2012 when he sided with the supreme courts four liberals to uphold the Affordable Care Act. He finessed his decision by defining the individual mandate as a tax, citing congressional power to levy taxes. Now McConnell & Co are using that same power to repeal them and make the billionaires richer.

Healthcare is not the only area in which supreme selfishness guides the Trump administration. Washington Post columnist David Ignatius had a strong piece on Wednesday showing many examples of other countries adopting Trumps America First mantra and adapting it to themselves.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates bully Qatar into bending to their will, as the Kurds forge on with their independence drive, both selfish moves that dont even consider how they may destabilize the rest of the region. Pulling out of multi-lateral treaties, like the Paris and Trans-Pacific accords, because Trump says they dont put US interests first is also supremely selfish, as Ignatius rightly points out.

Its no wonder theres something called Boomer Death Watch. We arent worthy of immortality. Indeed, weve already passed our sell-by date.

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Billionaires dream of immortality. The rest of us worry about healthcare – The Guardian

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Maitland is calling on tourists to seize their chance of immortality – Belfast Telegraph

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

Maitland is calling on tourists to seize their chance of immortality

Sean Maitland has urged the British and Irish Lions to join rugbys immortals by inflicting a defeat on the All Blacks that will send New Zealand into mourning.

Sean Maitland has urged the British and Irish Lions to join rugbys immortals by inflicting a defeat on the All Blacks that will send New Zealand into mourning.

Warren Gatlands men have defied expectations to take the series to a decider and know victory at Eden Park today would bring a triumphant conclusion to the most challenging tour undertaken in the professional era.

New Zealand-born Scotland wing Maitland, who travelled to Australia with the side in 2013, insists a Lions victory would have significant repercussions for both sides.

If the Lions can do it… everyone is using the word immortals and immortals are exactly what theyll be, Maitland said. Im from New Zealand and everyone has been talking about this tour since 2005 thats how much the Lions means to the country.

If the All Blacks lose there will be a backlash from the public. Rugby is massive and part of the culture.

Maitland is convinced the Lions can prevail.

There will be extra pressure on the All Blacks after the second Test and Im sure theyll turn up. Its Kieran Reads 100th game and theyll want to do it for him, Maitland said. No one has given the Lions a chance so to see them tearing it up is great. One hundred per cent they can do it, anything can happen.

Belfast Telegraph

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Maitland is calling on tourists to seize their chance of immortality – Belfast Telegraph

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

Ronan O’Gara suggests how Sean O’Brien should have responded to immortality question –

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

Sky Sports get carried away an awful lot but last Saturday was understandable.

Professional rugby was brought in not long after Sky’s launch and the pair have been tight for two decades now. One hype machine feeds into the next until we get to the stage where beating New Zealand brings men to within a step of immortality.

That’s how it went down at The Cake Tin, in Wellington, as Sky Sports’ Graeme Simmons caught up with Lions flanker Sean O’Brien. Looking ahead to the third and final Test, on July 8, Simmons proclaimed:

Simmons:”Immortality beckons. That’s what it is. Immortality is beckoning.

O’Brien:”Sure that’s what we’re here for.”

Carlow’s finest handled the question well, refused to get carried away and focused on the task at hand. There was a quizzical look fired Simmons’ way but O’Brien let the hype-man worry about the hype.

O’Brien ploughed off to join his victorious teammates and soak up the applause.

Ronan O’Gara feels ‘The Tullow Tank’ will be disappointed with letting that bombastic question slide quite so easily. The former Ireland and Lions outhalf toldThe Hard Yardsrugby podcast what O’Brien should have responded with. O’Gara commented:

“It was such a missed opportunity by Seanie. I’d say it was because he was so fatigued but normally he’d bury him!

“It was such a chance for him to go viral there. Seanie, he’s an unbelievably good craic character. Very witty.

“It would ave been his style there to come up with an absolute cracker of a comment like,’I’m already a superstar in Carlow, I’m not too bothered anyway lads!'”

O’Gara added:

“That’s Seanie though. He’s an unbelievable character and that’s why lads play for him.

“Je’s got a thing about him now where you just need him in your team.”

Immortality may be a tad over the top but imagine the comments if the Lions get the job done in Auckland. And imagine O’Brien’s comments in return.

*Check out the full O’Gara chat on O’Brien from 36:00 below:

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Ronan O’Gara suggests how Sean O’Brien should have responded to immortality question –

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

The immortality of man – The Hindu

Posted: July 8, 2017 at 8:40 am

The Hindu
The immortality of man
The Hindu
Subramania Bharati or Mahakavi Bharati hated the British for two reasons first, because they were colonisers and second, because they were responsible for his father's death, says PS Krishna Murthy, who is all set to play the titular character in a

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The immortality of man – The Hindu

Recommendation and review posted by Guinevere Smith

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