Society by and large are fascinated with hell and the Devil, popular movies have a theme of evil and popular music especially rock, blues and metal and even some old school composers have a fascination with what it's going to be like or how to get there and much of what we class as classic literature is based on ideas of hell and damnation my all time favourite book (paradise lost) is a prime example. So why do we have a fascination with it? why do people write about it, or sing about it, more so than ever before Hell sells it's a marketers dream. Society seems comfortable with a concept of hell and seems happy to a degree that it exists because certain people deserve and need to be punished. A straw poll of friends was interesting to say the least, some believed in hell more so than heaven because " bad people need to be punished and don't deserve a break" revenge is an ironical thing and i guess it's human nature to want revenge we may call it justice but its good old fashioned tit for tat ethics. Then we come to the church who have struggled with the idea of hell and the punishment that awaits those who go there. The everlasting refrain is " how can a God of love do…………." simply put i'm not God, heck i don't even rule in my house thats the cats job. But we do have to look at it and see why if it exists and i'm a traditionalist in this case ( or am at present) why God would push people there and not allow them paradise. So in a very anthological way i'm going to explain it like this and it's not going to make some people happy and thats fine with me. If i tell my son to slow down while he is driving and he does not, and ends up with a ticket because thats what the system says needs to happen he is rightly going to be punished by the law. Now before you all start screaming grace grace grace, we can all take a text from the good book and make it fit our ends so lets try and avoid that. But if the death of Jesus on the cross was to sort my sin out ( yep i know ) not a popular view in some circles and the death of Jesus meant anything and i need to be redeemed, what am i redeemed from? for me it's an eternity away from God as opposed to eternity with God ( and yep i know many Christians now doubt heaven exists) but i had to be redeemed from something if the sacrifice of Christ means or meant anything. It makes me chuckle and belly laugh when i talk to good God loving Christians who cannot get their heads around the concept or reality of hell, but many of my non Christian friends have no real difficulty with it. Has it become that we get so wrapped up in grace that we forget there needs to be another side of the coin, there has to be balance it's a spiritual necessity in my eyes.
Hell sells from movies to music, my band play a number of songs that i have been told i should not sing as a God loving man (highway to hell and anything by the evil AC/DC) Alice Cooper, Megadeath and good old Led Zeppelin, most of these people worked out long ago that the devil shifts units, much like sex sells the devil sells, look and see AC/DC's break through album Highway to Hell, Iron Maidens breakthrough album the number of the beast, they have shifted millions and millions of units between them infact AC/DC have sold in excess of 160 million albums worldwide and at one stage last year were out selling the Beatles on a weekly basis they were the biggest band on the planet. This is not definitive and i have purposely tried to avoid theological speak because if we looked at all the concepts in every strand of the church we would still be here when Jesus returns, and thats another blog for another day