C.S. Lewis on Sexual Morality and Christian Marriage

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Twilightprincess
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25 Jan 2020, 2:31 pm

I enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia series. There's definitely a lot of cringeworthy stuff in it, especially regarding race and gender, but I do think he did a great job at creating a fantasy world for children. Apart from Harry Potter, it may be the best. It captures a lot of literary elements that are typically not present in books for that age group. There's Greco-Roman mythology and philosophy, Medeival allegory, and a nuanced fantasy world.

While I disagree with his conservative worldview (I'm not a Christian, especially not a conservative Christian.), I do appreciate the many things that he does right.

Shame on that hussy Susan for wearing lipstick (and for her disbelief)! :P I guess I'll be going to hell, too - for both reasons but at least I'll look good on my way down. It's always smart to make a good first impression.



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25 Jan 2020, 11:08 pm

I had to go look the lipstick thing up...Apparently (this is a cringey reference if you ever wanted one) but basically Susan Pevensie's teenage interests kind of work like the way the boy's brother in _The Polar Express_ no longer believed in Santa Claus. It's an old trope of fantasy stuff, I suppose--have something happen to children where they experience something transformative but then one of them grows out of it. Rather silly, I think. No real red-blooded child would ever be so immature. Only an adult could talk themselves out of something they actually experienced.

Suppose I need to revisit Narnia itself...haven't ever been much on fantasy literature except some old pagan Nordic and Gaelic stuff years and years ago. When I was very small I always thought it was silly. Now I suppose to properly mature I must become rather childlike in a way...

Twilightprincess, I gather (from your other posts on the board) that you work in education? It must be very handy to have good books at your disposal, and I think it's great that you've got a balanced view on this old stuff.


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26 Jan 2020, 1:08 am

I’ve had mixed feelings about the Chronicles of Narnia growing up. Right now, while I don’t really dislike the Chronicles of Narnia, I’m not a fan of it either; mainly because it’s Christian Allegory, which quite frankly is more of a Protestant concept than a Catholic one. What I really love about Tolkien’s work is that it’s not Christian Allegory but Catholic Typology, where various persons, places and events in Tolkien’s books, are meant to be types of various persons, places and events in the Catholic Faith. That really inspired me with my own fantasy trilogy, originally I was very scrupulous about adding religious elements into my story and simply had the people follow a vague monotheism and focused on morality throughout most of the story; but after getting a better understanding of Tolkien’s use of typology, I inserting my own Catholic types into my story. (Reikh-Heim being the prime example of this.)

In regards to the whole lipstick controversy, I once heard that C. S. Lewis had a very bad relationship with one of the female teachers at the boarding school he attended as a child, and that led him to have a negative view of women throughout the rest of his life. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why he didn’t become Catholic, as one his biggest issues with the Catholic Faith was devotion to Our Lady. Albeit, devotion to Our Lady is one the biggest issues all non-Catholic Christians have with the Catholic Faith, and I also heard someone claim that the reason Lewis didn’t become Catholic was because he came from an Irish Protestant family and thus, had a sort of patriotic aversion to the Catholic Church.


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26 Jan 2020, 1:19 am

I love to research or discover the lives of artists/writers/musicians but I never let it alter my appreciation for the book/poem/song/painting.

Ad Hominen: the logical fallacy that a person's
actions or character alter the validity of their argument.

Thanks for the video and the information! I knew some of it already but found it interesting.



Twilightprincess
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26 Jan 2020, 8:48 am

Borromeo wrote:
I had to go look the lipstick thing up...Apparently (this is a cringey reference if you ever wanted one) but basically Susan Pevensie's teenage interests kind of work like the way the boy's brother in _The Polar Express_ no longer believed in Santa Claus. It's an old trope of fantasy stuff, I suppose--have something happen to children where they experience something transformative but then one of them grows out of it. Rather silly, I think. No real red-blooded child would ever be so immature. Only an adult could talk themselves out of something they actually experienced.
Yeah, I think he was also speaking against vanity and was trying to use this bit of fire and brimstone to instil a specific moral sense in his soon-to-be teenaged readers. There are hints of Susan's spiritual weakness throughout the series, too, as far as being too grown-up and/or argumentative. Narnia is only for those with a Blakean, childlike innocence.

