One of the readers on this site just sent me a link for a new Pastor Mike screed about "Hell". Seems the goodly pastor is fully exercised (exorcised?) that not enough people are taking that infernal abode seriously. Those who can stomach it, can read more here:
One thing that comes across from this dreck, as my notifier observed, is that (according to the Pastor) MOST humans are DAMNED! Evidently only about a handful of our species will walk through those pearly gates, and enjoy ....what? I guess sitting on a cloud, playing a harp whilst occasionally glancing over to see 100 billion fellow beings burning - while basking in an unseemly air of self-righteousness. (No wonder when faced with this option, people prefer Hell by 5 to 1)
Again, this is absolute nonsense. The Roman Catholic Church wisely moved away from Hell-bending and obsession with good reason. It was undermining their rational stance, and making them appear like the medieval demagogoues so many critics claimed. It didn't help that creepy exorcisms were also sometimes televised, such as a memorable one about fifteen years ago on a Larry King show about the Devil and Hell.
On that show, skeptic author Paul Kurtz totally pulverized his RC padre opponent and made him look like someone who just came through a time machine from the middle ages.
Here is what we do know: Hell isn't even an original concept. Christians hijacked it from early pagan mystery cults-religions sometime around the Second Council of Constantinople. Up until then, the early Christian Fathers (e.g. Origin of Adamantius, Clement of Alexandria) had taught the more subtle and sane doctrine of metempsychosis. Which when you delve into it, makes vastly more sense than the juvenile "heaven and hell".
In metempsychosis, the soul is held in abeyance for some interval - which could be from 1 day to 100,000 years - before being allowed to "emigrate" into a new body via conception. As we see from this, the soul does not originate at conception, but rather is pre-existing and externally transferred to the new zygote. Is it possible to have a soulless human? Yes, according to metempsychosis it is! There may in fact be humans who have not been subsequently habitated by a soul, for whatever reason.
One can think here of total monsters like Adolf Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson and Jeffrey Dahmer. In each of these cases, the degree of monstrosity in their assorted acts is concomitant with nary an ounce of regret, and discloses the existence of a soulless monster. Or does it?
To the atheist-Materialist such as I am, this is all specious nonsense, since we don't accept "souls" or afterlives or transferral of the intangible energies of souls via metempsychosis or reincarnation for that matter (which differs from metempsychosis in that the SAME soul is given to return time and again to different bodies.). However, we do recognize the relativity of nonsense. Not all nonsense is create equally, in other words.
For example, metempsychosis may be nonsense, but on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most egregious nonsense) it is maybe a '2' while "Heaven-Hell" occupy a 10.
Similarly, Bigfoot may be nonsense, but it is at maybe a '4' or '5' while fairies are a '10'. Alien abductions of suburban white matrons to harvest their eggs may be nonsense, but it is at a 1 or 2, compared with werewolves wreaking havoc.
It's all relative.
Unfortunately, the other main problem with Hell belief as espoused and laid out by the goodly Pastor, is that it is a sure symptom of psychosis. I went into this briefly in an early blog spot concerning a teen girl in Barbados who "lost it" because she believed demons were pursuing her.
I later had occasion to speak with her then pscyhiatrist - not about the girl personally- but rather the whole meme of Hell belief and promotion.
The psychiatrist, a Dr. Pat Bannister, informed me that while not all Hell believers she had met were psychotics, nearly all psychotics were strong Hell believers. And not just any old "hell" but the old fire and brimstone variety.
In fact, John Wayne Gacy - when he confessed to the 29 or so murders he committed, was heard to say: "Now, I am gonna burn forever in Hell!"
A key component of a Hell-psychotic, as Dr. Bannister put it to me in 1972, was that they not only believed in this abode themselves, but believed it applied to all who didn't fit into their behavioral mode. That usually meant, in the case of hyper-religious folk (who could also be classified as partial psychotics): Unbelievers, or....good faithful Christians who merely believed Jesus was a great man and not a God.
The other key attibute of the Hell psychotic is manifested when they are hypnotized, and convinced during the hypnosis that there is NO Hell.
On coming out of the trance, they typically go bonkers - shouting, pulling their hair out, cutting themselves with razors. According to one therp - one such person even tried to jump through a window. The only solution was to put them back into the trance and re-introduce the Hell belief for their survival.
Why? Why did the presence of the Hell belief matter to their sanity? One would have thought the opposite.
As Dr. Bannister put it, the reason is that Hell is the ultimate sanction and backstop for their morality. If there is no ultimate sanction, their morality is meaningless. In other words, screwy as it sounds to a rational mind, the morality these pathetic dregs follow is contingent on an ultimate place of punishment for all those who DON'T follow it! Their mental peace resides on knowing that all others face eternal destruction if they don't follow the same rules.
In addition, no rational appeals based on a loving God are any use. The crazed, psychotic Hell believer will simply rationalize away all challenges and find a reason that even a loving God HAD to invent Hell.
Is it possible to rescue these pathological people from themselves? In an unpublished manuscript entitled The Hell Delusion, written ca. 1979, I actually included a chapter wherein I dealt with this issue. I suggested that all of these extreme Hellists be rounded up and implanted with electrodes in their limbic systems.
While in 1979 this perhaps sounded preposterous, it no longer is with the advent of quantum dot electrodes - which can easily be inserted into a brain synapse or neural junction. Although you don't hear very much about it (we can understand why!) it is now possible that negative emotions emanating from the brain's amygdala or hippocampus can be suitably regulated or modulated by properly installed quantum electrodes or even micro-chips.
Within such devices also resides the possible end to all prisons. Instead of squandering so much in the way of money and resources to keep the anti-social locked up, electrodes-chips are simply implanted in their brains to regulate behavior. Ordinary people may also wish to seek the benefit of these devices, which once wedded to the neural chassis, are bound to make for a more productive and efficient being.
In the meantime, the most important use for these chips, electrodes and quantum dots is surely to control and manage the Hellish ideations of those like Pastor Mike. At the very least, so they don't spread their mental contamination and craziness to more vulnerable and impressionable minds. We don't need any more psychos in this country!