Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hell

First off, hello again! I have been fairly busy and have not blogged here in some time, especially given my new status as a blogger at Air Theremin.

I've been having some conversations recently about religion, and a new opinion has blossomed from these talks.

If your religion features a hell, it is the most important thing about your beliefs.

We can talk for hours about loving thy neighbor and turning the other cheek and, eventually, basking in the presence of god; None of these things approach the importance of avoiding eternal agony.

How can you claim a peaceful religion if any sin or collection of sins committed over the course of one mortal life can be (and will be) punished by a sentence of perpetual, unending pain?

Furthermore, if you accept the existence of hell as true, what could be more important in your life than avoiding it? Yeah, paradise sounds good, but I'll settle for avoiding eternal torment.

Interestingly, this change in my thoughts has been accompanied by an increase in my understanding of Evangelicals and a proportional decrease in my approval of religious moderates.

If you believe, truly believe that your secular friend's soul is in danger - that if she does not accept Jesus Christ as her savior, she will burn in agony forever, then I would expect you to do everything you can to aid her salvation, up to and including alienating her as a friend.

What is your friendship compared with saving her from hellfire?

Which is why my opinion of moderates has also changed. You hear a lot of talk of tolerance, but is that really the best way to frame what is going on? Moderates tolerate your beliefs, but what does that say about any who believe in hell? That keeping social interaction smooth is more important to them than attempting to help someone avoid infinite suffering? If even one person could be helped to avoid such a ghastly fate, wouldn't the price in social capital be worth it?


So, those of you who believe hell exists - are you tolerant? Do you care so little for your fellow man? Or, deep inside, do you think that maybe hell doesn't exist after all?

2 comments:

Gavin said...

Hey Sebatinsky! :)

Anyhoo, I just wanted to suggest reading C.S. Lewis' "Last Battle" for a different take on hell -- look at what happens to the dwarves, and what Aslan says about them.

Sebatinsky said...

Hi Gavin :)

I have read _The Last Battle_ more than once. I'll flip through it again with particular attention to the dwarves.

If I recall correctly, Lewis proposes what I think is the most humane possible version of Christianity, in which there is no hell, just an end. Those who lived right will live forever with God/Emperor Across the Sea, and those who did not will lose consciousness.

Obviously something like that would not fall within what I would deem "hell."

I will go back over _The Last Battle_, though.