Quote:
Suppose I need to revisit Narnia itself...haven't ever been much on fantasy literature except some old pagan Nordic and Gaelic stuff years and years ago. When I was very small I always thought it was silly. Now I suppose to properly mature I must become rather childlike in a way...

Twilightprincess, I gather (from your other posts on the board) that you work in education? It must be very handy to have good books at your disposal, and I think it's great that you've got a balanced view on this old stuff.


Thanks!

I substitute teach. Intetestingly, in my assignment on Friday, a student was reading and doing a project on The Chronicles of Narnia series even though the rest of the class was assigned Harry Potter. I knew there'd be at least one kid...



Last edited by Twilightprincess on 26 Jan 2020, 9:31 am, edited 1 time in total.

Twilightprincess
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26 Jan 2020, 8:53 am

Greatshield17 wrote:
In regards to the whole lipstick controversy, I once heard that C. S. Lewis had a very bad relationship with one of the female teachers at the boarding school he attended as a child, and that led him to have a negative view of women throughout the rest of his life.


C. S. Lewis had no problem with women as long as they behaved the way he wanted them to by accepting their submissive lot in life. :lol:

The main character, Lucy, is depicted as being especially docile as well as motherly. The first book is actually dedicated to a real Lucy who was Lewis' godchild. I wonder if she was as he describes her in the books or if he's describing her as he wanted her to be. I suspect the latter. She's almost, what Lewis would consider, the perfect girl - perhaps an ideal for his female readership to aspire to.

I'd just roll my eyes when things got too icky or preachy and hurriedly get to the good stuff. Poor Lewis...



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26 Jan 2020, 5:01 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Greatshield17 wrote:
In regards to the whole lipstick controversy, I once heard that C. S. Lewis had a very bad relationship with one of the female teachers at the boarding school he attended as a child, and that led him to have a negative view of women throughout the rest of his life.


C. S. Lewis had no problem with women as long as they behaved the way he wanted them to by accepting their submissive lot in life. :lol:

The main character, Lucy, is depicted as being especially docile as well as motherly. The first book is actually dedicated to a real Lucy who was Lewis' godchild. I wonder if she was as he describes her in the books or if he's describing her as he wanted her to be. I suspect the latter. She's almost, what Lewis would consider, the perfect girl - perhaps an ideal for his female readership to aspire to.

I'd just roll my eyes when things got too icky or preachy and hurriedly get to the good stuff. Poor Lewis...

Perhaps, although in the same book, The Last Battle, which I guess is my favourite of the Narnia books, (because you know, it's about the Apocalypse. :mrgreen: ) the female protagonist (I think her name is Jill or Jole, I can't remember) is portrayed is fairly proactive, not quite as docile or submissive. (At least that's how I remembered her portrayal the last time I read the book, which actually wasn't quite that long ago.) Granted you'd probably still consider that portrayal idealistic, and despite more than likely having a radically different view of femininity from you, I'd agree with you on that to some extent. Also there was that one time in the book where King Trillian comments something like, "If she were a boy, she'd get a whipping." and C. S. Lewis deliberately portrays that comment as ambiguous. :?

But on a different, side topic, what are your thoughts on J. R. R. Tolkein and his Legendarium?


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26 Jan 2020, 7:51 pm

Greatshield17 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Greatshield17 wrote:
In regards to the whole lipstick controversy, I once heard that C. S. Lewis had a very bad relationship with one of the female teachers at the boarding school he attended as a child, and that led him to have a negative view of women throughout the rest of his life.


C. S. Lewis had no problem with women as long as they behaved the way he wanted them to by accepting their submissive lot in life. :lol:

The main character, Lucy, is depicted as being especially docile as well as motherly. The first book is actually dedicated to a real Lucy who was Lewis' godchild. I wonder if she was as he describes her in the books or if he's describing her as he wanted her to be. I suspect the latter. She's almost, what Lewis would consider, the perfect girl - perhaps an ideal for his female readership to aspire to.

