Posted in My Journey

My New Book Is Here!

I am pleased to announce God Is Love: Comfort Through Trials is now available for download. All royalties go toward supporting Looking to God Ministries, an organization dedicated to spreading the Word of God through outreach programs, literature and preaching. Below is the Preface to the book:

I grew up Catholic. That means I was baptized into the Catholic Church. It also means I received my First Communion and my Confirmation in the Catholic Church. In all that time, I knew God existed, but I had a different idea of who he was than what I know of him today. I thought he was old. I thought he was distant. And I thought for a good portion of the bible that he was very angry with people.

It was only after I hit my twenties that I began to question God’s nature. I did not question his existence because I knew he was alive, well, and looking after us. I did not need a degree to understand that. All I had to do was look around at nature and I could see God there. For me, it never made sense to think God was dead when all I saw were the seasons changing like clockwork and the animals following a pattern of behavior. No, what I questioned were things like, “How could God, who supposedly loved so much, care so little for people that he would allow them to suffer?” And I wondered, “What kind of God was he if he would cause that suffering?” Because allowing something to happen was one thing, but to actually cause it?

So for a long time I searched for those answers. I was part of a cult for a number of years and learned about a god who was more interested in the letter of the law, than of the spirit of the law. Throughout that entire time, God was still an angry god who would punish Christians who sinned and would reward Christians who obeyed. Jesus was a passing notion, an emissary, delivering a message of the coming of the kingdom of God.

It was then that I had stopped attending church. My disillusion with organized religion was just the beginning. I simply felt no one had a clue who God was and why suffering existed in the world. For twenty years, I laughed at people who would put their faith in a god who did not care for their well-being.

Soon, one January morning, I began to read the bible. I had made a resolution that I would read the bible in its entirety strictly for its literary value. Little did I know what would happen to me. I began seeing a god who ruled all creation. I began to see a god who looked after his creation. I saw God love human beings so much that he would give his only son as a sacrifice so that he could save them from the penalty of sin, which is death. Then I saw my life unfold before my eyes.

I returned to a church, and as quickly as I had returned, a year later, my oldest son took ill. He spent a month in the hospital having suffered an autistic shutdown. That month was when God revealed himself to me. He showed me why people suffered. He taught me trials were good. And he took care of my family throughout the ordeal.

If you are looking for answers, read God Is Love: Comfort Through Trials knowing I was looking for answers, too.

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Hell

Dante Alighieri had an idea that hell was a place where the devil frolicked in flames and tormented the souls of those who had lived as the worst of the worst in the world. In some ways, Alighieri’s vision of hell seeped into modern thought to become the standard belief of many religions.

The lake of fire
The lake of fire

The trouble with Alighieri’s truth is that there is no truth to his vision. Dante Alighieri wrote The Devine Comedy, a poem not based on anything true or factual.

In other words, hell does not exist, at least, not the way everyone might imagine.

Today’s Monday Mayhem post is all about hell. What is it? Where is it?

Hell has different meanings to different people.

To Catholics, much like Dante’s poem, it is a place of eternal damnation where demons, under the rulership of Satan the devil, torture those who were the absolute wretched of the earth. According to their beliefs, Satan, the fallen angel of light formerly known as Lucifer, roams back and forth through fire and brimstone, delivering pain to the unjust.

To Buddhists, hell is more of a practical concept. Karma, the essence of balance in the universe, repays evil for evil and good for good. If something bad happens to a person, Karma has exacted vengeance for a past act of wrong. Karma sets things straight by restoring balance to where there once was unbalance.

Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri

To many, hell is a lake of fire, which will one day consume the unrepentant.

Then, to others, however, hell is more real than anyone could know. To these people, hell has become substance addiction, pornography, the psychological prison of mental illness, such as depression. To these people, their minds have become their jail cells where light does not penetrate the darkness surrounding them.

Hell follows them wherever they go.

The point being, whether your belief is that of a devil tormenting the wicked in a place reserved especially for them, or your belief is that of universal balance where Karma deals with the unjust with the same brush they use to judge, or your belief is that of a lake of fire waiting for the fulfillment of days to consume the evil ones among the righteous, or you suffer from the psychological prison of mental disease, everyone has a concept of hell and what it encompasses.

It is the view of this writer that hell, however defined, is the worst thing that could happen to a person either before or after death.

That is why this writer asks: what is your idea of hell?

Get the Ranger Martin zombie trilogy now!

What is your concept of hell?