Posts Tagged ‘hell’

Abandon hope all ye who enter here

April 5, 2014
Dante and Virgil in Hell - Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)

Dante and Virgil in Hell – Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863)

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.

— Dante

Abandon hope all ye who enter here, the words Dante finds engraved above the entrance to Hell.

Dante is lost in a forest:

In the middle of the journey of our life
I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.

To his rescue the poet Virgil, who Dante refers to as Master.

Virgil tells him, there is only one way out of the forest, he has to allow himself to be led down into the depths of Hell, through Purgatory, and then out through Heaven.

Will Dante trust him? Dante agrees.

Virgil leads Dante into the Inferno, down through the Levels of Hell, where he meets liars, cheats, deceivers, child abusers, bankers, the clergy, all being tortured in a way that fits the crime.

Inferno, is the first part of The Divine Comedy by Dante, the epic poem written by Dante now exiled from his beloved Florence.

Chilling dramatisation by BBC.

The usual crass stupidity of the BBC, less than than 17 hours left to listen to.

“I’d rather be in hell”

December 31, 2011
heaven or hell - Ken Crane

heaven or hell - Ken Crane

As soon as he died, Juan found himself in a gorgeous place, surrounded by all the comfort and beauty he had dreamed of.

A fellow dressed in white approached him and said, “You have the right to have whatever you want; any food, pleasure or amusement.”

Charmed, Juan did everything he dreamed of doing during his life. After many years of pleasures, he sought the fellow in white and asked, “I have already experienced everything I wanted. Now I need to work in order to feel useful.”

“I am sorry,” said the fellow in white, “but that is the only thing I am unable to give you. There is no work here.”

“How terrible,” Juan said annoyed, “I will spend eternity dying of boredom! I’d much rather be in hell!”

The man in white approached him and said in a low voice:

“And where do you think you are?”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Rob Bell describes something similar in his excellent book Love Wins, a world of boredom for all eternity, for many that would be hell.

Heaven is not some otherworldly place. Is that all life has to offer, we hang around waiting to go some place else?

Heaven is here on earth, it is what we choose of our life here and now. Or we turn it into hell.

We are the ones who have the choice, to turn swords into ploughshares, spears into pruning hooks, new wine will drip from the mountains, all nations, that is all colours, all races, all creeds.

But we prefer to create hell on earth.

Fundamentalists tell us that if we do not believe what they believe we will go to hell not heaven. They are of course the self-appointed chosen ones who will go to heaven.

Hell is not a mythical place. It is here on earth, we create it.

It is Rwanda. It is the nine-year-old girl raped by her mother’s boyfriend or the parish priest. It is Iraq as it descends into hell.

The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

And yet even in Iraq, as it descends into hell, the people find joy, love wins.

The Truth as Iraq descends into Hell

December 21, 2011
difference between Baghdad and the world

difference between Baghdad and the world

Last week we were told by Barack Obama, Mission Accomplished, Iraq has been left as a stable country.

US leaves behind a stable Iraq

No Mr President, simply not true!

A few days later Canon Andrew White issued the following plea:

US may be leaving us but our war is not over it is getting worse every day but we are now forgotten! We have just spent 2 hours trying to get into the Green Zone. Our badges may be the highest level but they are not working as of today, because they are American. This evening I was to take the British Embassy Carol Service. I arrive an hour and a half late we still did a shortened version. How we do our work now I just do not know, I cannot get to the US Embassy to even do our Chapel Services. We are now in a big crisis please pray for us.

Early this week, Iraq Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni, accused of links to terrorism, fled to the relative safety of Kurdistan. Accused by the Shia Prime Minister Nouri Malik, a man the Sunnis accuse of being a worse dictator than Saddam Hussein.

Iraq Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi denies charge
Iraqi VP: Baghdad trial ‘not realistic’

One would be hard pushed to find anyone in Iraq without links to terrorists.

The Saudis (Sunni) and Iranians (Shia) are stoking the fires of sectarian hate.