I'd just roll my eyes when things got too icky or preachy and hurriedly get to the good stuff. Poor Lewis...

Perhaps, although in the same book, The Last Battle, which I guess is my favourite of the Narnia books, (because you know, it's about the Apocalypse. :mrgreen: ) the female protagonist (I think her name is Jill or Jole, I can't remember) is portrayed is fairly proactive, not quite as docile or submissive. (At least that's how I remembered her portrayal the last time I read the book, which actually wasn't quite that long ago.) Granted you'd probably still consider that portrayal idealistic, and despite more than likely having a radically different view of femininity from you, I'd agree with you on that to some extent. Also there was that one time in the book where King Trillian comments something like, "If she were a boy, she'd get a whipping." and C. S. Lewis deliberately portrays that comment as ambiguous. :?

But on a different, side topic, what are your thoughts on J. R. R. Tolkein and his Legendarium?


Lewis extensively used religious allegory. That was the whole intent of his work. Tolkien is a different kettle of fish.

I love Tolkein, but I don't usually approach his work from a religious perspective so much. I'm mostly interested in his influences from Medieval literature. Certainly, those were heavily influenced by Catholicism with a fair amount of paganism as well, especially in Beowulf.

I wish there were more central, flesh and blood female characters involved in his adventures that I could relate to. As a female fan since childhood, it would've been nice if a couple of female characters were in the Fellowship, going on adventures, instead of it just being a boys' club (probably this has something to do with Tolkien's experiences in WWI). The women that are in his works are generally high up on a pedestal (as well as being tall, slim, and beautiful) as they tend to be in Medieval Romance which, in turn, reflects the Virgin Mary, but I can forgive Tolkien for that since I generally like him so much.

He almost singlehandedly invented a genre replete with a complex world with history, cultures, and languages. I continue to be amazed and fascinated by this.



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26 Jan 2020, 9:35 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
I enjoy The Chronicles of Narnia series. There's definitely a lot of cringeworthy stuff in it, especially regarding race and gender, but I do think he did a great job at creating a fantasy world for children. Apart from Harry Potter, it may be the best. It captures a lot of literary elements that are typically not present in books for that age group. There's Greco-Roman mythology and philosophy, Medeival allegory, and a nuanced fantasy world.

While I disagree with his conservative worldview (I'm not a Christian, especially not a conservative Christian.), I do appreciate the many things that he does right.

Shame on that hussy Susan for wearing lipstick (and for her disbelief)! :P I guess I'll be going to hell, too - for both reasons but at least I'll look good on my way down. It's always smart to make a good first impression.


I loved Narnia....before I learned what it stood for.

Makes me glad I read "His Dark Materials."


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26 Jan 2020, 11:08 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Greatshield17 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
Greatshield17 wrote:
In regards to the whole lipstick controversy, I once heard that C. S. Lewis had a very bad relationship with one of the female teachers at the boarding school he attended as a child, and that led him to have a negative view of women throughout the rest of his life.


C. S. Lewis had no problem with women as long as they behaved the way he wanted them to by accepting their submissive lot in life. :lol:

The main character, Lucy, is depicted as being especially docile as well as motherly. The first book is actually dedicated to a real Lucy who was Lewis' godchild. I wonder if she was as he describes her in the books or if he's describing her as he wanted her to be. I suspect the latter. She's almost, what Lewis would consider, the perfect girl - perhaps an ideal for his female readership to aspire to.

I'd just roll my eyes when things got too icky or preachy and hurriedly get to the good stuff. Poor Lewis...

