The origin and function of ideas of hell

I do understand the appeal of this kind of “comedy.” However, I am not a big fan of condescension (as distinct from something like skepticism).

There is a reason that there are several variations on the idea of an afterlife- some of which are familiar to billions of people. Can we begin with respect for these ideas at least for their popularity?

In may traditions such as Tibetan Buddhism, for instance, there are a few twists on the idea of afterlife. The Buddhist “wheel of life” has 6 states including hell and heaven and 4 others. Further, the whole point of that teaching is to contrast those 6 realms with a 7th possibility, the state of Nirvana, as in the “extinction” of the persona. Buddhists may refer to spiritual death, metaphorical death, the “death” of any *thoughts* of preserving a specific identity / ideal of “who I am/ how I should be / how life should be.”

What is it that “dies” in some Buddhist traditions? Various delusional ideas and hysterical desires are sorted for relevance, then “sacrificed” or “starved” or “killed.”

In Zen Buddhism (which is basically the same as the Dhyana Yoga of Hinduism), however, there is typically a total dismissal (as not essential) of the very idea of any speculation of life beyond the life of the immediate physical body. They simply focus elsewhere.

In the Jewish mystical tradition, there are some very explicit commentaries on “hell” and “heaven” as states of human experience. The classic saying of seven hells and seven heavens did not originate with the author Dante in his writings, but even in his case there are specific types of behavior that lead to the various levels of hell or heaven.


What most/many Christians do not know is that in Hebrew doctrine, there were 6 commandments first, then a 7th was added by Noah, and then later a few others were added by Moses. Notably, most Christians have so little comprehension of the Jewish tradition that they think of Moses as the origin of Commandments.

We also can see that in the Buiddhist traditionS, there are several “precepts” (which is just someone’s translation of an ancient word from another language, which is the same way that some old Hebrew word was translated as commandments). How many precepts are there? There are 5, 8 or 10, depending
on the tradition, plus separate precepts/ vows that are only for “monks/ disciples.”

Different Buddhist traditions have different precepts, but they all look a lot like the 6 commandments given to Adam or the 10 given to Moses:


A distinct thing about Noah is that he announced that the 6 precepts / commandments prior to him were suddenly not just for the Hebrews to force upon other Hebrews, but to force on all people. They began a system of a global police state or holy empire.The invasions and slaughters led by Moses were based on those doctrinal innovations from the earlier time of Noah.


In some Buddhist traditions, it is taught that it does not matter if you take a vow or not in regard to the issue of cause and effect. It operates in your life with or without any vow. If you practice certain linguistic models (for instance, about how life should be), that will lead to certain psychological consequences/ interpretations/ experiences, then to certain patterns of action and social interaction (as responses to how I interpret or relate to whatever I witness), then those behaviors lead to social consequences.

With some forms of delusional idealism about how life should be, there will be envy, blame, resentment (various states of hell). There will also inevitably be confusion and inner conflict such as guilt (from the social consequences of rageful action, greedy action, lustful action, etc).

So, these various demons or desires must be tamed in order to “escape” from hell. One way to begin to tame them is to take vows in relation to them. Take notice of them. Be mindful of them. Be wary of them. Renounce them as immature and risky and inefficient. Refrain from them.

In other cases, there is less “initiative” involved and some authority can just say to the 2nd graders “it is forbidden to ________, so whenever you think of doing that, then think of getting grounded and losing your video game privileges, plus having punishments of extra chores, plus Santa will punish you further, plus when you die demons will eternally torture you and rape your gramma in front of you.”

Typically, the latter kinds of threats would be reserved for rebellious teenagers. Bribes regarding Santa will usually be enough to alter the behavior of 2nd graders. The intention is to shock them in to compliance- to intimidate.

So, we can notice a stack of “prohibitions.” 2nd graders may be taught that “humility is good” rather than given long explanations on what arrogance is and why it is bad and how to use inattentive language in arrogant ways (about “how life should be” and “how churches should be” and “how people should be”). People in hysterical distress can say “the disciplinary methods of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition should not use stories about Santa Claus because that might be slightly deceptive.”

Not the contempt and condescension and arrogance of someone to condemn their **methods.** A lot of hysterical rants neglect to focus on actual results (as in the functionality or utility of a method) and instead condemn a *method* based on whether someone finds it morally terrifying (emotionally disturbing). “I do not want someone lying to me about Santa because that could reveal my massive naivete, which I deny because of anxiety about social perceptions of me, which I also deny.”

In other words, the rants are being spoken by people in hell about how other people should not talk about hell because the topic is embarrassing to them. That is predictable. Some methods are designed to be shocking and disturbing, so to condemn them as shocking and disturbing is to miss the point and reveal one’s own confusion and hysteria.


