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We Must Do Away with Sin and Sinners Before Hell is Emptied!

Dennis Prager on

In a television interview watched by millions, Pope Francis recently made a comment about hell that has been widely reported.

In the words of the Catholic News Agency:

"When asked by the interviewer, Fabio Fazio, how he 'imagines hell,' Pope Francis gave a short response. 'What I am going to say is not a dogma of faith but my own personal view: I like to think of hell as empty; I hope it is.'"

I have a different -- indeed, completely opposite -- view.

I should make it clear that I, too, hope that sometime in the future -- hopefully the near future -- no one will be sent to hell. That would mean goodness had finally so prevailed on Earth that not one person was deserving of punishment in the afterlife.

But as of this moment, I fervently hope that some people are in hell -- or whatever one wishes to call punishment after life; just as I hope some people are in heaven -- or whatever one wishes to call reward in an afterlife.

 

Why? Because if no one is punished after death, that would mean either there is no God or, equally depressing, it would mean God is not just.

It should be added that if no one is punished, the corollary would mean that no one is rewarded. Pure logic dictates it is not possible to have an afterlife in which people were rewarded but not punished. It would mean either everyone is rewarded -- which would mean there is no justice -- or only some are rewarded. But if only some are rewarded, that means those who are deprived of reward are thereby punished.

It shows how little serious thought is given to the subject that a vast number of people do not think the existence of a heaven and a hell are important subjects and/or dismiss them as religious nonsense.

This absence of serious thought can be easily demonstrated. Let's imagine a society in which there were no rewards or punishments. I suspect almost no one -- though not no one, as we shall see -- thinks that would be a good society. How many people would want to live in a society in which murderers and rapists were never punished while people who engaged in exceptional goodness were never rewarded?

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