We have to turn once again to Canon Andrew White for the Truth:

By the time you receive this I will be back home in the UK as I write I am on the airplane now. How I would love to say that I was leaving Iraq in a good state but I cannot. Iraq is descending into one of it most major crisis in recent years. The government is on the point of collapse. The prime minister has issued an arrest warrant for the Vice President Tariq Al Hashami. He is from the largest Iraqi party. Several of his guards have been arrested and charged with terrorist activity and they have said they were just doing what the VP told them to do. What is more the VP is a friend of mine. I do not do a survey on my friends first. We are told to love all people, good and bad. So when I get back to my UK desk tonight and see on my book case a picture of the VP Tariq Al Hashami I am not going to remove it but pray that G-d’s love and His angels will surround him and may we all see soon the truth.

So as I leave things are very bad. I phoned Lina early this morning to see what the news was from Iraq. She laughed and said, “I am not like you, and we don’t have electricity how can I know the news”. All she could tell me was that she had heard lots of big bombs this morning. I there phoned friends who are senior Iraqi politicians. The news they said was so terrible. One of these friends was the person who gets the visas for the people who come in with me. He assured me that it would be impossible to bring anybody in the near future. To start with it is difficult now visas have been stopped to Westerners who are not based here and now it is just two dangerous. It is less than a week since the US Military withdrew and look what state we are in. The leader of the Mahdi Army Muqtader Al Sader said “we had to show that we Iraqis could run the country after occupation and we have already failed”.

The Sad thing is that this news is not even being told by the mass media. They were in country to cover the US Military withdrawal now they have left. Some are even on this plane with me now. So the story has also left. The only good news is that many Iraqis like Lina do not even know what is happening because their access to news is so limited as they have such little power to see or hear news. My prayer for my beloved people as I now leave them Is that they will also see the miraculous power of G-d as we did last weekend. May they also see that with G-d all things are possible.

Tomorrow I am in Leatherhead doing two Christmas Carol events with Gerald Coates, my old friend who has been one of the big church leaders in the new church movement. Then I am free until the midnight service in Bramshot that I will speak at.

Well love and blessings to you all. May you have a truly wonderful and blessed Christmas. Don’t forget the Christmas message from the Angel Gabriel “that with G-d everything is possible”.

We never were told the Truth by the Western Media, not that they necessarily deliberately lied, though often they did, but because they were holed up in the Green Zone and rarely if ever ventured out.

Now even the media is pulling out, story over, job finished.

Meanwhile less than two weeks after Mission Accomplished, Iraq descends into Hell.

All we have left is the skills of negotiators like Canon Andrew White and prayer.

As I write I have at the side of me a plaque from Iraq, given to me by Canon Andrew White.

Top story in The Books4Spain Daily (Thursday 22 December 2011).

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

November 21, 2011
Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

It was as a Galilean Jew that he befriended the poor and the despised. It was as a Galilean Jew that he thundered against the powerful and the haughty. — Howard Jacobson

Jesus was living like a good Jew, going to the synagaoge, praying and living according to the Law of Moses in his house. — Fr Eugenio Alliato, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum

Yeshua was a Jew and an observant one … He stressed Torah and love – but in this he drew upon the Jewish tradition. — Leonard Swidler, American Roman Catholic scholar

To heaven hell with Scribes and Pharisees: A priest and a rabbi take a fresh look at the Jewish religion and its leaders at the time of Jesus.

Speakers:

– Rev Marcus Braybrooke, author of Meeting Jews
– Rabbi Jackie Tabick, chair World Congress of Faiths

The Revd Marcus Braybrooke, a retired parish priest, was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his more than 40 years contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world. He is a former Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews and is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum and also President of the World Congress of Faiths, of which Jackie Tabick is the chair.

Jackie Tabick, rabbi at the North West Surrey Synagogue at Weybridge is also on the executive of the Interfaith Network. When Jackie studied medieval history at the University of London, her speciality was church history. She went on to study for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College.

A Jewish-Christian double act.

Jesus was a Jew! He was a faithful Jew, brought up in a Jewish household, adhered to the Jewish faith.

Pharisees insisted on the letter of the law, legalism.

We need a historical reappraisal of Jesus as a Jew.

From a Christian perspective, Jewishness is seen as compliance with the law.

