Daily Archives: December 17, 2011
Brilliant video from, I rather think, a Protestant.
Note that his take on the matter is perfectly consistent with Catholic teaching: “by all accounts”, Christopher Hitchens died an unrepentant atheist (worse than that, I add: a serial blasphemer, and hyperactive enemy of Christ); therefore, “if we take the Scriptures seriously” (we Catholics would say:” if we take Christianity seriously”; “if we think the Church hasn’t been giving us a load of cruel lies these two thousand years”) this means that “Christopher Hitchens is in Hell today as we are speaking”.
Still, he says – also very Catholic, this one – that salvation is possible up to the last moment, and it would have been enough for Hitchens to change his mind – and his entire life, and all that he always was and fought for – at the last second and sincerely repent to reach salvation anyway.
The main point, though – and also one that a serious Catholic clergyman would make to you – is about love: God expresses his love towards his creatures by allowing them what they absolutely want, even if it is not His will for him. Not differently, in fact, than a mother who would not keep her wayward son locked in his room his entire life in order to avoid him getting into trouble.
All this is traditional Catholic teaching, and I must have posted about all this in the past (Monsignor Pope has written beautifully about the last point, if memory serves).
Surprisingly, whilst everyone agrees with what Catholicism teaches about Hell in theory, many seem not to want to get the implications when the theory is put into practice. The present company is, of course, always excluded; so are our relatives and friends, because they have “their heart in the right place” (they love animals so much, you know); the departed are now – and how could it be otherwise – looking at us from heaven, or dancing with the angels, or doing some other soppy thing (therefore, we don’t need to pray for them; which in turn allows us not to think of our own sinfulness and saves time on top; all very convenient, nicht wahr?). As to people we know only by hearsay, it will largely depend whether we liked them: if we did, then God surely will do our bidding and we are not supposed to “judge”, but ready to judge that God’s rules are not applicable in this case, surely… The rules will, then, only apply to those very few people who are unknown to us, or absolutely disliked by us, or generally considered evil incarnate without any detriment to one’s own feel-good needs. Hitler comes to mind. No one seems to pray for the chap, whom God loved too.
Alas, the reality is different and alas, reality is nothing to do with our own wishful thinking, and all to do with the Word of God.
Before I leave you to the video (around eight minutes, but not boring at all), I ‘d like to linger on one comment left on the site:
Eight minutes of complete bullshit. Eight minutes of nonsensical mental gymnastics and logic that doesn’t sound at all peaceful or loving. Fuck religion.
This short, inordinate rant exemplifies what is wrong with so much of the modern (alas, even from people who tell themselves Christians ) mentality: in order to have credibility, the argument must “sound” either “peaceful” or “loving”. The idea that there be hard truths somewhere in Christianity requiring to be told straight (in which lies, by the way, the real charity, and peace of mind) does not enter the mind of the anonymous, and rather coarse commenter. The “f” word is the result of him not being able to make things up according to his own wishes, and calling this “Christianity”. Frock religion, then, if I can’t feel better about myself.
This explains very well what is going on with Hitchens’ matter these days: removal of hard truth instead of rational and orthodox thinking of what behaviour was put in place, what the consequences of this behaviour would be without final repentance, and how probable it is such repentance (which, remember, must be perfect contrition) took place in reality rather than in the kindergarten-fantasies of the Hitchens fan club.
A well-spread Italian saying teaches finche’ c’e’ vita c’e’ speranza (“as long as there’s life, there’s hope”). The flip side of this is once life has gone, hope gives place to knowledge, and then it’s either one side or the other, forever. This is exactly where Hitchens is now, and if your grasp of reality is that he saved himself I do not want you to be my financial adviser, or my driver, ever, but you should apply for the Pollyanna Prize 2011 at once.
As I have written elsewhere, we weren’t there and therefore can’t know. We can have a modicum of hope, because we know that the Holy Ghost tried to the last second. But we can’t really draw any specific, realistically grounded comfort from that, because we know that in the end it was the chap’s choice, and we know what the chaps’ choice was because he shouted it so loud for an entire lifetime, even when terminally ill, even when at an advanced stage of his illness.
