Where Exactly in Hell I’m Going

InfernoYou all know how much I love tests. Well, Andrea—as Nice Atheist Girl—sent me to the Dante’s Inferno Test. Now, being one of the few people I know who has actually read The Divine Comedy, I feel I should point out that it is not what we in the Jesus biz call canonical. Dante was just having a bit of fun with the Catholic ideas of hell, purgatory and heaven.

What’s more, the writers of this test don’t seem to have read The Inferno themselves. I say this because the results of the test include the category, “Virtuous Non-Believers.” This was the ultimate Christian apologist’s get-out-of-jail-free card. Christians at the time loved the Greek Philosophers, most especially Aristotle. These were noble men. But they couldn’t go to heaven, now could they? Can you say “Original Sin”? I knew you could! Jesus wasn’t around to cleanse their sins. So the “Virtuous Non-Believers” circle is for virtuous people who were around before Christ. Or, I suppose, people who have never heard the word about Jesus. But for a person like me who has heard that Jesus washes away all my sins and still says “What a crock of voodoo!” will not make it into the “Virtuous Non-Believers” circle.

Here’s a little aside. Don’t you think that it at least kind of sucks that God waited all that time to send Jesus down to save us? And don’t you also think that it would have made a lot more sense to send Jesus down somewhere really populated and well-documented like China, perhaps? Even if you are a Bible literalist, God waited 4,000 years to let people just rot without the saving grace of Christ’s blood. And if you aren’t a biblical literalist, he waited at least 100,000 years before it occurred to him that he ought to do something to save men’s souls. There are only two possible conclusions. Either, God is an idiot, who certainly doesn’t deserve to be worshiped. Or God is evil, in which case he, I don’t know, doesn’t deserve to be worshiped.

I know what my good Christian friends will say about this. “I’ve given up trying to understand him; I just accept his love.” But I don’t think I want to accept that kind of love. As Richard Carrier said in The God Who Wasn’t There, he couldn’t be happy in heaven, knowing that his non-believing friends and family members were being tortured forever in hell. So my take on the Christian God, should he exist, is that he’s like Santa Claus: he talks tough, but in the end, all the kids have been good enough. Or, he’s an evil mother fucker who is going to torture us all for eternity, so why even try?

But these are minor issues! What could be more fun than to find out which level of Dante’s Inferno one will end up in! So I took the test. Of course I took the test! I believe in tests! I believe that if you understand a test, it will tell you something about yourself. For example, I think the IQ test might tell us something about ourselves, if only we understood the tests. And we do not understand the tests! And whether we understand the Dante’s Inferno Test, is an issue that I will come back to. But first, here’s how I came out on the test:

The Dante’s Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell – Limbo!

Level Who Are Sent There? Score
Purgatory Repending Believers Very Low
Level 1 – Limbo Virtuous Non-Believers Very High
Level 2 Lustful Moderate
Level 3 Gluttonous Low
Level 4 Prodigal and Avaricious Very Low
Level 5 Wrathful and Gloomy Low
Level 6 – The City of Dis Heretics Moderate
Level 7 Violent High
Level 8 – The Malebolge Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers Moderate
Level 9 – Cocytus Treacherous Low

Take the Dante’s Inferno Hell Test

Let’s be clear here. God is not going to look at my list and say, “Well, he scored highest on ‘Virtuous Non-Believers’ so let’s send him there!” He’s going to say, “This man has some real violence issues!” If he’s at all reflective, God will then wonder if that doesn’t sound like someone he knows really well. And then he will say, “To the 7th level of hell to you!”

But I’ll take the first level of hell! Frankly, I’d much rather be there than in heaven! It would be interesting to hang out with Aristotle. I’ll admit, Socrates might be a bit hard to take. And the fact that Dante put Julius Caesar in this level does not speak well of middle-age thinking on spiritual matters. But whatever. Dante talks about how wonderful the first level of hell is and the only thing that makes him want to leave is how grand it will be in heaven. Having read the Paradiso, I can tell you: he was wrong. Hanging out with Socrates sounds much better.

As for the test itself: I really couldn’t figure it out. I spent a lot of time putting in answers that I thought modern Christians wanted to hear. And I did indeed get an “extreme” score on “Purgatory,” a “very high” on “Virtuous Non-Believers,” and a “very low” on everything else. Except: “Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers.” On that, I only got a “low.” And try as I may, I could not come up with a combination that would give me a “very low” score. Now it is possible that the coding for the test is just screwed up and there is no way to get a “very low” score on that. But it is just as likely, that I don’t understand the modern Christian mind. And that means that I don’t really understand this test.

And look at the results anyway. I don’t think this is a good representation of me. I don’t think a low score for gluttony is right for me. I like food a lot and when I did drugs, I like them a lot and in large quantities. I’m certainly not wrathful but I’m very gloomy—on many days anyway. But how the hell did I get a high score on “violent”? I am absolutely not violent. Similarly, I don’t think that I’m malicious and I am certainly not a panderer. But I am a fraud. So there’s that.

