By Maxwell Pereira
time is a time for joy, peace and goodwill. For carols and music
remembering the One whose bithday we celebrate, of cake and wine,
of bonhomie and festivities. The mood affects all, though for
different people maybe differently.
since it coincides with the year-end, it is a time for most also
for stock taking - not necessarily of things material, but things
filial and spiritual. Among the spiritual, rarely though does
one's mind stray to thoughts of heaven and hell at this time;
but does our stock taking need to include that as well?
may be inferred from my title here that it deals simply with the
phenomena of the spiritual world and its three distinct regions.
But there is for many a deeper meaning and purpose in the concept,
in so far as it sets forth the true relations and the disordered
relations between man and man, or the heavenly life and the infernal
life as exhibited in human experience everywhere.
the western world the concept of heaven and hell and the doctrines
associated, have their origin in the great monotheistic religions
of the Abrahamic tradition - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
But with swarg, narak and moksha adequately described, it is not
alien to the Indian religions as well. For Jonathan Kvanvig in
the Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy, "the philosophical
issues surrounding the doctrines of heaven and hell have much
wider significance, since every religion promises certain benefits
to its adherents, and those benefits require by way of contrast
some costs incurred by those who do not receive those benefits".
That the philosophical issues that arise out of the vivid imagery
in western culture concerning heaven and hell arise quite naturally
in nearly any religious context, though more pressing in some.
These doctrines essentially concern the afterlife. Theological
work of recent times that denies existence beyond the grave has
sometimes included metaphorical reference to heaven and hell as
aspects of one's present earthly life, a state of the mind wanting
to retain the deep personal significance of our choices involved
in talk of heaven and hell without endorsing the substantive metaphysical
thesis of life after death. Even so, the doctrines of heaven and
hell involve a commitment to the idea of an afterlife. These doctrines
play an important social function as well. Even atheists often
hold that the doctrines ought to be taught, even if false, because
of the motivation they provide for good behavior.
And then, in a recent attempt at scientific analysis of heaven
and hell, we learn, was this question given on a University of
Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so
'profound' that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the
Internet, which is how I now have the pleasure of sharing it as
it was sent to me by a friend.
Bonus Question posed was, "Is Hell exothermic (gives off
heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?" Most students wrote
proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands
and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.
student, however, wrote "First, we need to know how the mass
of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which
souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving.
I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell,
it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving".
for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different
Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions
state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will
go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and
since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project
that all souls go to Hell. With birth and death rates as they
are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially".
we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's
Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell
to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately
as souls are added. This gives two possibilities: i) If Hell is
expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter
Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase
until all Hell breaks loose; and ii) If Hell is expanding at a
rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature
and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over". "So
which is it?"
we accept the postulate given to me by Jill during my Freshman
year that, '..it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with
you' and take into account the fact that I slept with her last
night, then number (ii) must be true, and thus I am sure that
Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over".
corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it
follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore,
extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of
a divine being which explains why, last night, Jill kept shouting
"Oh my God."
student, we are told, received the only 'A'. Stock taking, indeed!
Heaven and hell? …..well, different for different people!
28.12.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23, Gurgaon-122002.
You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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