This Has Been Bothering Me All Week… May 7, 2011

This Has Been Bothering Me All Week…


CNN Poll: Majority in U.S. say bin Laden in hell

Popular t-shirt:

Several political cartoons:

The front page of the New York Daily News:

Osama bin Laden is not in hell.

Because hell doesn’t exist.

Damn, it feels good to get that off my chest.

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  • Its times like this when being religious would “feel good” because I really do want to think of him suffering. But he is not. He is dead. Gone forever into nothing.

    And we know there is no magical underworld (or overworld for that matter) where he now resides. As much as the thought might make us feel better it is a lie. And lies no matter how nice are still lies.

    Anyhow it is concepts like heaven and hell that create monsters like him and the many others on all sides of all religions who are willing to kill for their version of the imaginary sky magician.

    (Apologizes for spelling issues and typos. This was sent from my Droid)

  • Inevitable. This just reinvigorates my question about how he was treated after death. His religion was honored. He was a devout God-believer. He led millions of other devout God-believers.

    So now he’s in hell? Why then, did our government make sure to give him a proper religious burial? In addition to being utterly pointless because he’s not going to Muslim heaven, it also stands as a permanent connection between the moderate Muslims and this one and his follwers.

    Many Christians have told me that they support state/church separation mainly because they think that their religion is so right that it shouldn’t ever be propped up artificially by a corrupt government, because that would stand as a giant insult to that religion.

    Well this act of honoring the man by honoring the religion of such a madman and mass murderer just seems like a slap in the face of Islam itself. It would be like honoring Tim McVeigh, because he was so strongly Christian. To honor his religion by following it so strictly in the manner of his burial, is to directly connect his crimes with his religion. At least that’s how I and some Christians see it, and have told me. Of course devout Christians and devout Muslims don’t see things the same. But I’ll bet that lots of Muslims would’ve preferred that Osama be disposed of, like a dirty diaper, instead.

    I want to know when Islam will get some punishment for its crimes.

  • Even if Hell existed bin Laden should not be there. Suspend disbelief for a moment and entertain the abusrd idea that Hell is real and Osama bin Laden is there for eternity – not for a day or week or a year or ten thousand years but forever. If that was the case I would still petition the holy despot, otherwise known as YAHWEH, that no one should be in Hell due to the fact that He had done such a piss poor job in demonstrating his exixtence and His desires.

  • Jon Peterson

    Islam is not the criminal. Individuals are.

  • *sigh* The imagery has been bugging me, too, even while I expected it.

    I still haven’t weighed in with my thoughts on this subject – not ready, too soon to state them… Meh.

  • I’ve been reading you for a while, but have yet to comment. This one pushed me to speak up.

    THANK you for saying what I’ve been thinking all week. I find it both interesting and disturbing that so many who profess that their religion is all about “love” are dizzy with glee over the idea that someone else is eternally suffering. Gah!

  • Jonas

    The majority of the US are Christian, and Bin Laden was Anti-American. – So of course they’ll say he’s in [Christian] Hell. There is however as much evidence for:

    Moderate Muslim Afterlife.
    Bin Laden Radical God, Heaven & Hell,
    Nirvana etc.

    In other words none, at all.

    I think though it’s Human Nature to want to see justice done, or revenge in some cases. And when simple non-existence isn’t enough, we invent Heaven & Hell as reward and punishment.

  • So where do we get the idea that torture is somehow acceptable? Perhaps from the god who institutionalized it, the one who created The Eternal Torture Place a/k/a Hell?

  • Jonas


    “Not all Americans believe in hell – a point of view reflected in the relatively large number of ‘don’t know’ responses – and many religions don’t include punishment in an afterlife as part of their teachings,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

    Now I’m upset — Either ‘non hell-believers’ need to be honest, or Holland is misrepresenting us. –>

    If you don’t believe in hell, you don’t believe Bin Laden, or Hitler or anyone else is there.

    Not being in Hell is not equivalent to being in Heaven, while eating Jelly Babies, and Jammy Dodgers with Dr Who, wearing a Fez, and a Long Scarf. (Or whatever you’re idea of Heaven is)

  • Peter Mahoney

    I know Catholics whose friends/classmates were sexually abused by a Catholic priest years ago, and the priest is now dead and the believers relish the idea that the priest is burning in Hell. I think that this phony/mythical punishment is a distraction from putting effort into seeking justice in this life/world (the only one that we really know exists).

    Instead of delighting in a fantasy that a terrible person is in hell, the energy could be spent routing out current abuse and challenging the church hierarchy that still continues to cover up rapist priests.

