Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Pencils Falling to the Floor

Last night while I slept I dreamed a dream. And in my dream I saw myself approach two men engaged in a lively conversation. The name of one was Christian. The other was Sam. The conversation had apparently been going on for some time.
This is what I heard:
“Yes, that’s what I said before. That’s all there is, just matter and energy. No spirit, no soul, no god, just matter and energy. If it’s not a physical entity it doesn’t exist.”
“Does your mind exist?” Christian asked.
“Of course,” Sam said. “I have a brain, just as you do.”
“I didn’t ask if you had a brain. I asked if you had a mind.”
“My mind is a function of my brain.”
“And your brain is a physical thing?”
“Gray matter, electrical impulses, and chemical reactions?”
“Yes, but it’s very complicated, you know. Scientists have been studying the brain for a long time.”
“And there is nothing about the mind that is not rooted in the physical organ of the brain?”
“No. No soul, if that’s what you’re asking. All there is is matter and energy.”
“Yes, so you said before.”
“And so I’ll say again.”
“Consistency is good. I applaud it wherever I find it,” said Christian. “But I wonder if you really are consistent.”
“What do you mean?”
“You say your mind is a function of your brain, a physical organ. Does this mean, then, that your thoughts are physical things?”
“No. Thoughts themselves aren’t physical, but they are the result of physical processes.”
“Of the brain—gray matter, electrical impulses, and chemical reactions?”
“Yes. Haven’t we already been through this?”
“I just want to make sure that I understand you. Your thoughts are the result of electrical impulses and chemical reactions taking place in your brain?”
“I guess you could say so, yes,” said Sam. “But it seems overly simplistic to do so.”
“It seems overly simplistic to me, too, although for different reasons. But can you think of any other factors, besides physical ones that have a part to play in producing thoughts.”
“No. Remember, all there is…”
“…is matter and energy. Right. So you said before. And matter and energy are subject to physical laws?”
“Of course.”
“And are things which are subject to physical laws responsible for their actions?”
“What do you mean?”
“When I drop this pencil and it falls to the floor, is the pencil responsible for its action of falling?”
“How could it be? It can’t do otherwise.”
“It can’t fall upward or sideways?” Christian asked.
“Don’t be absurd.”
“Why is it that it can only fall down?”
“I’m sure you know the answer to that as well as I do,” Sam said. “Because of the law of gravity.”
“Which is a physical law, governing physical things?”
“And physical laws cannot be broken? The pencil can’t break the law of gravity and do something other than fall to the floor?”
“No. Not unless a counterforce is applied. A rocket for instance uses a counterforce in its propulsion engine to overcome the law of gravity.”
“But even in such a case we have laws of motion at work?”
“And all things are subject to physical laws?”
“Including the activity of the brain—electrical impulses and chemical reactions—which produce thoughts?”
Sam clearly didn’t like the direction the argument was taking him. “Well…yes…I guess so,” he hesitated.
“And a person is not responsible for his thoughts, since they are the result of physical laws operating on the physical organ of the brain?”
“That doesn’t seem quite right.”
“No? Have we gone wrong somewhere?” Christian asked. “Maybe in our first premise that all there is is matter and energy. Do we need to rethink that?”
“No. I’m sure we’ve got that right.”
“Then what about the second premise that physical things, including the brain, are subject to physical laws?”
“No. That must be right too.”
“Well, then, we do face something of a conundrum don’t we? Given the premises, the conclusion follows. Our thoughts, which are the products of the physical organ of the brain, are things we are not responsible for. The electrical impulses and chemical reactions in your brain have produced the thought that God does not exist. The electrical impulses and chemical reactions in my brain have produced the thought that he does. And neither of us is responsible for the activity of our brains that give rise to these thoughts; but yet you are acting as if we are.”
“What do you mean?” asked Sam.
“You are trying to convince me to change my thoughts about God, trying to convince me that he doesn’t exist, as if I am responsible for my thoughts.”
“Well, you’re doing the same thing, trying to convince me that God does exist.
“True, and I cheerfully admit it! But then I again I believe we’re responsible for our thoughts. I’m acting consistently with my beliefs. You’re acting inconsistently with yours.”
At this, Sam fell silent. He was thinking. Actually, he was wondering if he was thinking. Really thinking. Perhaps what was happening in his mind that he thought was thinking was nothing more than the equivalent of pencils falling to the floor.
“Perhaps we can talk about this again later,” he said at last. “I’m intrigued by what you’ve said. I’ve got some thinking to do in the meantime, though.”

