How Hitler and Judas could end up in heaven

In certain schools of Christian thought, hell is not everlasting, but a more painful form of purgatory

Even the treachery of Judas could be purged in hell.
(Image credit: (iStock))

Many Christians presume that hell is a place where brutally painful punishments are inflicted on evildoers for an indefinite, and perhaps infinite, amount of time in the afterlife. Think of a medieval torture chamber with no exit — or fire extinguishers.

But this, as I argued in a recent column, makes no theological sense. If morality is good, then doing the right thing must be its own reward and doing the wrong thing must be its own punishment. To think that a sinner deserves extra, externally imposed suffering presumes that morality isn't good and that those who commit evil deeds benefit from their actions — which is another way of saying that those who do the right thing are fools.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us