Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hell Discovered: Nearby on Venus

Fire and brimstone. Terrible flames of Hell! Burning for eternity! Sinners: repent!

That surely scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. Though an Eskimo or Inuit kid might think that the place might not be all that bad. I recall a classmate asking sister, "How can a person burn forever? Fire usually burns everything to cinders." Her answer was cold and calculated: 'God keeps you alive to suffer every minute of eternity because you were bad little boys!" We all quickly took out hands out of our pockets at that statement.

Another question perennially asked: where is Hell? 'Down there,' was the common answer given during the flat-earth time. Of course, Heaven was 'up there,' pointing. Opposites, naturally. When the roundness of Earth was finally recognized by church leaders, both locations became more nebulous. Their locations were ' a mystery' that would be revealed to us at the moment of death.

Now, however, it looks like scientists have found the location of Hell: it is, strangely ironic on Venus, the goddess of love. The 2nd brightest object in the nightly sky. "Venus May Be Earth's Hellish Twin" is the name of an article which begins, "while Earth is a haven for life, Venus is typically described as hellish, with a crushing atmosphere holding choking clouds of sulfuric acid over a rocky desert surface hot enough to melt lead.

The image of Venezuelan President Chavez sniffing the air at the U.N., smelling sulphur and saying, "El Diablo!" referring to George Bush's appearance at that very podium, comes to mind. For some reason, sulphur has a bad rap. Sulphur, also known as brimstone, has been associated with Hell and that unpleasant afterlife. In the New Testament, Hell is described as a "lake that burns with fire and brimstone".

Indeed. Sorry, goddess of love, you and that Roman god of war ought to have traded names.

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