Forgive me if Ive posted this in the incorrect forum, but I wanted more than just one answer from an Apologist. I of course have great respect for Apologists, but having known many I know answers can vary greatly even among Priests. I also didnt want a lot of corny, contentious replies from those that are not of the faith, or at least of serious inquiry.
I read Revelation regularly. As in over and over. I dont know why but Ive always done this when not reading Saint Paul’s Letters (Romans and Corinthians). Currently I am reading it on Catholic Encyclopedia with commentary, which I find fascinating.
My problem is with my perception of Hell, and what it might be like or mean. Having searched this forum recently I found one answer by an Apologist being:
“It is important to not think of hell as a place. It is rather, a form of existence. It means to exist without the love and mercy of God. This passage from Revelation is highly symbolic/poetic.”
I found this to be fascinating and troublesome at the same time because Ive always pictured Hell to be a terrible place of fire, brimstone, wailing and gnashing of teeth, basically a place of eternal torture and torment.
In Catholic Encyclopedia’s discussion of Hell (newadvent.org/cathen/07207a.htm) the authors are very explicit about Hell being just that. If one reads through the discussion they will find very detailed analysis of historical content and general consensus over millenia describing Hell as unquenchable fire, suffering, punishment, and a worm that will not die.
Im struggling with this as of late, based upon my own life’s experiences. Having suffered terrible childhood abuse, poverty, and years of war, I am finding it hard to imagine much that could be worse.
I know already there are those that are going to say something to the affect of “Hell being worse than anything one could ever imagine” but honestly Im at a point of my life where I disagree. I dont mean to be disrespectful. I am a true Catholic. I go to Mass almost everyday. I pray the rosary almost everyday. Most of my life has been based on service to others. And I cant imagine another life.
But if Hell is worse than what Ive experienced in this life, they’ll have to show me. And if it actually is more cruel, I find it hard to believe that anyone but the very worst of the worst would deserve it-