Friday, October 19, 2012

Hellbound? First Impressions

I just got back from Hellbound?  I have to say that I was expecting much less.  I was expecting a sort of anti-Evangelical, maybe even sarcastic poke at one traditional Christian view of hell that is, conveniently, very easy to poke.  However, I was pleasantly treated to a balanced presentation.  Yes, there were screaming and angry street evangelists glorying in the damnation of everyone but themselves.  Yes, there were scenes of a "satanic" metal concert. And yes, there was even an exorcist who bases his understanding of hell on what Jesus says in the bible and "what the demons have told me."  However, there were also thoughtful Evangelicals providing a rational defence for "eternal, conscious, torment" in hell.  There were also thoughtful Evangelicals (and at least a couple of Orthodox and one Catholic) presenting a universalist view.

I was particularly pleased that the film pointed out that most universalists do not hold that there is no hell.  Rather, they hold that hell is an experience or process or something of the sort that is not greater than God.  Further, I was also glad that both the main Orthodox source and Catholic source argue that universalism is not a dogma, but rather a hope.  In the end, only God knows.  But we can hope, and indeed the prayers of the Church teach us to hope in God's mercy and love.

Finally, I think the strongest point the movie makes is not that universalism is right and eternal, conscious torment in hell is wrong.  The strongest point the film makes is that different opinions on the matter of afterlife have existed in the Church throughout history, and these differences have been tolerated and should be tolerated today.

I encourage everyone to see this film.  It will make you think.

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