Dante’s Hell

I have to admit that I find much of The Divine Comedy rather disturbing. Chewing on brains, eating flesh, rolling in feces, or eternally frozen in ice; take your pick among God’s weapons of torture. And when the Pilgrim is almost done with his tour of hell, he lies and tortures to get needed information. Dante writes as if this was a type of virtue—for finally realizing that the sufferers deserved what they got. And then there is the punishment of those souls who came before Christ, nullifying any chances at salvation they would have had.

But this is so far removed from my understanding of God (albeit a limited one), that I can’t help but find it troubling. God is not some twisted being bent on revenge, devising new ways to torture his creations. Rather he is, like Paul taught the Athenians, like Father to son. The ultimate parent. Granted there will always be some that refuse him, but they will be satisfied enough where they end up. God is, and in the end will be, a successful parent.


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