Good luck to him and to his own poor, long- suffering Guardian Angel, of course; but reason, logic and all probability all say Hitchens is in Hell, at the start of a torment that will never end, and not looking very smart at all.
No, seriously: let us stop the soppy dreaming and let look at this like sensible adults. Some people go to hell. Actually, many do. This was a prime candidate, unrepentant to the last – public – moment, and so violently stupid every talk of him “seeing the light of God” should prompt only one answer:
give me a break.
I do not like quoting from the CCC (a text that can be defined fallible in his worst parts, and sprinkled with populism and VII-ism in all his parts; google “Abbé de Nantes” for instructions on the matter ) but on this day it seems to me the CCC tells us in a concise and rather easy way what happens to those who die in mortal sin and without repentance.
CCC1033 […] “To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God’s merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.””
If you do not accept God’s love you remain separated from him forever. It is your choice. You have time for as long as you breathe. After that, time’s up.
CCC 1034 : “Jesus often speaks of “Gehenna” of “the unquenchable fire” reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be converted, where both soul and body can be lost.614 Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,”615 and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!” “
Pretty clear, too. Hell is not a place where the wicked drink themselves to death before launching themselves in the next blasphemous rant; nor is it a place where soi-disant intellectuals can discuss all the shortcomings of creation whilst sipping cocktails, and explain what they would have done better or why this proves that there is no God. No, it is rather a place of serious physical and spiritual torment.
CCC 1035: “The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, “eternal fire.” ” […].
Yep, more of the same. Hell exists, and after death there is no “if” and no “but”. Immediately after death, one knows. Hitchens once said he liked surprises. I wonder if he would like this one.
CCC1037: “God predestines no one to go to hell; for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance” “
Willful turning away from God, and persistence until the end are sufficient – and actually, not so easy to achieve – to be punished with eternal damnation. Notice that it doesn’t say “unless of course you are famous and a lot of people like you”, or “unless you have said one or two phrases in your entire life which might lead someone to believe that one day you might, perhaps, repent”.
I could go on, but you get my drift: Hitchens was the very image of those who inflict hell on themselves. He did so insistently, violently, ruthlessly. His every action made clear that this was not one at risk of, so to speak, slipping into hell by giving in to his temptations, by being weak and frail. No, this was one clearly headed for hell head on, and at vicious speed. I shiver at the thought of how many souls he has contributed – and will contribute after death – to send to hell.
The simple fact is, Hitchens’ death didn’t improve any treat of him in any way. Apart from being dry now almost two days, nothing has changed in his moral state. The contrary is the case: death crystallises one’s moral state, and makes it permanent. When the wicked die, they do not become less wicked. Not a bit. They might see the consequences of their wickedness, but they will not repent of it. Unless Hitchens repented – which is, let’s face it, highly improbable – he is the same little son of a bitch now as he ever was, without the vodka.
It is, therefore, extremely surprising that this wicked, evil man be “adopted” by curious “helpers”, thinking that his own personal qualities (he certainly had some, and no one is completely wicked. Hitler loved Blondie, his dog, and was an extremely nice host and conversationalist with those whom he liked) might have helped him in the end even if he did not want to help himself.
Come on, this is not Christianity anymore. This is soppy “candle in the wind” Elton John-ism, kindergarten fables, and acute self-delusion.
Still more surprising is what you read in some corners, that for reasons unknown to us – or, as Protestants love to do, citing some Bible verse out of context and out of Catholic truth; which you can always do; always, without exception – Jesus would save a man who wants to be lost, who absolutely insists in being lost, because being a ruthless blasphemous bastard be in some way better than being a frail, somewhat lukewarm Christian as, alas, the vast majority of Christians are. The idea here is that the vast majority of frail people are less worthy of salvation than an unspeakably blasphemous, wickedly fanatical man, because the wicked man was passionate in his wickedness and a lot of people seem to have found this, in some way, entertaining. I found it disgusting but hey, I’m not the “nice” type.
This mentality, this “he will be saved because Christ loves blasphemous bastards who don’t do anything to save their soul more than weak believers” is pretty much the negation of everything Christianity is and stands for.
On the contrary, Hitchens’ death shows us how Satan tries to snatch souls through him even after his death, letting simple or deluded people believe they can be as wicked as he was, not repent, and get away with it.