So, back to the various states of hell, there is also that issue of vows/ patterns of speaking and action. Because of the personal relevance of actual everyday consequences, there are actions that may be encouraged or discouraged.

Churches and governments predictably promote the idea of tributes, donations, and taxes. Why? Because it benefits the institution.

There are various hellish consequences to certain patterns of action and those lead to the organizing and publishing of behavioral principles. Some principles are “automatic” and apply to everyone.

Still, someone might take a vow to recognize those principles and abide by them. In that case of swearing vows or oaths about their behavior, they can be inducted in to a priesthood that has extra privileges and penalties. Examples include a Buddhist monk, a Jesuit or Masonic spy/assassin, a licensed medical doctor, and a city cop.

In the classic anthropology sense, those are exclusive “priesthoods” that can only be entered through an initiation ritual with vows/oaths. A more common version of that is being a “member of the congregation.” People are actually brought in by social rituals to acknowledge their change of social status. Even the marriage ceremony originates from the same tradition, with a totally new legal category (distinct from “single”) called “married.” There are real social consequences for participating in that ritual and taking the vows / entering that new contract *with the government.*

Many people focus on the vows to their spouse. That part may have little legal consequence. When people get married, they reform their relationship to the local government. In the state of Arizona (and a few other states), a new legal entity is created by the marriage.

When one person dies, the legal entity of their political rights is called their “estate.” However, that estate is a legal entity that exists prior to their death. When a state official rules someone incompetent or mentally incapacitated, the state is taking over their estate even while they live.

During a marriage (like until a divorce or death of either spouse), some states invent a new legal persona which is the “community property” of the marriage. The future income of each spouse is subject to the “community property” rules PLUS the rules of regular “estate law.”

I use that example simply because it may be familiar. When I got married a few years ago, I did not read the statutes of Arizona in advance and consider the “vows” that I was making with Arizona by both #1 being a resident here and #2 being married. In fact, if someone gets married somewhere else and then moves here, Arizona will still relate to them as being under the “community property” rules here.

In practical terms, all you have to do to “take new vows” is to cross a border (like a county line or the city limits). The Prophet Noah is claimed in the Jewish tradition as the one who set up the entire idea of “involuntarily granting jurisdiction,” which is also the legal basis for slavery, military drafts, etc….

Hebrew males who did not respond to calls by war chiefs (like Moses) to report for duty in military invasions were charged with a newly invented crime, then killed in a public ritual of human sacrifice (often by hanging). Their corpses were left in the public squares as reminders to the local youth of the penalty for being a young man who does not report for military service.


So, there are consequences to different behaviors. There are also doctrines to promote certain behavioral outcomes in the audience. There may be rituals in which people can vow to adhere to certain behavioral principles, such a court hearing for setting bail (and arranging for release from detention).

One type of doctrine that is popular is the doctrine of hell, the underworld, or even multiple hells. The flip side of that doctrine is the promise of heaven and Valhalla and virgin sexual partners and lots of video games from Santa.


Are Valkyries angelic ETs who are beautiful females in appearance? Are the stories based on fact, or were these just morale-boosters for sending young men off in to battle. Note that the ONLY way for someone to get to heaven in Norse Mythology was to die gloriously in battle. That does sound like a system to promote participation in military activities, doesn’t it? But could there be some truth to the “legends?”


According to Sumerian mythology, the origin of stories about an underworld where people are surrounded by fire and put in chains and constantly laboring is… actual history. An ET came to this planet from somewhere else, set up mining operations here, then kidnapped earthlings and “trained” them to work in the gold mines.

The training involved whips and physical torture in order to “break” them or “tame” them (to promote future compliance). Certain earthlings were rewarded as “slave captains” and “slave generals.” That was the origin of human priesthoods and governments.

When we read the Old Testament and it says that “the Lord of the Most High rules over this planet and puts humans in positions of political leadership at his whim, subject to removal at his whim,” that is not about a conceptual deity. That is about a “demon” who rules this planet “from the clouds.”

When we see similar descriptions in Sumerian, Hindu, and many other traditions, we may find these references intriguing. Naturally, because of the issue of efficiency, these references may be omitted from the mainstream religious doctrines which focus on simpler parallels like Santa Claus.

However, the old bearded man in the red suit who bestows gifts is called in the Catholic tradition by the title of Cardinal (assuming that the Cardinal does not shave his facial hairs). Saint Nicolaus (the Catholic) wore a red suit, as did all cardinals.

In Tibet, the suit might be purple rather than red. In India, it might be bright orange rather than red. However, the idea of the old man who judges us and rules over us is nothing new.

