After publishing my previous post, I realised that a third of the world’s population probably don’t even believe Hell exists… So might be thinking, “Why bother thinking about it, let alone reforming it??”
Two points come to mind.
First, what people believe can affect those around them. This is becoming ever more apparent in our increasingly globalised world. An extreme example is someone who believes blowing themselves up in a crowded place will earn themselves a spot in Paradise. You probably think that’s a ridiculous thing to believe but the fact someone else believes it still affects you, even if only indirectly1.
Second, I’m sure I’m mistaken about many things in life. That the majority of people throughout history probably did/do believe in some sort of Hell2, should make us all pause. It’s just possible you might be wrong about what happens after you die.
In both cases, I think it’s better to engage with the issue – even if you think it’s only a hypothetical thought experiment—rather than simply ignoring it. We may not radically, or rapidly, change the other’s view but we might reform/improve it a little, and influence those quietly following the discussion.
1. For example, the tightening of security at airports or the storing of your data by corporations and governments.
2. In this case, I’m speaking broadly of any negative fate of people after death, so including beliefs, such as annihilationism, where people cease to exist.