In his May 27 letter, Scott Mintz cites three Gospel verses that appear to cast Jesus as a “dictator” who threatens people with “torture chambers” if they don’t “fall in line.” Mintz fails to mention that all three verses appear in Jesus’ parables, which are metaphorical, not literal, descriptions of religious truths.
The Catholic Church Catechism, No. 1057) understands hell’s principal punishment to be eternal separation from God — not so much a fire. It’s a spiritual state resulting from one’s choices in life. God condemns or tortures no one. As we are physical beings, Jesus described eternal separation from God in graphic ways that would register with us. This is no more “totalitarian” than a mother telling a child not to play in traffic.
On the contrary, to warn us of what happens if we choose to keep God out of our lives is very charitable and loving.
Mintz claims that Biblical love does not coincide with modern views of love. He does this by conveniently omitting Bible verses that don’t suit his purposes. The Gospels tell us, for instance, to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love and pray for even our enemies, and to love God with everything we have.
As for “cultures that evolved outside the Christian sphere,” Mintz should not imply that those with no way of knowing about Christ are, in Christianity’s eyes, bound for hell. Instead, he should read what the Catholic Catechism (No. 847) says on the subject — if he’s willing to at least hear what the church actually has to say.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.