A Conversation.

Heey.  Sooo.. I kind of had a 4 day conversation with somebody, spanning 45 pages or so.  Lol.

Bon Jin – You don’t feed your family; God does. Why do you work then? To serve others in love.

A wise and close friend of mine told me that. I believe this to be true.

Jeongsoo – Then he’s forgetting a whole continent.

Bon Jin – Nope! Read The Problem of Pain by C.S. Lewis.

Here’s an article that might supplement your search for answers.

http://www.cc-vw.org/articles/suffering.pdf

Jeongsoo – Nope! Just a simple look at the world will suffice. Thanks for the “article”, but it still doesn’t answer how god feeds your family and not a family of 6 in Ethiopia. I’m not talking about my suffering. I’m talking about the 15 kids that died from malaria between the time that died from your comment and mine. So he doesn’t stop that from happening just to tell YOU “something is wrong with this world” and to preserve our free will? I’m talking about death. Not suffering, death. These “messages” that he sends to the world starves and kills innocent young children. Surreal.

Bon Jin – Article is a supplement. Read The Problem of Pain.

Jeongsoo – You need cs lewis to defend a comment you made? I’d rather hear your ideas from you.

Jeongsoo – The funniest thing I find about this is that you, a college student from suburban LA finds divine intervention in his daily meals, and can’t explain why little children around the world don’t even have access to clean water and will die, as millions have before and after them, of starvation.

Bon Jin – I was hoping you’d read up on the issue a little from an expert. I believe the death that God allows in Ethiopia and whatnot is all part of a much broader plan. He has sufficient reasons to allow such things to happen, and we may not necessarily understand his reasoning until much later. And yes, God does not stop this from happening to preserve our free will because might as well create a world that has no death at all. Since he is a loving God, he gives us the free will to choose him or not, instead of making us like robots that are forced to love him.

The funniest thing..? I thought this was a serious issue.

Emily – sorry joengsoo jerry yoon if religious fanatics have ever hurt or damaged your view of christianity and religion in general. we apologize on their behalf for whatever misconstrued, falsified view you have of this topic, but please.. bon jin is loved by everyone and it really hurts us to see his kindhearted statuses being so unflinchingly insulted by a so-called facebook “friend”. please treat my friends with care.

Emily – oh btw i’m not picking a fight. i’m simply expressing my love and support of bokoo and his wonderfully encouraging statuses hehe ❤

Jeongsoo – Sorry Emily, but it’s not the religious fanatics that have tarnished the good name, but so-called moderates who have the guts to look at pointless death, and claim the “truth” that there is a grand plan behind the starving and pointless deaths. And picking a fight and saying you’re not picking a fight doesn’t make it so. You claim my worldview to be miscobstrued and falsified, but you never back up what you claim. The only reason i even brought myself to comment on this status is the vile and destructive idea that the deaths of millions of starving children is part of a bigger plan. Go tell a starving child that their pain and subsequent death and the meals YOU get(and sometimes waste) are mediated by the same, loving god. Do you see how ridiculous that sounds? Oh and by the way, I do mean to tell you that it sounds ridiculous. Just telling it like it is.

Jeongsoo – Bonjin, the issue is very serious. Your thinking that it must be part of a bigger plan is what’s funny about it.

Bon Jin – But that’s ridiculous, too, telling a starving child that their pain is part of a bigger plan. If it got up to that point, of course I would help out. But for the people we can’t help due to our limitations, yes, it’s all part of a bigger plan. One of the reasons why people may think this idea is vile and destructive is because they don’t understand it at the current moment. Just as a child does not necessarily understand everything his father might tell him, perhaps that reflects the issue at hand.

Me! – Sigh. =o I want to chime in.

For starters, the reason that you were asked to check out The Problem of Pain is because humans are flawed in forgetting; in the hopes that you get an indepth response to your questions, we point you to authors who have preserved ideas on paper rather than recall answers from memory for a facebook conversation. Kind of like thinking you deserve to get essay responses instead of regurgitated multiple choice responses.

Also, God’s a cool dude in the sense that he cares less about the material, and more about the spiritual. While we most certainly appreciate the food on our plates, we do not simply look on the surface as we also appreciate the opportunity to taste that is given to us by life. In that sense, a thankful prayer to God who gave us life gets to the heart of the matter of what makes possible our thankfulness for our provisions in this world.

From where I’m standing, you both start a “fight” and accuse someone else of initiating one. =( I don’t really consider defending the faith to be a fight, but I do consider some of what you said to be fighting words worth defending someone from. =P

As far as how God might work to pull off His great plan, just look to this conversation as an example. =o Regardless of whether or not you can see it, God seems to have used this situation to create an open dialogue between you and real Christians willing to defend the faith. =) I thank God for it. It is a shame that it took such lengths to spark your soul into replying, but your cry for justice in an unjust world lays claim to the truth of what Christians believe, that you were made for another world in mind.

Of course, all of this is merely scratching the surface. The depth of God encompasses far more than what was mentioned. I suppose I also agree that it is amusing, in a sad kind of way, because such explanations makes me marvel at how I didn’t realize such intricate truths sooner. I encourage you keep the dialogue open, hear our side of the story, and listen to the cry of your own heart.

Oh, I almost forgot; nice talking with you, I’m Andrew. =)

Jeongsoo – I’ll reply to both of you since both of you arrived at the “greater plan we can’t comprehend” station, and apparently it’s the final stop. And I don’t think Lewis comes up with any other revolutionary arguments in his book than that, or I would’ve heard of it by now. Of course bonjin, you wouldn’t tell a starving child that they are part of a greater plan straight to their face, but you seem awfully willing to type it out 10k miles away in the comfort of facebook. I am talking about the grave disparity in the most fundamental sense of life. I invite you to compare babies born with fatal congenital diseases, children dying of starvation and thirst, hmm I dunno Elizabeth Fritzl who was raped by her father for 24 years, giving birth to 7 children, without any divine intervention (Doesn’t take a genius to figure out she must’ve asked for it) to you guys enjoying all the perks of middle class america and not having a rapist father. And you think there is a greater plan, that god is intending for this to happen? Your cognitive dissonance comes from trying to compromise your fortunes with the death and suffering of millions of OTHERS. You “know the truth” that god is blessing you with all of these things. You also know of hundreds of children dying this very moment that are dying of thirst. And your answer is “there must be a greater plan”. You are not the one being sacrificed in this great plan. That’s why you can say such ridiculous things straight in the face of all that is going on in this world. Is this point clear? Nice talking to you Andrew. What a pleasure.

Me! – =) Don’t assume that you’ve heard of every revolutionary argument, from Lewis or otherwise.

For one thing, of course Bon Jin wouldn’t tell the starving child that they were part of a greater plan, it’s not his plan nor his place to say. What he would do, if such a child were to present itself in the presence of the western world, is the Christian thing, which is to show compassion to that child. In doing so, the child could one day come to know Christ themselves. I do wish you wouldn’t marginalize the life of that child as only being a part of a grand plan; God has a plan for the life of that child to know God as well. Not only that, but it may also very well be the case that God would have that child who suffered and was saved to in turn ease the suffering of others as well.

The notion of babies who die without the opportunity to know God is well addressed in The Problem Of Pain by C.S. Lewis, and in a far more articulate manner than I myself can muster; I highly recommend checking it out if you are truly interested in solving the grave disparity that you see. The depravity of humanity, in your words seen through the atrocity of rape, is well addressed as well, in another book very close to Christianity. =P

Since we’re on the topic of books, I’m reminded of one of my favorites, Catcher in the Rye. In it, there is a quote that says “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause while the mark of the mature man is that wants to live humbly for one.” It is true that you and I are fortunate to have the blessings that we do, but that does not mean that you, nor I, nor Bon Jin or any other human ought to squander away life in order to be absolved of the guilt in having more than those less fortunate. Such sacrifice stems more from vain pride in glory, and most certainly does not honor those who sacrifice in life.

