Do you ever wonder what will happen to sinners when they die? I admit that I don’t spend much time on this question, but there are people who do, and I am always interested in the opinions of these folks especially when they have the backing of religious professionals. So you can imagine my interest when the Vatican recently released the following finding: Men sentenced to hell for sins of lust will have their souls pummeled with fire and brimstone, and women convicted of the sin of pride will have their souls “broken on a wheel.”
Honestly my own musings on the topic never came close to these findings, and I am grateful to the Church for making them public. But I do have a few questions. For example, as a man I would like to know if I will be tied to a target when the fire and brimstone is thrown or if I am free to duck and dodge? I am also curious if the soul if flammable or not.
As for the fate of prideful women I am curious as to how a soul, which I assume has no bones, can be broken on the wheel. And it would be helpful to know if the wheel is solid like the ones used by the Vatican during the Inquisition (presumably modeled after God’s heaven wheel of misfortune), or if this is a spirit wheel? And how is the soul tied to either wheel or target?
All of this begs two more central questions: Who invented such a sadistic god in the first place, and why are we so eager to praise him?
I for one find it hard to take seriously any religion so clearly addicted to a god who makes the Marquis de Sade look like Mr. Rogers. What is it about us that we want to worship a sadistic King who takes delight in the eternal torture of his creation? When parents act the way God the Father does we arrest them. How come when it comes to God we send him money?
I don’t believe religion tells us much of anything about the reality God, heaven, hell, and the like, any more than I believe Star Trek tells us much about the reality of alien species. But I do think religion tells us a lot about those who invent it, control it, benefit from it, and allow themselves to be abused by it. What this new revelation from the Vatican tells me is that we humans are one sick species.
Why invent a God who plays with fire and has a fixation on torturing women with medieval instruments of terror? Who is moved to praise this Guy? And why? How much idiocy can people take in the name of God before we finally say, “Enough!”? How outlandish do the claims of religious leaders have to be before their followers simply walk away in disgust?
Given the history of religion and its current track record I cannot help but conclude that we humans have a limitless capacity for religious terror, brutality, and sadism both in this life and the next.
Of course being disgusted with sadistic religion doesn’t make it wrong. I may be destined to play brimstone dodge ball with God for all eternity which is why I’m adding a clause to my will insisting that I be buried in a shroud made of asbestos. Ladies, I suggest you start taking yoga classes to better work that wheel.