Perhaps, although in the same book, The Last Battle, which I guess is my favourite of the Narnia books, (because you know, it's about the Apocalypse. :mrgreen: ) the female protagonist (I think her name is Jill or Jole, I can't remember) is portrayed is fairly proactive, not quite as docile or submissive. (At least that's how I remembered her portrayal the last time I read the book, which actually wasn't quite that long ago.) Granted you'd probably still consider that portrayal idealistic, and despite more than likely having a radically different view of femininity from you, I'd agree with you on that to some extent. Also there was that one time in the book where King Trillian comments something like, "If she were a boy, she'd get a whipping." and C. S. Lewis deliberately portrays that comment as ambiguous. :?

But on a different, side topic, what are your thoughts on J. R. R. Tolkein and his Legendarium?


Lewis extensively used religious allegory. That was the whole intent of his work. Tolkien is a different kettle of fish.

I love Tolkein, but I don't usually approach his work from a religious perspective so much. I'm mostly interested in his influences from Medieval literature. Certainly, those were heavily influenced by Catholicism with a fair amount of paganism as well, especially in Beowulf.

I wish there were more central, flesh and blood female characters involved in his adventures that I could relate to. As a female fan since childhood, it would've been nice if a couple of female characters were in the Fellowship, going on adventures, instead of it just being a boys' club (probably this has something to do with Tolkien's experiences in WWI). The women that are in his works are generally high up on a pedestal (as well as being tall, slim, and beautiful) as they tend to be in Medieval Romance which, in turn, reflects the Virgin Mary, but I can forgive Tolkien for that since I generally like him so much.

He almost singlehandedly invented a genre replete with a complex world with history, cultures, and languages. I continue to be amazed and fascinated by this.

Glad you like it. However on the contrary, while Tolkien certainly employs elements from mythology and folklore, as well as his personal life experience, his work is actually quite religious and quite Catholic. As I mentioned in a post above, Tolkien doesn’t employ Christian Allegory but rather Catholic typology, which is quite different, and quite foreign to post-Christian Western culture; Catholic typology does not use one-one allegory but rather points to the thing of Faith behind the type, perhaps the best example of Catholic typology is the belief that the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, is a type of Our Lady:


As you mentioned, there were a few women in Tolkien’s work that were types of Our Lady, Elbereth and Galadriel being the two best examples; Galadriel being described as “hard as diamonds and as soft as moonlight.” :) but there are also three types of Christ among the men in the trilogy namely, Gandalf, Aragorn, and Frodo. Gandalf is a type of Christ as prophet, Aragorn is a type of Christ the King, and Frodo is a type of Christ the sacrificial High Priest. All of them even go through a death and resurrection of sorts, Gandalf falls to the bottom of Khazad-Dum fighting the Balrog and returns as Gandalf the White; Aragorn goes through the Paths of the Dead to preach to the Men of the Mountain and make amends with him, the heir to the restored line of Gondor; and Frodo has to make his painful ascent up Mount Doom to destroy the seductive Ring of Power, the heavy burden he carries and then has to leave to the Undying Lands.

Those are just some of the examples of Catholic typology in Tolkien’s works.


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27 Jan 2020, 1:52 pm

I think I'd enjoy attempting an open, Christian Objectivist critique of the Edwards sermon. The problem with doing so is that the fundamentals of the sermon are ripped straight from the Bible and, as far as I can tell, are theologically sound. The main points are highly logical. I can't find anything really wrong with it.

The only critique just right off that I can offer is not what the sermon is, but more what the sermon ISN'T. It addresses sinners, particularly unbelievers who are still in need of salvation. Ought those who are presently destined for hell be afraid? Yes. All of those things are true in a Christian context. Where Edwards is weak is in the value of humanity to God. Why doesn't God just drop us all into hell right now? The Bible shows us that humanity is worth more to God than that, so much that God would sacrifice Himself to open the door to salvation and an eternity with Him. I think the power of Edwards's sermon lies in figuratively bringing people down psychologically to the point that the tiny message of hope at the end of the sermon had maximal psychological impact. The sinner KNOWS Edwards is right. The sinner KNOWS his need. The sinner eagerly awaits an eternal escape from the flames.

