'To hell with hell;' media expert on Epstein, justice and the modern view of hell

by Victor Wilson, |
At the time of his death, Epstein was being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (pictured here in 2010) awaiting trial for sex-trafficking. | Photo: Jim.henderson/Wikimedia Commons

Modern people are perfectly ok with judging and condemning really bad people, a columnist argued in Knox News today.

Case in point is the Epstein case, wrote media expert Terry Mattingly on Thursday, with people condemning the recently deceased financier and accused sex-abuser to hell on social media after learning of his "apparent suicide."

In the article, Mattingly quoted an Epstein "victim," who told The Daily Mirror, "Jeffrey lived his life on his terms and now he's ended it on his terms too. Justice was not served before, and it will not be served now. I hope he rots in hell."

The problem, Mattingly points out, is that most people don't even believe in hell or a place of eternal justice. "Many modern people want eternal justice on their own terms," he wrote.

"The bottom line: For many Americans, hell is for people who have already been damned in the court of public opinion — since everyone agrees they are extraordinarily bad."

He also cited Rev. Kendall Harmon, who studied 20 centuries of doctrines on hell at Oxford:

That creates a problem, since many people no longer "believe in a transcendent source of justice that determines what is right or wrong in this life." Their beliefs about eternal judgment are all personal and based on their own feelings. ... "You end up with a sense of injustice about the lack of ultimate justice, because the only justice that would provide what many people yearn for is some kind of transcendent, divine justice – which they would never accept."

His column ends with another quote from Harmon:

"People have decided that hell is not relevant to them. It's like they have said, 'To hell with hell.'"

Read more about hell now with, "3 Christian books on hell to light a fire under readers' faith."