Some influential Christians are starting to say "Perhaps there is no hell." Others hold firm to a belief in heaven's antithesis.
Recently I got together with a friend, Patricia Herron. She's both philosophically and artistically minded. During our chat she gave me a copy of a poem, introduced with some prose, that she wrote.
It's a dialogue between a believer and nonbeliever in hell. The nonbeliever gets to say the most, probably because Patricia, like me, doesn't put much stock in all of this hell talk.
Have a read. And then, add a comment if you like. As Patricia says in her introduction, open communication is what the world needs more of.
Prose and poem by Patricia Herron, Salem, Oregon
God is an instrument of madness. Also, the idea of God is a symbol of inner sanctity and true being. There's a confusion between these two extremes, ideas swinging back and forth through the centuries. And it is still so.
There are no judges -- so no rules -- in this scenario. Thus, it will be an open debate. However, following the debate there will be a conclusion whereby Jürgen Habermas' thinking concerning communication will be addressed.
Distorted communication prevents freedom, undistorted communication moves us toward emancipation or the unforced force of a better argument. In this manner we will be able to use our common sense and critical thinking to decide the unforced force of a better argument.
According to Jacob Needleman's What is God?, "A quality of attention was passing between [two people] that is becoming more and more rare in our common world. And it is this 'something' that desperately needs to pass between people. It is the mutual flow of this special quality of attention between human beings that all people, whether they know it or not, are starved for."
This is not the case with X and Y.
Y (believer in hell)
There is a hell. God said this is so.
And God is all knowledge,
All good, all powerful, all just
And all loving
This is so as the Bible is the word of God
Hell is located as God sees fit
And spirits without bodies
Are also taken to task -- bar none
Can enter without faith in God
If what you say is true
Then these words must belong to God
Spare the rod and spoil the child,
What brutality, blindness, egotism it claims
How can this be so?
Toxic punishment seeding toxic ideas unto our world
Punishment; ages upon ages of pure pain and suffering
Presuming to be realistic only because
We fight against an equally religious arrogance
How can this be so?
Toxic punishment, people feel powerful, toxic though it may be.
Forgoes a sense of wonder and awe,
Seeding in our culture, when will it stop?
Is this not so?
An invitation to a hanging, bring a picnic basket
Hold your hands still little boy,
Smothers real life of the God within,
The God of the unknown
Hold your self still young man, it will soon be over
The fruit of the hanging tree
Dangle, dangle feet off the ground
Throwing stones at a woman's head
Her body buried seeding, seeding our world
Toxic punishment has run amuck
Ages upon ages with God at the stern
A God with human attributes
Take a good look, this image of God
Is an instrument of madness
A God who can locate hell where he sees fit
Humans clap and praise such a God
Made in their own image
A God so powerful that a hell for punishment
Goes beyond what tortures mankind have
For ages and ages made do.