Was Jesus a Pharisee or an Essene? He was sufficiently conversant with the law to argue with the Pharisees on equal terms.

Jesus’ arguments with the Pharisees, as reported in the Gospels, were no greater than the arguments amongst the Pharisees themselves. There were sharp differences amongst the Rabbis, for example, between Hillel and Shammai, and their respective followers. It needs also to be remembered that the Gospels were written down at least thirty years after the death of Jesus and in part reflect the growing tension between the synagogue and early church, which is clearly illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles.

On the death of Jesus and the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple, there were two main religious groupings, the followers of Jesus a Jewish sect were one. These slowly draw apart until by 134 AD they could be seen as separate and distinct.

It is worth emphasizing that the split between church and synagogue took place over a long period and only in part for theological reasons. There was no sudden break. Rather, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are two developments, drawing on similar sources in first century Judaism, which gradually moved further and further apart, rather like a couple becoming estranged, who discover that in more and more ways their lives have drifted apart. By the end of the second Jewish revolt in 134 CE, despite some remaining links, ‘Christian and Jew were clearly distinct and separate.’ Over the centuries bitterness and hostility between the two communities increased and has only begun to be reversed in the twentieth century.

Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus. This is a bit like calling all Germans Nazis.

Pontius Pilate was a cruel Roman governor. He was recalled to Rome because of his cruelty. Judaea was a troublesome province. Any hint of insurrection, a leader of a revolt claiming to be the King of the Jews, would have attracted the death penalty. The Gospels, aiming at a Roman not Jewish audience, attempt to shift the blame onto the Jews.

It was not until 1965 that the Vatican issued a statement that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah, is that how his followers saw him? Later yes, but during his lifetime no. Son of God did not mean what we think today. It was a title.

The great Jewish New Testament scholar David Flusser was once asked after a talk to a group of clergy, ‘What do you pray for when you pray for Christians?’ He replied, ‘I pray that you will be more like your Master Jesus.’

Torah should be seen as teaching not the law.

Why did Pharisees get a bad press, and this was not only from the followers of Jesus, it was also in the eyes of other Jews?

It was a period of change and turmoil, out of which rose Judaism and Christianity. There were two other great Jewish teachers apart from Jesus, but these are unknown to Christians. The Jewish teachings did not end with the Old Testament, The Torah, to be replaced by the New Testament. Jews were developing their own scriptures in parallel with the New Testament.

What is known as The Torah came out of Babylon.

The High Priests were corrupt. An understanding of Jewishness was needed outside of the Temple which was central to what it was to be a Jew.

Jewishness had to be re-invented outside of the Temple. This became even more important after the Temple was destroyed.

Synagogues existed at the time of the Temple. They were centres of learning not prayer.

It is a Jewish tradition to argue for the sake of heaven. One does so with good heart, not enmity.

Jesus argued, he was following a Jewish tradition, he was a Jew!

Pharisees and Christians become the two main groups. Pharisees could exist outside of the Temple, the High Priests no longer existed. A whole new set of sacred literature was developed.

It is self-evident Jesus was a Jew. To understand his teachings one has to place them in their first century Jewish-Roman-Greek context. Many churches fail to understand this. Jesus behaved like a Jew. He nearly always answered a question with a question. That was the Jewish way. The Gospels were written for different groups, some more Jewish than others. Often the emphasis was on the difference to separate what were two competing religious groups, each claiming their Jewish heritage.

A common heritage, Jews, Christians and Muslims. For Jews the written word is the path to God, for Christians it is through Jesus, for Muslims it is the Koran.

The Bible speaks with many voices, often contradictory voices. What cannot be found in one source can often be found in another.

We hear a lot of Islamic fundamentalists, less of Christian fundamentalists. Those who lack doubt, who do not question, are bigots. We learn by talking to people of other faiths.

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is a devout Catholic, but he recognises there are many paths to God, no one person has a monopoly. As he describes in Aleph, he questioned his faith.

The Koran tells us that God made Man of many faiths and we should respect them.

Guildford Seeking Common Ground Lecture for Interfaith Week at Trinity Centre, Holy Trinity Church, top of Guildford High Street Monday 21 November 2011.

