… wherever Lefties go when they die.
I started to title this “A busy week in Hell” but it is my church’s practice not to assume any particular soul is damned, so I thought maybe that title would be tacky. Or sacrilegious.
BTW, that last word is spelled correctly. Sacri-legious (not sac-religious) comes from the Latin sacrilegium, which is sacri (holy place) + legere (gather). Since you cannot gather holiness, which belongs only to God, the attempt to do so is sinful.
It does stretch the imagination pretty darned near to breaking that outspoken atheists like Christopher Hitchens and Kim Jong Il would suddenly decide they’d … OOPS! … been on the wrong team their entire lives.
But miracles happen. I do believe it.
I saw a whole slew of eulogy-style articles about Christopher “God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything” Hitchens (shown in the Michaelangelo “Creation” cartoon below).
The V with palm inwards gesture means “up yours” in UK, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. Hitchens was born and raised in England. The gesture is frequently used to signify defiance (especially to authority), contempt, or derision.
I suppose there will be more maundering today about the now blessedly deceased little man who considered himself the toast of Pyongyang.
As for me, on both subjects, I’ve got as little interest as this office worker in South Korea:
“The reaction here in my office near Yeoido in Seoul was one of some surprise, but no lasting interest, and unlike the tsunami in Japan which drew attention to the TV for nearly an hour, the pause lasted about 5 minutes.”
What does interest me, though, is the afterlife. I not only believe miracles happen, but also that Heaven and Hell are real places.
I also believe in Purgatory, and not just because I’m Catholic. It makes a lot of sense to me that God provided a place where repentant sinners could work on their issues.
Before God became Man and willingly suffered and died to ransom our souls from Hell, even the teensiest weensiest sin was enough for Satan to claim our souls. Now, it’s the opposite. Even the teensiest weensiest desire for salvation is enough for God to rescue us from eternal damnation.
But Jesus said we must:
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matt 5:48 (The Sermon on the Mount)
Once upon a time, I belonged to a 12-step group for female Christian survivors of sexual abuse. It was a really good group; I did a lot of healing there. We all knew how painful the process was, so when the other ladies screwed up their courage to ask me – the sole Catholic – about Purgatory, I decided to explain it in terms we all understood.
“If you visualize Purgatory as a kind of mud room entryway to Heaven where departed souls can do their 12-step work, it’s not against your churches’ teaching that there is only Heaven and Hell. People who are in Purgatory are not going anywhere but to Heaven, so in a sense, they’re already in Heaven.”
I also love how C.S. Lewis put it:
Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, ‘It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy’? Should we not reply, ‘With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.’ ‘It may hurt, you know’ – ‘Even so, sir.’
Besides, if there’s no such place, how do we account for this Scripture passage:
“It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins”
2 Mac 12:46
As for Hell.
It’s very unpleasant to think about anyone actually going there, but Jesus told us they do so and in great numbers.
I’ve also been taught that it is not God who condemns souls to Hell, but God who graciously grants these souls their dearest desire, which is to be somewhere He is Not. When you think about the idea of God being NOT somewhere, it kinda boggles the mind. He’s everywhere. He created everything. And He loves each and every one of us so much that He would have died on the cross to save just one of us.
A lot of writers, poets and wags have put in their 2 cents about what Hell is really like, but Jesus and the Scriptures are very clear. It’s horrible.
AND there’s no partying … no special room where the Democrats and Communists etc. can renew acquaintance and have wild orgies.
Being with other people just isn’t going to happen in Hell, because relationships are from God and of God. That’s why He’s a Trinity. The place where He is Not is also the place where relationships are not.
I have a hard time thinking about the fire thing. But I had a vision of Hell myself once. A crack opened in my reality, high up, where I couldn’t see into it, but I could see the red-orange light glaring out, hear the noise and smell the stink. It lasted only a moment, yet made a lasting impression. And it is what the Scriptures tell us:
FAQs about Hell from http://www.soulchoiceministries.com/faq2.html
The scripture is very clear in regards to Hell and Heaven being eternal. The word “destruction” does not mean annihilation, but it generally implies that it is ongoing. The verse in Mathew 25:46 is the same word for eternal life and eternal punishment. If Hell is only temporal, then Heaven would also have to be only temporal since it uses the same word “aionios.” Also, the same word “eternal” is used in 1 Tim 1:17 of our eternal King. So if hell is not eternal, then God isn’t either.
Also, there are all these verses that say eternal, fire not quenched, everlasting fire, fire that shall NEVER be quenched, tormented day and night, forever and ever, shall not see life, resurrection of life and resurrection of damnation. These are the verses:
Mt. 25:41, Mt. 25:46; John 5:29, John 3:36; Rev. 20:10, Rev. 14:9-11; 2 Thes. 1:9; Dan. 12:2; Mark 9:43; Mt. 18:8, Mt. 13:30, Mt. 13:49-50; Luke 3:17; Jude 7; John 4:14, John 5:24; Rom. 2:8-9.
If you think about it, why would God simply annihilate someone? There is no justice in that. God is a God of Justice and Righteous Judgment. (See: Ps. 96:10, Ps. 89, Acts 17:31, Ps. 96:13, Deut. 32:4.) Also God’s wrath is released upon sin (See John 3:36, Ps. 90:7-11, 2 Thes. 1:8, Rom. 1:18, Rom. 5:9, Ex. 15:7, Prov. 11:23, 2 Pet. 2:9, Jer. 4:4) There are many verses regarding varying degrees of punishment. How can you have varying degrees if one is annihilated? Verses – Mt. 23:14; Mt. 23:15; Mt. 10:15; Luke 12:47, Heb 10:28-29.