punishment

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Theology' started by m.writer, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. m.writer

    m.writer New Member

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    Hello everybody. Hopefully you can help me.

    As I wrote in my welcome post I'm into Victorian era and currently I'm writing a story (historical fiction) about cholera outbreak in London 1854. I've few questions about God's punishment and sin in your religion.

    Main character meets during cholera outbreak a woman who claims she's right hand of God and she caused this epidemics. That all London residents are evil and sinners and all should die. Because London is a modern Babylon (common view in 19th century). My main character in only 9 years old and she becomes scared of sin and hell. Especially after meeting that women who says that e everybody should die.
    My character goes to uncle who's vicar in St. Luke parish (Soho), he's based on real character of Henry Whithead. And she asks him if it's possible if God can punish by killing hundreds of men with other human hands. If that lady said truth and everybody should die. And what about children, are they sinners too?

    So my question is, what could uncle say about her concerns?

    I hope you can help me. I want this story to be not only historical accurate but generally right with all facts.
     
  2. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As with so much in Anglicanism, there most likely not be a consensus regarding this. Certainly some might have felt that the outbreak was from God, but many would not. According to the Wikipedia article on Whitehead, he was accepting of scientific explanations for such things.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Whitehead_(priest)
     
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  3. m.writer

    m.writer New Member

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    I know his view on this.
    But what would you say to scared 9 years old girl who thinks she just met a person who claims she can kill people because God said that?
     
  4. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    This is how I see it, and I'll try to keep this as rooted in the Anglican standards as I can, though like everything people say it is likely clouded by my own personality.

    If the Scriptures are indicative of anything, God works through people, even hordes of people. If I remember correctly, God threatens Israel by saying that he will send the hordes of Gog and Magog upon them in Ezekiel. There are other such examples throughout the Scriptures.

    The lady would be correct in saying everybody deserves to die, because all of us are sinners who owe God more than we could ever pay. That also includes children, as difficult as that is to swallow. The Articles say this:

    So, on a surface level, that all is true. But what is that woman missing? Well, the Gospel, for starters.

    Yes, we all deserve damnation. Yet we are not all damned, because God came down in the flesh and died for us, even though we are sinners. The uncle in your story, should he take the answer in a theological way, could affirm the doom and gloom above, yet it would be a failure on his part to not mention the important catch to the whole thing: the Gospel of Christ, which saves us even though we are sinners.
     
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  5. m.writer

    m.writer New Member

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    Thank you! That helped me a lot!
    Now I can go further with my plot. Little girl meets John Snow on the steets of Soho.
     
  6. Aidan

    Aidan Well-Known Member

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    Such an intriguing looking man, resembles an imam more than an Anglican priest! I wonder had he any contact with Muslims
     
  7. m.writer

    m.writer New Member

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    Lot of reading about Henry Whitehead:
    - http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow/whitehead.html
    - Henry Whitehead 1825-1896: a memorial sketch: https://archive.org/details/henrywhitehead00rawniala
    - Henry Whitehead and cholera in Broad Street: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1034367/
    - The cholera in Berwick Street by Henry Whitehead: https://wellcomelibrary.org/item/b22472149#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&z=-1.929,-0.1227,4.8579,2.4547
     
  8. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

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    First her uncle would categorize the woman as a false prophet, for saying she's at the "right hand of God." a position reserved for Jesus Christ.

    Second that general plagues are brought by God, or the angels of God (cf. Revelation) to punish sinners is certainly true (cf also those law-breakers in 1 Cor 11;30 who blasphemed the eucharist), even when underpinned by rational causes.

    Third, the above is mitigated in that whereas unbelievers die without hope, to a believer, the prospect of heaven is always welcome. If there is no sin to be punished, the death of a believer cannot seen as punishment but only in accordance with 1 Cor 15:22,23 "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive." In fact the visible preservation of faith in spite of suffering and death is of itself a primary opportunity for witness to Christ.

    Fourth illness and death by illness in the 18th and 19th centuries was far more common than today. The prospect of death was an everyday reality. The astonishment of your child character at death, and her incomprehension at being a sinner, does not really stack up as most children of the educated classes knew it. By 1831 Sunday schools in Great Britain were attended weekly by 1,250,000 children, or about 25 per cent of the eligible population.

    Religious education was more fundamental then. So if she is 9 years old and has an uncle that was a vicar she would have known the answers already. You place a 20th century child with no religious education into a 19th century context, which is illogical, or you place an uneducated child as having a vicar for an uncle, which is highly improbable, as vicars were comparatively well paid.

    TB was a far greater killer than Cholera in those days. In 1800 no country had a life expectancy above 40. "Although not as aggressive as plague, TB has killed more people in history than the black death, leprosy, or HIV. An estimated 1 billion people around the world have been felled by TB in the past two centuries, and the fatalities continue."
    http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/archive/mdd/v05/i02/html/02timeline.html
     

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