Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Michael Abrahams | To hell with hell!

Published:Monday | October 22, 2018 | 1:25 AM
Abrahams

During a recent ‘tracing’ from a Christian acquaintance of mine on Facebook, I was told that I was “a viper and a serpent” and that I “belong in Hell”. I replied that being one of those reptiles is awesome, because I would have a forked tongue and be able to lick two places at the same time. For some strange reason, he failed to see the humour in my response, but instead doubled down by saying that I “may well be the type of person that God Himself said no prayers should be offered for”.

So, it’s official. I am going to Hell. I mean, this guy should know. After all, from the way he speaks, he is obviously God’s BFF and will probably be the best man at God’s wedding.

But where the hell is hell anyway? Seriously. I mean, people have told me to go to hell on several occasions, but have never been kind enough to give me directions. Usually while they tell me, they use one of their fingers to point, specifically the middle one, but it is usually pointing upwards, where heaven is supposed to be. I am confused.

I remember reading about hell as a child. I never saw any actual photographs from people who went there, but my grandmother had a big-ass illustrated Bible with an image I will never forget. It showed a place full of fire and humongous flames, with people burning up. Smack in the middle of it was Satan himself, a scary black figure with horns. Incidentally, all the other folks illustrated in that Bible were lily white: Jesus, the angels, Moses, Abraham and others. But that is for another story.

Anyway, when I saw that pic, I was scared AF (an’ ‘fraid). It scared the hell out of me. Better yet, it scared the hell INTO me, because it helped to convince me that hell was real, and it was somewhere I definitely did not want to go to. That was why I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I was afraid of going to hell. 

I was told that God loves me and that His love was the most awesome and powerful love ever. But, apparently God was also jealous AF (and fierce), because if I did not accept and believe in His Son, who is also Him, I would burn in hell forever and ever, amen - and then some. 

And as if God the Father, and God the Son were not enough, I later learnt about this dude called the Holy Spirit (whatever the hell that is) and was told that if I were to diss Him, I would definitely be toast. By the way, by saying “whatever the hell that is” above, I have successfully obtained my visa for the toaster. Just saying.

When I think about it, something about that belief system is crazy AF (and flawed). For example, picture this. A woman who is a secular humanist, a former Christian who left the faith, is walking home from a children’s home where she lovingly volunteers to help look after orphans and abused and neglected kids. 

While on her journey, a man kidnaps, robs, beats, rapes and sodomises her before fatally stabbing her. He subsequently decapitates and dismembers her before setting her remains on fire. The man is arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to death, but on the night prior to his execution, he repents and accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour.

According to Christian theology, the brutal murderer will end up in heaven, but the nice lady who was butchered wins an all-expense-paid, one-way trip to, you guessed it - hell!

Seriously? In which universe does this make sense? What the hell?

Based on their sinful utterances, modes of dress and carnal gyrations, some of my favourite artistes, such as Rihanna and Ariana Grande, are hell-bound. The entertainment down there should be ‘lit’…literally and figuratively. Those girls are already used to performing with smoke and pyrotechnics anyway, so they would be a great fit. 

Hell is supposed to be hot AF (and fiery), but as the great Bob Marley said, when music hits, “you feel no pain”. In heaven, on the other hand, there will be angels playing harps for, like, eternity. Ummm… why the hell would I want to hear that? Now THAT would be hell for me.
In my opinion, hell is a human construct. We want to believe that there is an afterlife, and that we will be rewarded for good behaviour and that bad people will get their comeuppance.

Also, the concept of hell is a damn useful tool to control, manipulate and scare people, especially young, fragile and gullible children, which in my opinion, is a form of child abuse.
I do not know if there is an afterlife where hell exists. What I do know is that many of my brothers and sisters are living in hell right here on earth, suffering because of disease, poverty, injustice and bigotry. My focus is on these folks and how I can make a difference in their lives. Their suffering is real and discernible.

So nowadays when people tell me about hell, IDGAF (I don’t get all flustered). I just tell them to STFU (stop the foolish utterances).

- Michael Abrahams is a gynaecologist and obstetrician, comedian and poet. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and michabe_1999@hotmail.com, or tweet @mikeyabrahams.