reply to post by Ariel
"As far as the morality of a belief in hell goes, I look at it in a different way. Which way we go, Heaven or Hell, begins with what we create for
ourselves here, and it lingers after death. It's our state of mind/soul. If we have actively created suffering, guilt, and misery for ourselves and
others due to our mindset and actions, how would that be different, or be suddenly, magically better after death if we don't already take steps to
redress wrongs and change our thinking to something more positive while we're still here? It's up to us to fix it, but we can. And God will help us
do that if we ask Him.
If we have lived in love with others to the best of our ability, have worked on being the best person we can and have forgiven ourselves and others
for wrongs and failings, then we've already been creating Heaven for ourselves while we're here."
Thanks Ariel, nice to see someone willing to think about any issue these days, within a moral context.
If I understand what you're saying, you subscribe to a Karmic system of transcendent justice, we essentially reap what we sow, and when we die, not
much changes, for better or worse. Well, that's pretty standard, and not necessarily unreasonable of course.
It's interesting that most people do in fact have a certain common sense about these things. It doesn't always translate that way, but I try to
read between the lines. The problem of course is not Karma, or justice being served, or people reaping what they sow. In fact it's the very
opposite. Hell is a manifest lack of justice in any reasonable sense. Hell seems to be an Axe in the hands of a madman, when what is called for is a
scalpel in the hand of the "Divine Physician."
This is a problem for a number of reasons, but what I was focusing on in my recent post about it, was the logical consequence of "believing" a
terrible thing like Hell. It was more of an introspective approach, but I was hoping that my attempt would show how debasing the belief is for those
who hold it. Instead of focusing on the mundane Karmic aspect of the belief in Hell (which doesn't work due to the fact that Hell is hardly
"just"), "creating suffering", as you put it, I felt it was important to shift the focus back on what that terrible belief does to us, if we
choose to hold on to it.
OK, I said that a few different ways, but the bottom line is that whether Hell be true, or not, belief in it is of itself an indication of a kind of
"moral deficiency" in those who cling to it, no offense intended...
In other words, by merely believing in Hell, you would be "bad"! Bold, no doubt controversial in this thread put in that manner, but as I'm sure
most Christians would agree, "Beliefs DO matter." Forgive the hyperbole, but it's too easy to blow right past the most important points
Which is why I used the transfusion example. Whether it's in the Bible or not is actually irrelevant, and should just serve to underscore the point
even more. Whether this or that religious sect has it right, or wrong, well perhaps that DOES matter! As in the case of the child, who might
literally die due to her parents faulty beliefs, there is a point where "beliefs" might become
a moral issue, and in fact, society recognizes
this as well, if famous court cases be any indication.
And so in my example, the mother of the child needing the transfusion is forced by circumstances to face up to what has now become, not merely a
"faith" issue, but a true moral issue as well.
The key to getting around it all is for us to recognize at some level the preliminary "need" for that illuminating proverbial "moment of truth" to
Of course, most of us may not get dramatic opportunities for real experiential "enlightenment", but all the same, what this could indicate is that
many of us are walking around, seemingly "believing" (even the unbelievable), and it would not be until we faced that critical "moment", that the
scales would fall from our eyes. Surely, when such a circumstance presented itself, we might be the most surprised of all to see what we were really
about (all along).
All this being said, I should still acknowledge a certain practical "wisdom" concerning a rationale for Hell, that may still prove to outweigh
microcosmic morality. If in fact the doctrine does serve to restrain the masses from a macro-cosmic indulgence in immorality, then the ancients were
probably correct in establishing the monstrous thing. And no, contrary to a number of posters I have read here, the Catholics didn't dream up Hell,
the pagan world had it first, and the noble Greeks and Romans spoke openly about how the belief was created specifically to help rule the unruly
And so, maybe the belief should stay for the time being. With only the occasional individual figuring out the falsity of it, society can just
continue along on it's path of high ideals...uh, or else maybe it's why there are so few high ideals to begin with...
Another can of worms!