Behold! The Jewish Jesus
Christianity: A History – Episode 1: Jesus the Jew
Oneness of Humanity and the Unity of Religion
Choosing the best road
The Bible A Biography
What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad
The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?
– Jesus Wars
Love Wins

Choosing the best road

November 21, 2011

When Abbot Antonio was asked if the road of sacrifice led to Heaven, he replied:

‘There are two such roads. The first is that of the man who mortifies his flesh and does penance because he believes that we are all damned.

‘This man feels guilty and unworthy to live a happy life.

‘He will never get anywhere because God does not inhabit guilt.

‘The second road is that of the man who knows that the world is not as perfect as we would all like it to be, but who nevertheless puts time and effort into improving the world around him.

‘In this case, the Divine Presence helps him all the time, and he will find Heaven.’

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

Love Wins

Love Wins

August 31, 2011
Love Wins - Rob Bell

Love Wins - Rob Bell

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. – 1 John 4:8

If you judge people, you have no time to love them. — Mother Teresa

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels … and though I have the gift of prophecy … and have all the faith so that I could remove mountains … and have not love, I am nothing. — Saint Paul

Pictures at an Exhibition.
A quote from Ghandi.
A note is pinned.
Ghandi is in hell.
Who says?
How do you know?
Are you sure?

If Ghandi is in hell, what hope is there for the rest of us?

If darkness is the absence of light, then evil is the lack of good.

Good cop v bad cop. God the bad cop, Jesus the good cop.

What is good, what is evil? Why are some thrown into hell, not others?

We sit in judgement on others. How do we decide what is right, what is wrong?

Why would a loving God wish to throw us into hell, see us suffer?

Those who wish to see us cast into hell, always seem to belong to the group who will be saved.

Jan Hus, a Czech religious reformer, was burnt at the stake in 1415 for heresy for offering the chalice of of communion to the laity as well as the clergy. Even today there are those who can and those who cannot accept Holy Communion.

In the Witch of Portobello, Athena is denied Holy Communion when it is learnt she is divorced. She curses the church. Jesus is portrayed outside looking in saying even He would not be welcome there.

During His life Jesus welcomed all. At the Last Supper, he offered the wine as His blood, the bread as His body.

The popular misconception of heaven is as an otherwordly place some place else where people wander around aimlessly looking lost. St Peter is a bouncer at the gate ensuring only those on a higly selective guest list gain access.

The one word to describe this heaven would be boredom. For many it would be hell.

In the Gospel of Thomas Jesus explicitly said where heaven was. It was not some place else. It was all around and within us. Seek and ye shall find.

Christians mumble some half undestood litergy. Sing His praises, but everyone else can go hang.

Do we do good to gain that much valued ticket into heaven, or should we do good because it is the right thing to do?

The Koran recognises and preaches tolerance of other religions. Those who believed in the one God and did good had a special place, theirs was the path to salvation.

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in the last Day and does good, they shall have their reward from the Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

What do I have to do to do good for eternal life, who is my neighbour? These were put to Jesus. He answered with the story of the Good Samaritan.

Dalai Lama:

I am convinced that human nature is basically affectionate and good. If our behavior follows our kind and loving nature, immense benefits will result, not only for ourselves, but also for the society to which we belong. I generally refer to this sort of love and affection as a universal religion. Everyone needs it, believers as much as non-believers. This attitude constitutes the very basis of morality.

To understand the life of Jesus and what he said, we have have to understand the first century context, the Roman-Greek-Jewish culture.

Many prophets spoke of heaven. It was not someplace else but the earth in another age, an age to come.

If our behaviour is bad now, greed, failure to care for the environment, why should it be any better in heaven? Why therefore should we be granted access to heaven?

It is what we do now, we bring heaven into our era.

Our role is as custodians of Gaia, partners with God.

The Greek word aion has two meaning. Another era or age but also a different state. Heaven was also used to mean God. There are some who even today, for example Canon Andrew White, who out of respect and awe, use G-d not God.

If our popular misconception of heaven is wrong, what of hell? Is it not a pit of burning flames and nashing of teeth into which we will be cast?

