Over at HuffPo Religion is a good piece by Jon M. Sweeney on “Hell Is a Myth – Actually, a Bunch of Myths.”
Sweeney shows that much of what people believe about hell is attributable to Dante rather than to the Bible.
So why do we continue to have such a fascination with the hell of Dante’s imagination? It is certainly due to how Christians have embraced and preached it for centuries. The sad truth is that Dante’s hellish vision has been useful in promoting colonizing, crusades and “conversions” for the last 700 years. But it is time for that to change. It is time for Christians, and all people of faith, to re-imagine the afterlife in less medieval terms.