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Mike and Ray, yours are excellent points, and I do believe myself in the universal Divine law of justice, and that every soul (even repentant ones) will experience whatever suffering we caused, at least to the same degree it was experienced. (This, of course, is consistent with the concept of karma, also.) You may have read about the "life review" experienced by many of those who have been medically declared dead, and then returned to life. There is an almost universal report of this experience.... having seen and felt all the joy and all the pain they ever caused during their lives, from the perspective of those on the receiving end. This makes sense and seems a true justice.
So it's not a matter of my not believing every one will "pay" for the choices we make and the things we do. It may be a matter of ideas about what constitutes hell, and, Mike, your idea that hell is "not eternal" is consistent with mine. It's the idea of eternal punishment for the sins of a very temporal life that's inconceivable to me. It's the idea of hell being a place of excruciating suffering where souls would be banished for all eternity that's inconceivable to me. The sad thing is, it's not inconceivable to me that some human beings would devise such a thing (and even delight in it), only that God would.
I think, too, I'm troubled by what seems like a raging inconsistency. Most people are compassionate about the suffering of at least some, if not all, beings. For the sake of simplicity, let's just consider those of us here. There's no question about the enormous compassion that's felt here for the suffering of animals in the earthly realm. There's also a general consensus that our eternal souls are of more value than our mortal lives. Like many here, I've experienced the weeping and the sleepless nights over the plight of animals in this world. But if I believed that the majority of my fellow human beings are (or will be) spending eternity in far more extreme suffering than experienced by any being on earth, I can't imagine I would ever be able to stop weeping, or ever be able to sleep, or even to keep my sanity. So I can't help wondering, how can anyone? I can't juxtapose the enormous sense of compassion over temporal suffering against what seems almost like a shrugging dismissal of the eternal kind. That part's not about Who God is, it's about who we are.
"Pat" answers about not understanding or questioning "God's ways" don't cut it, any more than the same answer suffices to accept the suffering we're so vocal about wanting to stop here. It's impossible not to question these things, if only in terms of human reactions
Go on to: Comments by Anthony - 29 Oct 2009
Return to: If Hell Does Exist, Most Humans Are Going There
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