The Gospel Truth

Final Destinations | May 11, 2012

It was philosopher Jean Paul Satre who defined Hell in his existential play, No Exit as other people.

I might go him one better and define it as other people just like one’s self.

Knew what Hell was

They are filled with such self-love and arrogance that I think it would be a painful situation to be with people just like themselves.

People that consistently take the road of selfish decisions and actions that often leads to perdition usually don’t like themselves.

On our ill-fated trip to France years ago, where I encountered my Parisian prostitute, there was a fellow from North Carolina.

We should have picked our own cotton. was his bumper sticker.)

He was loud, boisterous and so insecure he just had to have a monopoly of his fellow passengers’ attentions during the trip.

In other words, he was just like me.

People like me, don’t like people like me.

We vied for the attentions and affections of the captive audience that was our bus companions, until Poisons, as he called himself, got a little out of line and he started to get a bit physical.

I can’t help it if I was funnier than he.

By squeezing my arm as I disembarked from our bus, he had crossed the line of combative humor, or dueling clowns.

The thought of having to spend eternity with people like him really gave me a dose of abject humility, which I swiftly drank.

As I get older–I am already nearly four years older than I thought men lived to be when I was a child— I do a lot of thinking about eschatology.

Part of Catholic eschatology

The guide on a Circle Lines Tour around Manhattan Island many years ago mentioned General Black Jack’s admonition to his troops as they prepared to go to Europe in 1918 from New Jersey.

He said that there would be only three results of their invasion of France…heaven, hell or Hoboken.

That is Christian eschatology in a brief nutshell.

The Catholic Church adds the importance of death and judgment to the list to make up the Four Last Things.

I think it is the judgment part that makes many of us scared of dying.

I mean even those of us who do try to live according the commandments, teachings of the Church and the persistent little inner voice of reason.

Personally, I think it would be terrific if we found out that God was non-judgmental like liberals urge us to be on earth.

It would even be nicer if everyone went to Heaven because God was as infinitely merciful as so many New Age Christians believe.

The Church teaches that God does not condemn us to hell.

Better to reign in Hell

We condemn ourselves.  That is a very pithy statement package but I often wonder just how free our wills really are.

I know the fallen angels, like Lucifer and the allegorical teachings of Adam and Eve in the Garden had an absolute understanding of right and wrong, sin and virtue.

They fell for the universal temptation of pride and wanting to be gods themselves.

Better to rule in Hell than serve in heaven.

But our fallen nature, after the fact of Eden, seems to stack the decks against us so often because it has warped us with a perverted sense of right and wrong that cannot truly understand the stakes of our behavior.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote that vice knows she’s ugly.  That’s why she hides her face.

Sin and evil often disguise themselves in actions that seem to be a good idea at the time.

Knew of vice’s hidden threats

Other times our passions get out of the gate because we have failed to keep a strong bridle on them.

There are hormonal pressures, social pressure, economic pressures that conspire to work against our souls.

There is the Zeitgeist and the glitter of materialism that people don’t realize has an enslaving property.

So me it is hard for one to assess my fellow-man with full guilt.

All that being said, we are responsible for our own actions and millions of us have taken different roads in rationalizing our guilt and avoiding facing the culprit in the mirror for all kinds of sins from adultery, drug abuse, violence, sloth and all the other capital sins.

Many have joined the Oprah Winfrey Club of public confession where her guests go on national TV and ask the crowd, not for forgiveness but to validate their deviant behavior.

Her show used to remind me of Jerry Springer, without the trashy women and predictable fighting, swearing and loud arguing.

Hosted a public confessional show

Bishop Fulton J. Sheen used to warn about how psychiatry had literally taken responsibility, and real self-knowledge out of the equation.

Millions of patients are advised to seek the cause of their anxieties and depressions outside of themselves.

They looked to parents foremost, siblings, their employers, spouses and anyone else who has hurt them by being honesty and deliberate.

This attitude has contributed to making us a weaker society, especially our men.

The perpetual adolescent of the Peter Pan Syndrome is standard for millions of young men today.

Things are ever more confusing because of what Pope Benedict has called the dictatorship of relativity.

With the deconstruction of Christian morality, moral relativism has  permeated our society so deeply that millions make up their own moral codes as they go along.

Worse than that are those who don’t have any set or idea of morality.

These sociopaths just react on stimuli and instinct.

This helps to explain the observable decline in not only public and private morality but civility as well.

Recognized what harm relativism could do

People seem angrier and more hostile than ever before in my lifetime.

And we live in a society that condemns any form of judgementalism, unless it comes from the White House of the Senate.

If there are no absolutes, how can anyone judge?

Each man and woman march to the interior beat of their own life values or style.

