Dante Alighieri had an idea that hell was a place where the devil frolicked in flames and tormented the souls of those who had lived as the worst of the worst in the world. In some ways, Alighieri’s vision of hell seeped into modern thought to become the standard belief of many religions.
[Author’s Note: I have since edited this article to better reflect my current perspective regarding hell. I now realize the first version I had written was in error, and I hope this version corrects any mistakes I may have made with its publication.]
The trouble with Alighieri’s truth is that there is no truth to his vision. Dante Alighieri wrote The Devine Comedy, a poem not based on anything true or factual.
In other words, hell does not exist, at least, not the way everyone might imagine.
Today’s Monday Mayhem post is all about hell. What is it? Where is it?
Hell has different meanings to different people.
To Catholics, much like Dante’s poem, it is a place of eternal damnation where demons, under the rulership of Satan the devil, torture those who were the absolute wretched of the earth. According to their beliefs, Satan, the fallen angel of light formerly known as Lucifer, roams back and forth through fire and brimstone, delivering pain to the unjust.
To Buddhists, hell is more of a practical concept. Karma, the essence of balance in the universe, repays evil for evil and good for good. If something bad happens to a person, Karma has exacted vengeance for a past act of wrong. Karma sets things straight by restoring balance to where there once was unbalance.
Then, to others, however, hell is a lake of fire, which will one day consume the unrepentant.
The point being, whether your belief is that of a devil tormenting the wicked in a place reserved especially for them, or your belief is that of universal balance where Karma deals with the unjust with the same brush they use to judge, or your belief is that of a lake of fire waiting for the fulfillment of days to consume the evil ones among the righteous, everyone has a concept of hell and what it encompasses.
It is the view of this writer that hell, however defined, is the worst thing that could happen to a person either before or after death.
That is why this writer asks: what is your idea of hell?
What is your concept of hell?