Archive for Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hell fiction

January 14, 2009

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To the editor:

Writing to defend “hell” against those of us who oppose the idea, who passionately condemn the teaching of it to children — or to anyone — Richard Smith displays irrefutable logic, given his assumptions and priorities. His treasured hell certainly is a place to be feared, and any decent person would wish to defend children from it. I wish to.

His sermon shows how an argument, while logically sound, can be factually wrong and morally repugnant.

Indeed, neither Smith nor anyone else has reasonable evidence to support belief in such a place, and that is the best of all possible news. The idea of hell is certainly the most vicious, appalling notion to emerge from the dark side of the human psyche. It inspires nearly every form of evil done in the name of religion, from the Inquisition, to the Crusades, to centuries of sectarian war in Europe and the deadly conflicts we see today in the Middle East.

When you’re “saving souls” from hellfire, there is no brutality you cannot logically justify. And morally? To fantasize complete suffering and eternal isolation for mere, fallible humans is the most gross perversion of proportional justice and sincere love imaginable — but imagined it is, with a blind fervor that defies contradiction.

So no, children, do not fear hell. It’s not real. Fear those who believe in it. They are its inventors and advocates, and may logically abandon every decency to “save” you from it. They have and will.

Bruce S. Springsteen,
Lawrence

Comments

gr 6 years, 4 months ago

"So no, children, do not fear hell. It’s not real. Fear those who believe in it. "True. Many will use anything to manipulate to get their way. Think of the global warmists.However, what is "hell"? The Bible doesn't support what some say is hell. Something to think about if satan is going to be thrown into hell, and hell is eternal burning, who runs it?Maybe "hell" isn't eternal burning. Maybe hell is death - eternal death. Death by choice. By choice of non-life.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"However, what is “hell”? The Bible doesn't support what most say is hell." Thought I'd fix that for you. Have you ever considered educating the Christian population, Gr, that believes that the content of Paradise Lost is what actually occurs in the Bible? Seems a more effective way to solve it than going for the people repeating the misinformation to oppose it.

Ronda Miller 6 years, 4 months ago

I've always liked Bruce Springsteen....

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 4 months ago

Adolf and Eva are getting it on in Hell even as we write. Satan being polite has turned his head.

fu7il3 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course, in The Divine Comedey, Satan is a bumbling monster encased in ice. Apparently, hell already froze over.

gr 6 years, 4 months ago

jonas, there is a difference between what most believe and being able to support those beliefs from the Bible. And who says I haven't been attempting to correct those beliefs on even this forum? And I thought, even once with you. But, that would skip the qualifier, wouldn't it?

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

gr: Yes, I remember the incident in which I was responding to three or four people about the foolish notion of pleasing God, and the only person you felt the need to correct was myself, the one who didn't believe or engage in that behavior, which is why I felt justified in pointing out that you don't engage in corrective action often, at least not on here.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 4 months ago

On the other hand, I've enjoyed the two Hellboy movies.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years, 4 months ago

tjhoop: I can fly. There's no proof that I can, but niether is there proof that I can't. I just don't feel like showing you right now. Do you believe me?

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"I am just raising the question, as many of you on here are so sure that there is no hell…and I am curious as to how you know this???"We don't, but since there's no reason to believe hell exists, I, at least, don't worry about it. While I disagree with the LTE author's sense of surety, I surely agree with his notion that we should beware people who are trying to forcefully save us from what could likely be a totally-fictitious place/state. Anyway, if true, the only other option is heaven, which sounds unbearable.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years, 4 months ago

For semantic's sake, let's say good old fashioned levitation by will alone is my claim.However you made exactly the argument that I was looking for, and the argument that any rational person would make: I am the one making an unbelievable claim here, and so I am the one who must prove that it is true. The burden of proof is always upon the one making the claim, the one "rocking the boat" so to speak. If it were otherwise, you and I would now be operating under the assumption that I can fly through the air at will. A person can make and argue a claim that cannot be disproven (does hell exist?), but it is very dangerous to accept something as "truth" simply because there is no evidence to the contrary. Herin is the danger of assuming that Hell exists with no evidence either way. Given the two choices of "Hell exists" and "Hell doesn't exist" I would argue that "Hell exists" is the more unlikely of the two (not impossible, just unlikely), and hence requires the burden of proof.

cthulhu_4_president 6 years, 4 months ago

the other option is that I might actually be able to fly, but I just haven't gotten around to proving it yet.

craigers 6 years, 4 months ago

Bruce doesn't seem to like the thought of a higher authority.

