Bronze-level articleHell

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The TRAIN TO HELL stops here.
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Hell is a small village in Nord-Trøndelag, Norway[1], as well as a town in the Cayman Islands[2].

Pat Benatar tells us that Hell is for children. There is even a music video.

Hell is four-fifths of the way to saying "hi" to someone (except in Kleberg County, Texas).

Hell is spelled "H-E-double-hockey-sticks" by those who think the Bible is full of vile cuss words.

Hell is other people… or is it?[3]

Hell is also the name of a crater on the moon.[4]

You can also find foreign Hells all over continental Europe,[5][6][7] or even Spanish Africa.[8] In Germany and Austria, many places are called Hölle, the direct translation of Hell.[9]

A homophone "Hel" is the name of a Norse goddess, who is said to be the ruler of a place also called Hel.

In the United States, if someone tells you to "go to Hell", they probably mean the village in Livingston County, Michigan.[10] Hell is located just north of the Washtenaw County line, about 15 miles northwest of Ann Arbor and about three miles southwest of Pinckney, the nearest town.[11] In January 2014, due to some unusual meteorological processes, this Hell literally 'froze over.' Alternatively, they could mean Los Angeles. There is also a Bumpass Hell in California's Lassen Volcanic National Park,[12] which smells as sulfurous as you might imagine Hell to be. In New Jersey, "Camden" is often used as a substitute when there is a (rare) desire to be polite.

Is there anything else special about hell? Read on...

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[edit] Hell

Okay, so you wanted to know what Hell is. Hell is also an effective mechanism of control developed in its present form by human beings about 2,000 years ago. You know, "Give me ten percent of your gross income or your soul will burn for all eternity in hell." The hell meme developed from Gehenna, which was the name of the Jerusalem city dump. Gehenna was constantly smoldering with spot fires which never went out and Jesus taught several parables about the worthy going to see Abraham after they died while the unworthy were thrown into Gehenna. Fundamentalist preachers, seeing the real power of the fear motive, have interpreted these parables as reports about actual conditions in the afterlife. Numerous religions have their own version of Hell, one prominent religion has Gre'Thor, where the dishonorable are eternally tortured. Although unlike in orthodox Christianity, the damned can leave Gre'Thor if their friends or family commit an act of heroic sacrifice. In another religion, Hell is hypothesized to be "similar to the heaven, but the beer is stale and the strippers have venereal diseases."

[edit] The fairness of Hell

Infinite torture can only be a punishment for infinite evil, and I don't believe that infinite evil can be said to exist even in the case of Hitler.
—I. Asimov: A Memoir (1994)
SOME time ago a Clergyman was proving to me by arguments many and strong that hell was right, necessary and just; that it brought glory to God and good to man; that the holiness of God required it as a preventive, and the justice of God exacted it as a penalty, of sin. I listened quietly till all was over and silence fell on the reverend denunciator[.] ... [A]ll I found to say in answer came in a few words: "If I had not heard you mention the name of God, I should have thought you were speaking of the Devil."
Annie Besant, The Theosophical Writings of Annie Besant

One can, quite rightly, argue that the entire idea of eternally punishing people for something they did while mortal is inherently evil. Think about what eternity means: it doesn't mean 100 years, or 1000 years or even a million years (but constant torment for such a meager amount of time is harsh for some sins). Even the most sadistic mass murderers in human history have caused only a finite number of deaths, which is literally naught in comparison with their eternal punishment. Plus, it doesn't matter if you caused the death of one or tens of millions, you still get the same sentence. Add to this that practically everyone goes to hell, and you're looking at a very unfair concept indeed.

Plus, some Christians believe that after the Rapture, people will be able to be "saved" before they die. However, the people alive after the Rapture would be living in an age of definite proof of God's existence, unlike the people who were damned before the Rapture--us poor folks have to rely purely on faith. [13]

In response to the above, Answers in Genesis says that "the eternal, never ending nature of the sinner’s punishment is directly related to the infinite and eternal nature of God....When you sin against an infinite God...you accrue an infinite debt."[14] The foundational premise of this is that the more powerful the entity offended, the greater the punishment for the offense. This is akin to saying that if you steal the same apple from a rich man and a poor man, you should[15] be punished more for taking the apple from the rich man because he's richer and more powerful. Unfortunately this means Answers in Genesis as well as Christianity in general supports, simply-worded, might makes right, the very thing they also accuse evolutionists of advocating.

