This I Believe

Dan - Austin, Texas
Entered on November 1, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

Probably since man first contemplated “the meaning of life“, an immediate corollary that cropped up was “the meaning of death”. This immediately gave way to discussions of heaven and hell, and the veracity of their existence. Although most major belief systems seem to agree on some form of a “heaven”, the existence of a “hell” sometimes comes under greater scrutiny. It is further complicated by the dichotomy of an all-loving Creator co-existing with such a devastating form of punishment. I believe in the existence of a hell, that is totally consistent with the concept of a benevolent Super Power. The basis for this is that the circumstances that create a heaven or a hell, are basically the same. The outcome is merely determined by the individual themselves through their earthly existence. It goes something like this:

At the time of one’s death, I believe that we all undergo the same process – we are each reminded of all that has occurred in our life. At the same time we are made aware of three other realities: the consequences that resulted from our actions, alternative actions that we could have been made, and how the future will be affected by both the choices we made as well as those that we did not make. For those that lead a “good” life, it becomes very apparent that “good” results naturally followed and that the on-going results of those actions will continue to be good for all eternity. The “heaven” that that individual experiences is naturally an eternity of contentment and joy that comes from the constant revelation of positive benefits of their actions while alive. For the “bad” individual, they not only see the negative effects caused by their subversive actions, but their grief is compounded by being aware of the good that could have resulted if their actions had been better motivated. Consequently, they are now made to live with the enormous wastes that they have made of their lives and to spend all of perpetuity continuing to live with the negative effects that their misdeeds had while they lived. I further believe that once the physical body dies, the immortal soul that is left is ultimately good and pure. Consequently, having to live with the negative effects of one’s earthly sinful life, is something that would be unbearable to the pure, good soul that is now free of the negative thoughts and corruption to which the physical body was subject. Subsequently, their immortal existence is “hell”.

The beauty of this theory is the fact that it is consistent with almost every religions concept of a benevolent Supreme Being. The Final Judge merely makes the same thing available to everyone who dies. It is our own actions and choices while alive that turn this all-revealing “end-of-life-review” scenario into an eternal “heaven” or a unending suffering “hell”.