Sunday, October 10, 2004

Recently, I've been hashing out in more explicit detail how eschatology or one's views of the "last things," end of the world, etc affects one's ideology in the present. These are scattered thoughts.

The idea of Hell is a very destructive notion to human dignity. I do believe in Hell, but for Satan and demons. I can't say that I believe any human will go to hell. There may be a few, but internally i simply don't believe it. Hell is something I have given a lot of though to and I don't accept that Hell is an acceptable punishment for human beings. No human deserves to go to Hell.

I believe that the notion of Hell has stripped conservative Christianity/Catholicism of its heart and compassion and damages human dignity. Think about it. Hell is the ultimate eternal dung heap. To throw something in Hell is to term it worthless and without any redeeming qualities. Further, to cast someone into hell for position take in honesty and sincerity, is to say that there is no innate human dignity outside of one's positive stance towards Christianity. This is the mindset that allows things like slavery and other debasements of humans that we've seen Christians guilty of. If simply, because one is a heretic, or not of your profession, they are worthy of Hell, then hell-worthiness becomes an instrinsic characteristic of the hell-bound classes in the eyes of the Christian.

The idea of Hell is one that needs revamping in popular Catholicism and Christianity. I think people want to highlight desreved punishments for human beings, which makes sense. But who deserves eternal punishment? Intermediate stage eschatologies, such as is seen in Catholicism, solve the issue. So that there can be deserve punishments for humans without going into the absurdity of eternal flames because one decided not to get baptized or born again. The notion of universal salvation enhances innate human dignity.

Catholic theologians have offered ideas of universal salvation, but these are ivory tower deliberations. The problem is that slavery takes place out there with regular folk. The Blacks don't have souls or, they are slaves and that's just the way it is. Still, in the eyes of Joe Regular Christian if someone deserves to go to Hell because they are not Christian or Catholic, then they have no innate worth.

There is also the issue of religion to consider. I am more and more buying into the Marxist critique of religion as a deterrent to human progress. Unlike Marx, I think religion is not an innate problem; religion has to evolve by shattering and then re-constituting to adjust to human evolution and progress. But that's a discussion for another day.

Then there is the ultimate issue of the Kingdom of God on earth. This is the fuzzy idea of a society of peace and justice that we all ascribe to. How we get there determines if one is conservative or liberal. The liberals believe that we gradually work and transform our world into that Kingdom of God. For the Christian/Catholic conservatives, the Kingdon of God is not going to emerge out of our world or through anything we do, but it will come from God immediately and crash into our time, imposing a new world on ours. I argue then that if the KofG is coming without help from us and not from our world, then human dignity, social justice, environmental concerns lose out as primary concerns. On the other hand, if the Kingdom of God is in our hands, then you work like "hell" for that just society. Again, discussion for another post.


Post a Comment

<< Home