I find the existence of Hell to be illogical and irrational as its existence would contradict the image of a compassionate and rational “God.” The entire premise behind hell is that of vengeance, which is emotionally driven by feelings of rage and the injury of one’s pride, and is therefore illogical (natural, but illogical nonetheless).
I believe that if there is a “God,” then that “God” must be an infinitely rational and compassionate being. I say this because if “God” created this universe and all of its untold wonders, then “God” most be rational. Also, if we were created in “God’s” image and we a capable of reason, then how much more so is “God?”
I have several issues with the existence of hell (and even the Devil, but that’s a whole other debate). Firstly, I take issue with the existence of hell because there is no basis for it within the Jewish faith, from which both Christianity and Islam stem. The Jews believed that if one did not get into Heaven their soul ceased to exist. The concept of hell actually has it’s roots in pagan religious traditions (the Underworld, for example). Since Judaism is the root of Christianity and Islam, then hell cannot be a part of their beliefs as it breaks the theological continuity that should exist from root to stem. Secondly, I take issue with the concept of hell as its existence does not coincide with the image of a “God” which is rational and compassionate. As I said, vengeance is irrational, just as eternal torment is not compassionate, nor is the evaporation of the soul; the former is, to me, like Gitmo for the soul, while the latter is like giving the soul the electric chair. Each of these options supposes “God” to be capable of vengeance, if so then “God” is neither rational nor compassionate.
I have toyed with the concept for the afterlife for some time. I accept the possibility that heavenly paradise exists; a perfectly sublime, eternal existence as this would be conducive to the image of a compassionate “God.” However, I cannot rationalize the existence of hell and keep with the image of a “God” which is rational and compassionate. In my opinion (and I have been building this one for years and have concluded that it is the only logical option if we are to keep with the image of a rational and compassionate “God”) the cycle of life and death is more like that of the Buddhist concept: we are born, if we live a life of compassion, we go to Heaven; if not, we are reborn to try again, as many times as needed to get it right. To me, this keeps with the idea that “God” is rational and compassionate while achieving the “punishment” of sin (which is harming others) as being stuck within the cycle of birth and death would keep us from paradise without resulting in eternal torment.