Grimwald’s Inferno: My Take on Hell

Just before the year ended, my friends and I had a week of nothing but fun and tequila. During one of our sessions, I was asked about my take on religion. Being intoxicated at the time, I gave them my answer.

For those who are curious, yes, I do hold religious beliefs. I am Roman Catholic by birth and  on paper. In practice and philosophy however, I follow the tenets of Gnosticism (questioning the messages fed to us by organized religion) and Christian Universalism (that God loves and will save everyone; regardless of race, religion, gender or social standing). Yes, I guess that makes me a heretic but that’s not the point here.

doomed_soulFor the non-Christian and non-religious people, I would like to apologize for the brief religious turn this article is taking but please bear with me here. I’ll get to the point soon enough. If anything, try focusing on the spirit (no pun intended) of this article instead. If you don’t agree, you can just say that I was drunk at the time and that I am now spouting nonsense.

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Anyway, I will not bore you with the details of everything I said during those hazy nights with my friends nor will I include the arguments they presented and my counter-arguments. Instead, I will focus on my take on the Afterlife or the Hereafter. The place (or places) we go to after we kick the bucket. I don’t want to make this article too long (as it already is) so I will get to the most important: My take on Hell.

The question was, why would a Good and Merciful God send people to Hell?

Good question. If I remember correctly, this was one of George Carlin’s strongest issues with the idea of God. My answer to that is simple: God doesn’t. People send themselves to Hell because of petty issues they can’t get over even after death. My idea of Hell is a lot closer to C.S. Lewis’ in his novella The Great Divorce wherein salvation is within reach of the damned but they deny it anyway.

So get ready people! Strap in and take a tour of Grimwald’s Inferno!

My take on Hell is very different from the norm. No, I don’t believe in a big underground volcanic torture chamber with Big Red Devils. If anything, I believe that Hell is an ocean, not unlike the one depicted in Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come which was adapted into a movie with Robin Williams, the one where he rescues his wife from Hell.

Hell, from my own musings, is an impossibly vast and deep black ocean inhabited by barely-glimpsed but never fully seen demonic horrors in the darkness just below the surface and souls floundering about on its impossibly tall waves and in its crushing depths. A great, unceasing storm sends hail and howling winds down unto the surface of this infernal sea with the occasional lightning strike frying anything it touches. No vessel of mortal design can ever survive this sea for more than a few moments as it would easily be torn apart by the strong winds and crushed by the colossal waves.

However, all is not lost for the souls floundering on this infernal ocean. Roaming about on powerful rescue/war (the weapons are necessary for shooting the occasional demonic sea monster)/luxury ships are religious figures like Jesus, King David, Muhammad, Buddha, Confucius, Amaterasu, Krishna, Odin, Charles Darwin, the Flying Spaghetti Monster and many, many others. These figures and their mighty ships comb the waves and depths for any lost souls wanting to be saved.

The story now focuses on a lone soul floating on the surface who has been discovered by -insert name of religious figure here-. She was once a famous woman in real life but now she’s just another naked soul floating alone and cold on the hellish sea. Their conversation is as follows:

Woman: “Great, I knew there would be a rescue. I knew that someone would come to save me from this place.”

INORFH: “That’s right, I came to save you. Now come on, get on the ship. There are a lot of people waiting for you.”

Woman: “Really? Wow, they must be my fans!”

INORFH: “Not just them. There are a lot of others too. Your parents are there, they want to talk to you. Also, there’s Gina, Morton and Jude who are waiting for you.”

Woman: “Huh? My parents. They’re not exactly the people I want to talk to. They’re the ones who killed me.”

INORFH: “Ma’am, you committed suicide. YOU killed YOURSELF.”

Woman: “But they made me do it.”

INORFH: “They tried to reach out to you, you know. They wanted to help you but you wouldn’t listen.”

Woman: “How would you know? They were always gloating to me with their success. They kept trying to take me with them on ‘family trips’ saying they wanted to cheer me up. But I think they just wanted to show me how rich they were and that they ‘pitied’ me. Well, I don’t need their pity!”

INORFH: “Gina said something about you being like this.”

Woman: “Gina. Hmph! She’s just another bitch envious of me.”

INORFH: “She was your best friend.”

Woman: “Emphasis on was. She kept flaunting her boyfriend to me and when she caught me trying to make out with him, she hit me.”

INORFH: “It’s called ‘marriage’ and ‘happiness together’, not flaunting.”

Woman: “She’s just envious! And Morton, yeah, he’s another piece of work. And he’s gay! What’s a faggot doing in Heaven? I thought they were never supposed to be accepted in Heaven. Last I heard he married a guy named Dale.”

