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God Empties Hell

By Carl S ~

This morning, by divine decree and without explanation or apology, God announced that he has emptied Hell. “It's time has been long overdue,” he said. “Enough is enough. Tell NASA and the ESA to keep their telescopes focused on Venus. They'll notice that the planet is cooling rapidly. And by the way, to anybody who was paying attention, this announcement should not be surprising: After all, nearly 2600 years ago, my prophet Zarathustra told everyone that Hell wouldn't last forever.”

Spectators remarked that CNN should have been there, as they were for the fall of the Berlin wall, with cameras recording this joyful event of millions leaving, destined for Purgatory or Heaven. “There’s plenty of room in Heaven,” said God. “I have many mansions here, but not for these people. Mansions or not, welcome!” And contrary to opinion, atheists and agnostics have always been in Heaven. “I have to be realistic; If I was a human being, I wouldn't accept the existence of deities, including myself, with no evidence either,” declared God.

When prompted as to why he had this sudden and unexpected change of heart, God referred to the petitions of his first-born son (his other sons, cited in Genesis 6, v. 2, didn't dare question him), over eons, to eliminate Hell because, he said, “How can you continue allowing your spokesmen to say your mercy lasts forever when Hell lasts forever?” (Usually I'd say to him, “It is what it is.”) Then my son would threaten me, saying, “Be really merciful, because if you don't do something about this, I'm going back to Earth and get a vote on it, for Christ's sake!”

So it got hard to ignore a beloved son nearly as smart as him. Then after a while, God thought about other things the son said that, on reflection, made sense. He had to admit that the Flood itself was a mistake. (Genesis 20, v.21). He started to consider the fact he shouldn't have allowed his son to be tortured to death just to get forgiveness his father could have given by fiat. (Oops!)

And now God says, “Purgatory. That's what it's going to be. It was my first option, and it's my final answer. No more frightening or terrorizing the little children with hellfire. No more using Hell as a deterrent. It's unworkable. Clergy abuse their status by bringing it up, playing it as a trump card to control the unthinking worshipers. Two thousand years of this! Rewrite the books. Enough, already.”

“Without a Hell”, said God, ”humans will just have to continue pursuing justice for each other. They’ve been pretty successful so far, and they keep getting better. They discovered the DNA kept hidden from them since the beginning of time, for instance. At least their systems keep perpetrators off the street and others safe from them; something Hell or high water or me hasn't deterred. I'll give those perpetrators who escape justice a good stint in Purgatory. This will have to be consolation enough for those good believers who say they will their enemies to 'rot in hell.’ Believe me, Purgatory won't be Hell, but it won’t be any Sunday picnic, either. I'll fine tune that later.”

With these words, God left the podium. On his way out, he turned and said, “And by the way, I look forward to having little Hitler nearby when he arrives. Even with time served, he has a long way to go. He's doing one year per each person he's responsible for killing. Still, you must admit, he brought out the goodness in people, too. Waiting for him already seems like an eternity.”

Lordy lordy, mercy at last.

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