An objectivist critique would strike hard at the overall negative tone of the sermon. Where are the heroes of our faith? What is the true value of man in God's sight? Is the thread that keeps us from an eternity of torment God's love? Does God cut the thread when we refuse Him, or is that our own doing? Those are the kinds of questions I have if I were to go line-by-line of the sermon.

One of his big points is this: Simply because it is natural to care for oneself or to think that others may care for them, men should not think themselves safe from God's wrath. (from Wikipedia, fyi). I see this as a strong message to the rational egoist. This holds an underlying false assumption about selfish people--the fact that you have feelings and self-interest as much as anyone means that God pities you solely on the basis of those feelings. The rational egoist can immediately see how it is illogical to assume that God has the same feelings as man as though God is created in man's image and not the other way around. And that is precisely the false assumption that Edwards is attacking. By using the thinking mind, one may understand what the proper alignment for a relationship with God should be. Edwards understands that the best way for man to exist is to think for himself, which this point seems to acknowledge, and thus this sermon seems to affirm the value of the individual in God's eyes.

I do need to read up on it more, though, before offering a thorough objective analysis of it. That could make for a fun exercise.



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27 Jan 2020, 7:20 pm

AngelRho wrote:
I think I'd enjoy attempting an open, Christian Objectivist critique of the Edwards sermon. The problem with doing so is that the fundamentals of the sermon are ripped straight from the Bible and, as far as I can tell, are theologically sound. The main points are highly logical. I can't find anything really wrong with it.

The only critique just right off that I can offer is not what the sermon is, but more what the sermon ISN'T. It addresses sinners, particularly unbelievers who are still in need of salvation. Ought those who are presently destined for hell be afraid? Yes. All of those things are true in a Christian context.
An objectivist critique would strike hard at the overall negative tone of the sermon. Where are the heroes of our faith? What is the true value of man in God's sight? Is the thread that keeps us from an eternity of torment God's love?


And the seeds of Puritanism are still thriving in America...

I don't think I can justify the belief in eternal torment for disbelief with a loving deity. Heck, I can't justify eternal torment for history's ultimate sociopaths. Perhaps very brief torment. Nah, maybe not even that...

I enjoy "fire and brimstone" from a literary perspective, though. Hell has done some heavenly things for literature.



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27 Jan 2020, 7:32 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
I think I'd enjoy attempting an open, Christian Objectivist critique of the Edwards sermon. The problem with doing so is that the fundamentals of the sermon are ripped straight from the Bible and, as far as I can tell, are theologically sound. The main points are highly logical. I can't find anything really wrong with it.

The only critique just right off that I can offer is not what the sermon is, but more what the sermon ISN'T. It addresses sinners, particularly unbelievers who are still in need of salvation. Ought those who are presently destined for hell be afraid? Yes. All of those things are true in a Christian context.
An objectivist critique would strike hard at the overall negative tone of the sermon. Where are the heroes of our faith? What is the true value of man in God's sight? Is the thread that keeps us from an eternity of torment God's love?


And the seeds of Puritanism are still thriving in America...

I don't think I can justify the belief in eternal torment for disbelief with a loving deity. Heck, I can't justify eternal torment for history's ultimate sociopaths. Perhaps very brief torment. Nah, maybe not even that...

I enjoy "fire and brimstone" from a literary perspective, though. Hell has done some heavenly things for literature.

If you found out that God existed, and willfully set up the universe in a way specific way you didn't like and yet He wanted and loved, would you want to spend eternity with Him?


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Don't bother with me, I'm just a narrow-minded bigot who does nothing but "proselytize" not because I actually love the Faith, because no one loves the Faith, we're just "using it to justify our bigotry." If you see any thread by me on here that isn't "proselytizing," I can't explain that because that's obviously impossible; because again, all I've ever done on here is "proselytize."


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27 Jan 2020, 7:42 pm

Greatshield17 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
I think I'd enjoy attempting an open, Christian Objectivist critique of the Edwards sermon. The problem with doing so is that the fundamentals of the sermon are ripped straight from the Bible and, as far as I can tell, are theologically sound. The main points are highly logical. I can't find anything really wrong with it.

