Many in the LGBTQ community, especially those of practicing faith, are surprised when I share that hell is myth, legend and folklore. Lucifer is Halloween fun, nothing more. If I’m wrong, there will be hell to pay.
Some argue Satan’s strength comes from the spiritually bankrupt like me who deny Lucifer’s existence. Based on such logic, vampires and werewolves draw their strength from nonbelievers like me as well. Satan’s greatest strength comes from people who want to blame a fictitious being rather than take responsibility for personal missteps. If Lucifer does exist, pray for the dumb bastard’s forgiveness and let’s move on! If you don’t believe Satan can be redeemed then you don’t believe in miracles.
Faith and spirituality empower. They transcend superstition. Discernment and deepened consciousness is furthered. They teach hell is a metaphor, an allegory and something good-intentioned souls teach who are frightened of what is unknown to them.
Gerald Messadie, author of “A History of the Devil,” observed “We are all someone else’s Devil.” Throughout history Jews, women, LGBTQ and racial minorities, among others, have been someone’s demon. What the majority perceives as different is threatening. Satan is manifested in cultural insecurities.
We make our own hell. It can be denying our self the opportunity to love and be loved. Hell can be a feeling of guilt or shame because we have allowed the negative opinions of others to become our reality. In my case, hell is listening to Ethel Merman belt out show tunes with the volume turned up, suffering from prickly heat with a raw thirst, paralyzed on a deck chair in excruciatingly humid weather while musky, pungent smelling wet dogs drool on my face waiting for me to throw a ball. I’m a cat person.
Hell is not flames, sulfur and demonic creatures with pitchforks. Ask questions. Although exorcisms are still performed, why are they done in Latin, the language of the deranged Roman Emperor Caligula, and not Aramaic or Hebrew, the languages Jesus spoke? This isn’t to suggest I don’t believe in negative energy or supernatural beings, but that’s another matter.
Why is the snake respected in many cultures as wise, but maligned in the West as evil incarnate? Did Satan actually tempt and corrupt Eve with an apple? Or is this an ancient teaching story where Eve, a giver of life, and Adam, her companion, are awakened to knowledge?
Similar to usurious credit card interest rates, hell compounds daily if logic, reason and common sense are not nurtured. Historically, hell goes back 4000 years to the Land of the Dead in the pre-Christian Tigris-Euphrates valley in present-day Iraq.
One of the most primitive human approaches to spirituality existing today is duality. Good and evil. Mature spirituality is unity, wholeness and completion, not division.
It is impossible to discuss in a short column the culture, history, religion, philosophy and theology regarding hell, Satan and eternal damnation. God (meant in a gender-neutral manner) empowers, frees us from fear, casts light on superstition and shows individuals a new way of seeing themselves in this mystical, extraordinary universe.
Standing in personal truth as a Creation of the Creator in a loving, monogamous, same-gender relationship cannot get you sent to hell. Positive energy created the cosmos. You create and are solely responsible for your own paradise. Do you really think Divine Truth who created stars, planets, the cosmos, life itself, could be so petty as to send you and your spouse to hell? It would be unbecoming of Holy Magnificence.
*Paul is an author, attorney, and a seminary trained, ordained priest in greater Albany, NY. He is founder of www.CorporateChaplaincy.biz.