Monday, August 30, 2010

The Problem with Hell


I've always figured that if there is one thing Hell is not, it's the classic depictions such as Dante's Inferno (the same applies to Heaven, for that matter).



I thought C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce" was a very interesting look at the concept of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven. His idea of Hell as utterly insubstantial (while Heaven is the absolute reality), brings a different way of thinking about what it is.



There are some questions that can't be easily answered. Is it God's failure when people go to Hell? Should a loving God shield us from consequences with no change (repentance) on our part? How much do we take the Biblical words regarding Hell literally? Much of Jesus' words regarding the afterlife were spoken in the context of parables, so what exactly was his point in those cases? In several cases, Jesus talks of those separated from God as being burned up, so can that be taken to mean Hell is just the complete end of existence for those not entering Heaven?



While I would like to believe that Jesus' actions were able to protect everyone from Hell, it is difficult to avoid the scriptures telling us that there are those who will end up there.
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I'm a Christian and political moderate (I tend to be more liberal on core issues and more conservative on the hot-button ones). I have a B.A. in Biblical and Religious Studies and Philosophy.