I'm Spiritual, Dammit

What if there were no Hell?

So here's something to wrap your head around...All that talk of Hell, and "being cast into the lake of fire because of your sin..."  well- what if I told you that was all just a p.r. campaign to get you to go to church?  
First of all- I have to preface this by saying I am not religious- I am spiritual.  I think you can find God, or whatever you want to call it, in the kitchen just as easily as in the church.  I want to find enlightenment without having to wear a toga or go on silent retreats.  And I definitely would choose Happy Hour over prayer any day of the week.

But I was raised Christian... well- it depended who my Dad was married to at the time, but we started off Lutheran, and then were Episcopalian with wife number two, and wound up Congregational with wife number three.  We only went to church a few times a year- except for a brief stint in the 80's when my Dad had us kids get confirmed

My Granny was the daughter of a Lutheran minister, and she told me that in order to get to Heaven, I had to say The Lord's Prayer every single night before I went to bed, or I would go to Hell.  

Nice.

Imagine being 12 and being told this before turning off the lights... I literally made myself say that prayer every night....that is until I hit high school- and then that habit sort of flew out the window.

So now am I going to hell?

So this brings me to the whole "no hell" piece.  I'm not talking about the small town in Michigan named "Hell" that was founded in 1841- I'm talking about that place down below where you go for sinning that's supposedly hot and miserable.  And I'm saying- there are many who think it's all made up.  

I've met Priests who agree that this whole fear and judgment stuff was brewed up in Europe after Christ died just to get more worshipers.  I blogged about a Roman Catholic Priest who not only agreed with me, but also told me that speaking to mediums was common in the bible.  I've gotten several emails from other men of the cloth who tell me that those who really know the gospels, know that Jesus was about love, and not judgment.

When I interviewed James Van Praagh, best selling author and medium who claims he has been talking to dead people since he was 8, he said that the spirits he talks to on a regular basis say- THERE IS NO HELL.  

"Hell is here on Earth," James explained.  

So there's nobody at the gates of Heaven with a clipboard taking notes when we arrive, reminding us of everything we did wrong??

"Only humans judge.  Fear and judgment have no place in spirit," he said.  "They were put into religious texts later as manipulations.  Love is all there is on the other side."

So what happens to murderers??  If you ask me, this sounds like an excuse to be bad, with no repercussions.

"Your afterlife reflects how you were on Earth," he said.  "If you were a mass murderer, you aren't going to have the same afterlife experience as someone who spread joy and love."

But get this-  James says you DO have a sort of life review- almost like in the movie Defending Your Life- where you literally feel and experience every emotion that you gave out or received all over again.  So depending on how you lived your life- this could be Hell- or it could be Heaven.

"You've heard of the saying that 'your life passes before your eyes,'" he explained.  "That's literally what they say happens..."

Kind of makes you think twice about screaming at the asshole who cuts you off in traffic.

So today, I go to lunch in downtown Evanston, and I'm approached by a man with a flyer with large bold type that reads: THE WAY TO GOD.  As he hands it to me, he says,

"You are a sinner."

Shit- how does HE know? 

"You need to embrace Jesus to be saved," he continued.  

"You know, if you're preaching the word of Jesus, and he was all about love, why are you judging me?  You don't know a thing about me."

He looked at me like I was crazy, and then he started raising his voice.

"God saves you forever when you trust Jesus Christ!!" He screamed.

"Why are you yelling?"  I asked.  He could see he was getting nowhere with me, so he turned and walked away to find another lost soul.

Renowned guru Deepak Chopra told me that rage and anger do just as much damage to the Universe- even when you feel your cause is for peace and harmony.  So whether you're mad and protesting about someone not being a part of your religion, or screaming that people are fighting a war- that rage ain't helping the big picture, people...it's adding to the anger in the world.  

Deepak ChopraWhen I got back to my desk with my sandwich, I called my Catholic friend about told her about my encounter. She's the kind of person who goes to church every Sunday.  Part of me hopes that by talking to her often, some of her grace will rub off on me.

"You know what- God loves you even if you eat chocolate cake in church," she said.

I like that.  I think I'm gonna get a t-shirt printed up with that sentence now that I think about it. Probably more marketable than the "Jesus was a wine snob", or "Judas caved under peer pressure" shirts that I was considering. 

Dammit!

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4 Comments

JTX said:

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I like Deepak Chopra's vision; I just wish it was as simple to accept and release peace and happiness as it is easy to lose one's temper.

And I've always thought that G-d doesn't care how you find, talk to, or regard Him (or Her, or It, or whatever), as long as whatever faith you have gives you strength and doesn't hurt others. Hopefully I'm teaching that to my kids, too.

But being a bitch on a fairly regular basis betrays me!

abm said:

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One more thing to recommend Judaism, no Hell, officially, although there are tracts on "the heavenly tribunal", which is temporary in a Kabbalistic sense.

Sorry, we are not taking converts right now, please check back later.

Pilgrim said:

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Hi Jen--that the churches used "hell" as a club to get people into church is accurate. The fact of the matter is that many "doctrines" taught by the church(es) and believed to be Bible truth are incorrect. There have been many theologians that were dedicated and hard-working, yet they completely missed the truth. The Bible states that Christ spoke in parables (Mark 4:33-34) and He is called the "Word" (John 1:14). We are also commanded to compare Scripture with Scripture (harmonize) to find truth. The churches have not done this!
The fact is that "hell" is the grave. If one dies without Christ, he or she is dead forever--there is no conscious existence ever again! This is why one must be born from above (born again). Just as we have no "say" in our eye color, nationality, gender, IQ, etc,. so we have no say in being born from above. God makes that decision--He is in charge. One can pray, beseech, petition the Lord for salvation but only He can give eternal life.
One truth that is very evident though, is that if God is going to save an individual (give eternal life), it will occur in the environment of hearing the word of God (the Bible). The Bible states "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." The term "faith" is a synonym for Jesus Christ.
I must say that God is no longer using any local church or temple in His salvation plan. He has abandoned the churches altogether for their departure from the word of God, and man is commanded to come out of the local churches (teples). We also know that Christ will return on May 21st 2011 and the end of the world on October 21st 2011. For more info see www.FamilyRadio.com

OldChicago said:

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Oh Jen. It is so good to have a chance to communicate with you. I saw your one-woman play, "I'm spiritual, Dammit." I was totally enthralled and wanted to stay and talk with you, but the person I was with didn't, and she was driving so we left. I identified with so much of what you said. I saw your Dad on the news many a time. I'm so impressed with how you finally took charge of your life. I'm an old woman now, stil in love with Chicago, roots in Chicago going back to 1847. I would like to chat with you over a cup of coffee. I am also fascinated by James Van Praagh. When I heard your dialogue and that you actually talked with Mr. Van Praagh, well that was over the edge for me. I don't have many years left but boy oh boy would I like to chat with you before those years are up. I was raised a Catholic, but have strayed from the Catholic Red TAPE and Canon Law, but not from the true message of Jesus, that of kindness and forgiveness. I think that this life is a sort of Purgatory, a passage as it were, to a greater life. this life could also be Hell, but then there are too many absolutely wonderful bits to it - like watching a glowing orange sunset, holding a baby, petting a puppy, being in love...these things could not happen in hell... or could they?

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