September 26, 2010 § 1 Comment
I used to be the kind of person that believed that hell was a place of torment for people who didn’t believe what I did. I believed that we all deserved to go there because we were all terrible people. I believed that God hated people unless they believed in Jesus, and that he would want to torture them for them forever for not choosing to take part in his ultimatum. I see now that I believed these things out of fear.
Milton once bragged that he could change the course of history by saying that people would take his words or fiction for Truth. Unfortunately for us all he was right… He created a cartoonish place of torment called it Paradise Lost. For Hundreds of years after his sick prank on human-kind people were still giving their hard-earned money to get their dead relatives out of purgatory, torturing their backs with flesh-peeling whips, and burning innocent people alive to distance themselves from an imaginary place created out of the sick mind of a true narcissist.
My friend lately told me that he felt sorry for me. He feels sorry that I am happy because he believes that my happiness is leading me to hell. I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by the irony of the situation. It’s ironic because I feel like he wasting his life. Hell is described in the original hebrew primarily as a place of rot, waste, and denigration.
This makes me wish he know more about the Bible. There is no single word in the original manuscripts of the Bible for the concept of ‘hell.’ In fact there are three, and they all have very distinct and different connotations. The oldest word is Sheol which literally means “black pit” and it was used to describe death as a whole. In fact prophets and righteous men of the old testament are described as being there. (Aron being summoned by a witch as requested by kind Solomon) The second is Hades which comes from Greek mythology which bears little resemblance to that of Milton’s paradise lost. (though some believe it was his inspiration) The third is Gehenna, which was the site of an old Hebrew garbage dump outside Jerusalem’s walls. It was a place where old food, furniture, and excrement was tossed. It also was the site of a pointless bloodbath where soldiers lost their lives over an unjust war. Gehenna is a symbol of waisted potential, meaninglessness, denigration, and decay. It is symbolic because that is the way Jesus refers to the word in his parable Lazarus And The RIch Man. This obvious allegory is about waisted potential, confused identity, and a hardened mind-set.
Someone who lives their life just to get a ticket into heaven, at all cost of joy, happiness, and experience, to me is not a sincere person. That to me is the kind of life that Jesus describes in the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Hell, if it exists at all, exists here on earth when we waste our lives living out of fear, unable to grasp onto the gift that we’ve been given. Those people are the ones who deserve our sorrow, not the other way around.