Larry Mullins

May 10, 2011

Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly and Billy Graham: Hell is not Real

Filed under: psychology,religion,values — Tags: , , , , , , — LarryMullins @ 10:09 am

Dear Mr. O’Reilly and Peverend Graham:

Open Letter to Bill O’Reilly and Billy Graham: Hell is not Real

 

Dear Mr. O’Reilly and Reverend Graham:

Hell is a state of nonbeing. This state is the opposite of reality.

When I was a kid one of my Catholic friends assured me that hell is a real place where evil people go. The nuns told him. “It’s like when you burn your finger,” my friend said. “You know how bad that feels? But it’s like your whole body is burning forever and ever.” Even as an immature child I could not believe God would do such a thing to one of his wayward creatures.

Mr. O’Reilly, you had a minister on your program who tried to explain to you that hell is not a material place where evil people go. But you interrupted him so much that he never really got to explain what he meant. You seemed to believe that if there is no material hell then Hitler, and Stalin, and Osama ben Laden are in heaven. But nobody believes that. And Reverend Graham, you wrote in your newspaper column that hell is “very real.” Then you quoted the Bible as saying that people in hell are: “shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.” I agree with this, and isn’t “being shut out from the presence of the Lord” like being shut out from the most real of all realities?

You see, God is “the most inescapable of all presences, the most real of all facts, the most living of all truths, the most loving of all friends, the most divine of all values.” Being all these things, he is also “the most certain of all universe experience.” How can one be totally denied of this reality unless one ceases to be? The reality of being is the greatest gift the Creator has given us. The situation of total nonbeing is tantamount to annihilation.

St. Augustine had an ingenious way of explaining this. He would ask his students, “Would you rather have a beautiful pearl or a mouse?” The answer was always the same, of course, because we would all rather have the valuable pearl than the mouse. Then he would ask, “Would you rather be a beautiful pearl or a mouse?” The answer changed at that point. A mouse, limited as it is, has more being, more power to act than a lifeless pearl. Absolute nonbeing is OK for a pearl. But for a human being, it is an unthinkable disaster. And this state of nonbeing is the fate of those who choose to resolutely and finally deny the ultimate reality of God. We are punished by our sins, not for them.

The more we distance from God, the less real we become. The more we express those things that are true, beautiful and good, the more real we become. Those who embrace evil and iniquity move toward cosmic insanity, the threshold of the ultimate hell. Who are these lost souls? Jesus taught us, “by their fruits shall you know them.” Yet he also said regarding individuals: “Judge not.” So, we can certainly judge the act, but better not to speculate upon the fate of the sinner; leave that judgment to God.

Eventually, if in the wisdom of God a soul is unsalvageable, it becomes as if it had never been. This is not revenge. It is rather that the personality (the keeper of the soul) has chosen not to be.

LARRY MULLINS