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    11 Apr '12 20:284 edits
    Cardinal George Pell of the RCC in Australia in the debate with Richard Dawkins recounts a story where he "proves" the existence of hell to a young boy.

    Seems like both Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell doesn't exist for the Hitler's of the world. He also seems to simultaneously hold the contradictory postion that he hopes that "nobody is there".

    His belief seems a product of a fear so intense that it has rendered him incapable of rational thought on this issue. Does anyone see it differently?

    Should he be instilling this fear into a child?

    RICHARD DAWKINS: ...What I think is not okay, what I think is deeply immoral, is to tell a child that when she dies if she's not good she's going to go to hell. That seems to me to be mental child abuse and an utter disgrace.

    GEORGE PELL: [I remember when I was in England we were preparing some young English boys] for the first communion and they were very patriotic young lads and one of them announced very breezily to me that he didn't believe in hell and I mean certainly the idea of any child being sent to hell, I agree that that is grotesque and that’s not the Christian God but, anyhow, I said to this kid - I said simply "Hitler. You think Hitler might be in hell? Started the Second World War, caused the death of 50 million or would you prefer a system where Hitler got away with it for free?" Anyhow the little kid was quite patriotic and he said, “Mm.” He realised hell was in with a chance if Hitler was going to go there.

    TONY JONES: What about a system where he was obliterated and didn't exist anymore?

    GEORGE PELL: Well, he would have got away with too much, as far as I am concerned.

    TONY JONES: So you actually - well, prefer the idea of hell as a place of punishment for - but for who? Where do you draw the line? Do unbelievers go to hell?

    GEORGE PELL: No. No. No. The only people - well, one - I hope nobody is in hell. We Catholics generally believe that there is a hell. I hope nobody is there. I certainly believe in a place of purification. I think it will be like getting up in the morning and you throw the curtains back and the light is just too much. God's light would be too much for us. But I believe on behalf of the innocent victims in history that the scales of justice should work out. And if they don't, life is radically unjust, the law of the jungle prevails.
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    11 Apr '12 20:46
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Cardinal George Pell of the RCC in Australia in the debate with Richard Dawkins recounts a story where he "proves" the existence of hell to a young boy.

    Seems like both Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell doesn't exist for the Hitler's of the world. He also seems to simultaneously hold the c ...[text shortened]... f they don't, life is radically unjust, the law of the jungle prevails.[/quote]
    Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory. While a Catholic must hold that hell exists for the unrepentant who die in a state of mortal sin, he may still hope that each person reconciles himself to God at the moment of death and therefore escapes hell.

    I don't see how anything in the Cardinal's story could have terrified the boy. There was no graphic image of Hitler tormented by flames. In fact, he optimistically hopes that no one is there and at least minimises hell as a place for Hitlers rather than children like the one he was speaking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left in terrible fear of hell.
  3. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Apr '12 20:51
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Cardinal George Pell of the RCC in Australia in the debate with Richard Dawkins recounts a story where he "proves" the existence of hell to a young boy.

    Seems like both Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell doesn't exist for the Hitler's of the world. He also seems to simultaneously hold the c ...[text shortened]... f they don't, life is radically unjust, the law of the jungle prevails.[/quote]
    He could have just given the standard RCC line of baptism, avoidance of mortal sin, etc. in answer to the last question. It sounds like he is very confused about the doctrine of Hell. I tend to agree that his fear has obscured rationality.
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    11 Apr '12 20:55
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    He could have just given the standard RCC line of baptism, avoidance of mortal sin, etc. in answer to the last question. It sounds like he is very confused about the doctrine of Hell. I tend to agree that his fear has obscured rationality.
    I see nothing in Cardinal Pell's statement which contradicts Catholic dogma.
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    11 Apr '12 20:56
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory. While a Catholic must hold that hell exists for the unrepentant who die in a state of mortal sin, he may still hope that each person reconciles himself to God at the moment of death and therefore escapes hell.

    ...[text shortened]... aking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left in terrible fear of hell.
    Yes, technically there is no contradiction in believing in a hell and hoping no one is in it, but isn't that an obvious false hope? Look at the words of Jesus on eternal punishment and the Book of Revelation. Clearly, there are going to be people in Hell.
  6. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Apr '12 20:57
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I see nothing in Cardinal Pell's statement which contradicts Catholic dogma.
    I never said he did.
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    11 Apr '12 21:001 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit
    I never said he did.
    I'm sorry. I assumed that is what you meant when you said he was confused about the doctrine of Hell. Presumably what you meant is that he is confused not about the Catholic doctrine of Hell (which is ultimately what he represents) but about your doctrine. I don't see confusion here as much as difference of opinion.
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    11 Apr '12 21:18
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory. While a Catholic must hold that hell exists for the unrepentant who die in a state of mortal sin, he may still hope that each person reconciles himself to God at the moment of death and therefore escapes hell.

