For those of you who may not know the name, Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers. He’s also a media darling, appearing in commercials though not to the level of Peyton Manning. He has MVPs and a Super Bowl victory to his name.
Rodgers recently visited Danica Patrick’s podcast. Rodgers and Patrick are dating at the moment, so this isn’t a stretch for him. The conversation turned to matters of faith and Rodgers stated he was unsure if he believed in hell anymore. He said, “I don’t know how you can believe in a God who wants to condemn most of the planet to a fiery hell.”
Relevant‘s article about this includes the information that Rodgers was involved in ministry earlier in his life, but had since drifted away and no longer considered himself a Christian.
There are a few things to unpack here. I do not begrudge Rodgers for his faith journey as each person is entitled to their own. I find his perspective on hell interesting though. Rather than breaking things down to New and Old Testament semantics, we need to look at the idea of suffering.
There is a split in creation.
Humanity is imperfect. This causes pain and fear. We operate within psychological systems ingrained from generations of development. Our problems have grown, the risk of life has grown. With every advance comes someone working to skew it to their own desires.
A belief in pain denotes a belief in God. Suffering does not exist outside the dichotomy of good and evil. Our souls, deep in their core, yearn to beauty and glory, hope and compassion. We feel the longing of this when we hurt and the imperfection of humanity hits deeply.
Rodgers is reacting to the medieval image of hell as fire and brimstone. In this, he is incorrect. Hell is losing a child. It is the end of a relationship, a family member drifting away, declining health, losing a job, or going hungry. Hell is living on the street. It is crime and punishment and families torn apart by addiction. It is cancer and the diseases that will not go away.
As you read that paragraph, images of people likely flashed through your head, the weight of sorrow sitting on your heart. That is eternal punishment.
God’s desire is completion, to see us live the stories we were given before creation, to see us hold hands and connect hearts. God’s desire is for opportunity and dreams, to impact the world and make it a better place. God’s desire is to fill the hole deep inside our being.
We do this by crossing the line of faith.
It is not easy. It is not safe. It is something that will change your universe. Yet, it is worth it.
You may not believe, and that is your right. Yet, I’m willing to bet you feel. You understand pain and suffering. You long for better and your soul radar is pulling you towards something greater.
Faith is courage.
Hell is missed opportunity.
Life is the interplay between the two and what wins out in the end.