Hell and the Solidarity of Love

Eclectic Orthodoxy

Can you imagine yourself enjoying perfect happiness and bliss in heaven if you knew that a beloved spouse, child, or friend was suffering everlasting torment in hell?

In his wonderful parable The Great Divorce, C. S. Lewis presents an interaction between an inhabitant of hell, the melodramatic Tragedian, and his redeemed and loving wife, the Lady (chap. XIII). The Tragedian tries various ways to evoke pity in his wife; but she steadfastly resists. She will not be held hostage to the unhappiness of her husband.

“Stop it. Stop it at once,” she commands him.

“Stop what?” he replies.

“Using pity, other people’s pity, in the wrong way. We have all done it a bit on earth, you know. Pity was meant to be a spur that drives joy to help misery. But it can be used the wrong way round. It can be used for a kind of blackmailing…

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