What the Hell?

Are you an atheist? You’re going to hell. Are you a homosexual? Guess what, you’re going to hell, too. Wrong religion? Hell. Believe in God, but not Jesus? Hell. Bicycle repair man? Hell. Well, I guess not that last one, unless you are a bicycle repair man who is a murderer, but if you repent…

So, what is Hell exactly? Is it a firey pit where you will spend eternity in torment, having worms crawl through all of your orifices and crows pecking at your eyeballs? Is it merely the absence of God? Or maybe it’s just an eternity of being forced to watch the movie Junior starring Arnold Schwartzenegger over and over (I cried the next day when I realized that I had actually paid money to see the movie the night before). At any rate, Hell is whatever any particular religion tells you it is.

Hell has one purpose and one purpose only: fear. It’s the main motivator in converting people to religion. If you can scare someone bad enough, they will do whatever it takes to avoid the fear. However, in an odd twist, fear is also what keeps people in check and isn’t that what religion is really about, fundamentally? To avoid hell you have to accept Jesus into your heart and that’s all you need to do! Oh, well, I forgot to mention that you also have to do good works, go to church every week (don’t forget to give 10% of your income), stop sinning (remember, lusting after someone if you are married is adultery and hating someone is murder, so you’re basically screwed), and follow all the rules of the bible. Or you don’t. Just the New Testament. Actually, you just need Jesus. Oh, wait, you also have to follow the Golden Rule. Or…you know, it’s just a hell of a lot easier to just ignore it all together. As an atheist, all you have to worry about are local and federal laws and those are convoluted enough as it is without adding 600+ biblical rules.

Skeptical Rationalist and I were having a discussion about this very topic, some weeks ago, on a trip to  a skeptical conference, when he brought up a very good point. Eternity is long, really, really long. It goes on forever. It will never end. Ever. SkepRat said (I am paraphrasing here), “Hitler is responsible for roughly twenty-five to thirty million deaths if you add Russian, gypsy, French, Polish, and homosexuals to the Jew total. So, when does  Hitler pay off those deaths? At a year a death that’s thirty million years. At one hundred years per death that’s three billion years. But three billion years is just a couple of seconds to eternity. Let’s say there is a good person who is very kind, helps people, works at the homeless shelter, takes in stray cats, and doesn’t download songs illegally but is an atheist. This person is doomed to the same fate as Hitler. That’s the basical premise of Hell.” I must admit that I probably took some liberties with SkepRat’s wording (I am sure he said it more succinctly that I have), but his point makes a lot of sense. According to Christianity, Hitler is going to be down in Hell with most of the people he is responsible for killing.

Hell is just a religious tactic.

I am not afraid of Hell for two very important reasons. Number Uno, I am an atheist and there is no evidence that there is actually a hell. Number II, I ate at Taco Bell and at Arby’s in the same day and late that night/early the next morning I was living in hell. No woman can tell me I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant*, because I swear to Pretend God that I had something in my stomach kicking and punching and making me cry in pain. I almost prayed to Pretend God just to make it stop. I was camped out in the bathroom that night, even had a little fire going so I could tell myself ghost stories just to take my mind off of the excruciating pain.**

One last note about Hell. Why is it considered a swear word? It’s a “place”, yet it’s a no-no to say. You don’t hear people going “Oh, Pittsburgh” when something doesn’t go right and you don’t hear people saying, “Just shut the San Diego up!” when some is talking to much.#

*I apologize to all women if this has offended you, but dammit, I was in a lot of pain that night.

**This actually did happen, though parts of the story have been embellished. I did eat at Taco Bell and Arby’s in the same day and I did spend the evening in the bathroom.

# BNFree would like it to be know that it’s officers are currently looking into the legal aspects of having Jay Pea committed to a mental institution. BNFree makes no claim of agreement with anything said in this blog. If you are an atheist, sketpic, freethinker, or a thinking person and find yourself agreeing with any aspect of this blog seek professional help.

About Jay Pea

I was born in Kentucky in 1809 and served as US President from 1860 to 1865 and have a strange fondness for stovepipe hats. I'm married with no children (yet), enjoy reading, sports, my wonderful x-box 360, and pretending that I understand what's going on most of the time.
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7 Responses to What the Hell?

  1. Brian says:

    Hilarious, dude!