Ironically, that actually is a cognitive dissonance on your part, in the sense that by only focusing on death, you fail to see how the life that one leads can be meaningful as well. =( I was sincere in my words, it was and still is, nice to talk with you. Keep going if you please. =o

Jeongsoo – I would love it if you would please read what I write and respond to that. I expressed disgust at his willingness to say that the deaths and starvation of millions of children were part of a greater plan with a full stomach under his brain, not at the hypothetical situation where he goes up to a starving child and tells him that his death is part of a big plan. I even went so far to specify the difference in “telling it to his face” and “typing it out on facebook”. Almost every single response I get is always 5 degrees off, and it’s very hard to have a constructive conversation. And I am utterly blown away that CS Lewis wrote a book that can “solve the disparity” that I see in the world! My goodness has the Secretary General of UN read this book? Head of UNICEF? Get this book out to every head of state and let’s stop whining about it! Am i right? If you’re still wondering, I read it, and it actually seems like you and bon jin did a pretty good job of summarizing his views. The definition of “love” is different from man and god, a child doesn’t know the true intentions of discipline from the parent until much later, (by the way, he never really deals with pain B after defining it.), suffering as a megaphone for god’s messages (which Lewis does admit is a bit barbaric, but it’s the only way the wicked man to know what’s up. LOL) etc… And where is the part about the stillborn babies? I read this thing like 3 times and I saw nothing of the sort. I even searched for those exact keywords and found nothing. The last third of your response is the best you’ve written so far, and I will respond with full sincerity as well. I never said you and I should feel bad and starve ourselves so we can feel less guilty for those that are. I don’t do it myself, why would I make you guys? And I do agree that those that do such things are wasting their time. You say I fail to see how the life one leads can be meaningful. Unless you claim to know why I’m in medical school, you should not have uttered such a thing as fact. You are very correct in that I am fixated on death, especially unnatural, painful death in the newborn and young because there is nothing I cherish more than life. That’s why I can’t bring myself to justify any reason (from Lewis or not) why a baby should be brought to this world not breathing, or brought to this world only to starve dead in 3 years or so. I am so fixated on death exactly because I have succeeded in seeing how the life that one leads can be meaningful. Believe it or not, I find my life to be very meaningful because I know, with hard work, I will be able to give other people another chance at life. If that’s not seeing the value of life, I don’t know what is. I don’t claim that I will save every patient that crosses my path because you know, I’m no god, but something tells me I will thwart his “grand plan” of letting that baby die of a congenital heart defect, at least once.

Me! – Edit: What in the World!? Did you know that Facebook comments have an 8,000 character count limit? Yeesh.

My apologies; this will be rushed as I have a deadline to meet. =)

First and foremost, this is not a debate nor an argument; it’s a conversation. I will not attack your reponses in this conversation for not addressing the points in the response before it, because the place where a conversation goes is not set in stone; the conversation goes to where the words take us. =o If you would like to have a debate, we’ll pick a venue far more suited for it than facebook, that is, if you’re around the Berkeley area this summer. =) That being said, I most certainly have to make sure I do not dodge your question, so I will try to answer as direct as I am able, and I hope you will do the same.

“I expressed disgust at his willingness to say that the deaths and starvation of millions of children were part of a greater plan with a full stomach under his brain…” If I am reading you correctly, your disgust comes from seeing what you see as hypocrisy, as how can someone justify the death and starvation of millions of children if they themselves are fed fully. The painful truth is that so many more are hypocrites who do not even know themselves to be so, and this world is a broken place because of it. Christians know and affirm their hardened hearts from letting the cries of the broken reach them, and through Christ on the cross, all are forgiven for it. While I cannot speak for Bon Jin, I do not say it is part of a greater plan with willing joy, but rather with honest sadness that my loving God has to go through such great lengths to get hypocritical people to use their free will and choose to see themselves clearly their own hypocrisy. In that regard, it seems to me that your disgust lies in your assumption that he didn’t go through the knowledge and affirmation of his hardened heart, and simply jumped to forgiveness that justifies his perceived hypocrisy. I must make this clear; it is not forgiveness that justifies hypocrisy, but the admission of guilt in being a hypocrite that justifies God’s forgiveness. True Christianity keeps that fine line in mind. =)

“…I am utterly blown away that CS Lewis wrote a book that can “solve the disparity” that I see in the world! My goodness has the Secretary General of UN read this book? Head of UNICEF? Get this book out to every head of state and let’s stop whining about it!…” It’s funny that you mentioned government. The late great Chuck Colson was once a member of Richard Nixon’s Counsel, helped cover up Watergate and whatnot, and after being given the book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis while in jail, he became a Christian and founded his own ministry, Prison Fellowship. While it does not address the disparity of starvation, it most certainly addresses a desparity in the starvation of love in this type of environment. The difficulty in solving the disparity entirely shows how indepth the disparity is; solving the disparity is more than solving the material disparity by simply feeding every child, it is also solving the spiritual disparity of hearts that do not care for a starving one. In that sense, how much more would a heart learn to show compassion, if it has no suffering to expereince, or if it is broken by suffering? =\ The problem is not that if God has the power, why doesn’t he do anything about suffering, because God gave us the power of choice instead, and each individual has to choose to have compassion towards suffering in their heart. If you’ve read The Problem of Pain, then I most certainly have to recommend Mere Christianity myself as it was the book that led to myself becoming a Christian. =) Of course, if you’ve read that as well, then I recommend the Bible itself after coming to it with a mind open with wonder and not closed by belief. =P

“suffering as a megaphone for god’s messages (which Lewis does admit is a bit barbaric, but it’s the only way the wicked man to know what’s up. LOL…” You said so in jest, but Christains say so in sincerity; the problem is not only that people do not know themselves to be wicked, they do not know the extent of that wickedness. We cannot make a judgment call as to how wicked and deserving this world is of suffering because, like you said, you’re not God and we’re not God. While we may consider it barbaric through the lense of a human, such barbarism is subjectively seen as otherwise in the lense of God. =o

“…And where is the part about the stillborn babies? I read this thing like 3 times and I saw nothing of the sort. I even searched for those exact keywords and found nothing…” My bad! =) That was in something I read in the Bible, I get them all jumbled up; see what I said about humans being flawed in forgetting? =P To be honest, I do not know, and most Christians will readily admit as such. =) On this topic, we can merely speculate as to how God deals with stillborns. All I can truly say is that they will be judged fairly, because the God that we believe in is good. If he were not good, we would not call him God. The Bible tells us that God is timeless; God knows how the baby would’ve turned out if it had the time to live longer. Either the baby would go to heaven on the basis that they were not given an opportunity to know their guilt as a human, or the baby would go to heaven on the basis of how they would’ve responded to the opportunity had the opportunity been given. They would not be condemned for not knowing themselves to be guilty. =o.

“You say I fail to see how the life one leads can be meaningful. Unless you claim to know why I’m in medical school, you should not have uttered such a thing as fact.” My apologies, you took what I said as an attack on your character; what I meant was the fact that by focusing on how God uses death, you failed to see how God can also use life. Please do not take it as an insult in any manner.

“You are very correct in that I am fixated on death, especially unnatural, painful death in the newborn and young because there is nothing I cherish more than life. That’s why I can’t bring myself to justify any reason (from Lewis or not) why a baby should be brought to this world not breathing, or brought to this world only to starve dead in 3 years or so.” Then you are far more in tune to the truth of the world than many who strive to hide away the truth of death with material goods and fame. The fact that there is nothing you cherish more than life makes you cherish life alongside God and Christians alike. The only difference is that God knows that life lasts eternal. It goes back to our subjective lense as humans and God’s lense as God. What you see as cherishing a life that will come to an end, God and Christians know and have hope in a life that lasts eternal. This is how Christians see the world; the world is more than just the material body of life, as it is also the spiritual soul that is living.

“I am so fixated on death exactly because I have succeeded in seeing how the life that one leads can be meaningful. Believe it or not, I find my life to be very meaningful because I know, with hard work, I will be able to give other people another chance at life. If that’s not seeing the value of life, I don’t know what is.” Christians find their lives to be meaningful because we know, with hard work, that we will be able to give other people another chance at a life that lasts. =) In order to shape souls for eternity, God has to have people show compassion; the only way for God who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to provide suffering for humans to show compassion towards, so that their souls would be made for compassion eternally. If you don’t like how God had to use suffering to teach compassion to humans with free will, then you are in the same boat that I once was, of wishing God never gave me life with free will in the first place. Yet as I have been given this life of free-will, I will live humbly for God and his message of compassion instead of dying for my own noble cause. =) If this is confusing, forgive me, I tend to have fun with my writing.

“I don’t claim that I will save every patient that crosses my path because you know, I’m no god, but something tells me I will thwart his “grand plan” of letting that baby die of a congenital heart defect, at least once.” Neither do Christians claim to save every soul that crosses our path, because we’re not God, but God tells us that he would use our inadequate hearts to bring someone back to Christ from death, at least once. =P You say you wish to “thwart [God’s] plan of letting that baby die of a congenital heart defect.” By focusing only on the baby’s death, you are blind to the possibility of the baby’s life being a part of God’s plan. If the baby doesn’t die as a result of your human hands, then I would say that the baby’s life is a part of the plan. Since you brought up hypotheticals, here’s one of my own; if after saving that baby, the baby grows up thanking God for their life and not yourself, is your worth any less diminished? Going back to the original issue, in a similar, but not same vein, if after workers in mexico ship food onto our plates, we give thanks to God for the food instead, is their worth any less diminished? Did either of you do it for the sake of praise? If either of you did, is the child any less alive or ourselves any less fed? I hope that you wished to save the baby not simply because you wish to thwart what you think is God’s plan, but because you hate death as God does. God cares about intentions behind actions; my hope is that you tried to save the child’s life because you despise material death, and in doing so, you work alongside God who saves people from material and spiritual death. =o

From what I can see, you and I are alike; the only difference is that Christians look past the surface and strive to save both the life and the soul. =) Anyway, I actually have some papers to write, in the Summer! Hope to talk more soon. Also, I feel kind of bad for taking up so much space on Bon Jin’s wall, wanna add me instead?