Monday, May 30, 2011

He got it right

Sometimes he doesn't have very flattering things to say about women. But sometimes he gets right. Like here...

     A woman's beauty lights up a man's face,
          and there is nothing he desires more.
     If kindness and humility mark her speech,
          her husband is more fortunate than other men.
     He who acquires a wife gets his best possession,
          a helper fit for him and a pillar of support.
          (Sirach 36:27-29)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The theologian's task

"There is no room in dogmatic theology for a system that attempts to deduce the truths of faith from an a priori principle, say, from the essence of religion, from the essence of Christianity, from the fact of regeneration, or from the experience of the devout. This is speculation and must be resisted. Dogmatic theology is a positive science that gathers its material from revelation and does not have the right to modify or expand that content by speculation apart from that revelation. When because of limitations or weakness a theologian is faced with the choice either of simply letting the truths of faith stand alongside each other or, in the interest of maintaining the systematic form, fail to do justice to one of them, we must let the system go. Theologians must resist the temptation to let a system rule. But such dilemmas occur because we theologians are finite and limited. There is no conflict in God; God's thoughts cannot be opposed to one another; they are necessarily an organic unity. The imperative task of the theologian is to think God's thoughts after him, to trace their unity, mentally absorb it, and set it forth in a work of theology. The theologian's sole responsibility is to think God's thoughts after him and to reproduce the unity that is objectively present in the thoughts of God has been recorded for the eye of faith in Scripture." (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, p. 10)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Herman Bavinck

As you can see to the left, one of the books I'm currently reading is Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics...not the full four volume set, but the recently published abridged version. Bavinck (1854-1921) succeeded Abraham Kuyper as professor of systematic theology at the Free University of Amsterdam in 1902. He is regarded as one of the leading lights among Dutch Reformed theologians. I have read a little Bavinck here and there over the years and have always greatly benefitted from what I read. I was very pleased to see that his four volume work had been abridged by John Bolt into a single hefty tome of 848 pages. I ordered it back in January but there were some delays in its publication and so I didn't actually receive it until last week. It was worth the wait! Judging by the first 150 pages, I just may have to break down and purchase the entire four volume set. He was a rare man, combining profound thought, true godliness, and a simple child-like faith.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Here we go again

If you haven't yet had your fill of prognostications from end times prognosticators you'll be glad to know there are still more to be had. The false prophet/teacher Harold Camping hasn't yet learned his lesson. Since at least 2005 he had been predicting Saturday, May 21, 2011 as the day of judgment, with the full end of all things coming October 21. When nothing happened last Saturday--even though, according to Camping, the Bible guaranteed his prediction--he was forced to make some revisions. His revisions follow the pattern set by another prophetic prognositcator in the 19th century. New York farmer turned preacher William Miller had predicted the Lord's return to "cleanse the sanctuary" (Dan. 8:14) no later than March 21, 1844. When it didn't take place as he expected, he said it would happen later the same year in October.

Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and little bit worse.

Like Miller, Camping has given a brief extension of hope to his followers by postponing the dramatic event until October. He still says May 21 was a significant day in God's last days timetable; he had just misunderstood what the significance was. He thought all Christians would be carried away to heaven, and God's judgment on earth would begin. He now says that May 21 was actually the beginning of a "spiritual" judgment...whatever that means.