INORFH: “Yes, he did. He and Dale started an organization dedicated to providing food and medicine to children in undeveloped parts of the world. They almost went broke sending relief goods to the Philippines when Typhoon Haiyan came around. You stopped being friends with them when you saw that they were no longer interested in parties and that they had less and less money as time went on.”

Woman: “Yeah. They were always like ‘we gotta help the kids in Africa’ or crap like that. And wait, you said the name ‘Jude’. That guy was one of the people stalking me.”

INORFH: (sighing) “Yes, the man was obsessed with you. However, he later on learned to move on with his life. He became a painter and his first recognized work was a portrait of you. He also managed to find a family of his own and be happy with what he had.”

Woman: “Know what? I don’t think I wanna go with you.”

INORFH: “Wait-what?”

Woman: “You heard me. If those are the people I expect to welcome me then never mind. I think I’ll stay here.”

INORFH: “You’re not kidding are you?”

Woman: “Nope, if those are the people in Heaven then I don’t want to go there.”

INORFH: “But you’ll be safe there and you’ll have a chance to make a meaningful relationship with those people.”

Woman: “My good-for-nothing parents, my ex-BFF Gina, that faggot Morton and that creep Jude. Nope, I think I’ll stay here.”

INORFH: (disappointed) “You’re sure.”

Woman: “Positive. Besides, they say that Michael Jackson might be around here somewhere. I just might get the chance to meet him.”

Massive engines rumbling, the great ship departs, leaving the soul, now smiling smugly to herself, behind.

The soul is completely unaware of a colossal tentacle breaking the surface of the water behind her…

Okay. There you go. I apologize again for making this article a little too religious and sermon-like.

So what was the point of this religious rant you may ask? Well, the attitude of the woman mentioned above is not really so different from quite a few Pinoys I’ve met.

I once met a woman who refused to work just because a person she hated shared the same office with her. A lot of people often prefer to be right rather than be happy. I’ve seen people abandon the opportunity to better the country simply because they don’t like the people they are working with. It’s a sad fact but self-righteousness doesn’t really make one righteous at all.

Among the seven deadly sins, the worst of them is pride because, essentially, it removes a sense of accountability and responsibility on the part of the sinner. It invites them to have a sense of entitlement (to believe that something rightfully belongs to them even if it doesn’t) and self-righteousness (to insist they are always right in a given matter).

To improve oneself, the first step is accepting one’s mistakes. We must acknowledge that we are all fallible and frail human beings with limits in order to find a way to work with and around said limits. By understanding our mistakes, we can better understand where we went wrong and , from there, make amends and make right where we went wrong.

When forced to take on a difficult situation such as working with people you don’t like, it’s best to think the following:

You’re not doing this for them anyway. This is for everyone, including you and the people around you. That you’ll be working with people you don’t like just shows that you’re willing to make mature decisions. 


24 Replies to “Grimwald’s Inferno: My Take on Hell”

    1. Yes, I know what Gnosticism entails. But if I wrote more on the subject, I think the article would just be too long and too “me-centric”, I think it already is anyway. This was as short as I could make it and my beliefs regarding the Demiurge or Yaldabaoth and the Pleroma would just make it longer.

      Seeing fundamentalists bash people who don’t share their beliefs made me consider the possibility that perhaps the God Jesus talked about and the God the fundamentalists worship are two different entities.

  1. Most western post death scenarios are those where we retain our individual personalities and carry baggage from this life to the next. It is as if our ego driven minds cannot bear the idea of oblivion. Dissolving into an energy field should be a comforting concept.

    “Drowning in the sea of love; where everyone would love to drown.”
    Fleetwood Mac

    No more suffering, no more striving, no more drama, no more hunger, no more conflict, no more fear, no more persecution, no more insanity, no more pain….

  2. The conservative biblical christian view of hell came all from Jesus Christ himself. No author in the bible spoke what hell is and is like except Jesus.. “There would be weeping and gnashing of teeth”; “where the fire is never quenched and the worms never die”. The greek word used for hell is “gahena”, like a trash dumpsite..

    The King of kings warned His listeners to fear it more than anything that can hurt the body..

    1. @bulutongboy:

      Feel free to believe whatever you want; especially if it brings you a sense of comfort. However, you may be interested in the what history says about Jesus: Of the 150 or so prominent Roman historians writing during the life of Jesus, none of them mention him. The New Testament was written 40 years after the death of Jesus by people who did not know him and never heard him say anything.