Okaay, bye!

Jeongsoo – Even during a conversation one would expect another to reply to the points addressed. If I asked you what happened to the cake in the fridge it makes little sense to tell me you ate all the cookies.

That point made, even your “direct responses” are still not quite direct. You are not reading me correctly, and on top of that your direction is clearly not focused.

Once again, my disgust comes from the fact that in your attempt to reconcile the disparity between a starving child in Africa and a college education in the US, the “greater plan” card is used. (And I went so far to clarify that you wouldn’t say it to their starving faces, but would type it out on facebook.) In your 11 lines of response, only these words “I do not say it is part of a greater plan with willing joy, but rather with honest sadness” barely answer my question, and what comes after that is once again, way off the mark. Painful truth is that many more hypocrites who do not even realize their hypocrisy….and this makes the world more broken? I’m sorry but what does that sentence have to do with anything? So are you admitting that Bonjin is a hypocrite but a better one than others because he’s…. forgiven for it? wha???

I get that you don’t say “starving babies is part of a greater plan” with bursting enthusiasm. My problem was that you were saying such a thing in the first place, and I said you do that because you need to fit an all-loving god who gives you all the perks of middle class america while taking away lives of babies all over the world. (Then you’d say we would never know the true depth of the grand plan and so on and so on, but we’ve heard that before)

And the part about Nixon’s aide…. are you kidding me? I was clearly making a point about how and why “The Problem of Pain” is not the solution to resolving the disparity I see in the world because if it were, (start sarcasm font here) we should get the world leaders to read “The Problem of Pain” and we can finally stop whining about the dead babies (end sarcasm font).

And you keep making the case that “without experience suffering how can one love” …………………and I thought you read The Problem of Pain? That’s exactly Pain A. The pain that allows us to keep us on our toes, one that is bearable and reassuring. Pain B (the one that is not attributable to anything man-made and seems meaningless and without aim) is what Lewis needed to talk about in his book, but does not. (and you don’t either.) I’m not talking about me getting in a car accident and knowing how fragile life is. I’m talking about the starvation and death of innocent newborns. I was asking you to put yourself in their shoes and think whether you’d be able to say it must be part of a greater plan when you’re dying of thirst.

” The difficulty in solving the disparity entirely shows how indepth the disparity is”…. you see… god is willing to do so~~~ many things for a Korean family in California. The business is going okay, the kids are doing well in school, there is food on the table, kid aces his test, dad gets a hole in one, yadda yadda yadda. He might throw curveballs too! Business is not doing so well, kid doesn’t get into his first-choice school, daughter is a druggie (although it’s her damn fault), and there might be even suicide or cancer in the family. Let’s go follow Malik in Somalia! He’s born with AIDS, his mom can’t breastfeed him, and he’s dead within 4 months. (And this kind of crap can happen in the states too, but for our purposes of comparing the utter senseless disparity…) Thank you god, for giving Malik 4 months of excruciating pain and starvation… oh and for death! The pain Malik felt will not equip him of compassion because… sadly he is dead. It wasn’t his free will either. He… died of factors that were completely out of his control.

“It may seem barbaric but not barbaric in god’s lens”??? And that’s the view you’ll take too? You don’t think that’s barbaric because it probably isn’t in god’s view? If so, THAT is why I am calling you barbaric. Because My definition of barbaric definitely includes people looking at tsunamis and thinking “agh…. but god has a grand plan for it all… and we don’t know what god is thinking, and in his view the tsunami is part of his plan” That’s barbaric.

My view of a one life and one life only does not and cannot allow me to say that the death of a starving child must have happened for a reason. Your view of a life eternal does allow you to say that. That’s why I’ll try my hardest to stop the death of an innocent child and would feel forlorn if that wasn’t possible, and not think it must be part of a greater plan.

The part about me saving a child and a worker in mexico shipping food to america, and god being praised for it not diminishing any worth. You are simply all over the place. You were trying to say that no worth is diminished, right? That’s a utilitarian notion, a kid was saved, and you were fed regardless of what happened in the middle….But you then go on to say god is Kantian and I should save the child not for praise or to thwart god but out of my hatred for death? What are you speaking in favor of? Utilitarianism? or Kantianism? You are gravely confused in that paragraph.

“the only way for God who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to provide suffering for humans to show compassion towards, so that their souls would be made for compassion eternally.” This is the most disgusting point you’ve made so far. Do you know what you have said here? Allow me to demonstrate. “the only way for god who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally. (and of course the babies… they’re in heaven)” It is absolutely the most irreverent thing you can utter in your attempt to describe what this world is. Why? Because you are the one who is on the compassion end and not the end that is starving to death right now. That’s my point. That has been my point for the past 4 days.

If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to equip myself with the appropriate skill set that would allow me to save people with my own two hands, what a thousand hands clasped in prayer won’t be able to do.

Good luck on your studies.

Me – Thanks for the add! Again, still working on papers, but I wanted to address these topics instead.

“That point made, even your “direct responses” are still not quite direct. You are not reading me correctly, and on top of that your direction is clearly not focused.” Exactly what I mean, there are limitations to language, and limitations are seen even more clearly if we add that we are stuck in the limitations of facebook. That is precisely the reason why I prefaced what I said with “If I am reading you correctly…” because there is most certainly the possibility of reading something incorrectly, and this makes people defend and argue against assumed readings. Which is why it is a conversation; we expect such misunderstandings as a part of day to day speech, and cannot fully be faulted for being not quite direct. If my “direction is clearly not focused,” then it is not that my direction isn’t clear, but because I am focused in a direction other than your own. =) That point made, you’ve prompted me to call you out as well on not addressing my own ideas directly. In particular, the last part of what I said makes it seem clear to me that we have similar ideologies. I’m curious as to what your take is on that, and on the material and spiritual parts of life? =o

“my disgust comes from the fact that in your attempt to reconcile the disparity between a starving child in Africa and a college education in the US, the “greater plan” card is used. […] In your 11 lines of response, only these words “I do not say it is part of a greater plan with willing joy, but rather with honest sadness” barely answer my question, and what comes after that is once again, way off the mark.” My apologies if it is off the mark, but therin lies the problem of what I stated earlier. The limitations of language force people to say things they don’t mean and mean things they don’t say; I addressed what I saw as your attack on Bon Jin as a hypocrite, if you did not, then you need not consider my response as not quite direct, as I was directly responding to something you did not mean. =)

“Painful truth is that many more hypocrites who do not even realize their hypocrisy….and this makes the world more broken? I’m sorry but what does that sentence have to do with anything? So are you admitting that Bonjin is a hypocrite but a better one than others because he’s…. forgiven for it? Wha???” Putting the misrepresentation of your disgust aside, this is where I deliberately left out some words so that you would not be scared away. I’ll include them now. Christianity believes that everyone is a sinner, and I will admit as Bon Jin will admit that he is a sinner, but he is forgiven for his sins through Christ on the cross.

“I get that you don’t say “starving babies is part of a greater plan” with bursting enthusiasm. My problem was that you were saying such a thing in the first place, and I said you do that because you need to fit an all-loving god who gives you all the perks of middle class america while taking away lives of babies all over the world. (Then you’d say we would never know the true depth of the grand plan and so on and so on, but we’ve heard that before)” I don’t disagree with what you said here. =) We reconcile this problem of pain to and for the loving God that we worship. Forgive me if I go on a tangent, or another direction, here. If God is good, then we know God wouldn’t starve babies without a good reason. The only problem I would see, is if God actually isn’t good. Ahh, and this is where Mere Christianity comes in. Although some things are subjective, there are such things as absolute truths. Our heart cries for goodness, precisely because we were made for a world with that goodness. This means that such goodness absolutely exists, and it is the source of that goodness that we worship and call God. It is not worshiping God and justifying whether or not his actions were good, but rather worshipping the Goodness of God and justifying His actions with that in mind. =o

“And the part about Nixon’s aide…. are you kidding me? I was clearly making a point about how and why “The Problem of Pain” is not the solution to resolving the disparity I see in the world because if it were, (start sarcasm font here) we should get the world leaders to read “The Problem of Pain” and we can finally stop whining about the dead babies (end sarcasm font).” =) It seems that a lot of what you take as sarcasm, I take as appropriate. Which I suppose is ironic, as that was not your original intention in stating sarcasm in the first place. I see no reason why world leaders should not read The Problem of Pain, or the Bible, or question the deeper meanings in life to save the world in which those lives reside. =o.

