We have all heard someone say, If you do such and such you are going to hell! – If you don’t do such and such you are going to hell! – If you believe such and such you are going to hell! – If you don’t believe such and such you are going to hell! What is the significance of any of that? If this is a question that you have asked about/wondered about, here is your formula for telling whether any of it is true or it’s all just someone’s bullshit agenda that should always be ignored because it comes from the mouth of an idiot.
The short answer is that anyone who says that you are going to hell is an idiot to be ignored, unless it is meant only as a joke. Around here, when I screw something up, the expression used (in jest, so far, I think/I hope) is “Papa’s goin to hell”.
Someone in every social setting is just sitting/standing there waiting for any opportunity to arise in which they can interject a religious comment, leading to a discussion in which they can look sharply at someone else and tell them they are going to hell. It probably happens most frequently in connection with some church function. In my experience, it always comes out at the reception of a Catholic wedding attended by assorted Protestant friends. Some Catholic devotee will pronounce the dreaded sentence upon one of the Protestants by saying that if you aint Catholic you are going to hell. It never fails. At any Protestant function the condemnations have to do with a down and dirty assessment of someone else’s viewpoint or statement. The lips purse. The steely self righteous glare through slitted eyes. The words come out almost like the hissing of a snake. Being politically correct, the poor condemnee will change the subject or just walk away. Opportunity for great fun missed. Take ‘em on and wipe the floor with ‘em is more fun than fucking a fat broad.
There are nutcase folks out there telling kids that if they read “Harry Potter” they are going to hell. Inasmuch as “Harry Potter is maybe amongst the three best selling series of children’s books in history, hell should be vastly overcrowded or in dire need of expansion in order to receive the eventual souls/people destined to arrive. Add to that number those who only saw the movies and didn’t read the books, and the prospects for massive construction dwarf what is needed in Iraq. Compound that with those who occasionally patronize titty bars and buy lap dances – not to mention those who do the dancing and tend the bars, as well as the prostitutes who provide sexual intimacy to Europeans on sex vacations, their pimps, all the Asians who sell their daughters into prostitution, and the officers and accountants of Enron Corporation, and you wonder whether hell can ever even be accommodated within the dimensions of the earth in the middle of which it is thought by such people to be located.
A perfect opening has been created for the SCF people in the last Harry Potter book, because Harry discovers sex and gets laid for the first time. Thus the “AHA! We told you so!” Reading Harry Potter will send you straight to hell because its climax is his climax. Climaxing is their opportunity to use the F word. They all want to say Fuck, but they can’t, so they have their own F word FORNICATE. They just adore that word. They say it every chance they get. If sex education is taught in school, it is wrong because it encourages Fornication. If vaccinations were to be given against the HPV that leads to cervical cancer, that’s wrong because it will encourage Fornication. Going to art galleries where one might encounter sculpture or paintings of nude human anatomy is wrong because it will definitely encourage Fornication. The world is just chock a block full of Fornicators. President Clinton should have been impeached because he is a Fornicator. Anyone who questions or disagrees with their point of view on anything just has to be a Fornicator.
A Fornication protocol has been installed into everyone’s brain and must be deleted to avoid going to hell. Evidence of that may be found in Gray’s Anatomy.
The fornicate gyrus is a gyrus of the cerebral cortex, located on the medial surface adjacent to the corpus callosum. It is named for the fornix, a tract of white matter that runs beneath its surface roughly in a loop, from the amygdala to the mamillary bodies. It consists of the cingulate gyrus and the parahippocampal gyrus.
Because the central sulcus that separates the frontal lobe from the parietal lobe stops when it reaches the cingulate gyrus, and because the fornicate gyrus is functionally distinct from adjacent areas of the frontal and parietal lobes, the fornicate gyrus is sometimes regarded as a separate lobe of the brain; as such it called the limbic lobe because it is part of the limbic system. However, the limbic association cortex extends beyond this gyrus, and the term "limbic lobe" is no longer considered meaningful.