The only critique just right off that I can offer is not what the sermon is, but more what the sermon ISN'T. It addresses sinners, particularly unbelievers who are still in need of salvation. Ought those who are presently destined for hell be afraid? Yes. All of those things are true in a Christian context.
An objectivist critique would strike hard at the overall negative tone of the sermon. Where are the heroes of our faith? What is the true value of man in God's sight? Is the thread that keeps us from an eternity of torment God's love?


And the seeds of Puritanism are still thriving in America...

I don't think I can justify the belief in eternal torment for disbelief with a loving deity. Heck, I can't justify eternal torment for history's ultimate sociopaths. Perhaps very brief torment. Nah, maybe not even that...

I enjoy "fire and brimstone" from a literary perspective, though. Hell has done some heavenly things for literature.

If you found out that God existed, and willfully set up the universe in a way specific way you didn't like and yet He wanted and loved, would you want to spend eternity with Him?


It would depend to what extent I "didn't like" something. If there was a god that thought it was right to torture people for eternity for disbelief, I would not want to spend eternity with him. I would have no love or respect for him although I'd try my best to get by because even selling-out is better than eternal torment.

(I have an extreme sensitivity when it comes to the idea of torture.)

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about being presented with such an unpleasant set of choices.



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27 Jan 2020, 7:59 pm

Twilightprincess wrote:
Greatshield17 wrote:
Twilightprincess wrote:
AngelRho wrote:
I think I'd enjoy attempting an open, Christian Objectivist critique of the Edwards sermon. The problem with doing so is that the fundamentals of the sermon are ripped straight from the Bible and, as far as I can tell, are theologically sound. The main points are highly logical. I can't find anything really wrong with it.

The only critique just right off that I can offer is not what the sermon is, but more what the sermon ISN'T. It addresses sinners, particularly unbelievers who are still in need of salvation. Ought those who are presently destined for hell be afraid? Yes. All of those things are true in a Christian context.
An objectivist critique would strike hard at the overall negative tone of the sermon. Where are the heroes of our faith? What is the true value of man in God's sight? Is the thread that keeps us from an eternity of torment God's love?


And the seeds of Puritanism are still thriving in America...

I don't think I can justify the belief in eternal torment for disbelief with a loving deity. Heck, I can't justify eternal torment for history's ultimate sociopaths. Perhaps very brief torment. Nah, maybe not even that...

I enjoy "fire and brimstone" from a literary perspective, though. Hell has done some heavenly things for literature.

If you found out that God existed, and willfully set up the universe in a way specific way you didn't like and yet He wanted and loved, would you want to spend eternity with Him?


It would depend to what extent I "didn't like" something. If there was a god that thought it was right to torture people for eternity for disbelief, I would not want to spend eternity with him. I would have no love or respect for him although I'd try my best to get by because even selling-out is better than eternal torment.

(I have an extreme sensitivity when it comes to the idea of torture.)

Thankfully, I don't have to worry about being presented with such an unpleasant set of choices.

What do you mean by "torture?" Our Lord and most if not all the Saints speak of "torment." Our Lord spoke not only of eternal fire but, "the worm that dieth not," all the Fathers and Doctors of the Church agree, that this is a metaphorical worm called "The Worm of Regret."

Here's an interesting video and perhaps good story that touches on this a bit, it's called, Letter From Beyond:


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Don't bother with me, I'm just a narrow-minded bigot who does nothing but "proselytize" not because I actually love the Faith, because no one loves the Faith, we're just "using it to justify our bigotry." If you see any thread by me on here that isn't "proselytizing," I can't explain that because that's obviously impossible; because again, all I've ever done on here is "proselytize."


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27 Jan 2020, 8:08 pm

The Bible doesn't talk that much about Hell or the forms of torment that one would experience there. It's shadowy and vague. Any discussion on it is all just supposition and what individuals choose to bring to it. None of it is very applicable for me since I'm not a Christian.

I was just referring to common conceptions.