Friday, July 16, 2004

There ain't no justice

In the previous post, there are 33 comments (at last count) arguing about whether or not it would be just for someone to be damned for missing Mass on Sunday. I and a few commentors think that it is, another intrepid commentor thinks not. Actually, I think he feels that it isn't just more than he thinks it isn't just, since if we think about what justice is and what God is, we will see that to accuse God of injustice is irrational.
Justice refers to the state of affairs where each gets what he or she deserves. In order to determine, then, if someone has been treated unjustly, one must know what he deserves. This isn't a simple thing to do, since most human societies have gradations--certain people deserve more than others. Now, consider your relationship to God. For God to be unjust to you, he must fail to give you something that you deserve. What do you deserve from God?
What do you have that isn't grace? Do you have a right to exist? To be healthy? To be saved? To say that you have such rights is to say that God is not God. We have obligations to God, but he has none to us.
God may choose to bind obligations to himself by means of covenants and promises, but absent such a promise, we don't have any claims at all. Thus any argument with the sinfulness of missing one's Sunday obligation that works from a claim of justice is a priori a failure.
We might feel that it is unjust, but that doesn't make it so. 
Of course, this whole discussion is a little bit wrongly-directed. It isn't God who puts people in hell--it's people who choose to go there, by preferring anything to God. One shouldn't blame God for putting the man who goes fishing rather than to Church in hell, because God didn't do it--that man did. He's made it clear he loves fish more than God, and God has chosen not to force anyone's free will. 
I never thought I'd get 30+ comments. That's Sheavian territory! 

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