      The concept of hell that you attribute to Jesus seems to be a lot like the present day Philippines; where there are smoldering trash dumps in every vacant lot. Over population and 75 years of mismanagement have turned many areas of this once beautiful country, into Smokey Mountain. There is also plenty of weeping and gnashing of teeth by the 60% of the country that is unemployed and by those that face food insecurity on a daily basis. I guess most of the population will have to wait for the next life to fill their bellies. I guess the masses need their opium.

      1. Sorry, @SeaBea, but that’s a bit inaccurate.
        (1) Of course, the Roman historians would not have much interest on an insignificant province, like Israel, of a relatively large empire. So there is already some significance that there was even a mention of a “criminal” called Jesus by three Roman historians (one is Pliny; ..uhm, names of other two escapes me now.) Why would these three even mention a criminal from some remote area? (2) Matthew, John, James and Jude Thaddeus are authors in the NT and were eyewitnesses, in fact, they are 4 of 12 apostles. Many of the passages in the Synoptics (Matthew, Mark and Luke) are very similar that one could conclude they had sources earlier than 40 years after Jesus’ death.

        “I guess most of the population will have to wait for the next life to fill their bellies”
        Sadly, many Pinoys got their Catholicism wrong. If there is life after death, then that life has already begun here, and we are just talking about phases, and this phase will impact the next. The questions in entering the next phase are hard ones: Did you feed the hungry, did you give drink to the thirsty, did you clothe the naked, etc, and according to the bible, there are no other questions like, what was your situation, so in a sense, poverty cannot be used as an excuse.

        Yes, the starting point is accepting Christ as our saviour, but after that what? Do we just sit down and wait for kingdom come? Precisely, James said that would be an empty faith. And Paul hated such so that he said to these, let them not eat. Frankly, to be a good Catholic means a disciplined life; it can not be the easy going style of Pinoys, and that is the brutal truth. But, true happiness and joy comes from discipline, and this is very much possible even in this life, in part because there is satisfaction in accomplishment, and accomplishments build upon accomplishments — step by step, even step by small steps.

        1. Add:

          I apologize if I am incorrect. However, I got my information from many sources, including a recent graduate of Harvard Divinity School. The history became confused by the custom of the time of taking the name of a respected teacher as your own.

          I was merely responding to the previous comment that claimed that “Jesus” himself said something. It was my understanding that there is little evidence, outside of myth, that Jesus Christ, even existed.

        1. Unemployment official rate? 7.1%

          those who are not working and are looking for work? 25.4%

          those who have given up and are no longer searching for a job?
          who knows? Maybe twice as many. In my community, only 1 in 10 seems to have a job.

        1. How many times have I seen that quote used over the past year? Authors can have their fictional characters talk trash about any destination worldwide, but when that happens to be the Philippines, it can never be forgotten.

          I learned recently that some Pinoys apparently hate actress Teri Hatcher because of something her scripted character said on a TV show 10 years ago. I guess these things touch a nerve.

  3. OMG…Grimwald’s Inferno is a parallel to Dante’s Inferno. If Hell exists; you will find many Filipino politicians there; they committed the sins of: greed, lust, thievery, murder, etc…

    Gnostic belief was refreshed, when twelve leather-bound papyrus Codices, sealed in a jar, were found by a farmer in the Egyptian Town of Nag Hammadi.

    Codex I:

    (1) The Prayer of Apostle Paul.
    (2) The Apocryphon of James
    (3) The Gospel of Truth
    (4) The Treatise on the Resurrection
    (5) The Tripartite Tractate

    Codex II…Codex III…etc…There is also a Gospel: “Exegesis on the Soul”, the purpose is to teach the soul of a woman, that fell from perfection to prostitution, and that the “Father” will elevate her again to her original perfect state.

    If you believe that Hell exist…I respect it.
    If Heaven exist…it’s okay also…whatever you believe…as long as you don’t go on murdering innocent people, to go to Paradise and have sex with 72 Virgins…

    1. Really? Well, I guess it’s true that a lot of politicians are going to end up in that black ocean I was talking about…

      But about that last…

      I don’t want 72 virgins. If there’s a restaurant in Heaven and I have a lot of money there, I’m just going to treat them to a meal. Now get me at least ONE EXPERIENCED WOMAN and now THAT’s my definition of Heaven!