Further, the idea that the local Cardinal is actually just the “agent” of a massive institution of terrestial political influence is widely known. What is not so widely known is the idea that an actual living being (not just a legal entity or a character in a book) rules in secret behind all of these human institutions. The ET in that position may not just be a series of organisms that all have the same title (like Pharoah or King of Kings), but an actual organism that lives for several thousand years.

Note that many ancient cultures depict very similar art showing tortures of humans that fit classic descriptions of hell. The Christian tradition “simplifies” all of that art in to depictions of the torture of a crucified Jesus, skin ripped open from whipping and face bloody from a crown of thorns. Typically, that artwork will be displayed right behind the pulpit where the priest would address those gathered there.


{There is a reply then my counter-reply below after a series of pictures.}

KB (who posted the top photo of comedian Bill Burr) replied:

Wow J R you could write book in a day haha and yeah, Bill Burr is condescending no doubt haha, crude too. I posted this because I think that he’s making fun of religiousness(mainly anyways haha) which I think of religiousness as holding a belief and then having fear of questioning/challenging to the point of delusion so that you feel undeniable correct in believing, which often comes with a sense of impunity in practicing those beliefs that can be dangerous(ISIS as a clear example). This way of belief seems to cause people to be perturbed because they are fearfully stuck with a mental imprisonment of holding only their current ideas of the many meanings to life which can be very limiting to people emotionally, spiritually, etc..

I think having beliefs, that don’t harm anyone, is fine, even if illogical cause they can often be quite useful to have during your path to enlightenment, however being stuck in fear of losing your current belief is truly the problem at hand in my opinion.

JR replies back:

There is a basic issue that I will call argumentativeness (vs humility). Some people are “looking for a dispute to prove how holy they are.” I do not know if Bill Burr actually is terrified of being humbled or not, but many people are. He seems to me to be in that typical mode of “look how much smarter I am than all of those people who are the problem,” but maybe that is just part of his act and not sincere. However, with guys like Bill Hicks, they seem quite sincere and their unhappiness and contempt pour out of their “comedy act” even though they may also offer clever observations. Still, they can be dangerous influences if someone values cleverness over relevance, humility, etc….

I warn people of the dangers of being an “arm-chair” critic who says “as long as no one gets harmed, I don’t care.” On one hand, that may be better than contentious, antagonistic argumentativeness. On the other hand, there are a lot of smug assholes who dismiss the simple fact that there are dangers out there, including groups of humans who get together to conspire to do violence and harm to other beings, including other humans, such as through armies and police departments.

Those operations exist to train select people in conducting organized violence and coercion/ intimidation. The ruling priests/ soldier class then target internal and external enemies for reasons like “our sponsors over at DuPont consider hemp textiles to be a threat to their business, plus we make money off of charging the taxpayers $40,000 per year to warehouse people, plus we pay them 14 cents an hour for labor in prison, plus we spend on average $12,000 (or whatever) per conviction- to pay for prosecutors and cops and court clerks and so on.”

So, someone invents the idea to criminalize possession of marijuana. Then, someone funds some research to demonize marijuana. The research is grossly unscientific, but is presented as valid science through the university priesthoods of ritually-inducted PhDs. Eventually, the complete nonsense of the original propaganda is acknowledged (such as the government-sponsored movie “Reefer Madness” to promote hysteria in the general public about marijuana). However, the laws stay in place because they are still good for DuPont as well as for the “correctional industry.”

Governments are systems for ritually harming, injuring, and killing humans. They do it one person at a time or lots of people at once.

We can notice this with respect, with fear, without contempt, without argumentativeness, with humility. Bill Burr says “you’re just some guy” about Jerry Falwell, but not about Barrack Obama or Osama Bin Laden or Al Capone. Warlords are not “just some guy.”

Is Bill willing to loosen any beliefs that “people should not conspire to harm other people, to systematically defraud or deceive other people?” Governments regulate fraud. They ritualize it. They perfect it. Is Bill willing to discard blinding beliefs that “they should not do that” and simply recognize that “that is exactly what they do?”


FYI, I was referencing this 1936 US government propaganda film:

There was also some “scientific research” designed to justify a pre-determined headline of “marijuana is bad for you.” The research can be found if you are interested and you can read about the massive flaws (total fraud really) that is in the research, plus how popular it was, how often it was referenced to justify criminalization, and how influential that research was, not based on any scientific merit, but because well-funded and powerful people (county prosecutors, police chiefs, etc) presented it as if it had scientific validity. It never did.

But, for all the “scientific flaws” in the method, the method worked very well to promote the criminalization of marijuana. Promoting delusional hysteria is just part of what governments do to govern the human resources.



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