Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Avoid Hell...

Took this photo in Indianapolis, Indiana (Kurt Vonnegutt's hometown ! Welcome to the Monkey House ! Slaughterhouse 5 !) on a trip there in November 2004. I thought the first part of this sign, "Avoid Hell" was rather good advice... Whatever one's conception of "Hell" might be, the word has always been associated with unpleasant connotations, such as being sizzled slowly over a pit of red hot coals, or having to spend eternity locked in a room chained to a chair face to face with your mother-in-law, or whatever else you care to imagine, like scenes from a Hieronymus Bosch painting; better to avoid such a fate, if possible.
As for the second line, "Repent", I always had a problem with that one... I mean, can anybody repent, no matter how awful they may have been prior to deciding to repent? Could Charles Manson repent, for example ? I guess I would not make a very good theologian... In any case, whenever I see that word now, can't help but think of Leonard Cohen's The Future. ("When they said Repent, Repent, I wonder what they meant?")
As for the last line, not having had any dealings personally with the man, given that he died 2000 years ago, I have nothing to base trust or mistrust on. What I'm not sure I want to trust too unconditionally are all the accounts of his life that were written hundreds of years later by people with vested interests in perpetuating certain stories... If this whole subject is supposed to be about Peace and Love and Harmony and Forgiveness, why is it that the past 2000 years have been so chock full of war, hatred, discord, and revenge ; causing incalculable suffering, bloodshed, and misery ? And why is it that so much money seems to gravitate in huge quantities to religious organisations, when money has so often been called the root of all evil ? I guess I'm just a little too naive... there are surely perfectly rational explanations for all that... my apologies if I have flustered anyone's feathers with any of the above musings...

1 comment:

ladydi said...

I do think anyone can repent, but then they need to make ammends for their misdeeds. Of course some misdeeds can never be corrected, but if the repenter learns to love instead of hate, that is a step in the right direction.