No one is ever wrong except for those who picket Planned Parenthood killing centers.

How does this all relate to eschatology?

That’s where my views become highly speculative.

There is an interior, subjective morality where those follow whatever voice they hear.

And then there is an objective sphere that most people call reality.

We can judge all behaviors, but not people so much, for their real behavior.

That’s why I need to learn to judge liberals a little less harshly because they have twisted notion of the way things really are.

Their interior state should not our concern.

I relegate that to old phrase–that’s between them and God, and leave it at that.

Since this is all ostensibly about judgment, most people make judgments on the eternal disposition of their loved ones and even famous celebrities, such as Frank Sinatra and John Kennedy, even though their moral lives had many stains.

We really don’t know if Sinatra is playing golf with St. Peter or if Jack Kennedy is talking about ocean currents with St. Paul.

Frank-Sinatra-rh10.jpg

Playing celestial golf now?

This kind of presumption hints of a universal salvation, which was considered a heresy during the first half of the 20th century.

But I have to say there is a Godlike innocence and even naiveté in those who have this kind of simple hope for other people.

It could very well be a posthumous form of loving one’s neighbor, laced in human forgiveness.

The only people who really cast a huge shadow of doubt on their final judgments are the so-called hard-of-heart, whom Jesus condemned on every chance He could.

But even with those it could be sinful for us to judge their final destinations because judgment of this absolute kind are not our province.

They belong solely to God and we can only hope and pray that He has on his mercy robes instead of His hanging judge robes.

Personally I think both types of presumption are wrong and even dangerous, especially the first one–even though I hope it is the correct one.

Who knows Adolph Hitler might be up in Heaven discussing philosophy with St. Boniface.

After all I am not certain how absolute his free will as since many historians believe that he was mentally ill.

I always thought that Joseph Stalin, old Uncle Joe our ally during the war was far more evil than Hitler.

Was God really with him at the end?

But then again we can only speculate.

God is the eternal ticket-taker who determines where we get off the train of life.

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3 Comments »

  1. BB, I wonder where my husband is. He had all the church has to offer Extreme Unction, which forgives sins AND THE PUNISHMENT DUE TO SIN, wore his scapular, prayed every day. I KNOW he did not go to hell. As to how much purgatory time I don’t as there is no time in eternity. Do you suppose God gives a person at death a chance to choose or is it too late for that.??? Read your latest MR and outside of mispelling bouquet, it was EXCELLENT. Pax.

    Comment by Mary B. Lachney — May 11, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

    • Mary:

      Did your husband pass away? If so I am so sorry for your loss. If you told me I am also sorry it didn’t register. Don’t worry about his soul, the older I get my hope tells me that God’s mercy trumps his judgment. If mortals can talk of the quality of mercy, surely He can demonstrate that on a supernatural scale. BB

      Comment by bbprof — May 12, 2012 @ 1:59 pm

  2. Some have said – and I tend to believe and grasp it. that heaven is a peaceful death. One who passes on with no regrets and fears has peace and serenity. And that is, in my mind, heaven. I don’tthink last minute “gee I’m sorry out of fear of what’s coming can trump a life bedly lived. As for purgatory I don’t know. A coin doesn’t have three sides. May have been created to comfort the survivors who loved bad people.
    Ed

    Comment by Ed — May 13, 2012 @ 12:54 pm


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About author

After graduating from Holy Cross, Bill Borst earned an MA in Asian History from St. John's University and a Ph.D in American History from St. Louis University. (1972) A former New Yorker, he taught for many years in the St. Louis area, while also hosting a weekly radio show on WGNU from 1984-2006. He currently is a regular substitute for conservative Phyllis Schlafly on KSIV radio. (1320) He is the author of two books on social history, "Liberalism: Fatal Consequences," and "The Scorpion and the Frog: A Natural Conspiracy." He just retired as the Features editor of the Mindszenty Foundation Monthly Report. In his 11 years from 2003-2013 he wrote nearly 130 essays on Catholic culture and world affairs. Many in St. Louis also know him as the "Baseball Professor," because of a course that he offered at Maryville College from 1973-74. It was arguably the first fully-accredited baseball history course in the Midwest.The author of several short books on the old St. Louis Browns, he started the St. Louis Browns Historical Society in 1984. In 2009 his first two plays were produced on the local stage. "The Last Memory of an Ol' Brownie Fan," ran six performances at the Sound Stage in Crestwood and "A Perfect Choice" ran for two performances at the Rigali Center Theater in Shrewsberry. His third play, "A Moment of Grace," ran six performances at DeSmet High School in January of 2011with First Run Theater in January of 2011. He is currently working on a 4th play, "A Family Way," which is a comedy about a happy dysfunctional family. He can reached at bbprof@sbcglobal.net

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