Thoughts about the Christian Doctrine of Eternal Hell

July 17, 2008

Thoughts about the Christian Doctrine of Eternal Hell

Is it not interesting to see
How the Christians continually
Try to separate themselves in vain
From the doctrine of eternal pain?

They cannot do it,
They are vowed to it,
The Lord said it,
They must believe it.

So the vulnerable body is stretched without pity
On flames forever. Is this not pretty?

The religion of Christianity
Is mixed of sweetness and cruelty.
Reject this Sweetness for she wears
A smoky dress out of hell fires.

Who makes a god, who pains him thus?
It is the Christian religion does.

Oh oh have none of it,
Blow it away, have done with it.

Stevie Smith

In her very distinctive voice combining innocence and solemnity, Smith raises a conundrum that every serious Christian must struggle with. It lies at the core of his or her belief system: the fact that a call to love and its grounding in a God of Love come yoked to an opposing doctrine of Eternal Hell. How can a selflessly loving God entertain the creation of such a realm where souls are tormented forever and without reprise and consolation? How can a strong belief in mercy justify thoughts in temporal deeds being punished to no end and given neither remission nor a definite price to pay? Smith’s observation recalls a familiar Blakean one that imputes Christian “sweetness and cruelty” as 2 sides of the same coin, one drawing virtue and light from shapes of evil and darkness set in the other. Her answer then places the Christian as human against the human as Christian to locate the real question in a seemingly impossible marriage between blind faith in institutional precepts and God-given reason and love of life and simple good.

Gwee Li Sui

2 Responses to “Thoughts about the Christian Doctrine of Eternal Hell”

  1. An interesting post right there mate ! Cheers for that !

  2. I am not really great with English but I line up this really leisurely to translate.

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