Something quite common to modern western society is an on going joke about going to Hell and in all honesty, I cannot understand it. It was not until recently that I realised how common the words “oh I’m going to Hell for that” “ha well I’ll see you there!!!” are mindlessly uttered. Has the concept of Hell been forgotten? When you look into scripture, Hell is a place of separation from God which is meant to be a feeling so horrid, so terrible, so excruciating, that it is like nothing we could ever experience on earth.
So why is it glamourised? Why do bands like the pretty reckless sing about going there(literally they have an album called ‘going to hell’)? Even to those who are atheists or even theists who believe hell does not exist, what is the appeal? Why is it so amusing to joke about going to a place of pure horror and why would anyone actually entertain the thought of spending eternity there?
It truly amazes me how much those in the Middle Ages feared the burning pits of Hell, clearly shown through the countless number of paintings, pamphlets and woodcuts displaying excruciating torture that the people believed they would face in Hell. If they saw the way we acted today there is no doubt they would believe Judgement Day was not far off.
Originally I had thought the reason behind all of this was satire. That the people using hell as a joke were just mocking the Church but now I no longer believe that. My main presumption now is that it is connected to the desire to rebel and the attraction to performing forbidden acts. However these activities that the church frowns upon i.e. promiscuous sex, excessive gambling and the abuse of alocohol, are not what hell is full of. As mentioned above, it is a tortuous place, and just because those who indulge in these activities may be destined for hell (in some people’s eyes) this does not mean that that’s what hell is full of.
To be honest, I have no real answers to these questions, all I know is that in my eyes the modern view on Hell seems somewhat distorted and has turned into a joke. If anyone has any ideas please share them with me, I would love to know anyone else’s opinion on this.
I hope I have given you all a little bit of food for thought,