• Hell Awaits


    Jeff Hanneman, guitarist of the metal band Slayer, died on 2nd May, 2013.  He was only 49 years old, and died from complications arising from a spider bite a few years ago.  In good form, a Christian friend and fellow metal head posted a few Slayer-related links in memory of Hanneman.  One commenter wrote:

    “A sad wasted life.  Hell awaits.”

    My response:

    “Very ironic comment, [name removed].  Jeff actually made use of the only time he is likely to have had.  RIP Jeff!!”

    A few years ago, my wife and I did a little driving tour of the UK.  One of the highlights was visiting lots of castles, as we don’t have that kind of history in Australia.  The buildings were magnificent, and you could just imagine yourself living or fighting there several centuries ago.

    But we were very disturbed at some of the tales of public executions.  I’ll spare the details, but the stories proved just how creative people can be when devising methods of killing others.  Perhaps the most shocking aspect of it was the fact that regular folk would come out to watch executions as a bit of weekend entertainment. Go back a bit further, and there were the gladiators.

    We don’t do those kinds of things any more.  But the “Hell awaits” comment really took me back to that idea of people taking some kind of sick pleasure in the suffering of others.  It also reminded me of this lovely quote from the influential 13th Century theologian Thomas Aquinas:

    “In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful to them and that they may render more copious thanks to God for it, they are allowed to see perfectly the sufferings of the damned…  So that they may be urged the more to praise God…  The saints in heaven know distinctly all that happens…  to the damned.”

    Here’s what the early church father, Tertullian, had to say:

    “What a spectacle… when the worldand its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame!  How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye!  What there excites my admiration?  What my derision?  Which sight gives me joy?  As I see… illustrious monarchsgroaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophersas fire consumes them!  Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of… Christ!  I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors… in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows…  What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these?  Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination.”

    Oh well…  Hell Awaits…  At least it’d make for a good name for a Slayer album.  Oh, wait…

    Update:  Here is a Christian response to the same comment.

    Category: Hell


    Article by: Reasonably Faithless

    Mathematician and former Christian