Just in time for Easter, TIME magazine has a cover story asking “Is Hell Dead?” It’s inspired by and largely focuses on Evangelical pastor Rob Bell and his new book Love Wins. TIME does a fair job of presenting Bell’s case for Christian almost-Universalism as well as touching on traditional arguments for Hell.
And now the Dallas Morning News’ “Texas Faith” feature asks this question to its interfaith panelists, which is dominated by liberal Christians but includes others such as First Unitarian Dallas Senior Minister Daniel Kanter and EarthRhythms’ Amy Martin, the Moonlady. It also includes Presbyterian scholar Cynthia Rigby, whose writing could almost make me reconsider Christianity. Almost – having experienced the Old Gods, I can’t go back to acknowledging one (or three) and pretending the rest don’t exist.
I’ve added my response to the panel in the DMN’s comments section, and I repeat it here:
As a Universalist and a believer in Justice I cannot accept the concept of infinite punishment for finite sins against arbitrary rules. As a Pagan I do not accept the authority of the scripture and tradition on which the concept of Hell is founded. As a Druid I expect that after death I will enjoy a time of rest and reflection before incarnating in this world once again to continue the Great Work of my soul.
When I see millions of people living in abject poverty, when I see wars without end, when I see people tortured and killed because of what tribe they belong to, or what god or goddess they pray to, or who they love, then I cannot be so smug as to proclaim that Hell is dead.
Hell is alive and well – not in some underworld but right here right now. It cannot be killed but it will die of starvation when we stop feeding it fear and hatred and greed and indifference.
That won’t happen in this lifetime, but someday… oh, someday!