Saturday, October 24, 2015

What is Dante Doing?!

I know we've said it a million times, but I really cannot get over how illogical Dante's perception of hell is. Yes, he puts himself above all other human beings and almost equates himself with God by assuming that all these various people are in hell and appointing each a specific reason as to why they're there. However, he also even sort of demeans God and questions his authority by suggesting that these people would even go to hell in the first place. Again, *there is no hell mentioned in the Bible.* So....

Why is Dante even assuming that God would send these people to hell?

What if God actually acts as merciful as he is described in the Bible, forgiving everyone's sins and accepting all into Heaven?

What do y'all think? Personally, Dante really annoys me by just assuming things and really trying to scare the people of his time when in reality, he has no idea if hell is even real!!!


Madison Cummings said...

I have been thinking about this as well! Would he not be denouncing God by acting as if he is worthy enough to place all of these people in Hell? I have also often thought about whether or not I believe in Hell, and honestly, I am not sure. I think that not living a life eternally with God would be horrible enough. I don't think that God is so merciless that he would cause all of these people to suffer the way Dante describes for the rest of eternity. It is hard to believe that a mere hundred years (if that) of sinning in the grand scheme of things is really that bad. I am not saying that some people don't deserve punishment, but I think that Dante's hell may be a little extreme.

Abbey said...

I WAS THINKING THIS, TOO!! I had the same question--who is deciding these "sinners" are going to Hell? (I know the topic of religion is a controversial one, but I am not trying to start anything of the sorts so if anyone disagrees with me, please don't get offended) You brought up the idea of "what if God is as merciful as described in the Bible"--I was always taught, and I believe myself, that while God recognizes our sins he doesn't want us to suffer from them. Christ died for us even though we are sinners (because really, who doesn't sin?). We'd all quite literally be in Hell if God was not accepting of our sinning. He forgives us always no matter how badly we mess up because he created us and he loves us. Given this, even though these sinners in Inferno have "strayed from the straight and narrow path to God," it is illogical to think their one mistake would send them straight to Hell if you believed in that time the same thoughts about God I just wrote about. Disregarding the idea of trying to scare the people of his time, I think Dante is just trying to get back at the Florentines for his exiles. It doesn't matter that none of this really makes sense, Dante is just bitter and wants to put his enemies in Hell and sort of get the last laugh. It's not so much that he assumes God would send these people to Hell, just the fact that he puts a Florentine in almost every circle/bolgia makes a greater point about his own life and history.

Jack Zheng said...

I think we all agree here (to varying degrees) that Dante was just a bitter person who fantasized about the painful afterlives of his enemies and happened to be good at writing.

The subject of the mercy of God, on the other hand, introduces much conflict. While I would like to think of God as all-merciful, it is hard for me to understand some of the biblical stories with this in mind.
The story of The Flood in Genesis seems like a part of the Bible that's authoritative enough for discussion. Even if read on a symbolic level, is the story implying that God once saw all of mankind - every single human being, including children and babies - as so sinful that he had to drown all of them? Did nobody deserve to live other than Noah and his family? Also, God did not seem to give anyone a chance to repent for his/her sins and even get a chance of salvation.
Collective punishment is such a recurring theme in the Bible that it is hard to think that God really is all-merciful.
Another example of this is when God kills every Egyptian firstborn because the Jews were enslaved. Of course, a quick search on the Internet would find us a million justifications for this, many of them claiming that God did not kill nearly as many Egyptian children as the Egyptians killed Jewish children. But the problem is, is God really all-loving and all-merciful if he chooses to kill even ONE child? On top of this, the Egyptians would not have had the knowledge of God, since access to God was only available to the Jews and later to the Christians. Does this mean that God sent the Egyptian children whom he just slaughtered straight to hell?