Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Is Stephen Hawking in Hell?

It has been almost a full week since the world has lost one of the greatest scientific minds in post-modern history. Many people have felt the loss, including myself. Stephen Hawking was an idol to me during my atheist days and into now as a Catholic. While we did not agree on everything, I still appreciated his person and contribution to physics.

Moreover, Hawking was a big inspiration because of his physical condition. He developed ALS at an early age and given just two years to live. Obviously, he defied that short expectation of life. In my opinion, God kept him here to help discover new things about His creation. His life in a wheelchair using a robotic voice to communicate showed to me that life is special. Human life is unique and can overcome many things. I remember taking a philosophy course dealing with disabilities and bringing him up during discussions about the worth of the disabled. As a fan, I always put him on a pedestal in the class by reminding fellow students that this man was literally frozen in his body and kept working and making discoveries! Human beings are prejudicial creatures. We love to judge others and prejudge. Usually, when we see someone in a wheelchair or on crutches, we assume the person is sick, weak; some of us may see the person as useless or not even a person. Hawking proved everyone wrong. The disabled do matter. They are persons with dignity capable of many things.
Image Protestants have posted on social media

After Hawkins' passing, many people expressed their condolences and sadness online and offline. The news came as a shock. I remember watching Stephen Hawking being interviewed by Neil Degrasse Tyson on Star Talk the television version. However, along with the expressions of humanity, there were expressions of inhumanity. There were some who were quick to condemn Stephen Hawking to hell. These people claim to be "Christian." This is what makes me feel even more sick to my stomach. Here are some tweets I found showing this inhumanity:

You can see more nasty tweets here: https://twitter.com/search?q=hawking%20hell&src=typd

Recently on Google Plus, someone messaged me after I commented on Hawkings' death here: https://plus.google.com/111241842406991152754/posts/KvafMfT3GDN. The person is either a fundamentalist Protestant or an atheist pretending to be a Protestant fundamentalist.  In any event, this person was intent on condemning Stephen Hawking to hell. I responded by stating that no one knows the state of mind or heart of the late cosmologist. This person insisted that the Bible condemned him and even cited his words where he stated that he was an atheist and called heaven or the afterlife "superstition." Eventually, this person blocked me after I corrected his or her misconceptions. Here is the post and screenshots of our exchange:

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average...

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very spe... - Worldwide Wyatt - Google+

Jesus is the one who saves souls, not us (John 14:6). We cannot judge souls, only God can. In 2013, Pope Francis made comments regarding atheists going to heaven. Immediately, the media jumped to conclusions and atheists themselves were left scratching their heads in confusion, so to speak. What the pope was trying to say is that atheists who are good may achieve salvation for being good.  The Church teaches that those who do not receive the Gospel or never heard of it are not shunned from salvation.  In paragraph 839 the Catechism says: "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the Pope of God in various ways."  It continues with several paragraphs explaining. You can read my posts on the pope's comments here:

The Holy Father was obviously referring to God's mercy when referring to atheists and even gays. These are two groups of humans who have been targeted by Christians and others for centuries with claims of damnation. Atheists today even complain to me about how pastors have condemned them to hell. Family members have also joined in the spiritual abuse, as I call it. While rejecting God is a mortal sin, this does not necessarily mean that an atheist will go to hell.  You may be wondering what I am talking about. Let me explain. 

One can be atheist for his or her whole life and can be a good person. When death comes, if this atheist asks God for forgiveness, mercy and opens his or her mind and heart to believe in God, he or she may be saved. This is possible even if this atheist was never baptized or never attended any religious institution. We call this a Baptism of Desire. The Catechism states:

1260 "'Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.'63 Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity." 

