Monday, July 05, 2004

Hell

It's almost impossible to grow up in America - or anywhere for that matter - and not have predetermined ideas about the afterlife. Taught by the church and reinforced by pop culture, I would imagine most Americans believe that hell is a fiery place where the devil lives to torment misguided souls for eternity. I disagree.

Every architect knows that his or her stamp is what defines a building. In every piece of the building, the architect's voice is present, regardless of how bad the contractor messes things up. The same is true with God in all of creation.

If heaven is to be defined as community or one-ness with God - as most Christians would agree - then hell must be the absensce of God. Assuming that God is the creator, i.e. the mind behind all existence, then it is only logical that nothing exists in hell, for if it did, God would be present in hell and the beauty of his own creation would be forever seperated from him.

My conclusion: hell is non-existence, for existence itself implies a connection with God. This idea of hell - one I believe Jesus espoused - is much more in line with the Christian doctrines of love and sacrifice than the typical church-going idea of eternal damnation. After all, any God that sits back and allows his own creation to suffer for eternity isn't one that any right minded person could call a "loving" God. John Calvin, you make me sick.

6 Comments:

At 6:33 PM, Blogger 829elm said...

But why would a loving God permit his creations to be separated from Her for all eternity? More importantly, if existence itself implies a connection with God, then doesn't that make Hell itself non-existent?

 
At 6:36 PM, Blogger J&J said...

That is, the logic should make Hell non-existENT rather than non-existENCE.

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Lost In NY said...

I think that was the point - hell as a place is non-existent, hell as a state of mind is non-existence. Since it would be harder to convince people that hell does not exist (it is too ingrained), the alternate approach is to convince them that hell is a state of non-existence. Sure it is a nitpicky difference, but I think it matters.

 
At 7:58 AM, Blogger ats54 said...

If Hell is non-existent AND non-existence, then is there a separation between "the goats and the sheep"?
In your posts, are you implying a universalist approach? Or just that the traditional thought of fire and pitchforks is way off base?
It seems to me that if existence - as we know it - implies connection with God, I think we can all agree that the current connection we have with God is likely lacking in a great way. Then, it seems logical that after we die and we shed this earthly body to become solely spirit beings that our connection with God would then diverge. Either we come into infinitely strong, infinitely close, infinitely lasting connection with God; or we fall into infinitely weak, infinitely distant, infinitely lasting "dis"-connection. Of course, something that's infinitely weak and distant is essentially "non-existent." Does existence as we know it simply become too small of an idea to ultimately be true? Is there existence separate from God?

 
At 9:12 AM, Blogger Lost In NY said...

There is no existence seperate from God, if you believe that God is the reason for (or cause of) existence. As one of God's living creatures, you intrinsically have a connection to God (see architect example).

Maybe this is a good analogy. A car also has a connection with God, as it is made up of natural elements that God at some point created. This connection to God, however, is much less clear than the car's connection with man - it serves man, it was built by man, it doesn't exist as a car except for man. Thus, maybe it is so with people. When you die, if your connection to God trumps your connection with man (i.e. yourself), then your life and spirit are not wasted.

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger jrl20 said...

I don't think that our connection with God on this plane is lacking. Our connection with God is what causes us to reach out from ourselves, to care for others. It is completely irrational for human beings to act as selfLESSLY as they often do. This sublime irrationality is proof of connection to the Universal, to the Divine. No, we don't hear booming voices or see burning bushes, but that doesn't mean we've lost our connection.

 

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