If you want really entertaining evidence that Fornication is always uppermost in the minds of the SCF people, go visit http://www.cafepress.com/landoverbaptist/1372132 where you can purchase Jesus Is Watching You Fornicate tee shirts from the Landover Baptist gift shop, and obtain materials welcoming you to Jesusland. I aint making this shit up, no matter how comical it may sound. Nothing can be really funny if it aint true in large measure. That site is a tad suspect, because on another page you can buy tee shirts that say Jesus Was A Liberal Jew and do-it-yourself Jewish circumcision kits. It could just be a site where someone like me is making fun of the SCF constituency. Anyway, go look at it and make your own decision. I think it’s bogus, but I could be wrong and it’s funny anyway.
My personal view is that the SCF’s (Sanctimonious Church Fuck) intense focus upon Fornication is not so much a hatred of sinful things as it is the stark terror that they can’t keep it buried deeply enough, and that it will emerge at inauspicious moments in the presence of other SCFs, following which they will be expelled from their positions of assumed rectitude and be left with no alternative than to become political fund raisers. In my experience, defrocked/outed religious pretenders usually do take their fundraising skills to politics or to foundations where the raising of money from sucker lists is the requisite skill set. I have from time to time been present when wealthy clients were being called upon by these people, and they always have the oleaginous quality of someone who has not washed thoroughly since his last encounter with slime.
The SCF mentality is now fighting vaccination against Human Papiloma Virus that prevents cervical cancer due to sexually transmitted infection. They resist inoculation for their own children on the grounds that to be inoculated will encourage them to FORNICATE. They would rather their daughters get cancer if they are going to be sexually active outside of marriage. Of course there is no big deal if males get some, but to have your daughter FORNICATE – why they would rather that she die. If boys got cancer from it, there would be immediate mass inoculations. Religious fanaticism always accompanies sexist piggishness.
Anyway, back to our story about the dimensions and occupancy capacity of hell, and the necessity that it be enlarged. My dear friend High Fibre Hoffman posits that hell would indeed have to be enlarged if one thinks of the soul as incapable of suffering the pain of the eternal pizza oven, that the corporeal presence actually has to go there and be roasted while some eternal worm consumes it endlessly, never seeming to get to the end of its meal.
One might reasonably posit that the expansion of hell is contributing to global warming. Al Gore never thought of that.
I have a major argument to make in writing this story. My argument is that most/almost all of us, given the chance to do what we think is the right thing to do, are going to do the intelligent thing. The intelligent thing is mostly the right thing. We are essentially good people. We aren’t going to hell because of our shortcomings. We are, therefore, completely worthy of salvation. That’s exactly what Christ told us. We are fallible and we make lots of mistakes. We do wrong things and frequently act in unintelligent, even spiteful ways. We do that, I believe, because the immediate circumstances to which we are reacting are sometimes more difficult than we can sort out on short notice. We lash out in frustration. We have weak moments and give in to our opportunistic inclinations, to put it nicely. That’s part of our humanity. But we aren’t going to hell because of our mistakes. That has to be Christ’s truth, because if it weren’t there would be no point to repentance or confession or attempting to do better the next time. Redemption is Christ’s gift to us. That’s why He is known as the Redeemer. If we really want to try to do the right thing most of the time, we are entitled – yes entitled – to salvation. And my argument is that if we stand in good with the Lord notwithstanding our many shortcomings, no one has the right to consign us to hell.
There are some so evil that they may be disbelieved if they claim to have repented and amended their lives. Priests who molest children are a good example of this class of miscreants.
I do believe that I have spotted a constant characteristic amongst those quick to condemn. They are never willing to think about what it must be like to walk in the shoes of the person they are about to scold. They are absolutists about what you have to do or not do, and not at all absolutist about their own opportunistic moments – to put it nicely. I saw many of them when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. They were calling people looters, thieves and criminals who were taking food from stores. They never stopped for a moment to think about what they would have done in the same circumstances. To me, when you won’t give another person space to be who he has to be, and try to understand why he is like he is, you have no grace.
