Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"Hellbound?" looks at the "wrong side" of life after death? Is it reversible? Not without forgiveness and even love

Hellbound?” (by Kevin Miller) presents, mostly through interviews, the question as to whether Hell is real and whether God really does condemn many people to it for all eternity. 

The film opens on the site of the 9/11 attacks at the World Trade Center and interviews various individuals as to the religious significance of the tragedy.  The tackiest answers come from demonstrators from the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, NS, who claim that 9/11 is God’s punishment for tolerating homosexuality.  Soon the film shifts to interviewing much more credible people.  A screenwriting professor says that a script or a movie plot is about choices, and that a choice has no consequences, then life has no meaning.  One of his students says that we are all living in a narrative. Later there is a lot of debate over universalism and its position on whether everyone is eventually saved. 
The DVD includes interviews with a lot of pastors, including a final segment called “To Hell and Back”, where two people describe near death experiences where they are shown eternal fire.  One describes going through a long tunnel down to a pit of fire, and being greeted my monsters and stench.  But he got a second chance. 
The film can be rented legally on YouTube for $3.99. 
I think a feature or longer short that could show what it might be like to come back could be interesting,  Goran Dukic’s “Wristcutters: A Love Story” (2006) puts a young man (Patrick Fugit) through a “purgatory” experience where the world looks familiar but doesn’t work quite right, after a suicide attempt, and this was a most interesting film.  I think “Jacob’s Ladder” (1990) where a soldier wounded in Vietnam tries to resist death by living a whole life in visions is interesting.

I has found in recent years that dealing with adversity caused by the actions (or inactions) of others can be more challenging emotionally than accepting responsibility for one’s own acts.  Especially daunting is the expectation to make others “all right” with unwanted emotional involvement. One gets into a position where consequences and results are absolute, regardless of “fault”.   Yet, without some flexibility in this direction, without love, and without forgiveness, one will share the karma and cost of other people’s issues in the afterlife as well as one’s own.  That’s how it seems to me.  

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