Would a loving God cast us into hell to to be tortured for all eternity for wrongs in a finite life? Worse still, because we do not believe that which fundamentalists say we must believe?

Do we not have free will? Are we not free to choose? If yes, then we have to be free to choose what we believe.

When Jesus spoke of hell he was talking of a valley outside Jerusalem where the rubbish was dumped. Fires burnt day and night to consume the rubbish, wild animals fought over the scraps of food.

Man is more than capable of creating his own man-made hell.

The trenches of World War One.
The Soviet Gulags.
Nazi death camps.
Pol Pot killing fields in Cambodia.

Hell is when we love someone, we think they love us, then they go out of their way to destroy us.

The eyes are a window into the soul. Look into the eyes of a heroin addict to get a glimpse of hell.

A paradox: Those who work hard to eliminate hell on earth seem less concerned about a mythical hell in a mythical afterlife. Those who worry about hell in the afterlife turn a blind eye to the hell here on earth.

Fundamentalists use hell to generate fear, a crude control mechanism. If anyone is to be cast in hell, they must surely be first in line.

Jews asks questions, Christians seek answers. Jesus answered questions with a question. That is the style of Rob Bell.

There are those who do not go into church for fear a thunderbolt will strike. There are those who think themselves superior to those weaklings who need a crutch. There are those who just feel uncomfortable.

Rob Bell sheds a much needed spotlight on the perversion of scripture, the damage to people’s lives by Christian fundamentalists.

Controversial? No.

Unpopular with Christian fundamentalists? Yes.

Whilst reading Love Wins, passages from The Shack kept coming to mind. Love Wins is the ideal companion to The Shack, but read The Shack first.

Aleph is a good follow on to Love Wins.

Francis Chan has written ‎Erasing Hell as a counter to Love Wins. It begs the question why?

Christians are hypocrites. They are quick to tell Muslims to put their house in order, to deal with Muslim extremists, then turn a blind eye to their own extremists and the damage they do.

Christian funadamentalits are not envoys for Christianity, on the contrary they cause a lot of harm and give Christianity a bad name.

Meddling by Christian fundamentalists in Iraq has led directly to the slaughter of Christians.

Love Wins is a breath of fresh air, Rob Bell shines a light onto the activities of Christian fundamentalists, their perversion of Scripture, the spreading of poison, the destruction of lives.

Some of the most unpleasant people I have met have been Christian fundamentalists, rude, intolerant, ignorant, lacking in grace.

What is it with evangelical Christians?
Why are evangalists such a pain in the arse?
A lack of grace

I was in the courtyard of New Mosque in the old city of Istanbul. I had an interesting discussion with three young Muslim women on whether or not the Koran demands the wearing of a headscarf. The discussion was held without rancour, in good humour. I cannot imagine a similar discussion with Christian fundamentalists.

Jesus was offered an easy route when he encountered the Devil in the desert. He declined. His disciples asked that he used his powers to gain believers. He said no.

Dostoevsky tells a story, retold by Philip Yancey and Paulo Coelho, of Jesus visiting Spain during the Inquisition. Jesus is recognised and thrown into prison. He is told he will have to be executed as he cannot be allowed to undo the good work of the Church, that he should have accepted the offer from the Devil. [see The Grand Inquisitor

Paulo Coelho in Aleph has a chilling account of the Inquisition. People were tortured to confess their sins, thrown on a fire so that flames could cleanse their unclean souls.

You cannot force people to believe. They will not believe in their souls.

Rob Bell welcomes debate and discussion. A Christian bookshop invited discussion, then censored the discussion.

Muslim fundamentalists are not brainwashed by evil clerics, they are self brainwashed. They read a book or watch a video from a Muslim bookshop, or hear something in the mosque. This changes their worldview. This worldview then filters what they see, reinforces itself. before we know it, they are on their way to a training camp in Pakistan.

It follows, Christian bookshops need to be very careful what they are promoting, that they are not on a slippery slope to hell.

We saw in Norway what happens when Christian fundamentalists have access to weapons. Slaughter of the innocents follows.

Intolerance is not a pleasant characteristic, on the other hand there are things we should not tolerate. The sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and the cover-up by the Church. The rape and pillage of the planet. The lack of clean water. Torture.

