Monday, March 4, 2013

Please Don't Take Away My Hell!

An urban dictionary defines hell as "A place that a yellow bus takes me to from Monday to Friday."

It's a start. Now this may not seem like a very serious way of discussing a very serious subject such as "hell". It is not meant to be. Though my Baptist friends are fond of saying, "Jesus spoke of hell more than anyone." Now this is absolutely true if the translators are right. If the original texts are true, then Jesus never mentioned hell at all.

It depends on what you want to believe. If you want to believe in a fiery underground place of punishment, you have most translators on your side. On the other hand, if you are concerned about literal truth, you can read what the translations were made from. Many Bibles contain both, with the original words in brackets.

I believe in freedom of belief and people making their own choices. I wish I had more of it. But if I say I don't believe in hell, I get a scornful, often hateful reaction. I find all kinds of religious people who go ballistic over this.

My first college experience was to take a course entitled "Christ and the Gospels" at Xavier university, Jesuit institution.. I was a Protestant, so I entered this study with both curiosity and alarm. How would they treat me? Would I be brain-washed with Catholicism? To my relief, it was an entirely pleasant experience.

One of my fellow students was a Baptist science teacher. After one of our lectures he told me, "I thought I knew the Bible until now."

We were given a little chart of the chronology of the Bible, which really helped a lot. Our teacher was chaplain of the football team and a very gentle person. He recommended a Bible dictionary available in the campus book store. I bought it. I remember it was written by a Father Tos. It was very thorough.

I looked up "hell" and the author stated the doctrine of such a place was adopted from the Greeks and not Biblical at all. Now, the Catholics still believe in hell. Its non-Biblical origin is not a problem to them. They are, of course, free to do this, and Tos's honesty was very refreshing. I wish it was true for all of us.

I was a babe in Christ and His Word at the time. You may wonder if this pleasant experience led to my becoming Catholic? It did not, but it made me realize, that like gold, truth is where you find it.

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