If there really were such a place as hell, the stupid sumbitches who are always telling others that they are going to hell unless…..such and such… are really the ones who would go to hell. And if I had my way, the hell to which they would be sent would be a place where all day and all night you have to attend church services; there is no music but hymn singing; and every forty-five minutes there is a thirty minute sermon. There would be no beer, no booze, no sex, an extremely limited vocabulary, no television, no baseball or football, no golf, no aspirin or Novocain, no decongestants, no fresh fruit to eat because of Eve’s fresh fruit episode, no toilet paper, no sanitary napkins, no deodorant, no shaving allowed, and a constant turning of other cheeks so that enemies could forever just slap the shit out of you. Don’t you think that’s exactly where SCFs belong in the next world? When you encounter an SCF, and they are instantly recognizable, you are in the presence of someone who has a narrow agenda and who uses condemnation to hell threats to try to control the ambient circumstances to accommodate that narrow agenda.
What the hell do they know about it? Who the hell appointed them to enroll people in hell/ assign people to hell? If you have nothing else to do and just want to entertain yourself, you could cross examine them about the basis for their assumed authority; about their knowledge of the criteria for enrollment in hell; about their knowledge about almost anything at all except maybe whatever it is that they do for a living and therefore have to know something about just to be able to put food on the table. In most instances you will find that they truly believe that hell is a location at which the wicked arrive after being judged by Saint Peter to be ineligible for entry through the “Pearly Gates” into what they call Heaven. Cross examination on the subject of heaven reveals similar ignorance and provides similar entertainment. It is a socially acceptable variation of making fun of the disabled.
There is a town in Michigan called Hell. Is that where the wicked go?
If you are not an ignorant soul, you know that hell, as described by religious “authority” is utter nonsense. There are passages in the bible that allude to punishments to be expected by the wicked. In Chapter 4 of Malachi, for example, there is a passage about the wicked being burnt like straw and trampled in the dust under the feet of the righteous. That is, of course, just allegory. The righteous die too and they also turn to dust. More wicked people are born and walk on that dust. So the righteous are trod upon by the wicked just as the wicked are trod upon by the righteous. To illustrate the level of stupidity of some people, there are testimonials of folks who claim that they have heard wailing and screaming of the folks in hell when there are volcanic eruptions. Engineers professing to be communist atheists claim that they once drilled down into hell by accident and heard the screaming, and that they recorded it. You can – supposedly – hear the screaming if you have RealPlayer. Just go to http://www.av1611.org/hell.html and click around until you get there. Gimme a break!!!
But that does not mean that there is no hell. It only means that hell is certainly not some post mortem destination for the wicked. I would be more terrified if someone were to tell me that I had to move back to Michigan and re-marry my ex wife. Matthew’s Gospel described what that was like (13:50) –wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Consider, if you will, that hell is a condition of the mind and spirit – a condition in which you are simply miserable. You can quickly begin along the road to recovery by acknowledging that your misery is the product of your own stupidity – which it almost always is – and resolve to move on. Blaming others for our difficulty is almost never reliable, which is why it so rarely produces remediation.
When there is a narrow agenda, that is a sign that the person who’s agenda it is is not only ignorant, but incapable (for many reasons, including stupidity and laziness) of dealing with the prospect that there may be valid perspectives beyond those narrow boundaries. That’s what mind control is all about – making people adhere to some narrow view propounded by some institution bent upon mind control. Narrow gauge thinking never produces insight. It doesn’t provide the path to retrieval of self worth. It makes one wallow in self loathing and the guilt. Resisting the imposition of narrow gauge thinking may displease others, but that is a far lesser risk. The clear insightful marker, on the other hand isn’t focused upon the suffering or upon how much suffering may be deserved. It focuses upon acceptance of fault, repentance and recommitment. It goes way beyond condemning to hell. It is the way out of hell.
