Two Cheers For Hell!
There’s a great new blog, Cosmos The In Lost, dedicated to “dynamic Catholic backwardness,” that I found via @j_arthur_bloom. Here’s a piece in which the blog’s author, Artur Rosman, praises the concept of Hell, and wishes we talked about it more. Read his whole thing — it’s not what you think. Rosman wrote it after reading headlines about how hard Americans are struggling to avoid poverty, and how vile it is that CEOs are awarded big pay raises after laying off massive numbers of employees. Here’s Rosman:
I also happened to be reading (because who doesn’t read five things at time?) the book-length dialogue between the then Cardinal Bergoglio and Abraham Skorka entitled On Heaven and Earth. There the future Pope Francis forcefully reminds us of the close tie between authentic religion and social justice:
“Hence the [classical] liberal conception of religion being allowed only in places of worship, and the elimination of religion outside of it, is not convincing. There are actions that are consistently done in places of worship, like the adoration, praise and worship of God. But there are others that are done outside, like the entire social dimension of religion. It starts in a community encounter with God, who is near and walks with His people, and is developed over the course of one’s life with ethical, religious, and fraternal guidelines, among others. There is something that regulates the conduct of others: justice. I believe that one who worships God has, through that experience, a mandate of justice toward his brothers.”
One should not forget that the mandate toward social justice is solely a Judeo-Christian invention. The pay raises of Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, coupled with the poverty awaiting most of us, signal a return to the much more cruel gods of Graeco-Roman religion. Whether we like it or not, we can look forward to a massive, but unintentional, experiment in comparative religion.
Rosman, a Pole who is in the US getting his PhD, is an expert on Czeslaw Milosz, and cites the great Polish Catholic poet and essayist to make a provocative point. Milosz wrote:
“Religion, opium for the people. To those suffering pain, humiliation, illness, and serfdom, it promised a reward in an afterlife. And now we are witnessing a transformation. A true opium for the people is a belief in nothingness after death–the huge solace of thinking that for our betrayals, greed, cowardice, murders we are not going to be judged.”
The problem, Rosman contends, is that many of us no longer believe we are going to be judged for our sins, that this life is all there is. That is the narcotic that allows us to sleep comfortably at night.
I’m really looking forward to reading this blog regularly…