Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Absurdity of Hell

To paraphrase the famous line by the late comedian George Carlin about people who are against abortion, do you ever notice that most of the people who proclaim that if you don't accept Jesus Christ as your lord and savior and that you'll burn in hell are the kind of people you wouldn't want to hang around with in the first place?

I got to thinking about that after reading a recent post by my blogger friend Andrea. In her post, she wrote: I have tried asking my friend if she thinks I'm going to hell and she replied with the most bizarre, rambling non-answer that I had the feeling that she just didn't have the guts to simply say "yes."

If there is a heaven and it is filled with the same self righteous Bible thumpers that you can't stand in this life, then it can't be much of a paradise after all. It reminds me of a recent post I did about the Taino chief Hatuey, who spurned the offer to convert to Christianity when he was told he would spend an eternity in Heaven with the same Spaniards who had murdered his people.

But for me, what really makes the idea of a hellish afterlife an absurdity is a Christian who forgets his faith when he becomes afflicted with Alzheimer's disease. What is his family supposed to do, keep trying to convert him to Christianity again when he has a memory lapse? What happens if he forgets his religion, spends money to have sex with a prostitute and then dies during the act? He died in a state of sin, right? So, does he burn in hell, or does God give him a pass because he was a believing Christian before he lost his marbles?


Andrea said...

Heaven for the climate, hell for the company, right?

Nice to see my rant was good for something. Thanks, Tommy :)

tina FCD said...

So, does he burn in hell, or does God give him a pass because he was a believing Christian before he lost his marbles?

Hilarious! Good question. What about the people that have NEVER HEARD OF JESUS!

Anonymous said...

What about the people that have NEVER HEARD OF JESUS!

Like the ones mentioned in Hebrews 11, You mean?

Christopher said...

Lucian, could you remind me what Hebrews 11 says about those people? I remember Dante had Limbo for the "virtuous pagans" as well as unbaptized children. It was the nicest, most outermost circle of Hell, but it was still Hell. People in Limbo were never even granted the same opportunity available to those in Purgatory.

It's always irked me to be told that God is loving and kind and benevolent and, oh, by the way, if you don't subscribe to a very specific belief, that same loving, kind, and benevolent God is going to condemn you to an eternity of torment if you don't accept a particular set of beliefs, often accompanied by a particular set of behaviors. Admittedly some of the behaviors are things we almost all agree on, like not stealing, but it hardly seems fair to condemn someone to eternal punishment for, say, eating shrimp, or wearing two different kinds of fabric at the same time, or being gay.

rgz said...

Back when I was young christian larva, I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that "we" where going to live perfectly happy forever in heaven.

What about all the people suffering in hell? What about all the tragedies that have occurred so far? Will I be unable to feel pain for someone? To feel sorrow for something? To lament and mourn?

Yes, in heaven you will be perfectly happy.

That's horrible! -I thought- that makes a mockery of our values and thoughts, of the people we love, reducing us to heartless ghosts.

Are you saying you want to go to hell? -they said- no, of course.

Then realized, hell was created to make heaven look good.

Andrea said...

Chris, Hebrews 11 is fluffy psychobabble that says in essence that "those ignorant heathens would want to go to heaven and be with this cuddly god if they knew about him but we're not really sure and saying otherwise sounds shitty even to us so what the hell - they're in."

In case you were curious :)

Christopher said...

Thanks, Andrea--I was curious, but then I'm *always* curious. There is a Bible somewhere in my bookshelf, but I didn't feel up to moving aside the works of the Marquis de Sade to find it. ;)