Religious organizations are and always have been the traditional users of mind control. Moreover, it is not in the slightest more used in any one religion than in any other. Catholics used to have to cope with the Catholic Index, a list of publications that they were forbidden to read, on pain of having committed a sin for which atonement to the Church was/is required. The Jewish religion, in its Orthodox configuration, has its similar anti secular, separationist regimen. According to Orthodox interpretation of Genesis, the fresh fruit that Eve offered to Adam symbolized fruit from “the tree of knowledge”, the mythical source of secular knowledge of things with relevance beyond/outside the scope of total devotion/subservience to God. Amongst the most severe Orthodox, secular reading is a violation of a duty to serve God through constant study and religious service.
Forbidding contact with non-adherents and their other cultures is an imperative. After all, if people are free to associate with and consider the cultures of other people, they might find matters in that expanded sphere attractive and wander from the “true faith”. Religious dietary laws have nothing to do with public health or God. They are simply an artificial social construct to keep people apart. If you can’t eat someone else’s food or drink their wine, you are far less likely to socialize with them. And, of course, what they eat and drink is always characterized as “dirty”.
One is either a Jew or a Goy. In ancient Rome you were either a Roman or a barbarian. One is either an adherent of the Prophet Mohammed or one is an infidel. One who transgresses the Mullahs’ view of circumstances must be eliminated. Why else would people kill their children in some ritual known even in this modern world, as “honor killing”, the murder of someone deemed to have dishonored the name/repute of the family. This is usually applied to female children who have discovered orgasms (which is why they circumcise girls – to eliminate the possibility of sexual pleasure), or to girls who have sex outside of marriage, or who have been raped (it’s their fault every time, right?), or refuse to marry the person chosen by her father to be her husband. All these customs are offshoots of the mind control device of a conjured Hell. Not only will you be consigned to hell for some infraction or other, but I will personally act to hasten you to immediate membership in hell by killing you.
In the United States, we have, until recently, been under the influence of our own SCF constituency. They are politely known as the “religious right”. They have, thankfully, revealed their true persona in the course of this last Republican Presidency, having been deemed indispensable support to whom the Republicans must genuflect in all things upon fear of losing their political ascendancy. Their agenda has been to limit education to courses in conformity with strict bible doctrine as they see it; to limit scientific research that may lead to technical developments that do not conform to their view of bible doctrine – which always has the tendency, in their minds, to promote fornication. Fornication is their favorite word, and it is not surprising to me in the least that their most vociferous leaders always seem to be the most spectacularly profligate in their adeptness at fornicating anything with a hole, male or female, human or beast. Their most notorious evangelical leader was just this past few months revealed to be going from White House meetings to advise the President on matters pertaining to making America’s government more Christ centered directly to male prostitute assignations. This fool, upon being unmasked/outed, admitted in his delirium that he has been a consummate liar his entire life. He then went into rehab/on vacation for two months and has now returned this week to pronounce himself cured of his sinful inclinations and to be a totally heterosexual person. YEAH RIGHT!! And of course he wants his old job back.
Have you ever considered what it might be like to go to a heaven where everyone there condemns everyone who is not just alike? How can anyone even think of surviving in such an environment? How long would you last before one of them decided that you were in some small respect a non conformist and attempt to have you removed to the other place. You hue to the company/party line in every possible manner, or else. Could you be happy in a heaven like that? I would much prefer to be amongst souls just like me – fallible, but accommodating.
The SCF constituency want their cake and eat it to – why not? What the hell, right? To the thinking of an SCF, if you are not a Christian, no matter how decent a chap you may be throughout your entire life, you don’t get into Heaven. That is reserved for Christians – no Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists need apply. As for atheists and agnostics, they get a nice warm corner of hell in which to slow roast for eternity. Salvation can only be obtained by being a Christian, so they claim. Somehow, that does not sound to me like anything that Christ ever taught. There are, to be sure, bible passages that can be tortured to suggest that kind of exclusivity, as in the suggestion that no man comes to the Father but through Me. If you consider, as do I, that Christ was really a genius, how likely is it that he meant salvation to be a cult of His personality rather than the culmination of life well lived. The latter alternative is genius. The cult persuasion seems narrow and stupid – not quite Christ like. But a few verses later in John’s Gospel Christ says that in His father’s house are many mansions. To me that is the doorway to recognition of the good in others, even if they are not Christians.
