Purgatory/Value of human life discussion


To everyone here,
I am a frequent reader of this fourm, but as you can see from my number of posts, not a frequent participant. I have tremendous respect for the people on this form, and my Catholic faith has been incredibly strengthened by the contributions of others on this forum.

I would like to start a discussion about a short independent film I saw on YouTube (about 8 mins long) called “The Black Button”. Here is the link:

For those of you who don’t want to watch it, it’s a video about a man who has to make a moral decision to either kill some random person by pushing a button and be compensated with 10 million dollars, or leave without any money.

The part I would like to discuss is in regards to the conclusion of the film. If you want to watch it, I wouldn’t recommend reading the rest of this post until you see it, so don’t read past this point until you’ve watched it…

So the conclusion of the film is that the man (Mr. Roberts) discovers that he is already dead and in Purgatory, after he decided to take the money by pressing the button. He gets the money, but his decision condemns him to hell. The temptation is a sort of “final test” to determine where he spends eternity. I find this to be a misrepresentation of Purgatory, because all the souls in Purgatory will (eventually) go to heaven at some point. This film implies that Purgatory is a place of temptations and a final test, where a wrong decision will land you in hell. That seems more like our everyday life to me rather than Purgatory…or maybe that is the point of the film?

Another interesting point to discuss is the value of human life, although I don’t think that is the main point of the movie.

Anyways, I would be interested to see what some of the forum members can contribute. This is a really great community, and I (hopefully) don’t think I violated any forum rules by posting this. Thanks, everyone!


ps- I have nothing to do with this video, and I’m not trying to endorse it any way. I’m just trying to make sense of it personally, and explore several doctrinal mistakes it makes.


I didn’t watch it, but according to your description…your comment above is probably what I would feel about it…just another misrepresentation. :frowning:


A priest once gave a homily on whether or not people get a final chance to redeem themselves if they die without having lived a virtuous life. He gave an example of Dostoyevsky’s where a nasty old woman died and went to hell. She complained so long and so loudly about not deserving hell that finally St. Peter came to the top of the pit of hell and asked her what good deed she had ever done in her life. She thought long and hard and finally said that once a homeless man on the street had been hungry and asked her for something to eat so she gave him an onion. St. Peter produced an onion and told her to hang onto it. He said that if that onion was strong enough to hold her till he pulled her up to heaven, she could stay. Of course other damned souls noticed what was going on and clung to her legs as she was being pulled up. She kicked them off furiously and in her struggling, broke the top off her onion and fell back to eternal damnation. The moral of the story is that if you spend your life doing wickedness, a final test isn’t going to help because you’ll fail it as you have been failing them all your life. What does this have to do with purgatory? Absolutely nothing. Purgatory is a place of purification for souls who will go to heaven. I read a very good pamphlet called “Read me or Rue it” about purgatory. It was very helpful in my converting to Catholicism.


This story about the random death for $10 million sounds more like the Orthodox doctrine of the toll-houses than purgatory.


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