When I posted Does hell exist? I’ll report, you decide, it was with tongue pouched firmly in cheek. If you haven’t read it, or if you have read it and were so fascinated that you have been looking for it to reread but couldn’t find it, click here—it’s a shortcut for you!
I did not intend it to be a serious monologue on the existence or lack thereof, either of heaven or of hell. However—and this is an important however—on April 28, 2011, I watched and listened to a discussion on the subject between Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and Reverend Franklin Graham, the eldest son of Billy Graham.
O’ Reilly felt that non-Christians, particularly Jews, might be and should be accepted into the Christian heaven even though they do not accept Christ as the son of God and the savior of mankind. They consider Christ to be a great leader and an important prophet in history, but not the one that is foretold in the Holy Bible. Those of the Jewish persuasion still await the coming of the Messiah as foretold in the Bible.
O’Reilly strove mightily to share his belief with the reverend that the millions of Jews slaughtered without mercy by Adolph Hitler in the Holocaust, for no other reason than they were Jews, were in fact innocents and could be accepted into heaven, assuming that they were God-fearing people and had lived a good life and followed the tenents of the Holy Bible.
Franklin Graham danced around O’Reilly’s question, quoting the Bible by chapter and verse as proof that heaven can only be entered by those that believe in the Trinity, the Christian doctrine that God exists as a unity of three distinct identities—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Those seeking heavenly immortality must believe and express their convictions that Jesus is the Son of God and the savior of mankind, placed on earth to teach and ultimately to die for the sins of mankind that they might obtain heaven by believing in him and by following his teachings.
Instead of vocalizing his opinion of whether the Holocaust victims would be entitled to enter heaven, Franklin Graham remained hidden behind a wall of scripture. Bill O’Reilly, unable to extract a firm answer to the question and frustrated by that wall and the time limits placed on the interview finally caved without further comment or questions, and graciously expressed his thanks to the reverend for spending time in the No Spin Zone. The following video contains the O’Reilly’s discussion of religion with Franklin Graham:
And now back to my however in the second paragraph above. I intend to expand on my thesis that hell is not a place peopled by the souls of those that failed to follow any particular school of religion. It does not exist as a place or a location or a destination, neither a transit point nor a final destination. It is nothing more than nothingness, neither light nor dark, neither hot nor cold. It cannot be seen, felt, endured, enjoyed, deplored or described other than that it is nothing, because it does not exist.
In summary, the life that we live on earth will determine whether we transit to heaven when death overtakes us. Our immortal souls will be welcomed in heaven and exist for eternity, or will simply cease to exist at the moment of death.
We will know that we are in heaven, and if revelations as described in the scriptures is true, at the time of revelation our bodies will be raised, and become as incorruptible as our souls. The bodies of those denied the pleasure of heaven because they lived an un-Godly life while on earth will remain on earth, unknowing and unknown for eternity. I consider this a harsher punishment than the present concept of hell. The ultimate punishment is to be denied immortality in heaven, and that punishment is strengthened by the fact that those denied heaven are not even aware of that denial.
That’s a capsule of my interpretation of heaven and the absence of hell, my analysis of those that are heaven-bound for eternity and those that will be consigned to nothingness for eternity. That nothingness replaces the devil, so we will undoubtedly create societies similar to the present devil worshipers. It won’t be easy for them. How does one create a figure of nothingness? What symbols can be constructed to represent nothingness?
I earnestly solicit contributions in support of my transformed form of religion, my concept of heaven and no hell, just a whole lot of nothingness instead of a place ruled by a horned figure dressed in bright red long underwear, sporting a long tail and carrying a pitchfork.
Do this, and you will be on the path toward heaven—you will encounter numerous forks in that path, and I suggest that you follow the poet Robert Frost’s advice and take the path less traveled. In this world of today, the well-worn paths taken by the multitudes lead straight to nothingness, the only alternative to heaven.
Of the two alternatives, heaven will always be less crowded.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.