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Viewing with Indulgence the Revolting and Abominable
The following passage is from a book called A WANDERER IN THE SPIRIT LANDS.
The book is supposedly the story of a man who has died, as channeled by another fellow. While the passage below would be particularly significant, were that true, I think that it is interesting, even if you do not accept this premise, for the fact that it was written in 1896.
Here’s the set up, so that the paragraph I wish to quote will make sense:
Francezzo, our hero, is helping the Brotherhood of Hope to rescue spirits who are trapped in Hell, but have seen the error of their ways and help them up into the Light. While in Hell, he meets an ancestor of his, whom Francezzo admired in his misspent life. The ancestor reveals that he had been influencing Francezzo throughout his life and that he was with Francezzo at all of his greatest moments. Later, Francezzo realizes that all these ‘great moments’ were in fact his worst and most depraved moments. (I borrowed A LOT from WANDERER IN THE SPIRIT LANDS for the Hell in my Prospero Books, including this idea.)
Before Francezzo realizes what a bad guy his ancestor is, the fellow tries to convince him to stay in Hell and help with a project that the ancestor is involved in. He explains to Francezzo that spirits have some ability to influence the living:
“Again, I saw the power in intellect and in literature which I could control and influence through the imaginative descriptive faculties of mortals who, under my prompting, would write such books as appealed to the reason, the intellect, and the sensual passions of mankind, until the false glamour thrown over them should cause men to view with indulgence and even approval the most revolting ideas and the most abominable teachings
I am often reminded of this paragraph when I see the many things in this society that are considered perfectly acceptable which, only a few decades ago, would have been thought of as revolting or abominable. It seems all the eerier to me, when I recall that this was written over 100 years ago, well before this process really got started (even though the seeds were there already.)
It is even more alarming, of course, if you accept the premise of the book and believe that there are spirits in Hell with a deliberate agenda of affecting our society in this way.
Personally, I do not know if this is true or not…but I do think that the analogy of it being like something being done by a demon is appropriate. Certainly, if you start with the premise that morals are objective, and things like the Ten Commandments are not just arbitrary, then the effect upon society of such a program is certainly demonic!
|Date:||July 12th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)|| |
"Personally, I do not know if this is true or not…but I do think that the analogy of it being like something being done by a demon is appropriate."
I often wonder about things like this, too. Those of us who are Catholic, and believe that the Communion of Saints is a 'forever' thing - that there is no separation between those that comprise the Body of Christ (in other words, just because the human body has died does not mean the souls of the departed stop their prayer and good works on behalf of the rest of the Church. For those that wonder - Catholics and Orthodox do not believe in conjuring the dead which is an abomination.) but we do believe that those that have died and gone before us are united with the Father in such a way that they can continue to participate in His Work here on earth if we ask for their intercession for us before the throne of God just as we ask each other for prayer on earth.)
I don't see why the reverse can't be possible (not sure if it is actually what happens, but can see how it can be possible). Not sure the demonic would be willing to 'share' the unglory of their work with the humans they loathe and hate, but maybe what they lack in their created being is the imagination?
Seems the perfect seed-idea for something like the Screwtape letters, doesn't it? (Uncle Screwtape and his 'nephew' working together against a human soul) Wonder if this was on Lewis' reading list? Sounds like a very interesting book! - Ave
|Date:||July 12th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)|| |
PS - sorry for the grammar and the misuse of parenthesis. We've gotten a new puppy and he's too cute to ignore long enough to write properly - Ave.
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 06:41 am (UTC)|| |
*has been mulling this over*
Perhaps they can't, since the latest way to try to get folks to understand Hell is that it's willfully separating yourself from God-- if you will yourself apart from The Creator, wouldn't you also be willing yourself away from the creation, so you wouldn't be able to do anything?
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)|| |
I read in some NDE thing somewhere that apathy was the worst thing...not caring about God and his creation. Anger at God, it said, was better than this, because anger is a kind of attention being paid to him, just a misguided one.
This leads me to believe that there may be people who are so apathetic that they end up in a state of nothingness...ie just laying there doing nothing, so to speak.
One reason I like Wanderer in the Spirit Lands so much is that it portrays a Hell that makes sense in terms of the world/Heaven as shown through glimpses of NDE's. People seem to be in traps of their own making, suffering from their own desires. However, they still act like people and seem to live in a dark broken version of what they would expect...ie this world.
Somehow, to me, the idea that your punishment would be that you are left in a forsaken place with guys like you, all of whom pray upon each other as they would have liked to on earth, really seems like Hell -- far more than being tortured by some non-human entity.
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC)|| |
Er...prey on,not pray on.
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 04:33 pm (UTC)|| |
Lewis does something similar in The Great Divorce. Hell/Purgatory is the grey town, and everyone is always getting more distant from everyone else. He mentions, at one point, seeing the ghosts that come up solely to rant in the face of Heaven one last time. The character of George MacDonald says something like, "I have often seen these saved when those who seem less deeply damned go back to Hell." Something like that.
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 04:40 pm (UTC)|| |
It's a cliché, but hatred is very close to love-- one of the reasons I have chosen to marry my husband, even though he's angry with organized religion, is because it's a hurt angry-- the anger of an idealist. I believe he will come around.
People seem to be in traps of their own making, suffering from their own desires.
My only problem is that it seems too poetic, and I have a knee-jerk reaction to human things that are too perfect, too right, too fitting... it's like it's a way to understand, rather than a literal truth. I don't think I'm saying that too well...
