Tag: hell

Quote of the Day: “The Doors of Hell Are Locked on the Inside”


Eight days after I began work there, as the organization’s first staff member dedicated to supporting its personal computer users, the unionized employees at my local community hospital went on strike. It was February 1, 1990.

Early that morning, as instructed, I drove across a picket line for the first time in my life, showing up for work in blue jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers. I was handed a mop and bucket, and along with several dozen others, I suffered through a fifteen-minute in-service on the “right way” to clean a patient’s room. Then I was put in charge of a housekeeper’s cart and I spent the next 57 days scrubbing up the Labor and Delivery Unit. This was in the days before the hotel-like “birthing rooms,” where family members gather and watch Mom in extremis, surrounded by flowers, floofy bedding, snack trays, and piped-in music. This was in the days when Mom was wheeled off to the “delivery room” to have the baby, into a forbidding and sterile environment with four gurneys in each room (the hospital had two of these rooms), klieg lights overhead, lots of sharp-edged stainless steel, with no rounded corners on anything, and not a bit of floofery in sight. The floor of each of these delivery rooms was, I can testify, having mopped each of them twice a day (and more, in the case of messy emergencies) for almost two months, about the same square footage as that of an NFL football field.

I enjoyed my time in housekeeping, actually (perhaps mostly because I knew it would not be my life’s work). I got plenty of exercise, and I got to know a side of hospital operations that folks who work in non-patient care areas rarely see. Because I was new to the organization, and because it was a welcoming place, I made lots of friends very quickly. Meals and breaks in the cafeteria (which was also affected by the strike, and where the cooking and serving were also done by non-unionized staff) were social occasions and the source of much dark humor and enjoyment of our mutual plight.

If the Lord Gave Us Free Will, Then Hell Is a Thing


I know that some people don’t believe in Hell. I want to give those folks an opportunity to change my mind, so my short essay today will be to argue for the certainty of everlasting hellfire and damnation being a possible fate for any person.

I begin with the stipulation that man has free will. The Lord made man in His image, which means that we, like the Lord, can choose our actions.

Quote of the Day: Outrage Politics


“We must picture hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives with the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” – C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Isn’t it strange how C.S. Lewis’s description of hell so closely matches the outrage politics of today? Or maybe it isn’t.

Yeah, But It’s a Dry Heat


Through most of the ’90s, I worked for a software company in Dallas, doing vertical market insurance administration software. We were the market leader, due in large part to how responsive the company was to customers desires and satisfaction. Part of making this happen was bringing the customers into the process twice a year, for the Product Showcase and the User Forum.

The Product Showcase was always held in Dallas, demonstrating all the new products and features that had been built in the previous year. There was no canned demo software or proof of concept versions; everything we would show was real, working software at least theoretically ready for release, so that was always a stressful event of those of us showing new stuff.

The Refiner’s Fire: The Place of Hell in Judaism’s Sister Religion


The same man who wrote this blissfully mournful setting of “Hear my prayer, O Lord” also wrote an annoying little ditty which begins, “I attempt from love’s sickness to fly in vain, / Since I am myself my own fever and pain.” Despite the musical love present in the former composition and lacking in the latter, the words of the latter are expressive enough: love, whether sacred or profane, is a fever whose cause isn’t incidental, its cause is you – who you are and what you love.

That might be a strange way to begin any theological musing, no matter how speculative. But bear with me. Judaism and Christianity are sister religions, springing from the same source. To put it in the driest of secular terms, Jesus was an apocalyptic Jewish teacher. Not all Jews believe in an afterlife, but among those who do, this description of its punishments that @susanquinn shared with me seems fairly standard. This essay of sweeping scope by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan also contains several illuminating passages. Both writings describe Gehenom, hell, as a cleansing, either of the “dirt” of our sins (like socks getting “punished” in a washing machine) or of the “static and jamming” that reduces our awareness of our sins’ rightful shame. In neither description are sinners “sent to a different place” from the righteous. Rather, all souls go to the same “place”, and what makes it heavenly or hellish is the state of each soul experiencing it – how “dirty” it is, how much it still has to be ashamed of. As Peter Kreeft, a once-Calvinist Catholic theologian, put it, “In reality, the damned are in the same place as the saved—in reality! But they hate it; it is their Hell. The saved love it, and it is their Heaven.” Still, descriptions of hell as cleansing – as purification which educates the soul for God’s presence – ought to remind Christians more of Catholics’ conception of purgatory than the Christian descriptions of hell most of us are familiar with.

Hell is, after all, described in the New Testament as the place where “their worms do not die, and the fire is never quenched.” “Repent or perish,” we are admonished. And this perishing isn’t just physical death or blissful oblivion – no – but agonizing wormy flames of flaming judgment – forever! Because “the fire is never quenched”, those worms remain stubbornly alive. That same passage continues, “For everyone will be salted with fire.” So the wicked – scratch that, make that everyone – will be salted with fire. Fire is meant to season all of us, through which fire some of us, presumably, are in fact redeemed. This fire, moreover, is the fire of love:

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God is merciful. Behold the third delusion of sinners by which an immense number are lost! A learned author says, that the mercy of God sends more souls to hell than his justice; for sinners are induced, by a rash confidence in the divine mercy, to continue in sin and thus are lost. God is […]

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On Hellfire and Cosmic Freedom (or, Does Everyone Go to Heaven?)


shutterstock_176697395Rob Long is in trouble. Those are his words, not mine.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to the latest GLOP podcast, in which Rob fesses up to being a universalist. Universalism, for those who don’t know, is the belief that everyone goes to Heaven. In Rob’s view, the next life is going to be one big happy reunion, and we’re all invited. (Of course he is free to clarify if that’s not quite what he thinks.)

So, this is the point where I confirm all your worst suspicions about academics and their pointy-headed silliness. When I was in graduate school, I took a seminar on the problem of evil (“how could an all-powerful and all-loving God have created a world with evil in it?”). That might sound pretty specific as the topic for a whole class, but it got better (or worse). As it turned out, almost the whole seminar was dedicated to fleshing out contemporary arguments in favor of universalism.

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Does Hell exist? This question arose in another thread this week, one which the O.P.’s author had really hoped would focus more closely on what is beautifully and uniquely Catholic when it comes to sex and birth control. She didn’t want her thread to get highjacked, especially by people determined to explore the unlovely matter of eternal damnation.  {http://ricochet.com/the-beautiful-and-unique-teachings-of-the-catholic-church/#comments) Preview Open

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