Robet Bell's much publicized book, Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived, has been the stuff of hot debate in recent weeks. In short, he has decided that the doctrine of Hell is wrong. When people ask why I moved to the historic Christian faith of the Catholic/Orthodox traditions, I give you Robert Bell. Protestantism suffers from the fundamental flaw: Who gets to say what the eternal truths of the universe are? I'm not talking new moral teachings or reflections on old ethical standards, some of which can, in all honesty, be informed by new revelations and discoveries and insights in the course of human history. I'm talking a fundamental building block of the Faith itself. Bell has said hell just isn't what it used to be. And I defy any traditional Protestant minister who disagrees to explain by what authority he or she disagrees.
And yet, when this debate hits the MSM, you get pieces like this one over at TIME.com. Basically TIME, in this case featuring Bill Saporito, illustrates the time honored proverb that the press understands less about religion than donkeys do about physics. The 'article' falls back on the old skeptic's stereotype that religion is all about people using hell to scare folks into their pews so that someone can live the high life most people only dream about. Really. Read the article. According to TIME, the only reason the doctrine of hell exists is to scare people into giving money. Sometimes I wish journalists would just go away, but then we need someone to tell us what Lindsay Lohan is up to.
For my part, I ignore just about anything the media has to say about religion, unless it's an actual live interview with a religions leader. And then I take it at half face value. By the way, we all know about Blaise Pascal's famous mathematical preference for believing in God. That doesn't mean the doctrine came from Pascal's calculator. And speaking of using doctrines to make money, maybe next time we can examine some media outlets deliberately promoting false data and information in order to increase dwindling readerships.