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As we have entered he 21st century, thereís a certain uneasiness with the issue of hell, and itís not surprising that there should be so many jokes on the subject. W.C. Fields, following the 1933 earthquake the struck Southern California said: "Weíre crazy to live here, but there sure are a lot of us." You see the same attitude in people when they seem to think that hell will be more tolerable because thereíll be a crowd down there.
Even though the statistics bear it out that 71% of people donít believe in a Hell Ė even the current Newsweek magazine issue reported the same thing, that most people donít believe in a literal "Hell," still people havenít buried the idea of Hell. The word is still on their lips all the time. They talk about someone being "madder than hell"; and a game turns out to be "a hell of a game." A new project demands "a hell of a lot of work." Whatís expected of someone is labeled as "a hell of a tall order." What people have just seen was "a hell of a fire," and they had "a hell of a good time seeing it." And they went there just "for the hell it." Thereupon someone asks, "what the hell are you doing?" The reply is: "Iím raising hell." Later on heíll have "hell to pay!" In the meantime someone gives someone else hell. In fact, they "scared the hell out him." To get there someone had to "drive like hell."
I suppose you could attribute that kind of talk to the fact that people run out of vocabulary Ė of adjectives, similes, or language in general. But in the process, the word "Hell" gets watered down to the point that it can mean just about anything. In fact, one of the definitions of "Hell" in Websterís Dictionary is "unrestrained fun or sportiveness."
Thatís not Hell! Hell isnít unrestrained fun or sportiveness. Jesus Christ, speaking with a first-hand knowledge of hell said: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but
cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt 10:28)
The last place youíll find unrestrained fun and sportiveness is in hell. Thereís nothing good or attractive about it. Itís not a happy mess, as some people try to make it out to be. Hell is not just a symbolic term Ė of an unknown bad outcome after death. And itís not just the common grave as other want to portray it. People can make hell for themselves on earth, but theyíll have a rude awakening in store for them when they finally meet the real deal!
Still others philosophize that the whole idea of hell is unreasonable. After all, they say, how could a good and loving God send anyone to hell? That would be contrary to His love! Since God is love, they say, there canít be any hell! Well, that argument sounds logical at first, but only if you donít think about it because it presents a very lop-sided and weak understanding of who God really is!
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