‎”And you keep making the case that “without experience suffering how can one love” …………………and I thought you read The Problem of Pain? That’s exactly Pain A. The pain that allows us to keep us on our toes, one that is bearable and reassuring. Pain B (the one that is not attributable to anything man-made and seems meaningless and without aim) is what Lewis needed to talk about in his book, but does not. (and you don’t either.) I’m not talking about me getting in a car accident and knowing how fragile life is. I’m talking about the starvation and death of innocent newborns. I was asking you to put yourself in their shoes and think whether you’d be able to say it must be part of a greater plan when you’re dying of thirst.” I hope I would. Or at least, I hope I would if I had already known that it was part of a greater plan, and if I were to die of thirst, I would keep that in mind, as God called Christians to a life of hard work. I actually asked myself this question about thirst recently as 43 people I know went on a mission trip to Cambodia yesterday, and it’s hot there. =) If your question was whether or not I would say it was a part of a greater plan before I knew it was part of a greater plan, my hunch is that my heart’s thirst for meaning would be an indication as to myself being made for meaning, and I would die of thirst in knoweledge of that fact. =o

The way I see it is that Pain B also acts in the same manner as Pain A. The starvation and death of innocent newborns reminds us that this world is a wicked place. However, I disagree with what you said about those newborns being innocent, as Christians believe that all humans are sinful from birth, babies or otherwise. People nowadays wish to dull themselves to the truth of those tradgedies. They force themselves to forget by instead focusing on the material aspects of life, such as by adamantly pursuing money to satisfy their desires or by amusing themselves to death with movies and things that will not satisfy. It takes Pain B to shake things up within the hearts of humans, for them to get out of the material and look to the spiritual. In that regard, you do not know how right you were in saying that the comforts of America help one forget the suffering of those elsewhere; I just can’t say that it’s Christians who have forgotten.

” The difficulty in solving the disparity entirely shows how indepth the disparity is”…. you see… god is willing to do so~~~ many things for a Korean family in California. The business is going okay, the kids are doing well in school, there is food on the table, kid aces his test, dad gets a hole in one, yadda yadda yadda. He might throw curveballs too! Business is not doing so well, kid doesn’t get into his first-choice school, daughter is a druggie (although it’s her damn fault), and there might be even suicide or cancer in the family. Let’s go follow Malik in Somalia! He’s born with AIDS, his mom can’t breastfeed him, and he’s dead within 4 months. (And this kind of crap can happen in the states too, but for our purposes of comparing the utter senseless disparity…) Thank you god, for giving Malik 4 months of excruciating pain and starvation… oh and for death! The pain Malik felt will not equip him of compassion because… sadly he is dead. It wasn’t his free will either. He… died of factors that were completely out of his control.” All death is completely out of our control. I want you to remember something; God is love. This kind of crap happens because people are wicked, not because God is. Christians worship love. With that in mind, we reconcile the problem of pain, no matter what pain you repeatedly describe, with the fact that God is good. If he were not good, we would not call him God.

‎”It may seem barbaric but not barbaric in god’s lens”??? And that’s the view you’ll take too? You don’t think that’s barbaric because it probably isn’t in god’s view? If so, THAT is why I am calling you barbaric. Because My definition of barbaric definitely includes people looking at tsunamis and thinking “agh…. but god has a grand plan for it all… and we don’t know what god is thinking, and in his view the tsunami is part of his plan” That’s barbaric.” This is where subjective minds disagree. Barbaric to a human is not barbaric to a God, but a universal hatred for the barbaric shows that we were not made for this barbaric world. If you call me barbaric then I call you arrogant. =( Christianity is a reasonable faith, not an absolute one. Yet your own adamant faith in what you consider barbaric blinds you to possibilities. I remember you saying in the beginning that it was the moderates and not the fanatics that you had a problem with. Does this mean you favor their extremism and defend your own beliefs with extremism? I had wondered something about you when you first started talking; you seem to be led by your emotions. Anger was laced in your sarcastic words when you attacked Bon Jin with malice and when you offered your responses, but there was also despair in the ways that you describe the unnatural deaths of stillborns. I ask you to consider the truth that emotions are not always quite so honest and that one should not react to things on the basis of emotion alone.

“The part about me saving a child and a worker in mexico shipping food to america, and god being praised for it not diminishing any worth. You are simply all over the place. You were trying to say that no worth is diminished, right? That’s a utilitarian notion, a kid was saved, and you were fed regardless of what happened in the middle….But you then go on to say god is Kantian and I should save the child not for praise or to thwart god but out of my hatred for death? What are you speaking in favor of? Utilitarianism? or Kantianism? You are gravely confused in that paragraph.”

Believe me when I tell you I was not confused when I wrote the paragraph, but I am confused now that I read yours. I have no idea what a Utilitairian or Kantian notion is, I did not write it for that effect, and as such cannot offer you a response to it. Alas, the limitations of language again. I suppose if I were to guess as to what the heck you meant by this paragraph, I meant both of what I said, and I meant all of it in curiosity of what you would say and nothing else. =o

“the only way for God who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to provide suffering for humans to show compassion towards, so that their souls would be made for compassion eternally.” This is the most disgusting point you’ve made so far. Do you know what you have said here? Allow me to demonstrate. “the only way for god who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally. (and of course the babies… they’re in heaven)” It is absolutely the most irreverent thing you can utter in your attempt to describe what this world is. Why? Because you are the one who is on the compassion end and not the end that is starving to death right now. That’s my point. That has been my point for the past 4 days.” Worth without suffering of some sort is worthless and worth less. That said, I would like to reiterate what the point of Pain B is; it is to wake people up to the suffering of the world and not be blind to it by hiding behind materialism. In that sense, the worth that the suffering offers is not for me, as I would like to say my heart has already been broken by it. Instead, it is for all those blinded by ambition, clouded by their emotion; that suffering is to break the hearts of those that seek to selfishly serve their own happiness. I would like to say that I’ve already woken up. I would like to say that true Christians have been woken up. This the point that I”VE been trying to make; your enemy is not us. Our prayer is a hope that all people come to wake up, not merely that all people would be saved from suffering.

Also, I meant if you wanted to talk on Facebook message, without the 8,000 character count limit. =o

Thank you on your well wishes on my studies, I have two papers due in 4 hours. Talk later. =o

Jeongsoo – facebook message it is. sorry for the random notifications. I was writing my response here and kept pressing enter when i wanted to switch lines.

Jeongsoo – The limitations of language I am well aware of, but it is rather your inability to understand written language that is the trouble here. Would you please care to tell me how then, scholars managed to share their complex ideas with each other through letters. And your lack of focus you explain it as us having two focus points. But like I mentioned in many posts before, we really need to talk about the same thing when we want to develop on what each other is talking about.

I am very curious why I am a hypocrite for making my remarks to bonjin, if I am telling him to stop spewing forth vile ideas that clearly do not reflect the current state of the world? I spend my life not making such remarks, and spend full time studying to be a doctor so I can stop the very things that I see wrong with this world. And the part about everyone being born a sinner… once again, I will say it is a vile notion conjured up to reconcile all the bs that’s happening in this world. And Mere Christianity… I don’t need to tell you that I’ve read it and don’t buy into Lewis’s stuff, right? because I don’t.

The part about the government and Nixon’s aide… I really tried to make it very very clear in the first time I wrote it to make sure it was sarcasm. You know… I was bashing “Problem of Pain” and the ideas that came up with it and suddenly I praise the book for speaking da truth and it’s the book that could solve all our problems?? And I continue bashing on “Problem of Pain”. Limitation of language?? or…. your inability to see sarcasm when it’s thrown in your face… they’re two different things.

And thank you for your story in Cambodia. I was trying to have you imagine a 4 month-old baby who’s felt nothing but hunger and thirst since the second he was brought into the world, not the college student who goes on a mission trip to Cambodia (which is another perk might I add) and says that he will die of thirst in knowledge of the “truth”…. because he’s had what 20-some years to live and experience life, right? (a hint of sarcasm here… for your own good)

You say this kind of crap (my little Malik starving to death or a tsunami that kills thousands) happens because people are wicked. No. Lewis himself mentions that not all pain is traceable back to man. So wicked men and the benevolent god are responsible for things of a similar vein… apparently.

ah… what is barbaric and what is not. You are telling me that my definition of barbaric… which is 20k people dying in a tsunami is a subjective one. That probably means that you don’t think it’s barbaric. (because god’s definition of barbaric is different from ours, right?) My definition of 20k people dying in a tsunami as barbaric blinds me to possibilities?? What possibility??

I never said I did not have a problem with fanatics. I said, ” it’s not the religious fanatics that have tarnished the good name, but so-called moderates who have the guts to look at pointless death, and claim the “truth” that there is a grand plan behind the starving and pointless deaths”. Fanatics are fanatics. And what do you think you would have said if I pointed to the Westboro Baptist Church, and said, “LOOK! Look at those Christians and their hateful ideas!!!” You’d tell me they weren’t true Christians. You and I can both agree that they are fanatics. But when I look at “moderate Christians” that condemn WBC or the other “fanatics” for their hateful speech, only to turn around and say something just as vile and ridiculous only to cover it up with “Oh! but it’s not hateful! Read CS Lewis! God is good! Greater plan for everyone!” THAT’S what tarnishes the good name.

