The reading, St. Faustina’s Visions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, explicitly tells me that the afterlife is so crucial to Christians’ faith that what happens to them after death has a significant impact on their daily lives. The philosophical claim of dualism is evident in these materials, as is the writer’s conviction that there is another existence for humanity to plan for after this one (Kowalska & The, 2008). Looking at the issue of hell and heaven as described by St. Faustina in Visions of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven it appears that people must live in anticipation of an afterlife that is dependent on what they do in their present life. This anticipation thus greatly affects how these people live now (Kowalska & The, 2008). The question that comes to my mind after reading this material is, however, whether these people who subscribe to the Christian faith live a good life because of conviction derived from believing in the teachings of the religion or they do so for fear of suffering in hell as described by the writer who paints hell as so frightening. Could it be that the choice to subscribe to this faith is purely out of fear of suffering and uncertainty about the afterlife and not based on believing on the principles of the religion?
There is, in my view, a possibility that some people are not sure about the afterlife and therefore would want to play safe by being faithful to the teachings that require them to live a good life now, hoping to inherit the promised heaven. They expect to enjoy heaven if it comes and lose nothing if it doesn’t come since death will, in that case, be the end of all.
Kowalska, S. M., & The, I. C. (2008). Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska – in Burgundy Leather: Divine Mercy in My Soul. Stockbridge: Marian Press.