One aspect of the cult/club phenomenon of religiosity that is especially offensive to me is that considerations of church affiliation often thwart relationships that have great potential for mutual happiness. We no longer live in a world in which we can functionally isolate ourselves from all other people who are not exactly as we are. We are less tribal than we used to be. The result is that people of different tribes/cultures/sects/religions/ethnicities encounter each other every day for many positive purposes. That is precisely what the mind control people sought to prevent. If you never spend time with different people, you can never come to an appreciation that they might be worth while people just as you believe you are. But if you do encounter them, you do come to appreciate that there are wonderful people of every group, just as there are the awful SCF constituency in every group.
When you encounter someone that is beautiful, intelligent, sensitive, artistic, competent, articulate, passionate about all sorts of things, it is impossible not to want to spend more time with them. Nice things happen. Relationships ensue. Respect rises. Joy happens. Love overwhelms. And why the hell not? That is what we were put here to enjoy, the love of each other whenever possible.
I and many of my friends have experienced beautiful relationships with people that caused difficulty amongst others in our families because of abject tribalism. Whether it’s someone not being Jewish; not being Catholic; being Catholic but not being Italian Catholic; being Jewish but not being a Russian/German/Polish/Hungarian/Israeli Jew, the tribalism persists across all cultural, religious and ethnic boundaries. People who are in love are condemned because of their love being supposedly impure due to artificial differences.
It is up to people who love each other to determine the configuration of their belief system in a manner that facilitates their loving each other. Artificial constructs calculated to thwart love in the name of God are sinful per se. The love of God does not demand the denial of love in the normal human experience. Those who condemn loving relationships because of tribalism upset and often ruin loving, lifelong potential happiness. That, my friend is not service to God. It is in itself a most mortal sin to instruct anyone to stop loving someone else for reasons of tribalism. Whoever ruins/tries to ruin someone else’s beauty and love ought to go someplace like Dante’s hell.
I think that tribalistic differences amongst people may rightly add more careful due diligence in vetting relationships. But if the due diligence reveals that the tribalistic issues are minimal or at least manageable, and the people themselves wish to work through harmonizing those issues, there is no reason to forbid them. Some issues don’t really lend themselves to harmonizing, and it’s better to sort those out and recognize them for what they are than to ignore them, cement a relationship and then have those same issues tear everything apart down the road.
You have to be courageous to swim against tides of church and family and ingrained negative attitudes. Your effort must be intelligently managed if it is to be effective. Happiness never comes to cowards, but happiness never comes to idiots either.
Rejoice, my friends, that no matter what folks may say, if we are trying to do the best we can, we aren’t going to any hell. Salvation is our expectancy, whether it is some Christian salvation or the salvation expected in the instance of some other positivist belief system. Most of us would greatly prefer to spend eternity in the company of intelligent, kind atheists and agnostics than amongst sanctimonious, narrow minded Christians/Jews/Muslims. And we will.
I would like to leave you with this beautiful poem by James Leigh Hunt. It expresses what I believe humanity and Christ are really all about.
Abu Ben Adam, may
his tribe increase
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw, within the moonlight of his room
Making it rich, like a lily in bloom
An angel writing in a book of gold.
And to the
presence in his room he said
“What writest thou?’
The vision raised its head
And with a look of all sweet accord answered:
“The names of those who love the Lord.”
‘And is mine one?’ said Abu.
‘Nay, not so” replied the angel.
Abu spoke more low
But cheerily still and said
‘I pray thee then write me as one that loves his fellow men.
The angel wrote and vanished.
The next night it
came again with awakening light
And showed the names of whom love of God had blessed.
And lo! Ben Adam’s name led all the rest.
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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