Calliope877 6 years, 4 months ago

I imagine hell to be a place of repitition.My hell would be the copy machine at work jamming over and over and over and over again.

gr 6 years, 4 months ago

hoops: "I would suggest to you, that if you believe that the bible doesnt support what some say is hell, that you actually read the bible, particularly revelations, as it describes in very plain english what hell is like."Your NIV must be a different translation than mine, because try as I might, I cannot find the word "hell" in Revelation.(How's that, jonas? ;-)

Confrontation 6 years, 4 months ago

Bruce, this just happens the be the best LTE of the year. Although 2009 just started, I'm guessing this LTE will remain #1 for the rest of the year.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"And I do understand the point of contention, its actually a “religious bashing” point concealed under a umbrella as a LTE."No, that is your clearly biased interpretation.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"By the way, if one is in an airplane, I believe they are flying and not falling."No, they are sitting, or occasionally standing. The plane is flying.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"I cant prove to you that Dragons do not exist, because I have no evidence that tells me that they do not exist."So what would proof be to you that they do not exist? Can you conceive of anything that would suffice?

feeble 6 years, 4 months ago

Eddie: Well sure it was a war. And anybody that showed up was gonna join Lem Lee in the Hell of Being Cut to Pieces.Jack Burton: Hell of being what?Eddie: Chinese have a lot of Hells.

claireredfield 6 years, 4 months ago

Bruce "The Boss" Springsteen said:"So no, children, do not fear hell. It’s not real."Bruce: Prove this statement to be true. Prove Hell's not real. I'll give you until COB on the 15th. Thanks in advance.(LOL!!!)

Christine Anderson 6 years, 4 months ago

Well, hell on earth has at times been very real to me.As for a literal Hell, geez, I was kinda hoping there really is one, because I can think of several types of people whom I'd really love to see sent there. Such as child rapists, child murderers, and the sort of less-than-human scum who murder their own children and then set the house on fire.I'm going to say it. I personally hope that piece of sh*t is in a very, very warm, fiery place right now.

jaywalker 6 years, 4 months ago

"Writing to defend “hell” against those of us who oppose the idea, who passionately condemn the teaching of it to children -"After seeing the headline and then reading that first sentence, I was certain the subject of this LTE was gonna be Ethan Frome. Phew.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"Sure Jonas, the same thing that would prove them to exist.Years of research and evidence that is NOT there, to prove that they do not exist."Great. It's not there, so they don't exist. That was. . . easy."But what is evidence? What of people claim they have seen dragons??"Like who?"Do i use this as evidence or dismiss it as a irrational hallucination of a mental individual??"Well, why don't you ask them about it. Or let us know who they are, so we can ask them about it. Who are you talking about that claims to have seen a dragon?"What if someone found Dragon poo??"If someone did, then there'd be reason to believe that they exist. That would be, as we call it, evidence. Of course, poo often looks rather similar, so we'd have to determine that it didn't come from other animals first. . . "I mean this argument could go on forever"Well, of course it could. That happens with all arguments that do not use evidence or proof, and have no notion of falsifiability.