Again the parallels to the Miller debacle are remarkable. To William Miller's credit, when October 1844 came and nothing he expected happened, he gave up the whole enterprise of attempting to predict the Lord's return. Others, however, were not deterred. Certain of his followers, led by Ellen G. White, said that in fact Miller was correct about the date, but wrong about the event. She said Jesus didn't return to earth to cleanse an earthly sanctuary after all. No, he cleansed the heavenly sanctuary. It was thus a "spiritual" event.

If you care to read more, you can do so here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Studied Irrelevance of American Foreign Missions

Bojidar Marinov of Bulgaria has written a must read for everyone who is serious about missions.

Idolizing democracy

Contrary to popular opinion, vox populi is NOT vox dei. Far too long have Christians fought the "culture war" (1) by appealing to numbers. "Polls show that the majority of Americans want restrictions on abortion...oppose gay marriage...want prayer in public schools..." etc., etc., etc.

But he who lives by the poll must be prepared to die by it too. A new Gallup poll shows that for the first time a majority of Americans favor legalizing same sex marriages. Having rested our case on the will of the majority in the past, are we ready to do the same now that its will has shifted?

It should be clear that we must not idolize democracy. The voice of the people is not the voice of God. We must never rest our case on the will of the people. It may not be an inappropriate thing to point out that a majority of Americans believe this or that. In fact it may be a very useful thing to know. But it must never be the basis for deciding moral questions. A "thus saith the Lord" trumps the will of the people every time.

The only legitimate function of democracy is in the selection of governing officials who are charged with the responsibility of administering the affairs of state in terms of God's word. When the weight of judging Israel became too great for Moses, he said to them, "Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads" (Deut. 1:13). The people from each tribe were to choose leaders for their own tribes, but those so chosen were solemnly charged by Moses to judge according to God's law.
Hear the cases between your brothers, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the alien who is with him. You shall not be partial in judgment. You shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's (Deut. 1:16-17).
This last statement is especially significant. "The judgment [Heb., mishpat, judgment, ruling] is God's." This is a reference to the case laws introduced in Exodus 21:1, "Now these are the rules [mishpat] that you shall set before them..." And what follows in the next two chapters is a series of case laws to guide the judges' rulings when litigants come before them. The important thing to note here is that those selected to fill the various offices of government were not to render judgments based on their own authority, or on the authority of majority opinion, but on the authority of what God had already declared as the proper judgment. Theirs was not a legislative function, but a judicial one. Put another way, they were not to make law, they were to govern in terms of God's law already revealed.

Until we recognize this, and until we quit idolizing democracy, both here or abroad, (2) and begin to take our stand on "thus saith the Lord," our efforts in the culture war are doomed to utter failure.

(1) The "culture war" is properly named only in so far as we remember that "culture" is the outworking of a people's religion. The culture war really is at its root a religious war. The adherents of one religion (Naturalism) are seeking the ouster of the adherents of another (Christianity) from all positions of power and influence in society. It's a war they have largely won. They are now simply engaged in expurgating the remnants of a once Christian society.

(2) Do we really want to "make the word safe for democracy" so the majority in a Muslim nation can vote for leaders who will implement sharia?

Friday, May 20, 2011

When the deviant becomes normal

Art (and I use the term loosely) has long been the avenue to popularize, legitimize, and normalize every imaginable - and for most ordinary people even unimaginable - sexual deviancy. The more a work pushes the moral boundaries, the more it's lauded by critics. Here is a case in point at the Cannes Film Festival. Ordinary people, even the French (if you can call them ordinary), got up and left the screening. It was just too much to stomach. Not surprisingly, true art afficionados (or at least those who flatter themselves with the title) gave the film a standing ovation.

There are few taboos left to break. What will they do when they're all gone? When the deviant becomes normal, the normal looks deviant. It won't be long before a man and a woman who actually really and truly love each other and stay together for life will be an aberration. Cameron Diaz has recently gone on record as saying that marriage is a "dying institution." If she is merely offering a description of the consequences of our culture's revolt against God and his law, she is correct. All the statistics bear her out. But her prescription only makes matters worse. "I think we have to make our own rules," she said. "I don't think we should live our lives in relationships based off old traditions that don't suit our world any longer."