If anyone else wants to take the test, please let me know. I realize that my readership is made up of a bunch of people who this test will think belong in hell. But if you are very lucky (and I think that’s about all it is), you may get to hang out with Socrates and me. And if that’s the case, you can hold him down. And I’ll put the muzzle on him!

9 thoughts on “Where Exactly in Hell I’m Going

  1. Well, no Socrates in my circle. I’m Seventh Level. Reserved for suicides, profligates, blasphemers, and sodomites. All welcome company as far as I’m concerned. But usurers? Not even close. Still, four out of five ain’t bad analysis for a test like this.

    I think my favorite question was "can you see yourself engaging in treason against your country?" I had no idea how to answer that. If it means, "would you commit treason," you betcha I would. My buying price wouldn’t be especially large, either. Taken literally, however, I can’t see myself engaging in treason. Who’d ask me to? I’d never intentionally harm a living creature and I’m privy to no state secrets. Pretty much rules out my treasonous potential right there. (Well, besides voting for liberals. Treason enough in the eyes of some.)

    My personal loyalty is up for sale, but very expensive. It would have to be "comfortable for the rest of my life plus able to fully back about 50 charities plus able to fix every financial problem the friends I’m not betraying face" level. So, pretty high. My professional loyalty is far cheaper; about what it costs to pay my bills. And my patriotism could probably be bought for enough quarters to do a load of laundry. Alas, nobody’s buying . . .

    I never finished more than half of "Divine Comedy." The stuff where Dante envisioned how specifically every person he’d ever had a beef with would be tormented eternally is pretty entertaining, in a "holy shit this guy is actually meaner and darker than me, and blisteringly vivid expressing it" sort of way. The stuff where he pretends to be nice and make his way to Heaven with some Beatrice chick, zzzzz. He was way more in love with Virgil. And hating enemies.

  2. It appears I’m a glutton for punishment, and a lustful heretic on the side. Kinda like Hedonismbot in "Futurama." ;)

  3. @JMF – My poetry mentor, Gerald Burns, tried to convince me that [i]Paradiso[/i] was better than [i]Inferno[/i], but I never got that lesson. The whole usury thing is just a way to hate on the Jews. If usury is a sin, than everyone who has ever had an interest earning savings account is a usurer.

    I think the reason people enjoy the [i]Inferno[/i] more than the others is that it is more like real life. The rest of the book seems like it is trying too hard and creating poetry for poetry’s sake.

    Speaking of which, I just watched [i]The Ninth Gate[/i]. I might have something to say about that later.

  4. Oh, shit. I AM a usuerer. I do have a savings account that nets me approximately $0.00125 percent annually. So, test: 5 out of 5! Nailed me!

    @Don Wilkie: There is simply no way a human being can ever possibly go wrong referencing HedonismBot. Zap Branagan is good. Zoidberg, the Catskills comedian in a crustacean’s body, is even better. HedonismBot is inspired. Heck, all the robot characters on that show are inspired. Calculon. The robot preacher. The robot devil. And, not a robot, but Morbo. I love Morbo. (I think typing that just moved me down several hell levels . . .)

  5. @JMF – It does kind of depend upon your definition of usury. But most religions define it that strictly. My understanding is that this is why Jews are so widely hated by other religious groups–they were one of the few religions able to charge interest. The truth is getting interest on loaned money is perfectly fine. Why weren’t those other religions loaning money interest free? Because they were every bit as evil as the Jews. It’s the way we all are. To hell with us all! What modern credit companies do, however, is what I would call urury. Them, I don’t think the fires of the 7th level (if I remember right) should have to wait until after death.

    @nowamfound – I could believe in such a god. I know children who torture small animals. I just don’t see any evidence. Why would such an evil god allow us ice cream? If there is a god, he seems to be, more than anything, indifferent.

  6. @Frank — Usury is considered a sin in the Old Testament. There’s quite a lot about it, actually. And the Jews had a historic tradition of "Jubilee" that released debtors from all debts once every seventh year.

    From what I gather, it’s not that Jews could loan money and charge bucketloads of interest while Christians couldn’t because of any religious difference. After all, the same Old Testament for Jews and Christians both was pretty fierce on the subject. It’s that because Jews were considered second-class citizens, a Jew could be a moneylender. A Christian couldn’t. Not back then. It was also pretty convenient for rulers, those days, to have money injected into the economy short-term through poor people getting awful loans, then for rulers to blame the Jews whenever the economy fell to shit, instigating pogroms, etc.

    My comprehension of this history is very sketchy. I’m working on understanding it better. But from what I know right now, all religions condemn usury. Few Christians back then were loan sharks. Few Jews were, either. The loan sharks who did exist were Jewish more often than not. But mostly because loan sharking wads considered despicable and Jews were considered despicable, so it was a way of making a living available to more Jews than Christians.

    I’m not explaining this very well.

  7. @JMF – Thanks. That makes sense. Of course, you know Christians: they’re pretty fast and loose with the OT.

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