What extremism that I spewed forth do you have trouble with? My extreme ideas that a tsunami is an inherently evil thing? That I see a god who causes such things as barbaric? The extremism that I see so plainly in your speech is your recurring use of the word “truth”. That’s… extreme.

Of course I am angry. Not all the time though; I don’t dwell on dying children every moment of my life. You say emotions are not always honest, as if my anger for dying children are somehow based on false assumptions…. Because last time I checked, they’re still dying.

“You should not react to things based on emotions alone”. Right… so next time you hear about a 2 year old baby being raped and killed, you should calm down and…. approach reacting to this with not just emotions alone. You try. Please do.

You say you don’t know what utilitarian and kantian notions mean, and I am utterly stunned because…. it’s in “Problem of Pain”. Did you not read the VERY book that you were so dying to recommend me? Did you not read the book in its entirety, because Lewis spends quite a bit of time on that. Or did you read it, not understand it, but skipped it anyways?

Utilitarianism would be something like, “the ends justify the means”. And Kantianism would be something like “the process/intention is what matters”. So your response about a child I save thanking god not diminishing any value would be utilitarian. A child was saved, whether I intended to thwart god or not. Does not matter who was thanked, what my intentions were, right? Then you say I should be Kantian! That I should save a child not for want of praise or want to thwart god, but out of my hatred for death as god does. But… remember, you said it doesn’t matter what I save a child for. A child is saved, no worth is diminished. You obviously didn’t read the “Problem of Pain” as seriously as I thought you did, and didn’t work to study parts that you didn’t understand. Plus, you do not fully know what you are writing.

Lastly, you did not respond to my last point. “the only way for god who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally”. If you look at it. It’s almost a yes or no question.

It seems like you are saying yes to that sentiment because you say your heart is already broken by some sort of suffering that you witnessed before, and these starving babies’ suffering should go out to those blinded by emotion to wake them up!

I am not sure why the hell children are being raped, born dead, killed, starving, and why earthquakes and tsunamis massacre thousands. And I am going to spend my life trying to appease the senseless pain that is afflicted on children. And I’m the hypocritical and arrogant one because I don’t believe in a god.

But you do. You know the truth. You are able to see the truth because you’ve woken up from your blindness, you are not clouded by emotion because you have a book. (which I’m not convinced that you read in its entirety or understand its content. Sorry… you didn’t even read the problem of pain in its entirety, nor do you understand what Lewis is saying. I don’t think you can handle a book 10 times thicker than PofP)

Who is the arrogant one? You claim to know the truth. I ask you and Bonjin to see the disparity and stop claiming that one loving god gave you 20 years of life in the first world and gave a baby 4 hrs to live before it died of malnutrition just so you could go on a trip to cambodia and “ponder” about the problem. Arrogance…

I’ve had countless conversations like these with the religious (even the buddhists) in both Korean and English, in written and spoken language, and I’ve never had someone like you that really doesn’t answer anything in even the remote sense of similarity that the questions are asked. I ask “A” expecting to get “B” back. But you answer “crocodile” and give me a picture of a bar of soap. And you say that’s the limitation of language, but it’s really a limitation of your critical reading and writing skills. Had a good time. Surreal.

Me – At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know what you see as without focus. In a conversation, ideas associate and inspire, and I supplement my focused response with other points for the sake of conversation. I’m like a porcupine; I have lots of points. =) While you see it as without focus, I see it as more honest to the spirit of conversation, and the fun of conversation that perhaps you’ve forgotten. =) As such, I will mark those tangential ideas with “/sake of conversation/.”

“The limitations of language I am well aware of, but it is rather your inability to understand written language that is the trouble here. Would you please care to tell me how then, scholars managed to share their complex ideas with each other through letters. And your lack of focus you explain it as us having two focus points. But like I mentioned in many posts before, we really need to talk about the same thing when we want to develop on what each other is talking about.”

I should hope that as an English major, I have the ability to understand the written language. =) Scholars manage to share their complex ideas through letters, for sure, but I am not arrogant enough to think they will be absolutely understood or understand perfectly the ideas expressed by the other. Many letters will be exchanged, many of them most likely with the words “you misunderstand” or “you fail to see” or “what I meant was.” If they do share complex ideas through written language, it is not without difficulty, difficulty that arises not from the complexity of the idea, but from the limitations of written language itself. We most certainly need to talk about the same thing, and I think we are, but we also develop on ideas the person did not intend.

/sake of conversation/ It’s sort of like that saying, “you had to have been there.” We ask someone to walk in another’s shoes, but we’ll never know as they would, no matter how hard we try, or desire to. It’s also arrogant to say one could, Oddly enough, this speaks to a cry for understanding, to understand others and to be understood perfectly as well. Which speaks to an undestanding that Christians believe cannot be found on Earth, as we long for understanding because we were once perfectly understood by God. =o //end

“I am very curious why I am a hypocrite for making my remarks to bonjin, if I am telling him to stop spewing forth vile ideas that clearly do not reflect the current state of the world? I spend my life not making such remarks, and spend full time studying to be a doctor so I can stop the very things that I see wrong with this world. And the part about everyone being born a sinner… once again, I will say it is a vile notion conjured up to reconcile all the bs that’s happening in this world. And Mere Christianity… I don’t need to tell you that I’ve read it and don’t buy into Lewis’s stuff, right? because I don’t.”

Sigh. I did not call you a hypocrite. I defended what I thought was you calling Bon Jin a hypocrite. =) Limitations of language again, and all that.

“The part about the government and Nixon’s aide… I really tried to make it very very clear in the first time I wrote it to make sure it was sarcasm. You know… I was bashing “Problem of Pain” and the ideas that came up with it and suddenly I praise the book for speaking da truth and it’s the book that could solve all our problems?? And I continue bashing on “Problem of Pain”. Limitation of language?? or…. your inability to see sarcasm when it’s thrown in your face… they’re two different things.”

I see very clearly that it is sarcasm. You do not like that book. I turned that back on you with sincerity by sincerely thinking, and I still think, that all people, world leaders included, should think about the problem of pain that they see in the world. It would go a long way to fix the disparity that I see, in all of the disparities that there are. The limitation of language is apparent as you did not see that I saw your sarcasm, and instead thought I took your sarcastic comment as sincere.

/sake of conversation/ I was just talking to my friend about this yesterday. We were talking about irony. Irony is when something appears to be the opposite of what you would expect. Here comes the difficulty. What if someone told you the author uses irony in the book, or if you’ve read the book once already? If you know the author is going to use irony, then you expect the author is going to use irony, and if you expect something to appear to be the opposite of what you would expect, then it ceases to be irony, because you expected to see it. How do we reconcile irony if we expect the author to provide it? The only way is to suspend disbelief and see it as if you never saw it in the first place. Cool huh? //end

“And thank you for your story in Cambodia. I was trying to have you imagine a 4 month-old baby who’s felt nothing but hunger and thirst since the second he was brought into the world, not the college student who goes on a mission trip to Cambodia (which is another perk might I add) and says that he will die of thirst in knowledge of the “truth”…. because he’s had what 20-some years to live and experience life, right? (a hint of sarcasm here… for your own good)”

The sarcastic part was your thank you, quotation of the word “truth,” and the idea that truth could be gained in 20 years to experience life. =)

/sake of conversation/ It is not that I do not see sarcasm; I use your own sarcasm to show my own sincerity. Something about wit being lost on fools, or fools being wise if they know themselves to be foolish. =)//end

You say this kind of crap (my little Malik starving to death or a tsunami that kills thousands) happens because people are wicked. No. Lewis himself mentions that not all pain is traceable back to man. So wicked men and the benevolent god are responsible for things of a similar vein… apparently.”

Yes, what is apparent to you is apparent to me too, apparently.

/sake of conversation/ God created evil so that man could choose good in the presence of evil. That gives that goodness true worth; worth without suffering is worth less and worthless. Which is why God gave us free-will. Suffering continues because Man chose evil, and still chooses evil, to do evil things, and think evil thoughts. That is what is meant by not all pain being traceable back to man, as the source of pain is indeed God, but the permanence of pain lies on our own human choice to choose it.

“ah… what is barbaric and what is not. You are telling me that my definition of barbaric… which is 20k people dying in a tsunami is a subjective one. That probably means that you don’t think it’s barbaric. (because god’s definition of barbaric is different from ours, right?) My definition of 20k people dying in a tsunami as barbaric blinds me to possibilities?? What possibility??”

There is a very fine line between what we know to be barbaric, and the reasoning behind why it is barbaric. It is most definitely barbaric, but the reasoning as to why it is barbaric is subjective. I think that 20k people dying in a tsunami is barbaric. I also subjectively think that the reasoning behind the barbaric act is good. The limitations of language is clear in that you think I thought the action wasn’t barbaric, when it is the act from God that I think to be reasonably and subjectively good. Does that make sense?

