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  • The history of hell by Alice K. Turner

    Date of issue: October 13th 1995

    Uploaded: 1560 times

    Last download: 17 days ago

    Book Title: The history of hell

    Edition: Mariner Books

    ISBN 13: 9780156001373

    ISBN: 0156001373

    Page views: 5069

    The author of the book: Alice K. Turner

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PEEP BOOTHS IN HEAVEN“Abominable fancy” is the Christian theological idea that one of the pleasures of the blessed in Heaven is the contemplation of the torments of the sinners in Hell. I was thinking about that, and it seemed to me that it might be considered a little embarrassing to be seen guffawing at someone having a hot poker shoved up their fundament, so I imagine, in consideration of the feelings of the blessed, they will have arranged these viewings to be held in a series of booths, like a peep show. You would go in to your booth and switch on the viewing screen and you would see the ongoing grisly tortures. (This would not be allowed here on Earth, or at least you would have to pay a lot of dough, like in that movie Hostel. But in Heaven, it's free.)But I’m also thinking that seeing random people being tortured will get tiresome after, say, a few thousand years, so there must be a way to spice it up a bit, and what better than to watch someone you actually knew on Earth being tortured. So I think there must be a kind of request system – you fill in a form giving the name of the person you want to see, could be your son’s games instructor or the old bat who lived at No 37 and threw boiling water on your cat, or it could be Saddam Hussain, and then it would be like ordering a dvd from Lovefilm, you’d build up a list of torturees and you might have to wait quite a while for the more popular ones (Heinrich Himmler, Myra Hindley) but no one else would be interested in your brother-in-law, so you’d get to see him writhing and howling in agony any time you wanted.Hell was a popular subject in religious books for centuries and Alice Turner commentsIt is not going too far to say that the Hell scenes of early apocalypses are a form of self-righteous pornography. ABANDON LOGIC ALL YE WHO ENTER HEREThe whole idea of Hell being everlasting gets Christians into all kinds of logical conundrums.What, after all, was the point of Hell after the Last Judgement? Punishment can be deterrent, corrective, curative or vindictive… But infinite pain at the end of time for those whose sins were, after all, finite? This would be neither curative nor deterrent. How could it be other than vindictive? You know, Alice Turner is right. So the idea seems to be that God creates millions of human beings knowing that only a tiny minority of them will escape the infinite tortures of Hell. What kind of dear Lord and Father of mankind is that? The idea is horrendous. It’s sadistic is what it is.The little child is in the red hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out! See how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor. From The Sight of Hell by the Reverend Joseph Furniss, 1882. A book written specifically for young people. Best seller too.So horrendous that, eventually, thoughtful Christians became very uncomfortable with the doctrine and they began taking it apart. They replaced it with annihilationism and universalism. The first says that bad people just die when they die and simply don’t get an afterlife. The second says that bad people do go to Hell but that eventually they will be purged of their sins and forgiven and released from Hell. That gave rise to other Christians saying well, if God eventually forgives everyone, what’s the flooking point of the whole flooking shebang anyway? What a lot of botheration – creating a whole universe, creating the human race, sending Jesus, heaven, hell, if everyone end up the same, playing Yes We’ll Gather at the River on the autoharp and gazing raptly? Was the game worth the candle? Don’t ask me, pal. I just review here.HELL 2.0Let’s try and figure this thing again. When you have the person of Jesus as Saviour, and you have the idea of Hell as the thing he is saving us all from, certain ineluctable deductions then follow. Iddy bitty babies and white-bearded Jewish patriarchs gave Christians a big but strangely similar problem. What happened to them if the babies died before being baptised (as often happened in plague times) or the good patriarchs lived and died way before Jesus? Could we really have a hard-line no-baptism no-heaven system? Meaning that if Heaven was not your destination, you were hellbound, and the itty babies and the patriarchs would get the hot oven treatment for all of eternity? You wouldn't get Moses supposing that his toeses were roses in Hell, of that I assure you. You know, that even seemed harsh to the stern Christians of the 4th century. But as Alice turner puts it (p82) Either baptism is a solemn and holy sacrament washing away Original Sin or it is not; you cannot have it both ways.So eventually to resolve this the idea of Purgatory grew up. Purgatory was a kind of de-coking plant for souls where all the black gungy sins are burned off with a few quick centuries of eye gouging and red hot poking - then they run you through a sinometer and if you score 90% pure or over then okay, you’re done. The Sopranos Season 2, From Where to EternityChristopher Moltisanti is getting concerned about the awful things he has been doing lately. He consults with his spiritual adviser Paulie (Walnuts) Gualtieri who says nah, he won’t go to hell, he’ll go to purgatory :Christopher: How long do you think we've got to stay there? Paulie: That's different for everybody. You add up all your mortal sins and multiply that number by 50. Then you add up all your venial sins and multiply that by 25. You add that together and that's your sentence. I figure I'm gonna have to do 6,000 years before I get accepted into heaven and 6,000 years is nothin' in eternity terms. I can do that standing on my head. HELL ON EARTHI saw Before Midnight yesterday, highly recommended, and Julie Delpy playing Celine threw out a definition of Hell, but it was a description of our own world:The only upside for a woman in being over 35 is you don’t get raped so much.In Christopher Marlowe’s renowned Doctor Faustus, the devil Mephistopheles agrees with Celine :Faust. Where are you damn’d? Meph. In hell. Faust. How comes it then that thou art out of hell?Meph. Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it. Yes, the idea that this world is actually Hell can seem very convincing if you turn on the news at any time in the last, say, 3000 years.I KNOW WHERE I AM GOING My Muslim friend thinks I am going to Hell. I say come on, what did I ever do? I smoked a little dope and I didn’t return a couple of library books? It was years ago! He says no, it’s not that, it’s because you aren’t a Muslim, Sorry and all, but I don’t make the rules. I say - That's a bit harsh, don't you think? He says he's sorry but the solution is in my hands.

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