Do you want to live forever? Are you sure? Now if you are the careful sort, you will want to know what forever is like before you answer the question. If it involves living forever in Dante’s inferno—the traditional hell of Christian theology—then your answer will probably be
No thanks, I’ll take oblivion.
On the other hand, if it involves heaven, you will probably want to go for that—although it has been observed that some of the traditional ideas of heaven sound a little boring. Now I don’t mean to be flippant about this, but I do think it is okay to stop and think about some of these ideas once in a while.
We are asked to believe that God is patient, quick to forgive, slow to anger, gentle, kind, and loving. And then we are asked to believe that he consigns certain people to an eternity of torment. So how did we get ourselves into this mess?