Saturday Sermon: Heaven and Hell

Last week, I talked about the concept of Original Sin and how if one isn’t baptized, he/she would be sent to a fiery torment for all of eternity. If one was baptized, then an eternity in the most holy and glorious place would be the reward. Of course, after an eternity, my question is, “What’s the difference?”

Heaven and Hell (and the other place, more on that later) are concepts that I learned in Catholic school. In case you forgot, or are new here, I was raised Catholic. Pretty much, the above paragraph is what I was taught. If I was good, I would go to Heaven, but if I was bad, I was going to hell. These concepts didn’t last long with me. The biggest problem is that Heaven and Hell make little, if any sense.


The all-loving, all-merciful, all-forgiving God (at least in one breath of a religion class lesson) loves all of us, but if we are bad and cross him, He will send us all to an eternity of fire and brimstone. Except…why? Being a human being of a limited lifespan, any sin we commit would, by necessity, be a finite sin. The idea of an eternal sentence for a measurable misdeed is unjust by definition. Hell is a fictional construct that gives people a comeuppance when they are wronged. The wrongdoer may not be punished here on earth, but whoa nelly, are they going to get it in Hell.


I have even more of a problem with Heaven, believe it or not. Heaven is where the good people go when they die. The people who atoned for their sins and went to church every Sunday (or Saturday evening) would get into Heaven. There they would live in the presence of God and unending happiness forever and ever. Question: What if a happily married couple die, but the husband didn’t atone for his sins prior to shaking off this mortal coil? How could the wife be happy in Heaven for all of eternity when her husband is going to Hell for the same amount of time? Even a convicted murderer on death row is allowed visitors.

How can Heaven and Hell be considered reasonable by any measure of justice?

Oh, right, that other place

One other concept I learned about in school was the concept of Purgatory. It can be summed up by calling it “Hell light” or “Heaven’s waiting room”. Purgatory was a way to get unbaptized babies and not-too-bad people who may not have atoned in time into Heaven without contradicting that whole bad people go to Hell thing. Basically, someone who was good, but didn’t get baptized prior to their death would be sent to an alternate site where there would be some torture and gnashing of teeth, but to a lesser extent and for a shorter-than-eternal period of time. Frankly, I find it a silly idea. My description above may not be church-accurate, but it’s close enough.


There isn’t much to report this week. The blog rolls on as I work my way through Genesis.

I welcome comments and criticisms provided that they’re civil.

If you have any ideas or would like to know what I think about various topics, ask me @AlienBiblical on Twitter

Saturday Sermon: Original Sin

Since this is my first Saturday writing this blog, I thought that on the weekend I would take some time to discuss other topics related to the bible, religion, or even myself. Sometimes there will be a connection to the parts of the Bible I posted about in the past week, but it’s going to be whatever enters my heathenistic head. Since I used to go to church on Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning, I will be calling this feature, Saturday Sermons.

Since I just posted my take on Chapter 3, I thought I would take this Saturday Sermon to talk about the concept of Original Sin. That is, the stain put upon all of mankind’s souls because Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. According to the story, everyone born after them will be born with their sin and would have to be baptized to rid themselves of it or they will be cast into hell.

As an addendum to the previous post (chapter 3), I would like to ask a question. Was it even possible for Adam and Eve to knowingly disobey God when they ate the fruit? The fruit is what would give them the knowledge of good and evil, that is I would assume, knowing right from wrong. If they didn’t already know right from wrong, how would they know that disobeying God is wrong?

As will be a common mantra throughout this blog, I was raised Catholic and learned all about Original Sin and heard the justifications from priests, nuns, and lay pastors for this concept. The idea that my father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc., could have done something before my birth that I would have to pay for makes absolutely no sense. Even if one of my relatives committed a murder doesn’t mean that I’ve committed a murder, which means that I should not have to be punished for it. I might certainly feel some burden of guilt and would want to reach out to the family of the victim, but that would be more in line with saying, “I am not my relative.”

The crime that we’re talking about here is not even akin to murder. It’s nothing more than being caught with one’s hand in the cookie jar. Maybe we shouldn’t be allowed to have anymore cookies for a week, but to be damned to an eternity of torment in the Lake of Fire? That’s a bit excessive.


I am going to start posting larger sections of my Bible commentary to the blog. I will try to keep the reading at a reasonable length, but I also don’t want to pile too many topics on top of one another.

As always, I welcome discussion and disagreement. I only ask that you keep the discussion civil. Address the message and not the messenger.