The Thinking 

Hell and Happiness

June 24, 2012


DANIEL S. writes:

According to American researchers, societies in which the belief in a literal Hell is accepted as the norm have a lower level of crime than those that eschew damnation and divine punishment for a universalist Heaven. The lesson to be taken away from this study is that there are consequences for one’s theology. Moralistic therapeutic deism leads to a spiritually and morally slothful society that thinks it can do “minor sins” because they are no large matter and God, being a little more then a cosmic nice guy or some impersonal spiritual force, will forgive and overlook. Traditional theology (both Christian and non-Christian) on the other hand emphasis divine justice, of which Hell plays a central role in, and thus demands a far greater accountability from men. If only our modern literary critics would have read Dante’s Inferno with a bit more sobriety.

Laura writes:

Hell is the only criminal justice system that works.

                                           — Comments —

Ibitsaam writes:

Did you know that there is no concept of hell in African traditional religions?

 Laura writes:

That’s one thing primitive Africans have in common with modern liberals.

Jeff W. writes:

In church this morning, we sang the hymn “Holy Ground” which contains the line “I know there are angels all around.”

In response to that, I remembered a verse from “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and I thought, “‘This world with devils filled’ is more like it.”

 Daniel S. writes:

As far as Hell itself in concerned, I think C.S. Lewis says it best:

There is no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than this, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and, specially, of Our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom; and has the support of reason. If a game is played, it must be possible to lose it. If the happiness of a creature lies in self-surrender, no one can make that surrender but himself (though many can help him to make it) and he may refuse. I would pay any price to be able to say truthfully ‘All will be saved.’ But my reason retorts ‘Without their will, or with it?’ If I say ‘Without their will’ I at once perceive a contradiction; how can the supreme voluntary act of self-surrender be involuntary? If I say ‘With their will,’ my reason replies ‘How if they will not give in?’ [The Problem of Pain, HarperCollins, 1996, pages 119-120]

Somewhere else Lewis once remarked that there are two types of people, those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done.’

Mary writes:

Never hurts to remember what Lewis’s Uncle Screwtape had to say about Hell:

Obviously you are making excellent progress. My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position….He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space….You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the Light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,

Your affectionate uncle,


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