  4. Interesting article…

    my 2 cents..

    life is The Hell and our job here is to recognize what Life truly is, find out how to leave and leave by choice so we can get to heaven.
    If we cant, we live, we die and get reincarnated again and again….

    kinda Nihilistic, I know…

  5. Essence of gnosticism? Look in the mirror and if you can see God then you know the essence of Gnosticism.

    Simply put: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

    In gnosticism, as I understand it, heaven and hell are states of being. It is a matter of knowing oneself to reach enlightenment. Good stuff! This takes me back to the days when I was very much into religion and spirituality. But now personally I consider myself more of an agnostic or a believer in the non-theistic form of god. But to each his own, I suppose.

    1. My understanding of gnosticism (from Greek gnosis ~ knowledge, mystical) is that what is good is only that which is spiritual; that which is material is bad. So, yes, it is a matter of knowing oneself to reach enlightenment. It branches to various variations of that basic. One branch which is presently very active these days is New Age, which is a refinement of Pantheism. The largest form of Pantheism is Hinduism. The god in pantheism is the the totality of the universe, so the spiritual are the powers immanent within the universe. So, enlightment is the seeking of that power from within and alingning that with the power and energy dominant in the universe.

      All are heresies to Catholicism which consider both material and spiritual as both good since all these were created by God. God of Catholicism is also both transcedent and immanent at the same time, though he is not of time and space, since He is infinite.

      I think all religions think of heaven and hell as states of being since they are no longer of the time and space dimensions. We are given a preview of heaven at the height of a sexual coitus when time and space seem to disappear even for a brief moment. It has something to do with getting to know in the most intimate way the other. But, it will always be imperfect because the other is human who is imperfect, and the process of knowing is also imperfect because the one doing the knowing is also imperfect. So, heaven is just getting to know the Perfect – and he is not god if he is not perfect. And, we have to enter into a phase, or be transformed into a state, where even as a human we are capable of knowing in a perfect manner. But, all will be satisfied for their cups will be filled with good things except that some will have big cups; other, small. it is in this phase of life within time and space dimensions that we make our cups either bigger or smaller. Hell is simply our complete rejection, knowingly and willingly at a 100% level, of God, or that who is perfect, or the Ipsum Esse Subsistens.

      1. From Prof. Albert Einstein’s , Theory of Relativity; it had been proven that Time is Relative; and Space is Curved…

  6. HAHAHA. I think this is a very clever piece, Grimwald! I like your style. I mean I understand why people would misunderstand this and venture out into other subject(s) of interest. But yeah it’s amazing how you go around tackling the subject. A bit long-winded, yes, but, in my opinion, effective.

    Wonder who would take the “wake up” call. If there would be anyone at all I’d be very surprised.

  7. @Grimwald

    On their deathbeds, satanist Aleister Crowley, atheists Einstein and Darwin asked about hell. In life, no matter who and what you are, when death is at your door you will ask the same question.

    Mans quest for the “truth” comes in different packages. Gnosticism is a knowledge based religion. Catholism is religion based. Catholics believe their religion plus good deeds is their ticket to heaven. Christianity believes salvation is a gift. No matter where you are in your search for the truth, heaven or hell will be in that search.

    Your take of a hell inhabited by demons and monsters are childlike. Hell is where you will find your love ones, friends or people you idolized crying and suffering in that eternal fire.

    1. Now you know the stuff I say that I’m drunk.

      Anyway, my vision of Hell is more complicated than that but I shortened it because I think the article is already too long. Besides, that’s not the point of the article. It isn’t entirely about my take on Hell, but how some people might choose Hell over Heaven.

      It’s more about how some people in the Philippines choose to keep our society stagnant and corrupt rather than choose a new option that could drastically change it for the better. It’s similar to how the people in Hell in C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce would prefer not to stay in Heaven or the three people in “No Exit” not daring to leave the room they are trapped in.

  8. The wisdom of men is foolishness to God- Isaiah 55:8,9 “For my thought are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares The Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than yours. Proverbs 1:7 The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom.; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. John 20:29 “Blessed is he who has not seen, but believes anyway.” Matthew 13:15 “For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with the hearts and turn, so that I should heal them. Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him (His presence), and He shall direct your paths. Ephesians 4:18 being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of their hardness of their heart; Proverbs 28:14 How blessed is the man who fears always, but he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Psalm 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him All his thoughts are, The ultimate and severest consequences of sin is death. Romans 6:23. Galatians 6:7 “do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. “The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction Galatians 6:8. The consequences of suppressing the truth is that God gives the sinner over to “sinful desires of their hearts,” “shameful lusts, and “depraved mind” Romans 1:24,26,28. This means that God may allow the sinner to serve as his own god and to reap the destruction of his body and soul. God has made it clear that “the soul who sins will die” Ezekiel 18:4

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