by Vic Bishop
Just before Easter
Francis was quoted by an Italian journalist (Eugenio
who claimed the outspoken Catholic figurehead
had denied the existence of hell.
A comment like this
is big news for such a big belief system, and shortly after the
story was published the Vatican refuted the statements, calling it
all a misquote.
By then, however,
the story had already been picked up by international media,
generating significant controversy.
meeting Scalfari asked the pope where "bad souls" go, to which
he was quoted as responding:
"They are not punished.
repent obtain God's forgiveness and take their place among the
ranks of those who contemplate him, but those who do not repent
and cannot be forgiven disappear.
A hell doesn't
exist, the disappearance of sinning souls exists."
It's a semantic
issue, really, just two guys contemplating the greatest question of
What happens to us
when we die?
It's easy to
understand why believers and non-believers would both seize the
moment to comment, though.
the Pope is a 'big deal'. He's
one of those people who is so much larger than life, that a mere
sentence of his is enough to become international news.
Here's a couple
things the Pope would never tell you about hell, though, because
hell is important...
First of all,
whatever one may think about what may or may not happen in the
afterlife, human beings have an inherent capacity to create a very
real, visceral hell on earth in the here and in the now.
have to wait till we die to experience hell. It looks like much of
the planet does right now.
This type of hell
is really a level of human consciousness. It's a very natural part
of human beings, but the very worst part, and more that human
consciousness sinks, the more hellish reality becomes.
This level of
consciousness is experienced as a planet wracked with human
suffering, starvation, war (losh), and all at at time when we have the
resources and ingenuity to stop this all.
It looks like a world
where the most horrible crimes against each other and against nature
continue unchallenged in any significant way.
church needs the concept of hell, because without it, there is no
underlying reason to bestow all of one's hope and faith onto an
Without hell, one
does not need saving or redemption, which is what the church offers.
Hell is the
marketing platform for religion in general, and while we're focused
on the horrors which may emerge after life, we forget to focus on
resolving the hellish problems we have here today.
Shelby Spong, has been a highly controversial figure for
explaining how and why the church created the concept of hell.
His comments with
Dateline NBC are noted here.
"I don't think Hell exists.
happen to believe in life after death, but I don't think it's
got a thing to do with reward and punishment. Religion
is always in the control business, and that's something people
don't really understand. It's in a guilt-producing
And if you have Heaven as a place where you're
rewarded for your goodness, and Hell is a place where you're
punished for your evil, then you sort of have control of the
And so they create this fiery place which has quite
literally scared the Hell out of a lot of people, throughout
Christianity history. And it's part of a control tactic."
"Every church I know claims that
'we are the true church' - that they have some ultimate
'We have the infallible Pope,' 'We have the Bible'…
The idea that the truth of
can be bound in any human system, by any human creed, by any
human book, is almost beyond imagination for me.
is not a Christian.
is not a Jew or a Muslim or a Hindi or Buddhist.
All of those are human systems,
which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the
God. I honor my tradition. I
walk through my tradition.
But I don't think my tradition
It only points me to
John Shelby Spong
See below video...