October 30, 2011

Christian Hell vs. Muslim Hell

HellI know full well what I'm getting when I turn on the History Channel for anything related to religion: pro-Christian propaganda. I guess I shouldn't be too hard on them. After all, they are in the business of entertaining people, the majority of whom do not particularly like to think. Historical accuracy is not going to be their primary concern. If you doubt this, just remember that much of what they show has nothing whatsoever to do with history (or even reality). They are in the entertainment business and are not some sort of public service concerned with reality-based education.

I do not trust most of what I see on the History Channel to be an accurate depiction of anything historic. After all, they seem determined to treat the open question of whether Jesus ever lived as completely settled and beyond doubt. But something caught my ear while watching part of one of the many shows about hell they like to replay this time of year.

In comparing the Christian hell with the hell of Islam, they noted two key differences with which I was unfamiliar. First, they said that Muslim hell is not designed to be eternal. The amount of time one spends there appears to be somewhat proportional to the evil deeds they committed. That seems far more reasonable than the everlasting Christian hell. Second, they said that Muslim hell is reserved for the worst of the worst and that the overwhelming majority go to heaven. This contrasts sharply with Christian hell, which appears to be reserved for a tiny minority. They went on to say that Christianity is the only one of the major world religions in which hell is an eternal punishment from which one never escapes.

Again, the History Channel is so untrustworthy a source that I'm unwilling to assume any of this is true based on their word. However, I could not help finding the implications to be rather remarkable. If true, it would seem that the Christian god is anything but merciful.

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