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Is There a Hell?

Once upon a time a person was touched by God, and God gave him a priceless gift. This gift was the capacity for love. He was grateful and humble, and he knew what an extraordinary thing had happened to him. He carried it like a jewel and he walked tall and with Purpose. From time to time he would show this gift to others, and they would smile and stroke his jewel. But it seemed that they’d also dirty it up a little. Now, this was no way to treat such a precious thing, so the person built a box to protect his jewel. And he decided to show it only to those who would treat it with respect and meet it with reverent love of their Own. Even that didn’t work, for some tried to break into the box. So he built a bigger, stronger box—one that no one could get into—and the man felt good. At last he was protecting the jewel as it should be. Upon occasion, when he decided that someone had earned the right to see it, he’d show it proudly. But they sometimes refused, or kind of smudged it, or just glanced at it disinterestedly. Much time went by, and then only once in awhile would one pass by the man, the aging man; he would pat his box and say, “I have the loveliest of jewels in here.” Once or twice he opened the box and offered it saying, “Look and see. I want you to.” And the passerby would look and look, and look. And then he would back away from the old man, shaking his head.

The man died, and he went to God, and he said, “You gave me a precious gift many years ago, and I’ve kept it safe, and it is as lovely as the day you gave it to me.” And he opened the box and held it out to God. He glanced in it, and in it was a lizard—an ugly, laughing lizard. And God walked away from him. Yes, there is a hell.

Lois Cheney, God is no Fool, pp. 33-4