It’s not going to be fine. In fact, it’s going to be great, because there is no way you’ll burn in hell after you die. This is, if you weren’t aware, the good news of Universalism. We are not quite sure what will happen after you die, except for one thing – you won’t burn in hell. We used to debate whether you could burn in hell for maybe 5,000 years for lying and 10,000 years for stealing before you eventually were reconciled with God and ultimately went to heaven…but then realized that God does not play such games. God’s love is so big and so strong that there just isn’t hell after you die. Only heaven. No matter what you did on Earth, you are accepted into God’s love. That’s the message of Universalism, 150 years ago.
People always ask, ok, if there is no hell, then how are people going to be good now? What is the point of being a good person today if there is no eternal damnation? Well, that’s the trick. There is no hell after you die, of this we’re sure, but there is definitely hell on Earth. Many of us have lived through it. Hell is people knowing better but doing wrong. Hell is war, poverty, racism, environmental destruction, and hating people who don’t act like us. Hell is also when a society doesn’t care about other societies because what happens *over there* doesn’t affect them *over here*. So they’re not actively hurting anyone or hurting the environment, they just don’t care. Surely, apathy is on of the most apt names for the devil.
Here’s the silver lining: if hell is here, it’s something we can do about. We choose to care. We work against the things that make others suffer. We overcome hate with love, greed with fairness, bigotry with an open heart, war with peace, poverty with abundance. Rooted in the belief of transcendent love that forever vanquished the fires of hell, we’ve worked for centuries to ensure that every person, here and now, feels loved, appreciated, and cared for. We’ve taken this christian idea and like sunshine, made it go everywhere to all peoples from all walks of life. We know that it doesn’t happen by praying for it, it happens by us working for it. Some say that we are God’s hands and hearts in the world, and some say the experience of this life is the only thing we are sure of, so we had better make sure it is a good one for ourselves and all those around us. To be a part of our faith tradition is to say that it is our job to love the hell out of this world.