Right now I am going through my own personal hell — I go on vacation and when I return I fall victim to “the sick” with overall body aches and a stuffed nose that makes staying alive while sleeping difficult because I can’t breathe.

I’d like to say this experience has prompted this post, but this post has been percolating in my mind for a while — my current health has only given me reason to write this post now.

I really don’t know what got me thinking about the idea of hell. Then again, I don’t know what makes me think of a lot of things.

When a lot of people think of hell, they tend to picture a network of caves and pits of fire and burning and a lot of heat. And there are also a lot of goat-human hybrid creatures with pitchforks — devils, basically.

The idea is all that hell fire is designed to make people suffer for their purported sins for all eternity.

But I question whether such an arrangement would truly be effective to cause the most suffering.

Don’t get me wrong — I’m sure having to “live” for all eternity in a place full of heat, lava/fire and devil creatures poking you with pitchforks would not be anyone’s cup of tea. But while that would be an uncomfortable “existence,” it somewhat pales in comparison to the kind of psychological suffering that would be much more effective.

And since we’re talking about a place ostensibly created by an omniscient power, why create something that is a one-size-fits-all arrangement. Any god that wants to cause suffering could do better than relegating its do-badders to eternity in lava/fire.

Why not create a mental cage that makes the sinner relive his or her greatest shame?

Or live through his or her worst nightmare?

Think of this as an example: a husband and wife have tried for years to get pregnant, and finally do against all odds. It’s a medical miracle that the child was even conceived, let alone carried to term with no problems; the baby is completely healthy. A week after bringing baby home, the baby dies of SIDS. The couple is devastated. In their grief and turmoil, they go on a killing spree, because, of course, if they can’t be happy, no one can. The couple is arrested and executed. In death, their hell is watching in fast-forward the pregnancy, birth and death of their child in perpetuity.

Don’t tell me that wouldn’t cause more suffering than eternity in fire/lava would.

So those are my thoughts on hell.