So an atheist who is good and at death asks God for mercy may, in fact, be saved and end up in purgatory or possibly even heaven.  This is why I stressed to the person on Google Plus that we cannot condemn Dr. Stephan Hawking to hell simply because he claimed to be an atheist or make anti-God or anti-religion comments. He may have believed those statements or he may have just said them because maybe he was angry over his disability. Who knows!  The fact of the matter is that we do not know what was in his heart or mind. His past statements are irrelevant. What matters is what was in his mind and heart as he breathes his last breaths. This is why not even the Catholic Church has made any pronouncement about who is in hell. We just do not know. While the Catholic Church is the normative means to reach salvation in Jesus through the adherence to her teachings and Sacraments, this does not mean others outside of the Church are automatically condemned.  You will not even find the Catholic Church claiming that Hitler is in hell. This is not the Church's job.

God is merciful. Pope Francis has been reminding the world of this ever since he took the Chair of St. Peter. An atheist is not shunned from God's mercy. We see the case of St. Dismas or the "Good Theif" in Luke 23:32-43. This man was far from God and was nailed to the Cross alongside Jesus.  He asked Jesus for forgiveness and Christ promised him that he would be with Christ in paradise. This man probably never went to Synagog or prayed, yet in his last moments, he was saved by Christ. An atheist has the same opportunity, even at death.

Some news outlets have reported that a Protestant website author said that Hawkins was conceived of Satan in order to counter the late Reverend Billy Graham.  This individual "figured" this out by the years both were born. This, of course, is hogwash and shows that this Protestant may have some psychological problems.  Furthermore, my fellow Catholics are not so innocent either I am afraid to state.  Some private Catholic Facebook groups and organizations which are not affiliated with the Catholic Church have claimed that Hawkins told the pope that "he believes" using his robotic computer voice.  The website Snopes called the story false.  Again, we simply do not know what happened between Hawking and God!  I hope and pray for the best and try to think positive.  That is my job as a Catholic and Catholic Evangelist.   We must pray for those Christians who live their lives condemning others.  They cannot see reality because of the log in their eyes.  

Is Stephen Hawking in hell for being an agnostic or atheist? There will be fanatics who will say yes like the person who posted this below on Google Plus or those who tweeted the tweets above, not to leave out the many other sites and Facebook posts out there. However,  God is merciful. We cannot see what was in Hawkins' heart. Only God can see.  Jesus on the cross said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." These words are for those who attack God, reject God, and kill God on the cross. 



No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for reading and for your comment. All comments are subject to approval. They must be free of vulgarity, ad hominem and must be relevant to the blog posting subject matter.


Catholic Church (759) God (406) Atheism (343) Jesus (342) Bible (310) Jesus Christ (286) Pope Francis (230) Atheist (228) Liturgy of the Word (192) Science (152) LGBT (146) Christianity (139) Pope Benedict XVI (81) Rosa Rubicondior (79) Gay (78) Abortion (75) Prayer (66) President Obama (57) Physics (53) Liturgy (52) Philosophy (52) Christian (50) Vatican (50) Blessed Virgin Mary (44) Christmas (43) New York City (41) Psychology (41) Holy Eucharist (36) Politics (34) Women (34) Biology (31) Supreme Court (30) Baseball (29) NYPD (27) Religious Freedom (27) Traditionalists (24) priests (24) Space (23) Health (22) Pope John Paul II (22) Racism (22) Evil (20) First Amendment (19) Pro Abortion (19) Protestant (19) Theology (19) Christ (18) Death (18) Apologetics (17) Astrophysics (17) Child Abuse (17) Evangelization (17) Illegal Immigrants (17) Pro Choice (17) Donald Trump (16) Police (16) Priesthood (16) Pedophilia (15) Marriage (14) Vatican II (14) Divine Mercy (12) Blog (11) Eucharist (11) Gospel (11) Autism (10) Jewish (10) Morality (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) September 11 (10) Easter Sunday (9) Gender Theory (9) academia (9) Human Rights (8) Pentecostals (8) Personhood (8) Sacraments (8) Big Bang Theory (7) CUNY (7) Cognitive Psychology (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Holy Trinity (7) Spiritual Life (7) Barack Obama (6) Hell (6) Hispanics (6) Humanism (6) NY Yankees (6) Babies (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (5) Massimo Pigliucci (5) Podcast (5) Pope Pius XII (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Pope Paul VI (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Eastern Orthodox (2) Encyclical (2) Founding Fathers (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1)