After taking some heat for making these comments, a certain Dr. Keith Ablow came to her defense.
"Well, I’m not certain marriage ever did suit most people who tried it. From what I hear in my psychiatry office, and from what I hear from other psychiatrists and psychologists, and from what my friends and relatives tell me and show me through their behavior, and from the fact that most marriages end either in divorce or acrimony, marriage is (as it has been for decades now) a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people."
A couple of observations:  First, it's not marriage itself that is "a source of real suffering for the vast majority of married people." It's marriage to a selfish pig, or being a selfish pig to your spouse...or both.

Second, although it's true that many marriages are not doing well, it's equally true that Dr. Keith Ablowhard's sample is skewed. "I would venture that 90 percent of the married patients I speak with would rank their marriages in the top two stressors in their lives," he says. But to draw conclusions about the general population based on the experiences of those who use the services of a psychiatrist is a rather questionable way of proceeding. Are pyschiatric patients truly representative of society at large?

I have long been convinced that one of the most potent methods of evangelism is the witness of a Christian family. And since the word family doesn't mean what it used to, let me be clear. By family I mean a husband (who is a man) and wife (who is a woman) together with their children (the more the merrier). When a man stands before God and a congregation of God's people and pledges in a solemn covenant to take his bride for life and to love her self-sacrificially as Christ loves the church...and then actually follows through and does what he says he will do; and when a woman in return pledges her love and faithfulness to her husband, and also does what she says she will do...well then, you have a recipe for heaven on earth.

As much as the intellectuals and avant garde artistes and all those who follow them may like to mock and denigrate marriage and say that it doesn't suit our world any longer, if they should ever see the real thing - as opposed to the shams they and their friends have been a part of - they will love it and long for it. They won't be able to help it. They were made by God and live in God's world, and no matter how deeply they have suppressed the truth about marriage, when they see it embodied before their eyes in a faithful Christian family, they won't be able to help longing for it in spite of themselves.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Christian Fools and their Folly

Perhaps you have heard that this Saturday...as in two days from now...the world as we know it is going to come to an end. So says one Harold Camping, president of Family Radio. More precisely, the rapture is supposed to occur on Saturday. The following five months will witness the wrath of God being poured out in judgment upon those left behind. The full end of all things will come later this year on October 21.

We've been through all this silliness before. Previously Mr. Camping said these things would happen in 1994. Is it necessary to say he was wrong - painfully, shamefully, embarrassingly wrong? Or, depending where you stand, laughably wrong!

Of course he had to admit as much the first time around...sort of. September 6, 1994 (the original prediction) was not the day of the rapture after all. But as it turns out, it was still a very significant day in God's timetable, he assures us. It was the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The end would come in 2008.

Oops! That's not right either. No worries, though. Further calculations have shown that the Great Tribulation actually began in 1988 (40 years after Israel became a nation). The 2nd Jubilee (the Latter Rain) began in 1994, and the end will come in 2011.

Confused? Me too. But Camping is even more so.

I'm not sure which is more surprising, that someone could so obviously and so thoroughly twist the Scriptures like Camping does, or that so many people think he's right. Incredibly, his following this time around is even larger than before. Maybe it's because he assures us that no less an authority than the Bible itself backs him up. "The Bible guarantees it," he says. Or perhaps it's because the world is filled with undiscerning Christians who simply don't know how to read the Bible. I don't mean they are literally illiterate, as in can't read. I mean they don't know how to handle the Bible, how to interpret it. They read it as if it's written in some kind of mystical code that only the most spiritually astute can decipher.

His interpretations are a wonder to behold. Really. I wonder how in the world he can have such a disregard of context. I wonder how he can join together passages that have nothing to do with one another. I wonder how he can ignore the plain meaning of the text and arrive at it's underlying "spiritual" meaning. I wonder how he can pull random numbers from this verse and that and say they represent the number of years in the Lord's timetable of end time events.