//sake of conversation// The reason it is so complex is because God gave us free-will. Christianity is full of seeming contradictions, and this might make one wonder why it isn’t simpler, but the complexity of the answer serves to explain the complexity of the issue. The sign of a sharp mind is to be able to hold two opposing ideas at the same time. Christianity is a complex, robust, and complete idea, and true Christians hold these ideas in mind all the time. On the one hand, we are worthless sinners, on the other, God finds us worthy to save eternal souls. As soon as we forget one or other, we delve into separating ourselves from God. If we wallow in the truth that we are worthless sinners, then we experience pride, as we think our sins to be too great for God to forgive. If we are worthy to save eternal souls, then we experience pride, as we think God chose us cause we were more capable. Christianity is difficult, which is why we pray for forgiveness, because who can say that they can walk this fine line perfectly? //end

“I never said I did not have a problem with fanatics. I said, ” it’s not the religious fanatics that have tarnished the good name, but so-called moderates who have the guts to look at pointless death, and claim the “truth” that there is a grand plan behind the starving and pointless deaths”. Fanatics are fanatics. And what do you think you would have said if I pointed to the Westboro Baptist Church, and said, “LOOK! Look at those Christians and their hateful ideas!!!” You’d tell me they weren’t true Christians. You and I can both agree that they are fanatics. But when I look at “moderate Christians” that condemn WBC or the other “fanatics” for their hateful speech, only to turn around and say something just as vile and ridiculous only to cover it up with “Oh! but it’s not hateful! Read CS Lewis! God is good! Greater plan for everyone!” THAT’S what tarnishes the good name.”

Thank you for looking up what you said, I merely guessed as to what it was, flawed in forgetting and all that. Since you mentioned WBC, I’ll mention gay marriage. I do not speak for all Christians, but I speak for myself; I condemn their actions, but not all their ideas. What they are protesting are things that go against the intentions of God. Man was not made for man, nor woman for a woman, as the sexual act was for creating a child, and not for the sake of pleasure. What I condemn is their hateful speech, adding to the hate and misery in the world. I condemn their business, I condemn their saying that “God hates fags,” as God is love, and any hatred is toward the sin, and not the sinner.

/sake of conversation/That being said, the cry for someone, man or woman, to fill the void in their hearts, is evident of their heart longing for someone to understand them. As such, I do not condemn their cry for equal marriage, as that cry is simply a display of longing for God. If I remember correctly, it was in Mere Christianity that Lewis described physical sin and spiritual sin, and a homosexual act being less offensive to God than a prideful heart, though offensive nonetheless. /end

“What extremism that I spewed forth do you have trouble with? My extreme ideas that a tsunami is an inherently evil thing? That I see a god who causes such things as barbaric? The extremism that I see so plainly in your speech is your recurring use of the word “truth”. That’s… extreme.”

I have trouble with your extreme disgust for the moderate that is warrantless, extreme sarcasm that is needless, extreme anger that blinds you, and extreme emotion itself. I explained how a tsunami is not inherently nor absolutely evil, as it would be enacted by God for didactic effect. That is how Christians subjectively see the problem of pain. I explained how we see the action as barbaric, but the act to be just, because it points to the absolute and universal ideas of morality in our heart, given to us by God to know that we were made for another world.

My apologies for my extreme use of the word “truth.” I say so in the poetic sense, not the absolute sense.

//sake of conversation// I say things I don’t mean and mean things I don’t say. =) That being said, I have less than a “trouble,” more like an “issue with,” or perhaps rather, I have “notice of”, as it is not quite so troublesome for me to see it in you. =) See what I mean about the limitations of language? It is difficult to convey the idea I have of you. /end

Of course I am angry. Not all the time though; I don’t dwell on dying children every moment of my life. You say emotions are not always honest, as if my anger for dying children are somehow based on false assumptions…. Because last time I checked, they’re still dying. “You should not react to things based on emotions alone”. Right… so next time you hear about a 2 year old baby being raped and killed, you should calm down and…. approach reacting to this with not just emotions alone. You try. Please do.

Limitations of Language. =) Emotions are not always honest because they do not express “yourself” honestly, not because children aren’t dying. Dying children are not based on false assumptions, sadly, they are indeed still dying, and you should indeed feel the emotion of sadness when you see it. Your anger is not honest because it does not express yourself honestly, or perhaps “appropriately.” It goes back to the issue of intention being more important than action. If you see children dying, feel sad enough to rush over to Africa to save them, only to realize you have no skills, then there is no good intention behind that action. That is why you are in the medical field, because you approached the situation with more than just emotion. Your intention is not only based on soothing your sadness, but on easing their suffering, and by reacting to the situation with more than emotions alone, with the right intentions, your action are worth more in return. Emotions should accompany and supplement good intentions; it should not be the basis for it, as you know.

//sake of conversation// However, emotions can do more than just breed dishonest intentions, as it can also blind people by rage. There are many instances in my own life as I am sure there have been in yours, when I’ve flown off the handle, shouted at someone with hateful comments, not wanting to hear the other person explain themselves, and only regret it afterwards. What I asked was for you to keep the anger in check, so that you can consider the views of others, and not regret it afterwards that you did not hear them out sooner.

Or call it a Freudian thing of repressing the truth because the emotions associated with it are too painful, or cognitive dissonance in not being able to see it, because you are so entrenched in rage. Of course, I do not say that we can keep our emotions at bay easily. It is not the fact that we are always able to, but the fact that we should. We say things we don’t mean, and mean things we don’t say. I do not simply profess Christianity solely because the plight of people tugs at my heartstrings, but because I have an intellectual basis from which to believe. =)/end

“You say you don’t know what utilitarian and kantian notions mean, and I am utterly stunned because…. it’s in “Problem of Pain”. Did you not read the VERY book that you were so dying to recommend me? Did you not read the book in its entirety, because Lewis spends quite a bit of time on that. Or did you read it, not understand it, but skipped it anyways?”

My apologies, I read parts of it a while ago, and I confess to not have read it in its entirety. =) That being said, the notions are familiar, whether the ends justify the means or the intentions matter. My answer is what I gave, the answer is both; intentions matter, and the ends justify the means.

“Utilitarianism would be something like, “the ends justify the means”. And Kantianism would be something like “the process/intention is what matters”. So your response about a child I save thanking god not diminishing any value would be utilitarian. A child was saved, whether I intended to thwart god or not. Does not matter who was thanked, what my intentions were, right? Then you say I should be Kantian! That I should save a child not for want of praise or want to thwart god, but out of my hatred for death as god does. But… remember, you said it doesn’t matter what I save a child for. A child is saved, no worth is diminished. You obviously didn’t read the “Problem of Pain” as seriously as I thought you did, and didn’t work to study parts that you didn’t understand. Plus, you do not fully know what you are writing.”

I recommended “The Problem of Pain” to you because it seems to have solved issues that other people had with the problem of pain. I myself have not read a book I recommended, because I have long since reconciled the problem of pain in my own heart and mind with logic. If you say it is wrong of me to recommend a book I never read, is it wrong if my intention is to help you clarify the problem of pain that you see in the world? In that sense, the end of what I wanted justified the wrong means of recommending to you a book I did not read. Utilitarianism and Kantianism are not necessarily opposed, as the ends justify good intended means. =)

“Then you say I should be Kantian! That I should save a child not for want of praise or want to thwart god, but out of my hatred for death as god does. But… remember, you said it doesn’t matter what I save a child for.”

I most certainly did not say what you thought I said. I merely asked you questions, Yes/no questions in fact,

so as to see what you thought, not to push you one way or another, “if after saving that baby, the baby grows up thanking God for their life and not yourself, is your worth any less diminished? Going back to the original issue, in a similar, but not same vein, if after workers in mexico ship food onto our plates, we give thanks to God for the food instead, is their worth any less diminished? Did either of you do it for the sake of praise? If either of you did, is the child any less alive or ourselves any less fed?”

//sake of conversation// I suppose you could take what I “hope” as an indicator, but that merely showed my views and I did not make any judgments on your own. =o

The ends justify the means, but if the means are evil, the end is not justified. I suppose there ought to be a third “ism” that says the intentions behind the means justify the evil means and the end justifies those means. =) Definitely not going to call it an Andrewism. /end

“Lastly, you did not respond to my last point. “the only way for god who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally. If you look at it. It’s almost a yes or no question. It seems like you are saying yes to that sentiment because you say your heart is already broken by some sort of suffering that you witnessed before, and these starving babies’ suffering should go out to those blinded by emotion to wake them up!”

Yes, the only way for God who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally. Does that answer your question? Not only that, but I also agree with why you thought I said it, my heart is broken by some sort of suffering that I witnessed before, and these starving babies’ suffering should go out to those blinded by emotion to wake them up. However, I retract what I said about “broken” and instead I will replace it with “breaking,” because I will never know to grieve for the world as God does, because I will never see all the suffering in the world as God sees.

