Guess What? If There Is A Hell, You’re Probably Not Going To It.

Probably NOT going to Hell. Just sayin'.

Something that always bothers me is when human beings of a given denomination try to diagnose salvation like there could possibly be a verified, documented set of criteria that determines who is worthy of a peaceful afterlife vs who deserves to listen to Coldplay for the remainder of time.

I’m not an overtly religious person and I don’t pretend to have a lot of answers or be particularly correct on a number of issues, but I hate when somebody tells me that someone else is going to Hell because of some completely arbitrary characteristic or belief.

Example: This person is going to Hell because his religion is polytheistic.

Disregarding the entire afterlife belief entirely — and it’s possible that the sad, isolating truth is that we are only alive for a tick of eternity’s clock, and eventually forgotten completely, presence buried in the sands of time — I can never understand the monumental stupidity in dismissing someone’s spiritual worth because they believe in a different number of greater beings or truths or identify it by a different name.

Come on now.

You’re telling me that the Sikh down the street can be a terrific person, live a good life and operate with only good intentions…and he’s automatically doomed to the fires of Hell?  Whereas Joe, two blocks over, is a piece of crap who smacks his live-in girlfriend around on occasion and double parks his Tundra…but he’s Christian, so he’s saved?

How messed up is that?

I’ve always hated when humans try to play gatekeeper.  There’s a lot of room for debate when it comes to religion or lack thereof, but I would think the one thing we could all agree on is that there is no place for humans to hold any sort of final judgment.  And especially to base that judgment on something that, in the scheme of things, is largely insignificant.  Why does it matter what you name your God, or how many of Him/Her/It/Almighty Pronoun there are, or how you go about praying to them?  Why do any of those things matter?  Why can’t the more important consideration be that you’re accessing a vessel to a greater power or greater sense of goodness, of a common humanity?  Why can’t the most important consideration just be that you’re a good person whether you believe in one, one-hundred or no Gods?

I think we, as human beings, are so scared of dying, of what’s next, of all the unknown, that we cling so desperately to the one bullet in the chamber that just might be our shot.  We convince ourselves crazy because crazy is a coping mechanism, because it’s more logical to assume locked-in to salvation by proxy of a text translated tenfold from its original appearance than it is to give in to the great mystery and just admit that we know nothing, but as such, we may as well love our lives and those we share it with.

Again, I don’t call myself a prophet here, but damn, people.  Stop judging.  Stop trying to map the unchartable for everyone else and just realize that in the end, the best we can all do is aspire to be good to others and do right by the people we love.  It really doesn’t seem that difficult to me, which is why I’m constantly frustrated by the fact that the majority seem to be lagging so far behind.

So I say: believe what you have to, what gets you by, and satiate whatever spiritual needs you may or may not have.  And when you’re done with that, just admit that you’re no more an expert on the mysteries beyond than the next name in the phone book.  And once you’ve accepted that, once you’re open to your own inevitable ignorance, just be good.  Okay?  Be a good person.  Acknowledge other good people.  And try to make this little speck of existence we share as dynamic and awesome and accessible to all as possible.

Because it’s going to end and none of us will know what becomes of us then, so let’s just worry about life for now and what we might do to live and share the best one possible.

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