If the bad guys are preying on each other, though, don't they get some pleasure from the times they are hunters? Twisted, perverted pleasure, but if they were perfectly alright they wouldn't be in hell....
|Date:||July 17th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC)|| |
The Hell presented in the book I was referring to is much less symbolic than my out of context comments makes it sound. In fact, it is much less poetic than most mythological descriptions of Hell.
I've read a lot of descriptions of Hell, and they've often seemed not right to me. Not sure what this means. When I read about Francezzo's trip to Hell, I thought, Ah, yes! THat sounds right. Not like what I'd like it to be, mind you...some of it was quite different from what I might have imagined Hell should be like, but it just struck me as true in a way that other descriptions had not.
On the other hand, 'struck as true' is a personal thing. My reaction was based partially on other things I had read that I felt this meshed with. Since another person would not have my experience, they probably would not have my reaction.
I liked it, though, partially because it was less symbolic then Dante and some other versions, yet it was in keeping with the idea that, I believe comes from C.S. Lewis: "there are two kinds of people. Those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says "thy will be done."
|Date:||July 18th, 2007 03:44 am (UTC)|| |
"If the bad guys are preying on each other, though, don't they get some pleasure from the times they are hunters? Twisted, perverted pleasure, but if they were perfectly alright they wouldn't be in hell...."
I think, based on the way I understand the Gospel of Matthew, that you are given in what measure you give (judement according to how you judge others, for example, in Mtt 7). Imagine always being the prey, never the predator. What is preying on you isn't another human, but something much worse. You gave fear, now fear is your constant companion. You gave pain to be its master and now you have uncontrolled pain and no way to stop it. And this you PREFER to being with God for eternity because His Love is more than you can stand, nothing you want, nothing you desire. Your hatred of Him rages, your loathing of His mercy, His love, His peace, His very Presence is more disgusting to you than what you have to suffer to be away from Him.
I have also heard others speculate that the Love of God is the 'burning flame' of hell. If one lived in perpetual hatred of God and neighbor, clear knowledge of His unquenching love would burn a hate filled soul in unquenching pain. Hell would be then, that place cut off from the vision of God, but not of the perfect knowledge of His love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness etc which would sear the soul that hates it all. The lake of sulfur would be God's love, which would burn hot and stink to those who despise Him. I'm probably not getting this all correct, because I'm not sure where I read it exactly, but I remember the general idea of it.
There was a simple nun (Sr Josefa Menendez d. 1923) who claimed that she was allowed to visit hell and suffer willingly in order to save people from going there (offering her suffering for them to obtain the grace for final repentence) Apparently, her body would become very cold and stiff, and stink of rot & decay, and sometimes her clothing would suddenly ignite. Other sisters would sit vigil over her body when it was in this state keeping notes of what they observe to prove her a fraud. She would enter this state for a few hours or days, and then was told to write about what she experienced. The book written after her death is called "The Way of Divine Love" (She was given psych tests and medical tests, etc to prove she wasn't nuts or delusional or having seizures of some sort) In her written notes, she said the greatest torture of hell was the inability to love. Not sure what I think about it all, but it does make for interesting reading.
|Date:||July 18th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC)|| |
Imagine always being the prey, never the predator.
That makes more sense to me....
Honestly, I hope to God that hell is empty. From the lonely folks I've seen... I really hope that there's a spark that can me purified and brought to life.
My mom and I share a... well, not sure how I'd describe it. Moral challenge? We don't miss folks very often. The only folks I know my mom misses are her blood-kin, Dad and maybe two friends. I'm the same, except that I miss my husband to be. We both feel bad that we don't feel worse, because we do love many people, in our way.... If I take that, and make it more, so that I wouldn't miss ANYONE.... I can't imagine anything more miserable.
|Date:||July 19th, 2007 06:00 pm (UTC)|| |
I read this today:
The article, Hell is a State, is down a ways on the page. It is an interview with an Italian exorcist.
I thought this statement interesting: Hell is not a place, it's a state. It's the state in which demons can be themselves, united in their hatred of God. It's the state of the negation of love. God is love. Hell is anti-love, it's hatred. Hell is a notion of the state of these spirits. Hell is the state of an eternal anti-love. It's also the eternal refusal to accept the love of God.
And this would then be the 'state' left to humans unable to accept the love of God, too. Going back to the original thoughts on the books idea re: people participating in/working toward evil while in hell, I think it possible within this definition of hell, although the human soul is not mentioned in context of hell. It also makes the idea of the suffering of those in hell due to the flames of God's love for them more understandable to me (hell being a state & not a place exactly) I guess it also makes sense - is heaven a 'place' since it is outside space and time? I think I need a few advil and a nap...thinking too hard about this hurts! - Ave
|Date:||July 19th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)|| |
I used to not believe in Hell at all...but I've come upon a Hell-like state often enough in Near Death Experiences that I've had to amend my beliefs on the matter.
I have noticed, however, that in the accounts I have read, the people involved were able to escape by praying (In the cases I saw, they prayed to Jesus) I figure this is worth spreading, because if there is a Hell and you can get out by praying or calling upon Jesus, I figure the more people who know this, the better. I'd hate to think of people stuck in such a place who could get out, but don't know it.
The sense I get of it is that Earth is a place where we can live no matter what our state of mind. Once we are not in a body, we kind of spring back to the appropriate place for our state of mind. If our state of mind is very negative, or is obsessed with material things (sex, smoking, etc.) we end up in a negative place or tied to the earth.
Otherwise, the reports are all quite possitive and lovely.