  2. ken says:

    “Skeptical Rationalist and I were having a discussion about this very topic, some weeks ago, on a trip to a skeptical conference, when he brought up a very good point. Eternity is long, really, really long. It goes on forever. It will never end. Ever.”
    —————————
    ¶ I was beginning to feel that way toward the end of the Bush administration. Fortunately, some nightmares do come to an end. (Possibly to be replaced by an
    even greater nightmare. We shall see.) The Hindus have a conception of eternity that would easily provide enough time for Hitler to pay for his “sins”. No problem.

    “I am not afraid of Hell for two very important reasons. Number Uno, I am an atheist and there is no evidence that there is actually a hell.”
    —————–
    ¶ I felt that way too, until I lived in Florida for a while.

    “I must admit that I probably took some liberties with SkepRat’s wording (I am sure he said it more succinctly that I have), but his point makes a lot of sense. According to Christianity, Hitler is going to be down in Hell with most of the people he is responsible for killing.”
    —————————
    ¶ I’m still waiting for atheists to wean themselves off their drug-like dependency on Christian theology and imagery when they discuss religion. There are other ways of looking at these questions apart from Judeo-Christianity and monotheism.

  3. ken says:

    “I ate at Taco Bell and at Arby’s in the same day and late that night/early the next morning I was living in hell. No woman can tell me I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant*, because I swear to Pretend God that I had something in my stomach kicking and punching and making me cry in pain.”
    —————————
    ¶ You must have eaten the “Joe Pesci” burrito. Stay away from greasy, lardy, fast food joints. God (forgive me) knows what goes into that stuff.
    Stick with Subway or Potbelly. Or buy a wok and try some stir-fry.

  4. Aleda says:

    “One last note about Hell. Why is it considered a swear word? It’s a “place”, yet it’s a no-no to say. You don’t hear people going “Oh, Pittsburgh” when something doesn’t go right and you don’t hear people saying, “Just shut the San Diego up!” when some is talking to much.#”

    Hilarious, Jay Pea!
    And excellent point by SkepRat. I think you summarized it nicely.
    “Shut the San Diego up!” Reminds me of when I was a correctional officer and one of the offenders walking ahead of me in the cold rain looked up at the sky and asked aloud, “Is this hail?” and I replied, “No, just Indiana.”

  5. Jay Pea says:

    “¶ I’m still waiting for atheists to wean themselves off their drug-like dependency on Christian theology and imagery when they discuss religion. There are other ways of looking at these questions apart from Judeo-Christianity and monotheism.”

    Perhaps, but how many religions outside of Christianity actually believe in hell? I understand that there are other ways of looking at Hitler’s afterlife than just Christianity, but in a blog post specifically about hell, there are not many options outside of Christianity. Islam has a version of hell, but it’s similar to Christianity and Judaism does not believe hell is a physical place. Some of the easter religions have a concept of hell, such as Buddhism, but the worst level of hell is basically endless suffering. Christianity, it seems to me, is the most vocal about hell.

  6. SkepticalRationalist says:

    That’s pretty close. I sometimes say “how many trillion years will Hitler be in hell, apiece?” But the comparison to the everything-but-belief hellbound atheist is right on.

    I was just recently checking in on the blog of one of my least favorite people, a Calvinist who is feels just jimdandy with God’s divine right to punish whomever he chooses, kill whomever he chooses, inflict whatever suffering serves the ultimate unknown greater good.

    He claims that God only chooses to save certain people, viz John 6:44, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” One should be a good Christian and obey the bible, because obeying god is a good thing, and cross your fingers that you’re one of “the elect.”

    Excuse me, god created me, threw me into this snakepit of a fallen world, where my own primate brain and hormones will guarantee I commit sins of the heart and mind even if nothing else, and then God can look down and say “that guy?….Naahh. F*ck him.” I wouldn’t worship a god like that even if I could be convinced it existed.

  7. Happy Skeptic says:

    I recently read a great short story “Gilgamesh in the Wilderness”. It is all about ‘Hell’ and has some amusing things to say about the really recent changes brought about by the Christian/Muslim ideas about Hell. Looking back via Theatre, poetry and stories is a great way to get some better ideas about what there was before they ‘took-over’ the concept.
    There was a time when what we did on earth was so much more brutal than what we conceive of doing now (seriously, done on purpose too) that perhaps doing such things in an after life may have been redundant. It really seems that the more ‘peaceful’ we become the more vile hell gets.

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