So is Osama bin Laden burning in hell right now?

It’s probably the least important question following bin Laden’s death, but it’s fun to speculate. A CNN poll reveals that 61 percent say the al-Qaida leader is with old Scratch in hot coals land, about 10 percent say no and 25 percent aren’t sure. read The unsure number reflects the high percentage of uncertainty most of us feel about the afterlife, punishment and hell.

I guess I fall into the 25 percent. I don’t think he’s burning down there but if he exists I doubt he’s happy. My religion teaches that he’s in “spirit prison” and will be taught the Gospel as defined by us Mormons. Come to think of it, I do get a bit of retributive satisfaction that the bodyless Osama can’t get out of his cell to avoid a missionary call from two energetic spirit LDS missionaries.

On the other hand, not every definition of hell comes with burning and physical torture. There are other discomforts, besides repeat visits from Mormon missionaries. C.S. Lewis, in his novella “The Great Divorce,” described hell as a place we think¬†is heaven (I saw a great Twilight Zone with that theme, too). If the divine leader wants to torture me, I’d be forced to watch every episode of “Happy Days” after the first season. I like the following cartoon, because I think it would drive bin Laden crazier far quicker than mere¬†physical pain could.

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8 Responses to So is Osama bin Laden burning in hell right now?

  1. TV says:

    And 4 percent don’t give a damn? (Get it: give a “damn”? Oh, that was a bad joke.)

  2. Jim W says:

    One of my favorite Far Side cartoons was “Charlie Parker in Hell,” with the jazz great locked in a sound booth while a demon DJ spins Kenny G for eternity.

    I can imagine bin Laden in the same sort of hell that Alma experienced: harrowed up by the memory of his earthly acts and the suffering he sought for others.

  3. Bob Becker says:

    I normally avoid comment on matters religious [unless they impact public policy], but I was surprised, Doug, by this in your post: “if he exists.”

    If ?

    Meaning you have doubts about there being an afterlife?

    An odd phrasing for a believer.

    Count me as voting “no” in the poll on where he is because [being the non-believer that I am], there is of course no hell. And no heaven. And no afterlife at all.

    But for you, the “if” surprised me.

  4. Doug Gibson says:

    Bob, I believe. I have hope and faith, but I’ve learned that too often certainty is a handicap toward learning. I’ve observed too many who feel no need for further inquiry because they know. Doug

  5. Dandy Randy says:

    The 25% who aren’t sure reflects the reality that increasingly Americans (even the religious) have walked away from the notion of Hell, one which many consider cartoonish. Particularly among the Evangelicals, who are focused on self-help, and whose megachurches frequently resemble malls and community centers, you’re unlikely to find a focus on Hell or the Devil. These topics are glossed over in favor of a redemptive, “everyone goes to heaven” message.

    Then again, I suspect there are many who agree with the statement that “Osama is in hell” who don’t actually believe in a volcanic themed underworld. Agreement may be merely affirmation that we’re glad he’s dead and gone.

  6. Owain says:

    Nobody knows until they get there, so who knows? Maybe Tolkein had it right, and Osama was shoved through the Door of Night to spend eternity with Morgoth as a bunk mate.
    Yeah, geek overdose, I know…

  7. don says:

    if you fall into the 25% that are unsure, than by definition are you not a mormon?

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