//sake of conversation// Also, think about what it means to “show compassion towards.” Do I show it through money? Do I leave everything and go to Africa? If I cannot pay that much, am I any less compassionate? If I don’t have any skills, am I any less compassionate than a doctor? Worse yet, if I go to Africa and inadvertently do harm to a child, am I any less compassionate? I’m less useful, for certain, and possibly harmful, but am I any less compassionate? Think about a realationship between friends; you don’t make friends with somebody just because you want something from them, or because of what they can do for you, you make friends with them because of who they are. You see, God sees the world in this regard, not for the physical manifestations of what you can do, but for the spiritual manifestation of the compassion in your heart. Just the same we should see a friendship with God is the same way. We shouldn’t be friends with God, thank God, or hate God for what he can bless us or curse us with, but be friends with him for who he is, as love itself. =)/end

“I am not sure why the hell children are being raped, born dead, killed, starving, and why earthquakes and tsunamis massacre thousands. And I am going to spend my life trying to appease the senseless pain that is afflicted on children. And I’m the hypocritical and arrogant one because I don’t believe in a god.”

We’ve already addressed the misconstrued notion of your hypocrisy. You are not arrogant because you don’t believe in God, but because you are too entrenched in your emotional beliefs to consider the possibility God. You wish to cure the senseless pain that is afflicted on children, as do I, and we, as Christians for humanity.

You wish to appease the senseless pain of their physical bodies, we want to appease the senseless pain of their spiritual souls as well. I really do not think we are at odds with each other, as I think we have the same heart. =)

“But you do. You know the truth. You are able to see the truth because you’ve woken up from your blindness, you are not clouded by emotion because you have a book. (which I’m not convinced that you read in its entirety or understand its content. Sorry… you didn’t even read the problem of pain in its entirety, nor do you understand what Lewis is saying. I don’t think you can handle a book 10 times thicker than PofP)”

I do not claim to know the truth with certainty. What I claim to have are certain reasons to believe.

//sake of conversation// It’s funny you mention that, as our very own Pastor compared the Bible to Harry Potter, more words in Harry Potter than the Bible, yet I read the former fully and not the latter. =) If your assumption is based on the length of the text, then your assumption is wrong, however true your conclusion. Not to mention it is not the quantity of the text, but the quality of the text. Although some would say one has more quality than the other, I won’t say which. =) I suppose I am a sinner in this way, to know 7 books of fiction instead of one book of fact. Although some would say that would make 8 books of fiction. =) /end

“Who is the arrogant one? You claim to know the truth. I ask you and Bonjin to see the disparity and stop claiming that one loving god gave you 20 years of life in the first world and gave a baby 4 hrs to live before it died of malnutrition just so you could go on a trip to cambodia and “ponder” about the problem. Arrogance…”

I never said I wasn’t arrogant. Arrogance and pride is a part of us all, and I implore you to find it within yourself. =o Any truth that I claim to know is merely the universal absolute for a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, which serves to show the most logical conclusion that humans were made for another world. (Mere Christianity, which I did read fully. =) Christianity is most certainly an arrogant religion, and it was one of the most difficult concepts for me to grasp in order to become a Christian. Me and Bon Jin see the disparity, it is a most common part of our prayers. It is most certainly arrogant that I can do so without experiencing the suffering myself, but it also makes the most logical sense, despite it being arrogant. I have not been to Cambodia yet, please do not bless me with such courage. =)

“I’ve had countless conversations like these with the religious (even the buddhists) in both Korean and English, in written and spoken language, and I’ve never had someone like you that really doesn’t answer anything in even the remote sense of similarity that the questions are asked. I ask “A” expecting to get “B” back. But you answer “crocodile” and give me a picture of a bar of soap. And you say that’s the limitation of language, but it’s really a limitation of your critical reading and writing skills. Had a good time. Surreal.”

The problem with the limitations of language is that we defend and argue against things neither of us intended. The other problem is that in a real conversation, you expect different ideas to come up and inspire. You ask “A” expecting to get “B”, but I give you “B,” along with C, D, E, and F. Something about porcupines. =) I suppose I should not have included C,D, E, and F so as to keep B clear, but alas, I like to keep the fun in a conversation, as a conversation ought to remain. =)

However, even without my additional points, intentions were misconstrued:

I asked if you said Bon Jin was a hypocrite,

you said no, how could I, I don’t do it myself,

I apologized, brought up the limitations of language,

and you defended against my calling you a hypocrite.

(If this flow of ideas is wrong, I apologize, the most important thing you have to realize about the limitation of language is that it’s difficult to pin down.)

Sorry… you’re wrong because I did not call you a hypocrite, and no such thing was of my original intention, just as you did not call Bon Jin a hypocrite, as according to you no such thing was of your intention. It was a very large and odd jump, as what you would expect is me actually CALLING you a hypocrite before you defended against it, but for some reason, you jumped to defending it regardless. =) Also, this and many other misconceptions that you have show that you should wait before responding in anger. =o Limitations of Language; the only way to get past it, is to recognize it when it occurs, realize it will probably occur again, and continue the conversation with a smile or a laugh, lol. =) (LOL, Limitation of Language, get it?)

//sake of conversation// “Good luck on your studies.” =) I didn’t think about see it before, but i’m thinking about it now. I do hope this previous comment wasn’t sarcastic? I would like to see you as more than just spiteful. I would like to say that your decency as a human being, attested to by your hatred for evil, would allow you to make that comment with sincerity. Yet, I expect sarcasm from you, as I have read your other responses. How do we reconcile this sarcasm, if I expect you to provide it? Do the limitations of language cause me to comment on things that aren’t there, or defend things I don’t mean? Was it sarcasm? What about in your most recent response, “sorry for the random notifications.” Were you actually sorry? Was it sarcasm? You can answer this as a yes/no question. =)

The way I see it, everything has been addressed. I’m happy to respond if you think there’s more. =) While I would like you to respond to what I said about ourselves being similar, I don’t think you want to. All I can really say at this point is it actually has been quite fun these past few days, and i’m glad I could do it. You know, I didn’t tell you this, but before all of this started, I was told to be bold in defending my faith. Lo and behold, your first comment showed up on Bon Jin’s wall and gave me an opportunity to do just that. Thanks! /end

Jeongsoo – The problem was that too many of your answers before were all “supplements” without any of your “focused responses”. That was what was so frustrating because I’d ask a question about bears, and you would talk about shampoos. (Sometimes you’d talk about Bear Grylls… but that’s not quite the bear I’m talking about) Not limitation of language really, but simply not being on the point. On that note, this time you actually did an okay job covering the points covered (still some are off the mark) and then adding your “supplements”. Because before… there was no “covering of the subject” and it was all supplementary. It’s great if you want to be a porcupine, but you were all pine and no porcu. I guess this time I can call you a… popine. (not enough porcu)

“…difficulty that arises not from the complexity of idea, but from the limitations of written language itself” No, it would depend on the complexity of the idea being spoken, OR on the capabilities of the two in correspondence to understand written language. Because if you and I both read from a page of a textbook on Non-Newtonian fluids, you would not understand a thing while I could solve the problem set with ease. It’s like you’re saying “oh the author is a horrible writer” while others are saying “it’s you that’s a horrible reader.”

I’m not saying you are. I think you are understanding what I’m saying for the most part. I just wish to address that your “limitation of language” should really be “limitation of the writer’s abilities” and “limitation of the reader’s abilities” (A crime that I am also guilty of, but not enough to make this conversation such a pain to have. You’re a great writer, but not a great responder.)

*You wrote this at the wayyyy end, but I will respond to it here.

I asked if you said Bon Jin was a hypocrite,

you said no, how could I, I don’t do it myself,

I apologized, brought up the limitations of language,

and you defended against my calling you a hypocrite. “

First, you told me “It is true that you and I are fortunate to have the blessings that we do, but that does not mean that you, nor I, nor Bon Jin o any other human ought to squander away life in order to be absolved of the guilt in having more than those less fortunate”

Which is not a question to begin with, nor does it have anything to do with hypocrisy. I never said a baby starving and Bon Jin eating food was hypocritical. That’s how the world is. (sadly) But I did say, that his saying that babies starve for a grand plan mediated by god while having three square meals a day was hypocritical because he is not the one being sacrificed. The solution is his not saying those things anymore, not starving himself.

So I replied “I never said you and I should feel bad and starve ourselves so we can feel less guilty for those that are. I don’t do it myself, why would I make you guys?” Following me here?

I would like to apologize for a point that I completely missed to clarify (I am to blame here, not my english) in my last response. I did intend to call out Bon Jin’s hypocrisy, in that his very original status (which he believes to be true, by the way, and it’s gotta be absolute because god obviously feeds his family) fails to recognize the state of the world outside of southern California.

Apparently you didn’t think that was hypocrisy, which is why you defended him, and you said there were more hypocrites that do not realize their hypocrisy and thus break the world even more. To which you responded by saying he is forgiven (of hypocrisy or any other sins) by god.

This is where I took my baby steps to get to where I became a hypocrite (in your eyes). In your eyes, I’m a sinner (guilty of hypocrisy you may even claim!), and I’m not forgiven because I haven’t accepted jesus (this is your idea). It doesn’t take a genius to see that you don’t approve of my worldview or my position against god. Right? And I’m the hypocrite who doesn’t realize his own hypocrisy, that’s breaking the world?

