Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Questions for "Love Wins" Theologians on Hell

Recently hell has been described as the after affects of genocide in Rwanda along with “hell is the sad suffering of this life”.   By using this definition are we not subtly implying the standard default religious adage that suffering in the here and now is payment for wrongs we have done?  Was not this the default mode Jesus rhetorically challenged several times including in Luke 13:1-3?   Surely at times our pain is self chosen.   If we get sloshed, and drive while intoxicated we might or might not crash into an innocent victim and end up suffering as a result of our actions.  But is this true of all suffering?  If hell is, at least in large part what the aforementioned definition appears to describing, how can we view it as just and fair when human traffickers and drug lords live in lavish opulence while young children suffer and die of leukemia or starvation?   Did the children of Rwanda suffer through hell on earth because their sins were worse than those of us who are living in comfort and safety?   If this is the case how do we handle John 9?   On the Sabbath, Jesus passed a man born blind from birth.  Did not this man likely suffer greatly as a result of his blindness?  Jesus heals him by making mud, putting it in the man’s eyes and having him wash in the Pool of Siloam.

(see http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6750670/ns/technology_and_science-science)

This is done, in part, according to Jesus to demonstrate the blind man did not suffer because of his sin or the sin of others but rather so “the works of God may be displayed”.  I love this formerly blind misfit dude and how he stands up to the religious leaders who insist he is suffering a hell for his sins. Indeed, he is not afraid to talk a little smack - John 9:27.   Is all suffering in this life us going through hell, why does it seem so random?  If not, how can we tell what suffering is hell and which is not?

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