How the Idea of Hell Has Shaped the Way We Think
For centuries, we’ve given lavish attention to the specifics of punishment, and left Heaven woefully under-sketched. When I was a kid of ten or eleven years old, newly returned to New York after a few years living in Chicago, I started accompanying my mother to a church in Harlem, in a shallow, sunlit upper room just south of 125th Street. Every Sunday, service began with a procession. The Hammond organ would start up, and the ministers, carrying their Bibles, trailed by the pastor, would file in in a loose line, singing a song.