I would like to think that when May 21 comes and goes and the rapture doesn't take place, Camping will forsake his folly and apologize to the world. But I'm sure he'll have an explanation ready at hand. He'll recalculate and be out with another date sometime soon.

And what will become of those who follow him? God only knows. Some, who have staked the truth of the Christian faith on the "truth" of Camping's predictions, may forsake the faith altogether. Some, Lord willing, will reject the whole endeavor of end times speculation and join a faithful church. But there will be a few, no doubt - true believers to the bitter end - who will follow Camping whithersoever he goes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

An excellent wife who can find?

To the left you will see that one of the books I'm currently reading is the Apocrypha. For those who may not know, it's a collection of Jewish writings composed between the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the New. This morning I happened to read this...and it expresses beautifully how I feel about Melinda, my bride of (almost) 25 years:

Happy is the husband of a good wife;
     the number of his days will be doubled.
A loyal wife brings joy to her husband,
     and he will complete his years in peace.
A good wife is a great blessing;
     she will be granted among the blessings
     of the man who fears the Lord.
Whether rich or poor, his heart is content,
     and at all times his face is cheerful.
     (Sirach 26:1-4)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Word games

Thomas Sowell has an excellent piece on the Fed and its shenanigans:
When people in Washington start creating fancy new phrases, instead of using plain English, you know they are doing something they don't want us to understand.
It was an act of war when we started bombing Libya. But the administration chose to call it "kinetic military action." When the Federal Reserve System started creating hundreds of billions of dollars out of thin air, they called it "quantitative easing" of the money supply. (Read more of Fed Up with the Fed?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Schlissel's take on the take down of Ben Lowdown

"Some have asked for guidance in their thinking and reaction to the killing of Ben Lowdown. Okay, some quick ones. But first let me assure you that these comments are NOT personal and have no one in view.

That said, I mourn over our unreaction to this unqualifiedly wonderful news and regard our confusion as evidence that we have taken another huge step toward perfect judgment. The outpouring of conflicting opinion is grievously revelatory. What do I mean?

Let us start with the foundation..." (more)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

On the death of the wicked

Is it wrong to be glad that Osama bin Laden has been killed? What should a Christian’s response be to the news of his death?

Our response ought to be one of humble thanksgiving that God has taken out one of our enemies.

“But,” I hear you saying, “is it really appropriate to give thanks for someone’s death?” Yes it is, when it is such a man as Osama bin Laden, a man who was responsible for the cold-blooded murder of many thousands of people both here in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

The fact of the matter is that we frequently find the saints of God in Scripture giving thanks to the Lord and praising his name for taking out their enemies. For instance, at the time of the exodus, Israel stood beside the Red Sea and saw Pharaoh and the Egyptian army lying dead on the shore and they “sang a song to the LORD, saying,

