Hell and the concept of eternal damnation

Dear readers, it is a pleasure to be back again this week with another exciting topic. I hope you all are faring well.

Today we shall be looking at a topic which is a part of almost every religion on this planet and has a very strong hold in many other belief systems. We shall be talking about Hell and the general idea of punishment and sins.

It is no news that many religions the world over have a belief system whereby those who commit impious deeds are sent to hell, or a place where they are punished for these sins. Those who also engage in pious deeds are also sent to a place where they can enjoy the results. The concept of hell is to make sure the law of retribution or karma is intact. For every action there is an equal reaction. Sinful activities such as stealing, killing, adultery, etc. among many others are punishable by a sentence to hell. So far so good it sounds fair, but one thing doesn’t sound totally fair as portrayed by certain religious systems and that is the concept of eternal punishment in hell.

Now the belief system of such religious groups is that we live once and we have one chance at redemption, if we are good we go to heaven and if we are bad we end up in hell. Now stealing and lying are sins just like murder and adultery. What isn’t right about this philosophy or eternal stay in hell is that how can we accord the same punishment to someone who the only sin he committed his entire life was lying, to someone else who was a murderer, an adulterer or a rapist. If we as human beings are “intelligent” enough to know that punishment should be equal to the crime committed then how much more God, who is the supreme intelligent being. Another thing this type of religious system doesn’t answer is how can a God who is our Father and all loving leave his children to burn for eternity in hell?

Immediately you begin to see that the concept of eternal damnation is not right. It can’t be right because even as imperfect human beings, no father would like to see his child or children suffer eternally for a crime committed, how much more God. The concept of eternal damnation in hell is also a way to negate the principle of reincarnation which is very present in the same religious system and is an integral part of life. If this is the only life we have and the only chance we have to make Heaven or paradise then we should all have an equal head start. It won’t be fair for some people to be born in a family that has a history of criminal activities and another person born into a family of people with saintly tendency. It won’t be fair to have someone born in a family that is a “believer” and another born into an “unbeliever” family. Thus if eternal damnation in hell were to be a fact, which would negate the principle of reincarnation ( which is a part of life that cannot be erased) then we should all be given an equal opportunity to make heaven or paradise.

Every one of us should have been born a holy family with all the amenities of life present and with the same religion, then should one deviate that would be his own doing. However we all know this is not the case today. Sinful reactions that send us to hell have an expiry time just like the pious deeds that sends us to heaven. In other scriptural references like the Vedas, there is a vivid description of the hellish planet each one designed to cater for a specific rectification and all with a time frame. The person who is sent to this hellish regions has to serve a specific time there after which his next body is decided and then he again takes birth. Thus there is always another opportunity to get it right. This system would be more logical if we have to take into account many factors such as the Love of God. Also unlike the philosophy of some religions where we all have to wait till the “last day” to be judged, each soul has his own “judgment”. What this religious belief doesn’t explain is what happens to the soul when the body dies? Where does it go to or stay pending the “last day”? Another irony in this type of belief system is that they claim that reincarnation is not real but then they say on the “last day” the bodies shall rise again for judgment. How can dead bodies rise again or come back to life? As soon as someone comes back to life after death, whether we agree or not there is some rebirth taking place. This is another philosophical loophole.

The purpose of this discussion is not to poke at the philosophy of other religious systems but to enlighten people as to what the real concept of hell is all about. In as much as the concept of hell is not eternal, that in no way gives anyone the liberty to keep committing sinful activities because they know they have another shot. In this present situation we are fortunate to have a body that can be used to cultivate higher knowledge, we might not be so fortunate in another life. Moreover even if there is a guarantee that we can always have a human body, what is the point of go through a circle of repeated birth and death when we have the chance to end it. It is like a criminal on parole who has the chance to make things right and cut short his time but again commits crime and goes back to jail, just because he knows he has another chance to get out again.

Why keep asking for chances when we can get out once and for all?

I hope this article sheds some light on the topic and I’ll gladly welcome any questions relating to the topic. Have a splendid week ahead.




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