Well, I hope the title of this post has captured your attention for the next minute or so.
Whatever you conceive it to be, hell does exist all right! It may be an ever-burning everlasting fire mixed with the acrid smell of burning flesh and sulphur. Or it may be just a state of consciousness in the total absence of God’s presence and love.
When I was at school, many moons ago, a schoolboy described hell as being upside-down for eternity in a pile of manure. Now, there’s an image you’d probably never thought of.
And as sure as hell exists we can be certain that the devil exists too.
He is not just a euphemism for evil, wickedness and wrong-doings. He is a living being, with us here and now, every day, and intent on the destructions of souls.
As Christians we cannot possibly believe in God and not believe in the devil. Yet, sadly for us, and fortunately for him, he has been cleverly air-brushed away from our sermons and our churches and our lives.
When is the last time you heard a sermon on Sunday about the dangers of the devil? I haven’t for at least a lifetime!
Yet, the devil belongs to the priest’s sermon as surely as God does.
You wouldn’t expect to drive on a perilous road without any warning signs of sharp bends, steep hills, and blind corners, would you? Yet we seem happy to live our lives oblivious of the very existence of a cunning and dangerous enemy ever eager to lead us to damnation when we least expect it.
There are indeed people who believe in the devil to the point of worshipping him. Whilst I cannot understand why anyone should wish to do so, at least I acknowledge their honesty in so doing; which is more honest than the millions of so-called Christians who attend church every Sunday yet don’t know exactly what to believe.
In December 2007, I understand, the Pope issued a directive to the Church to train and appoint priest exorcists in every Diocese to combat the spread of Satanism.
Well, at least he believes in the devil and is prepared to do something about it.
Has this message reached all priests I wonder? And if it hasn’t, then surely it is evidence of the success of the devil himself.
Perhaps we should all ask our priests about this Pope’s message!
I don’t know whether we have an exorcist priest in our Diocese. Do you know about yours?
Has the Church globally heeded the Pope’s warning and taken any action?
More pertinent point, do our priests everywhere, regardless of denomination, actually believe in the existence of the devil as a living being; or do they espouse the milder euphemism of what he represents?
Or are there millions of Christians everywhere sleep-walking their way into hell?