There is finally the idea that "All crimes are equally heinous", with said "Crimes" being the Sins referred to by a theistic system, as in "What a particular religion simply declares to be good or bad regardless of how one or similarly valid religious systems might view it". That makes the "Judgement" aspect of said punishment all the more absurd.

[edit] Hell in Abrahamic religions

On the other hand, this Buddhist hell from Thailand looks awesome. There are blue French ninjas. They torture furries there. And there's bacon!

Hell is probably like thisWarning: NSFW Image!. Which would explain why the gay-hating fundies are keen to keep everyone away from it.

Hell could hardly be called a main focus of the Bible: references are few and far between, usually in passing, and there is no direct description offered of what it is like, where it is, or who goes there. Allusions to Hell (or sometimes Sheol) often read as though the audience is expected to know what it is like from other sources. A few examples of what the Bible has to say are:

  • James 3:6 says:
-And the tongue is a fire. [no - this is not a porn piece, so just relax, okay?] The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members staining the whole body. setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by Hell.
It goes on to say some more fun things about tongues, but no more about Hell.
  • Jesus is reported to have said "It is better for you to enter into life maimed than to keep both hands and go to Hell and the unquenchable fire. And if your foot is your undoing, cut it off; it is better to enter into life a cripple than to keep both your feet and be thrown into Hell. And if it is your eye, tear it out; it is better to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye than to keep both eyes and be thrown into Hell, where the devouring worm never dies and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9).
  • Matthew 13:42 states:
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Which is about as specific and non-acid inspired as it gets.
  • The Book of Revelation rambles about a fiery pit that sinners get thrown into. However, most sensible scholars take Revelation as a complex web of metaphor and symbolism. On the other hand that's the most sensible position to take in respect of the whole bible so it's hardly a reason to especially ignore Revelation.

The Islamic hell is called jahannam, and it is given a literal description in the Quran. Jahannam is quite a horrifying place, in comparison to the contemporary "Christian" image of Hell (since the torture chamber described by Dante Alghiri isn't in the Bible). Of course, the Quran supposedly was written by God himself, who would be better at describing anything than a human would be. The similarity is probably a result of Islamic and Christian beliefs both coming from the same sources. Hell in Islam is described as a pit of fire so deep that if you dropped a rock from the top it would take 70 years to reach the bottom. The fires of Hell are 70 times hotter than those of earth, and one scholar described Hell as a demon pulled by 70 thousand reins - see a pattern here? (The Bible uses the number 40 in a similar fashion.)

Baha'i scripture also speaks of hell; however, it is seen as more of a symbolic thing as opposed to a literal place.

[edit] Fundamentalists and Hell

Christian fundamentalists and other religious conservatives place a very heavy emphasis on Hell, as the ultimate destination of anybody who does not adhere to their very precise interpretations of doctrine and morality. Some, like Andrew Schlafly at Conservapedia, claim that Jesus Christ emphasised Hell more than Heaven,[16] and lament that Hell is not mentioned enough times in modern Bible translations.[17] Interestingly, the fundamentalist concept of 'hell' seems to be based on Dante's Inferno more than anything else (in nerd terms, imagine the Bible as the first edition source book, and Inferno being the unofficial third-party expansion pack that covers Hell).

The same conservatives are predictably outraged by the use of "hell" or "damn" as casual curse words. In 1997, Kleberg County, Texas, officially declared the nonsense word "HeavenO" to be the county's preferred form of greeting, in preference to the hellish "hello". In fact "hello" is not in any way etymologically related to Hell; it is actually etymologically related to the German and Dutch word hallo (those two and English all being Germanic languages), which means the same thing.[18]

[edit] Hell and Pope Benedict XVI

After decades or centuries of leaving Hell alone, Pope Benedict XVI decided to reinstate the doctrine of a real Hell (not abstract or metaphorical) and to eliminate limbo, thereby condemning every non-Catholic to perpetual torture in the fires of Hell. The motive behind this being that it was "just a theological hypothesis".[19] This has the very practical effect of reducing the standing of all men and women that are not under the Pope's authority to the category of damned souls, unworthy of treatment as equals and clear candidates for the missionary efforts of the Pope and his sycophants.

Gone are the times when Pope John Paul II sat side by side with representatives of every major religion in the world and talked about Hell as a state of mind. Pope Benny's infernal flip-flop followed a poll of 2,455 U.S. adults taken from Nov 7 to 13, 2007, which found that 62 percent believed in a literal Hell. Only 42 percent of those surveyed said they believed in Darwin's theory of evolution.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

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