  • BWager

    “I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice
    in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • Sean

    I understand that there is a kind of collective catharsis here, but can we be done with the fantasies about torturing someone who no longer even exists?

  • Quite aside from the non-existence of Hell, these headlines get under my skin. And it’s not that there’s something tasteless about crowing over the death of another human being (that debate’s been had ad nauseum).

    The thing that really irritates me is that this is such dirt-cheap, populist sloganeering. If these cartoons and headlines had been published by journalists in, say, Iran, or Saudi Arabia, I might have had some respect for them (sure, Hell doesn’t exist, but the sentiment would be significant). But these are Americans reporting that they’re happy an anti-American terrorist is dead. These journalists might as well publish editorials stating that “This paper is opposed to terrorism”. What depresses me the most is that some readers would cheer.

  • ed-words

    Then I guess Pres. Harry Truman is in Hell for

    dropping atom bombs on Japanese civilians.

  • If he died in battle then surely he gets to go to Valhalla. Hel is for those who die without a sword in their hand.

  • This is not a religious war, not at all. Nope, this is definitely not… oh wait.

  • Stewart Paterson

    whenever I see news of Islamic countries and bearded crazies chanting and burning effigies and flags I always think, “crazy religious nutters, imagin living in country so completely steeped in religion that people react like that”
    And then I see stuff that goes down in the USA and I’m sorry to say, it’s exactly the same.
    A crazy theocracy.

  • Nakor

    Joe: I’m guessing their reason for doing a quick burial was mainly political; it was to take fuel away from the rest of the extremists, and give them one fewer thing to get worked up over.

  • Gibbon

    Unless Osama bin Laden has cleared up all of his karma, which I have no doubt he hasn’t, then he must be in hell.

  • Alice

    I find that attitude deeply disturbing. In my (mostly secular) neck of the woods, the news of his death was met with quiet contemplation, not celebration. Celebrating someone’s death, no matter whose, seems awfully ghoulish.

    @Gibbon: Must? Why “must” he be?

  • Being a person who wouldn’t wish eternal torture on anyone and doesn’t understand why someone who has thought about it for half a second and has a shred of empathy would, revelations like the CNN poll make me feel like an alien. I’ll go back to hiding from my fellow Americans now.

  • e-man

    The Quote is not MLT but the words are sound. I had hope that this community would have a larger perspective then the simplistic good versus evil with Osama the embodiment of evil. He was raised amongst starving people and he had power – he saw US as an oppressive enemy hoarding wealth and abusing power – he went to war but like David against Goliath he could not fight by our standards of fair – but if you believe you and all your people’s life, religion, safety and quality of life are being oppressed and threatened you must communicate and stand up/fight for what you believe… that is not evil.. that we would not listen.. could not communicate or manage any way to work together – that is the evil we should be demonizing – I’m certainly not saying war and killing are okay – our troops and bombs have killed children – it is evil – it is war – but if you want to kill bomb and destroy him for it… well how do you think the mentality he had was developed? You become the terrorist sending death squads to fight the terrorist sending death squads… but you identify his squads as evil death squads and yours as heroic knights of justice.. pretty sure he was doing the same thing… time to move past such simple propaganda led by the nose emotional reactionism and think more about global quality of life, shared resources and compassionate messages of unity.

  • Kari

    Unless Osama bin Laden has cleared up all of his karma, which I have no doubt he hasn’t, then he must be in hell.

    IIRC, karma has absolutely nothing to do with Christianity. Also, Hell, MI is a beautiful place this time of year, why must he be there?


    eternal (or the here-after) life, however, comes from how long you are remembered, well or badly. bin laden will have an after-life. but….

  • ff42

    If OBL deserves to be in hell, then what punishment ought to befall those who created/used him?

  • ckitching

    Well, that last picture has one word right. He will be rotting.

  • Alejandro

    According to our government. We are supposed to accept that they can lynch a man in a foreign country against that countries wishes, throw him to the sea so there is no evidence for what happened (This, they call respect for his religion). And they don’t have to show any proof that he was guilty as charged before a tribunal. And are expected to call this justice. And even to celebrate it.
    This is for me even more disturbing.
    I not claiming he was innocent, I don’t believe he was.
    But our government should be held to a higher standard of conduct that this.
    The hell thing is to be expected from a population that accepts all of the above without batting an eyelash.

  • Anna

    @ e-man, OBL was not raised amongst starving people, he came from a very wealthy Saudi family.

    @Alejandro, OBL took full responsibility for 9/11 in several videos, we all know he was responsible. I am glad that they killed him, I don’t think a trial would have been feasible, we can’t even get trials for Gitmo prisoners. It would have turned into a circus. He committed an act of war and crime against humanity. Justice is done. He is dead, there is no heaven or hell, he no longer exists and that is good enough for me.

