LESSER KNOWN PLACES IN THE AFTERLIFE
Have you ever said: â€œThere must be a special place in Hell for [fill in the blank]â€?Â If so, you are engaging in the ancient and venerable tradition of Scholastic Theology.Â Peter Abelard, better known for having a crush on a nun named Heloise, was a Scholastic theologian, as was St. Thomas Aquinas.
In a nutshell, Scholastic Theology is making up ideas about God off the top of your head, running them up the flagpole, and seeing if anybody salutes. Â Seriously. Â Hereâ€™s an example:Â until the Middle Ages, the Church said dogmatically that if you werenâ€™t baptized in the Church, you would go to Hell.Â Period.Â (Otherwise, why get baptized?)
Peter Abelard puts on his thinking cap and decides this is totally unfair to folks like stillborn infants and beloved Old Testament patriarchs.Â He invents Limbo, a kind of Chuck E. Cheese of the afterlife, where the unbaptized, while not enjoying the Beatific Presence, can still be pretty happy for eternity.Â The idea was so compelling, Pope Innocent III made it a doctrine of the Universal Church less than a century later.
In that spirit, I herewith humbly offer an assortment of places in the afterlife the existence of which, in my mind (and as weâ€™ve just seen, thatâ€™s really the only requirement), seems perfectly reasonable:
- The Lake of Fire: for executives of Exxon, BP, Dow Chemical...
- Mambo: Â where innocent, unbaptized, So You Think You Can Dance runners-up go until the Second Coming.
- Elision Fields: a little slice of heaven for editors and ESL teachers.
- Hades Comet:Â riding Shoemaker-Levy 9 into Jupiter for eternity.
- Salem, Oregon:Â home of the House of the Two Gables.
- GEDhenna: Â where you write Dante's Inferno on the blackboard ten thousand times.
- Purge-atory: drinking syrup of ipecac for five hundred years.
- The River Charon Glessâ€”where you watch Cagney and Lacey reruns for eternity.
- The Amityville Mild Revulsion: the crawlspace of a two-bedroom bungalow on Long Island.
- The Hearth of Darkness:Â a toasty ski lodge with no windows or doorsâ€”for embezzlers, televangelists, and Fox News commentators.
- The Mobro Garbage Barge, while it roams the world looking for a place to unloadâ€”for the otherwise sinless who didn't recycle.
- The Seventh Circle of Royal St. Andrewsâ€”for golf cheaters. You go on to heaven when you break par with a toothbrush.
- The Super-de-duper-natural:Â sitting in the Beatific Presence at the right hand of the throne of Barney the Dinosaur.
Â© 2013 Douglas J. Westberg. All Rights Reserved. Â Please share this on Gather.com, and elsewhere on the web by means of a link back to this page, but please do not copy. Â Doug's latest book is The Depressed Guy's Book of Wisdom from Chipmunka Publishing.
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