Synchronicity: I had almost finished reading Love Wins when I read The Redeemer. Much of Love Wins can be found in The Redeemer.

The Shack
Aleph

The Gates of Hell

June 28, 2011
gates of hell

gates of hell

The gates of hell are locked on the inside. — C S Lewis

Also see

Love Wins

A saint in the wrong place

April 30, 2011
heaven - Ken Crane

heaven - Ken Crane

‘Why is it that some people can resolve the most complicated problems really easily, whilst others agonize over every tiny crisis and end up drowning in a glass of water?’ I asked.

Ramesh replied by telling the following story: ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who had been the soul of kindness all his life. When he died, everyone assumed that he would go straight to Heaven, for the only possible place for a good man like him was Paradise. The man wasn’t particularly bothered about going to Heaven, but that was where he went.

Now in those days, service in heaven was not all that it might be. The reception desk was extremely inefficient, and the girl who received him gave only a cursory glance through the index cards before her and when she couldn’t find the man’s name, she sent him straight to Hell. And in Hell no one asks to check your badge or your invitation, for anyone who turns up is invited in. The man entered and stayed.

Some days later, Lucifer stormed up to the gates of Heaven to demand an explanation from St Peter. “What you’re doing is pure terrorism!” he said. St Peter asked why Lucifer was so angry, and an enraged Lucifer replied: “You sent that man down into Hell, and he’s completely undermining me! Right from the start, there he was listening to people, looking them in the eye, talking to them. And now everyone’s sharing their feelings and hugging and kissing. That’s not the sort of thing I want in Hell! Please, let him into Heaven!’

When Ramesh had finished telling the story, he looked at me fondly and said: ‘Live your life with so much love in your heart that if, by mistake, you were sent to Hell, the Devil himself would deliver you up to Paradise.’

I posted this story by Paulo Coelho last summer, but as it is such a lovely story, I have followed the example of Paulo Coelho and posted again, this time with an illustration by my good friend Ken Crane.

Another lovely story

https://keithpp.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/story-of-a-maths-teacher-and-her-small-exercise/

The world would be a better place if we all carried out random acts of kindness every day.

Even Hell can be transformed!

Heaven and Hell

November 23, 2010
old tree

old tree

A man, his horse and his dog were traveling down a road. When they were passing by a gigantic tree, a bolt of lightning struck and they all fell dead on the spot.

But the man did not realize that he had already left this world, so he went on walking with his two animals; sometimes the dead take time to understand their new condition…

The journey was very long, uphill, the sun was strong and they were covered in sweat and very thirsty. They were desperately in need of water. At a bend in the road they spotted a magnificent gateway, all in marble, which led to a square paved with blocks of gold and with a fountain in the center that spouted forth crystalline water.

The traveler went up to the man guarding the gate.

“Good morning. What is this beautiful place?”

“This is heaven.”

“How good to have reached heaven, we’re ever so thirsty.”

“You can come in and drink all you want.”

“My horse and my dog are thirsty too.”

“So sorry, but animals aren’t allowed in here.”

The man was very disappointed because his thirst was great, but he could not drink alone; he thanked the man and went on his way. After traveling a lot, they arrived exhausted at a farm whose entrance was marked with an old doorway that opened onto a tree-lined dirt road.

A man was lying down in the shadow of one of the trees, his head covered with a hat, perhaps asleep.

“Good morning,” said the traveler. “We are very thirsty – me, my horse and my dog.”

“There is a spring over in those stones,” said the man, pointing to the spot. “Drink as much as you like.”

The man, the horse and the dog went to the spring and quenched their thirst. Then the traveler went back to thank the man.

“By the way, what’s this place called?”

“Heaven.”

“Heaven? But the guard at the marble gate back there said that was heaven!”

“That’s not heaven, that’s hell.”

The traveler was puzzled.

“You’ve got to stop this! All this false information must cause enormous confusion!”

The man smiled:

“Not at all. As a matter of fact they do us a great favor. Because over there stay all those who are even capable of abandoning their best friends…”

From The Devil and Miss Prym by Pauo Coelho and reproduced on his blog.