    ...[text shortened]... aking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left in terrible fear of hell.
    Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory.

    You've created a straw man. That isn't the contradiction.

    Reread what I wrote:
    Seems like both Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell doesn't exist for the Hitler's of the world. He also seems to simultaneously hold the contradictory postion that he hopes that "nobody is there".


    Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell doesn't exist for the Hitler's of the world. Pell does not want to believe in a "system where Hitler got away with it for free". Pell does not want to believe in a system "where [Hitler] was obliterated and didn't exist anymore" because "he would have got away with too much". Hitler did exist. Pell wants to believe that hell exists for the Hitler's of the world.
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    11 Apr '12 21:21
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    [b]Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory.

    You've created a straw man. That isn't the contradiction.

    Reread what I wrote:
    [quote]Seems like both Pell's argument and belief are based upon the idea that life would be "radically unjust" if hell ...[text shortened]... ist. Pell wants to believe that hell exists for the Hitler's of the world.[/b]
    I hope nobody is there. I certainly believe in a place of purification.
    .
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    11 Apr '12 21:27
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I hope nobody is there. I certainly believe in a place of purification.
    .
    Yes, and yet "Pell wants to believe that hell exists for the Hitler's of the world."
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    11 Apr '12 21:31
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    Cardinal Pell is not unique in believing in the existence of hell and hoping that no one is indeed present in hell. These are not contradictory. While a Catholic must hold that hell exists for the unrepentant who die in a state of mortal sin, he may still hope that each person reconciles himself to God at the moment of death and therefore escapes hell.

    ...[text shortened]... aking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left in terrible fear of hell.
    I don't see how anything in the Cardinal's story could have terrified the boy. There was no graphic image of Hitler tormented by flames. In fact, he optimistically hopes that no one is there and at least minimises hell as a place for Hitlers rather than children like the one he was speaking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left in terrible fear of hell.

    Yet another straw man.

    Reread what I wrote:
    "His belief seems a product of a fear so intense that it has rendered him incapable of rational thought on this issue...

    Should he be instilling this fear into a child?"
  12. Standard memberSwissGambit
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    11 Apr '12 22:18
    Originally posted by Conrau K
    I'm sorry. I assumed that is what you meant when you said he was confused about the doctrine of Hell. Presumably what you meant is that he is confused not about the Catholic doctrine of Hell (which is ultimately what he represents) but about your doctrine. I don't see confusion here as much as difference of opinion.
    I'm an atheist and as such I tend not to believe in things like hell. 🙂

    I'm sure he knows the official church position on Hell. However, his internal confusion is evidenced by the two statements:

    1) Hitler deserves to go to Hell.
    2) I hope nobody is in Hell.

    I'm being generous by not calling this a contradiction. Aren't these two statements just incoherent? He may know the official church position, but he doesn't understand the reasoning behind it.
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    11 Apr '12 22:591 edit
    Originally posted by SwissGambit

    1) Hitler deserves to go to Hell.
    I don't think he asserts that. He says it would be unjust if Hitler 'got off free' and that if anyone were a deserving candidate, Hitler would certainly be him. I think what Pell is saying is something like, 'For those who think Hell is an abominable doctrine, don't you think Hitler deserves it? For the sake of Christian charity, however, let's hope he isn't in Hell but has been reconciled to God through Purgatory.'
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    11 Apr '12 23:00
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    [b]I don't see how anything in the Cardinal's story could have terrified the boy. There was no graphic image of Hitler tormented by flames. In fact, he optimistically hopes that no one is there and at least minimises hell as a place for Hitlers rather than children like the one he was speaking to. Nothing in the story suggests that the boy would have left ...[text shortened]... le of rational thought on this issue...

    Should he be instilling this fear into a child?"
    How is he instilling fear?
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    11 Apr '12 23:14
    Originally posted by ThinkOfOne
    Yes, and yet "Pell wants to believe that hell exists for the Hitler's of the world."
    The point Pell makes is simply that gravely evil deeds should not be unpunished. If Hell exists, it is precisely for the Hitlers of the world (although Pell would have to admit much less grave sins are damnable too according to Catholic doctrine) but out of charity he can hope that reparation is achieved alternatively through purgation.
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