Does Saddam go to hell?

posted by Kaihsu Tai on January 1st, 2007

Saddam Hussein has been executed. The Confucian–Calvinist answer to “Does Saddam go to hell?” is probably: “Many people will now believe he goes to heaven, and that is what we have to deal with.”

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  1. On January 2, 2007 at 13:42 Adam (Southern California) said:

    Several years ago I was having a discussion with a non-religious friend of mine who found it interesting that a title existed for those we could confirm had been taken into heaven, but no counterpart existed for those we could confirm had gone the other way. I.e., there’s “Saint Maximilian Kolbe,” but no, for example, “Damned Adolf Hitler.” Of course, we’ve never established any kind of process for determining the afterlife status of those we haven’t canonized.

    I’ve always been careful not to presume that I can predict God’s judgement. I said a quick prayer on Saddam’s behalf upon hearing of his execution even though his was one of the rare cases in which I felt his execution was justified. I think the prayer was broader than just for Saddam’s soul — does God’s infinite mercy extend to a villain like Saddam Hussein? If so, then surely the rest (such as his executioners, for example) of us have a chance. Or do we? Ultimately this is unknowable and we have to trust in God and our own consciences.

  2. On January 6, 2007 at 03:24 HAK said:

    Well, ancient Romans had something kind of like a “title for those consigned to hell”: when a “bad” emperor died, they would formally damn his memory. The standards of what constitutes “bad,” though, can be questionable–one famous emperor whose memory was nearly damned after his death was Hadrian, now remembered as one of the four “good emperors,” the Antonines–although the near-damnation of his memories was actually quite well-earned by the harshness with which he dealt with his enemies, no doubt.

    This does raise an interesting issue, though: there is a move to canonize Emperor Charles of Austria, the last Habsburg emperor (he has already been beatified in 2004). Regardless of his personal virtues, I find it a little disturbing that someone who was involved, however indirectly, with the massive human tragedy like World War I as the leader of one of the combatant nations is being considered for sainthood.