That’s how I got to where I was a hypocrite in your eyes. Unless you say no, then it’d be a really big compliment for me, that I am actually living out the morals that I claim to have. (I don’t think you think of me like that).

Nixon’s aide… this is your response two days ago. “It seems that a lot of what you take as sarcasm, I take as appropriate. Which I suppose is ironic, as that was not your original intention in stating sarcasm in the first place.” When I read something, I don’t automatically assume that they are lying to me. So when I read that, I didn’t think “Wait a minute… this guy!! This guy got my sarcasm, but is telling me that it came across as serious just to mess with me! What a jolly little liar he is!” Please don’t pull the limitation of language here. The sarcasm wasn’t to describe my dislike of the book, but for its ineffectiveness in anything you said it would achieve. You told me to read the book, it’ll solve your disparity problem, but I feel no magical effects. Then you said (sincerely) that world readers should read it. And I replied that if it had any of the effects that you said would have, the world’s problems would be solved, and since it isn’t, “Problem of Pain” is not quite the book you make it out to be. THEN! You pull a beauuutiful move.

I still think, that all people, world leaders included, should think about the problem of pain that they see in the world. It would go a long way to fix the disparity that I see, in all of the disparities that there are.” Uh… no they should READ the “Problem of Pain”, and it’s going to solve the disparity that I see! That’s what you told me! Now they should THINK about the problem of pain (I don’t think you meant the book here) and it’s still a long way to go before we can fix the disparity? Then why did you say it would solve MY problem of disparity?? Way to back out of support of Lewis man…

Thank you for getting the sarcasm in the Cambodia part. (I think the hint may have helped. It was overkill for a chuckle out of you. I know I didn’t get one). But… you still think you know the truth. (Oh wait, it’s just poetic.)

the permanence of pain lies on our own human choice to choose it.” I just have one thing to say. Never forget about Malik.

It is most definitely barbaric, but the reasoning as to why it is barbaric is subjective”

First of all, I hope you realize that being caught in a tsunami or an earthquake is not a matter of free will. Second, I do get the point you make that god is doing this out of “love”. Tough love. Love of a parent that kids won’t understand till much later (or never will). But do you also realize that it’s the same if a father drowns a boy to show his sister the lesson that life is precious and she shouldn’t waste it? Call Child Services on that.

Your response to the WBC part was a joy to read. (No sarcasm, and I’m not bluffing, like you did! =p) You could’ve easily said, limitation of language, but simply said it was your fault for not remembering. Ah gay marriage… that’s a whole another can of worms, but thank you for being honest that you do agree (somewhat) with their ideals. I have nothing else to say on that.

My disgust would not be so extreme if the views of the moderate were actually moderate. “a tsunami is not inherently nor absolutely evil, as it would be enacted by God for didactic effect.” I see nothing honorable about a god who has to drown 20,000 people to teach Andrew Yu of Berkeley, CA how to have compassion.

Sorry that you think my anger is not expressing my feelings honestly, but I really am pissed that things like that happen in this world, while Germany gets to have Oktoberfest. I am not pissed because I have to vent my anger to feel good about myself. I am angry at the despair that others have to feel just so god can teach a lesson to the western world. You are right that I approach this problem with more than emotion and am studying so I can have a greater impact. So you are admitting that I am not blinded by rage, is it not? Yes, I am pissed that these things happen, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to take out my tuition and donate it to Tanzania. Good. I’m more pissed about the state of the world than what Bon Jin said, if that explains any more of what kind of a person I am.

No, if the baby I save grows up and thanks god for his life my work’s worth is not diminished, because I save babies so they have a chance at life, whether it be a religious one or not, because I had a Kantian motive and I achieved my end. I don’t know why that matters, but okay. What if I save babies just so I can buy a Ferrari? A baby is still saved, but not with the right motives. I would say then, the worth is diminished. I’m not okay with that. I actually don’t know why you even brought that in. I’m Kantian by the way.

The ends justify the means, but if the means are evil, the end is not justified.” That’s not a third idea. It’s Kantian. You might as well say “If the means are evil, the end is not justified. If the means are good, the end is justified” That’s why when you break someone’s ribcage while performing CPR the court will look very lightly on your “crime”. This just SCREAMS Kant.

Yes, the only way for God who has given mankind free-will to teach compassion is to starve and kill off kids in Africa for Andrew to show compassion towards, so that his soul would be made for compassion eternally. Does that answer your question? Not only that, but I also agree with why you thought I said it, my heart is broken by some sort of suffering that I witnessed before, and these starving babies’ suffering should go out to those blinded by emotion to wake them up. However, I retract what I said about “broken” and instead I will replace it with “breaking,” because I will never know to grieve for the world as God does, because I will never see all the suffering in the world as God sees.”

This is the best answer you have given me so far. I have nothing else to say to that. It’s very direct, to the point, and beautifully written. No sarcasm intended.

We’ve already addressed the misconstrued notion of your hypocrisy.” Are you calling me a hypocrite here? Or is that referring to when you thought I was calling Bon Jin a hypocrite? Hmm..

By the way, I mentioned the bible because many people never read it in its entirety. You didn’t do much of a good job reading the Problem of Pain, and you seemed so sure of its contents and the wonders it would do. You seem to have the same view towards the bible, and I was merely telling you to not be so quick with it.

Any truth that I claim to know is merely the universal absolute for a desire which nothing in this world can satisfy, which serves to show the most logical conclusion that humans were made for another world.”

Another very well written response. (Although… I would assume that you would claim the bible to be the true word of god. And that’s no desire which nothing in this world can satisfy. It’s there!) The indisputable truth that I would claim is that, there are children dying horrible deaths in this world, and the logical conclusion that we should stop it. That’s as far as I’ll go.

No that was not sarcasm. I really meant good luck on your studies. Do you know that we are each writing around 8 pages of responses to each other while having a ton of things to study? That’s what I meant.

Since you wanted me to write about ourselves being similar, I will. I thought our correspondence was enough to tell you of our differences. I don’t know, I guess we both have a first-world upbringing, probably never had to starve as much as those who are dying as of this moment. We both know that there are babies dying in the most unjust ways possible, but as you know, this is where our opinions differ. You think there is a just intent behind all this pain and suffering, and I don’t. You think your fortunes and their misfortunes are somehow mediated by an omnipotent god, but I have none of it. I feel furious and ache for Malik who is gone now because you only live once, and all Malik experienced was hunger and death. You think there is another world, so I guess you don’t think that. I mean these are all the bases we’ve covered in our correspondence.

I really want to compliment you on your boldness. You are brave, no doubt about it. You are (when you’re on topic), one of the most eloquent Christian apologists that I have come across. I apologize for any offense that I may have caused towards you, Andrew, the person. If anything I was challenging your ideas. It’s been a blast. I was glad I could have this very long conversation with you. With full sincerity, I wish you the best of luck in life, and live long and prosper.

All in all, I think it went well.  I’m sure some things got lost in translation, and he comment on what I saw about us being similar in ideology, him saving merely the physical while we save both that and the spiritual.  In hindsight, I was totally outgunned in terms of the vocabulary that he used, which shows that I really need to get my head into some Christian literature, including the Bible.  =P  Yet, I managed to hold my own.  What I was really glad of though, was when I called him out on his anger, his responses got far less spiteful, and far easier to read and respond to.  =)  This was fun.  Hope to tackle it again another time.  Okay, I actually have ONE MORE PAPER to do, and then I am officially, a Junior at Berkeley.  Okay, talk soon!  Bye!

-Andrew

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Milcah on the Phone

I know, I know. It’s been forever since I last posted and my first post back is a stupidly stupid conversation with someone none of you know, my 100th Post no less! It’s a shame to waste such a glorious number on just a friend. J/K, you know me. =P Definitely will write more this summer, hang tight, bye! =)

Milcah – What’s your last name?
Me – Yu.
Milcah – Crank that soulja boy…
Milcah – Haha. Get it? 😀
Me – Ahaha. I got it, I just forgot to laugh? =)
Milcah – You’re an ass. -_-
Me – Yu’re.
Me – Hah. Get it? =o
Milcah – You just turned the joke on me. You have achieved the double ass label. -_-
Me – So if two wrongs make a right, what do two asses make? =o
Me – You know what. Don’t think it out. You’re better off not knowing.
Milcah – Are you trying to apply math to an abstract concept? 0.0 BRING IT.
Me – Why would you assume that i’m looking for a fight? you know what they say, when you assume…
Milcah – You insolent little bitch! 0.o
Milcah – Okay, I gotta give you some props for that.
Me – =) no more! Let’s call it a draw, my phone can’t reply a rebuttal fast enough. Hah, butt. =P.
This is all way too circumstantial. 0.o You ever thought of stand up comedy?
Me – Nah. Can’t stand the limelight.