  • ash

    @BWager; here’s the origins of the not-quite-accurate MLK quote;

    P.s., if you go to that site, be sure to search for ‘Jesus vs Batman’ It’s gold.

  • Gibbon

    Actually my comment was just a little bit of fun. We always hear Christians saying that some person must be in hell, but we never hear Buddhists saying it, and even though I’m not actually a Buddhist I thought I would just add it for the sake of a non-Christian religion.

    There was something else to my comment though, and that was to see if anyone would respond with a typically Christian-centric response, which they did.

    Christians may not believe in karma, but Buddhists do believe in Hell, it’s one of the five realms of rebirth according to their doctrine. And Buddhists first believed in Hell since before Christianity began as well.

  • Alejandro

    Have you stopped to ask yourself why we don’t get trials for the Guantanamo prisoners?
    Why do we allow torture and long term prison without trial? Most people in Guantanamo were innocent by the government’s own admission.
    I told you I believed he was guilty. Claiming the trial would be a circus is a reason to execute an unarmed man without trial, and then dump his body in the sea? There were trials for the original World trade center attacks and Timothy McVeigh the US did not collapse.
    The government is claiming he was still the operational
    leader of Al Qaeda would capturing and interrogating
    him not have been better?

  • Dark Jaguar

    I’m not sure what to think of the mission to kill Osama. He was secretly hiding in a country that wasn’t even attempting to find him, so maybe an act of war was needed. I’m not sure.

    If they could have captured him and flown him to the US alive, should they have? I don’t care about arguments about whatever consequences people imagine. Is a “media circus” really the worst people can come up with? OJ had a media circus, but it didn’t undermine the basis of our government. It was, at best, annoying. Heck, even Saddam was arrested and tried by his own government, and it went quick without undermining anything.

    It’s true that lots of people got all fearful that the Guantanamo prisoners would somehow incite violence, but that never actually happened and we can’t say for certain if it ever WOULD have happened because they still haven’t got their trial. Is placating a maddened sect of our populace really a good enough excuse to deny them a fair trial?

    Two questions I have for people who still think that a trial would have been a mistake. What do you consider to be the worst case scenario if they didn’t get a trial? What is your evidence for this? I suppose a 3rd would be would fear of backlash, even if you 100% knew it would happen, enough to deny basic human rights to someone?

    On topic, I guess I’m not as close to the events on that day as I thought. I honestly can’t imagine myself wanting even Osama to suffer for eternity. I don’t get anything out of that, no satisfaction, nothing. Then again I’ve never had “kill fantasies” either. That’s not putting myself on some moral high ground, I just never have. I’ve fantasized about SAVING my enemies to shame them, which is still silly and stupid, but that’s about it.

  • Vas

    e-man said,

    “time to … think more about global quality of life, shared resources and compassionate messages of unity.”

    Sorry to break your hippie heart but…
    Really I don’t much care about all that rot, what I care about is petroleum to make everything that makes life easy. Gas for the car, plastic, flawless produce, fancy bicycle parts, everything we need for a convenient modern life. Shared resources!?! Yeah fuck that, we are well past the point where the notion of shared resources will work out for anyone, we have passed carrying capacity and there is only so much to go around, and I, (and you too I suspect) need more than our share to maintain our lifestyle, and guess what, I want it and will get it, and so will you. And the price for all this petrol is human blood… That’s right and that price is attached to everything from your Nalgene bottle to your Birkenstocks to your Bok Choy. This is the Petroleum age, perhaps the last chapter in human history, this is no time for compassionate messages of unity. We are in a fight for our convenience and we will fight to the bitter end.
    “Give me convenience or give me death.”


  • Jack Bentley
  • Hazuki Azuma

    Thank you for saying this. I am no friend of bin Laden or his friends (and indeed, had I been a few miles closer instead of at school that would have killed me), but the idea that ANYONE deserves to suffer literally unimaginable torment for all eternity is hideous.

    It may also be unbiblical, given what the phrase “aionios kolasis” means (and does NOT mean). And that one with the devil making the crack about the Underworld Trade Center? Definitely unbiblical. I’m not even a theologian or a Bible scholar and I know this.

    The human desire for revenge is very understandable, but it needs to be tempered by reason. Wrath is justice perverted. In my opinion a just God could very well force bin Laden to feel all 3,000+ deaths plus any others he was responsible for, but an eternity of torture? Such a God is worse than any Devil we can imagine. Including bin Laden.

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