I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
     the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea…
This is my God, and I will praise him,
     my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The LORD is my strength and my song,
     and he has become my salvation;
The LORD is a man of war;
     the LORD is his name” (Ex. 14:31-15:1-2)
Likewise, in the book of Judges we read of how God used the armies of Israel to defeat the Canaanites who had oppressed them, and used a tent peg and hammer, wielded by the hands of a woman to take out Sisera, the enemy commander. Deborah, the judge of Israel, led the people in singing a song of praise:
Most blessed of women be Jael,
     the wife of Heber the Kenite, of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
He asked water and she gave him milk;
     she brought him curds in a noble’s bowl.
She sent her hand to the tent peg
     and her right hand to the workmen’s mallet;
she struck Sisera;
     she crushed his head;
     she shattered and pierced his temple.
Between her feet
     he sank, he fell, he lay still;
between her feet
     he sank, he fell;
where he sank, there he fell—dead.
And then to end the song, she said:
So may all your enemies perish, O LORD!
     But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might (Jud. 5:31)
And we could go on to cite many other passages, especially in the Psalms, of God’s people longing to see vengeance come upon the wicked. Here’s an example from Psalm 52. See if it doesn’t sound like he could have been speaking about Osama bin Laden.
Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
     The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
Your tongue plots destruction,
     like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
You love evil more than good,
     and lying more than speaking what is right.
You love all words that devour,
     O deceitful tongue.
But God will break you down forever;
     he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
     he will uproot you from the land of the living.
The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying,
“See the man who would not make God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
     and sought refuge in his work of destruction!” (Psalm 52:1-7)
It should go without saying that our hope and preference would be that all the enemies of the Lord—and our enemies—would come to repentance and find the Lord’s mercy so as to be reconciled to God (Ezek. 33:11). But if they remain obstinate and rebellious and continue to plot murder and mayhem…well then let us learn to pray the Psalms of imprecation, i.e., the Psalms that call upon God to strike the wicked.
May his days be few;
     may another take his office!
May his children be fatherless
     and his wife a widow!
May his children wander about and beg,
     seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit!
May the creditor seize all that he has;
     may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil!
Let there be none to extend kindness to him,
     nor any to pity his fatherless children!
May his posterity be cut off;
     may his name be blotted out in the second generation!
May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered before the Lord,
     and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out!
Let them be before the LORD continually,
     that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth! (Ps. 109:8-15)
Such prayers are not to be prayed lightly, or for trivial reasons. They’re not meant for say, the driver who “steals” the parking space we were just getting ready to pull into. The Psalmist goes on to show what kind of enemy he has in mind.
For he did not remember to show kindness,
     but pursued the poor and needy
     and the brokenhearted, to put them to death.
He loved to curse; let curses come upon him!
     He did not delight in blessing; may it be far from him! (Ps. 109:16-17)
David is talking about bloodthirsty, violent men who slaughter the innocent. Elsewhere he says, "The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence" (Ps. 11:5). Such a man was Osama bin Laden. The Lord hated him. I know this shocks evangelical piety, but if the Scriptures are true, this statement is also true.

I can hear you say, “But doesn’t the Lord love everyone?”

Yes and no. He loves all men as men, as creatures whom he fashioned with his own hands, creatures whom he made in his own image; but he hates those men who have made themselves monsters.
The boastful shall not stand before your eyes,
     you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies;
     the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man (Ps. 5:5-6)
Let us be glad that bin Laden is dead and gone. We ought to feel a sense of deep satisfaction that justice has been done. But as I mentioned at the outset, the appropriate response is one of humble thanksgiving. Sadly, however, our response has been anything but humble. We have not deserved the Lord’s kindness to us in delivering our enemy into our hands. We have not even acknowledged that it was he who did it. I listened to the president’s speech in vain for any recognition that the Lord has been merciful to us in taking out our enemy. The speech was largely an exercise of self-congratulation and American braggadocio. “Today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.” No, Mr. President. It’s a testament to the kindness and mercy of our God that he hasn’t given us over to the power of our enemies as our sins deserve.

Except for the now customary and nearly meaningless, “May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America,” he never acknowledged the Lord. Surprised? The closest he came to doing so was when he said, “We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation.” Give thanks for them? Yes we should, but to whom? Why doesn’t he say? Why isn’t he explicit that it is the Lord God Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ…you know, the God of the Bible, the only God there is?

Without doubt, our troops acted with bravery and conducted their mission with great precision and efficiency. They should certainly be commended and given the highest honors for their heroics. But they should learn to say (if they haven’t already), “Blessed be the LORD my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle” (Ps. 144:1). And again,
Through you we push down our foes;
     through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
For not in my bow do I trust,
     nor can my sword save me.
But you have saved us from our foes
     and have put to shame those who hate us (Ps. 44:5-7)
We fool ourselves if we think that American power is invincible. It is not. God is capable of drowning entire armies in the midst of the sea (Ex. 14:30), or of striking them dead with a single blow (2 Ki. 19:35). Our portion is not to boast of our success as if it is due to our superior power or the justness of our cause, but to humbly recognize that it has come only through his kind providence, and this in spite of our many sins.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What Usama Bin Laden's been learnin'

Usama Bin Laden's been learnin' that it was not seventy two virgin's awaiting him in heaven, but 72 demons in hell.