Earlier today I read two articles as they were making their provocative way through the viral atmosphere. Both of them were written by people I believe are Americans. Both articles were characterized by a hopelessness caused by an inability of their writers to comprehend the things of God. I am writing in response to one of those articles that carried the name reflected in my chosen title for this article.
I believe that in some way the author, one Oliver Thomas, wrote with the specific intention of being the devil's advocate and in more ways than one open the religious version of Pandora's Box. However, I believe the article in itself is a potential cause for the "speculations" and hopeless futility that he intended so scathingly to address.
In the article, published in the USA Today online edition of August 8, 2011, Mr Thomas asked the important question of what happens after death. But as one reads the article it becomes clear that he is not so much concerned with providing an answer to the question as he is with attempting to prove that Christians and believers in Jesus Christ have been surely misled due to the misinterpretation of Jesus' words as they referred to hell.
The author suggests that a God who will punish an act of evil for all eternity is not as terrible (and somehow I infer he means obtuse) as the people who will actually believe in such a God. He used his parenting code to suggest he will only punish his daughter with an action that fits the disobedience. He refuses to believe that a place of eternal punishment exists, claiming that the "Christian Old Testament" only talks of the dead existing in a "dreamlike place." One of the things about reading informatiion is that one can select bits and pieces to drive one's point home. And generally Christians quote scriptures to get their message across.
However, Oliver Thomas basically condemns the believers in the Bible for their vulnerable gullibility because they believe something just because the Bible teaches it. But then he goes and quotes from the very same Bible he is claiming is erroneously misinterpretted and indicates that Solomon in Ecclesiasties proclaimed that "Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might for there is no activity or planning or wisdom in Sheol where you are going." This he says, clearly trying to convince the really undecided and scared readers that no real action comes after the human heart stops.