My Inferno

If you were going to write the inferno how would it agree and disagree with that of Dante?

The idea of making up a "Hell", or inferno, is not an experience in which I, even in my wildest thoughts, had started to imagine. Call me an optimist, but the idea of imagining Hell never appealed to me. However, as I read through the Bible, I have come across many images of hell and will now attempt to create a partial picture.

As I sit imagining my inferno, I see that it would be significantly different from Dante’s inferno. I do agree that an Inferno should have stages, or circles, but fewer than that of Dante. And I do agree that the stages should be categorized by severity of actions, or sins, but I feel it more important to look at the heart of the sins instead of trying to analyze which sins were "worse". Because of my personal study, I find my worldview strikingly different then that of Dante.

In my inferno I would only have three rings set up in a similar manner to Dante\'s. (The outer rings being that of lesser magnitude than that of the center ring.) “Unknowing” would be the first and outer circle. In this area we would find people who did not get to hear the good news, and so, because not knowing is no excuse, they were condemned to Hell. (Based on Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world God\'s invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.)An example might be an African who has never heard of Christ and followed a false religion not knowing any other way.

Second, I would place those who knew yet did not follow; those that refused belief or those that only pretended to believe for their own benefit. In this place we would see both the hypocritical Christians as well as the atheists. Also included would be those that consciously chose a false religion over Christianity. Many in this category are walking among us today. We might call them the “unsaved,” or giving them the benefit of the doubt, might consider them “searching.” However, if they die without embracing the true way, if their hearts have never turned to God, they are lost. And for that reason, they have been condemned to an eternal life that is deserving and seen as fit by the Lord on high. These people might be our next-door neighbors.

Third, and definitely the most devastating, is that of public transgressions against God. The criminal element, those that feed on the innocent of the earth, those that violate the precepts of the Lord are condemned to this torturous ring. Also included are those who not only don\'t believe, but also find a way to take other brothers away from the truth. For instance, those who publicly spoke against Jesus’ teachings would be residents of this painful place. For in the inner ring we find the scum of the earth in which the evil agents of the world reside. The example of Judas comes to mind.

As far as what it would be like in the inferno I do have to say that Dante did an exceptional job of creating a world filled with pain and torture. Even so, in comparison I would create a much harsher place. Dante’s place might look like the land a land of milk and honey compared to the miserable existence bestowed upon every inhabitant of my inferno. I understand for literary purposes that there were people in every circle of Dante’s inferno that were able to stop and converse with travelers. My inferno would be on the opposite end of the spectrum in which it would be a stretch of the imagination to see another individual, much less have the ability to actually converse and discover information about today’s current events. Darkness would prevail.

In the first ring I would adopt that of Dante’s 9th circle, not for its icy coldness nor for its severity, but mostly for its isolation. The outer ring of hell is not going to be a picnic, which almost seems the case in Dante’s description. On the contrary it is going