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

"the point is, and its funny at that, you calling my opinion “bias” when clearly, the opinions on here are totally bias and negative but say what ever makes you sleep at night, what was the reason for the LTE then?"Whoa. Lets break that down then. Yes, you're assertion that this was just religious bashing was your biased opinion. There was more point to that in the letter itself, particularly as a response to Smith's original LTE that this was a response to, namely that there is no evidence that hell exists, and that it is frequently used as a club to keep people in line, when it shouldn't be if it is not positively provable as true. Again, I don't agree with his certainty, but I agree with that basic point. It is, however, not bias to suggest the lack of evidence, support, or falsifiability in your argument. They are simply there, we can see them and read them, over and over again. Or rather, that they are simply not there, we can see and read that they are not, over and over again. By this logic, it can be assumed, I suppose, that this does not disprove the existence of evidence, support, or falsifiability in your argument, but until we see it there's no reason to assume that you have any of that. To say that the anti-hell respondants are all totally free from bias, however, is unsupportable. The idea that all this is what helps us sleep at night, again, is your biased opinion. If that's what you need to sleep at night, fine. The only time I ever think about hell in the biblical, mythological sense is when I'm theorizing about it here. It's existence or non-existence does not matter to me past a potentially interesting discussion. "Is the author saying that people are in fact, so stupid he has to educate them as to the fact that there is no hell, and he based that on what evidence??"Coda. Go back up and start reading again, infinite loop.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 4 months ago

I absolutely do believe there is a heaven and hell, in angels and miracles and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. If you believe you believe, if you don't you don't. I don't like people who are smug about their faith as though everyone is below them. It is not my place to tell anyone what or who to worship, or even if they should.Ever see the episode of Star Trek:Voyager where the Klingon crew member died and went to hell and it turned out to be a replica of Voyager because that was the worst thing she could imagine.Heaven is what you want, Hell is what you dread.

Strontius 6 years, 4 months ago

"Nothing to add to that, really."I find it hard to imagine that Cleopatra is a Star Trek fan, given its absolutely overt affront to religion and faith. Particularly when I recall some of her other comments which sounded aghast that people might be allowed to publish viewpoints that run contrary to her own. Believing in something doesn't mean anything. Anyone can profess a belief, but it's intellectually backward to think that other people have the responsibility of disproving your beliefs in order for them to be made false. If you're going to make a claim, it's your responsibility to prove it.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 4 months ago

"[He] saw hell, too. You know what he said? He said the only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of your life... your memories... your attachments.... They burn them all away... but they're not punishing you, he said... they're freeing your soul.... So, the way he sees it, if you're frightened of dying... and you're holding on... you'll see devils tearing your life away. But, if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth."( from Jacob's Ladder )

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 4 months ago

I have never been upset at others having different opinions than mine. I don't know where you got that idea from. I have never wrote so. I am quite comfortable talking to people who are from different faiths and different backgrounds.When I write I write what I think. I have written many, many times that I do not ask anyone to think like me. How many times must I write that?I have been a fervent Star Trek fan from the first show way back in the sixties and own most of the books of which there are many.IDIC is the Vulcan motto, and one that I live by. It means infinite diversity in infinite combination.I think what I wrote is quite sensible. I think hell would be where everyone is the same. Heaven would be where everyone can have a good animated conversation and still be respectful and courteous.Please, won't someone understand me?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 4 months ago

Marooned in monkeyland, Cleo?"...Send out an SOS pleaCome quicklyI'm marooned in monkeylandIs there anyone thereWho understands meAnyone at all...?"

cw 6 years, 4 months ago

That's why they have to push this stuff into your head when you still have the soft spot in your skull and you are still Santa Claus eligible. (NSFW, due to language, comedian Doug Stanhope)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExAw4h...

Calliope877 6 years, 4 months ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says… “Hell is other people.” No Exit, SartreI love that play!

gr 6 years, 4 months ago

hoops: "Gr, you stated that you could not find the word hell in the bible and that i must be using a diff version of it..ok here ya go:"What I said:"Your NIV must be a different translation than mine, because try as I might, I cannot find the word “hell” in Revelation."in response to your: "then I suggest you read a NIV bible for a simple explaination".Do you see a difference?"I hope hes in hell this very minute,"With that kind of attitude, would you expect many wishing to be in heaven with you?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course, do not fear hell. Hell is just complete and total separation from God. It is not, as many have rightly said in this forum, a place from Dante's inferno.If a person chooses to live their life separated from God, that is the eternal existence that person will be granted after they die. God will not force His love on someone and so if they want to live without Him, then they're granted their wish.It's not a place I personally want to go but many people live life today without God (separate from God) so it won't be much different for them in the afterlife. (Shrugs shoulders).

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