Hey John, My question to you is: Do you believe in hell?
I don't, and I don't believe in purgatory either. I
believe that churchmen invented the hell myth to control
the masses of people. Man creates his own hell by giving
energy to this ungodly illusion. Alex
Hey, Alex, I would have to agree with you. God has given
us creative abilities like his own, and one of the things
we have created with this gift is hell. It's as though
we need to balance the light of the spirit realm with
the darkness produced by our estrangement from God.
is always superior to darkness. Light can destroy the
darkness but, as it says in John 1:5, the darkness is
not able to put out the light. Test this statement for
yourself. You can carry a match into a dark room and
partially dispel the darkness. But you cannot do the
opposite, you cannot take a quantity of darkness into
a lighted room and partially overcome the light. Darkness
is not a reality in and of itself. It is what happens
to us when we banish the light.
is Light. He lives in the realm of light, and when we
are part of his realm, we are "enlightened."
Hell only happens when we depart from the light and
create for ourselves an environment in which the light
is not allowed to shine. God did not create that environment.
He let us create it, and for a very important reason.
amused by the old worldview which children have been
taught. Ask where heaven is and they point up. Ask about
hell and they laugh and point down. Now, extend this
image. If you look at Earth from space, heaven, according
to this way of thinking, surrounds the Earth, and hell
is at the center of Earth. But that means that hell
is also at the center of heaven! This crude image is
very instructive. It says that hell is allowed to be
part of God's creation because it serves a positive
purpose. He allows us to create hell for ourselves,
because it is only in the darkness that we can fully
come to value the light.
Holocaust and the shootings at Virginia Tech are examples
of this. Those who caused these events to happen were
in a hell of their own creation. They had turned their
backs on the light and abandoned God. Then, in the empty
space where God should have been, they enthroned their
own ego and desires. And people like them, who are in
hell, can quite literally create a hell on earth for
the response to this is always positive, and it always
moves human consciousness and compassion forward. It
is the law of negative cause/positive effect. Look at
the heroism, love and community which has come out of
the Virginia Tech tragedy. Look at how the Holocaust
has focused attention on the evils of racism and bigotry.
The light always shines out of the darkness, and the
darkness will never be able to overcome it.
wrote that unbaptized infants go to hell, but they suffer
only the "mildest condemnation." Now, why
should they suffer any condemnation at all because of
the failure of their parents to carry out their religious
duties? This is a ridiculous and abusive teaching which
underlines how religion uses the fear of hell to manipulate
people. Thankfully, Pope Benedict recently reversed
the traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, saying
that there are serious grounds to hope that children
who die without being baptized can go to heaven. Well,
it's about time! If even the Roman Catholic Church is
changing its views on God's punishment, perhaps there
is hope for the rest of us.
answer to Alex's question is: Hell is real. But a loving
God created us for life, not for an eternity in his
punishing flames. He gave us a choice between light
and darkness. But he does not condemn us to the darkness;
we do that for ourselves. So let's learn that we can
stay in the darkness of hell for as long as we choose,
but that God is always ready to receive us back into
his eternal light.
John W. Sloat 2007