"Excuse me, Keanu, but could you point me in the direction of Hades?..."

"And, I mean, probably not, but is there by any chance a Starbucks in Hell? Just wondering, you know how it is..."

This past weekend I watched the movie Constantine. Horrifying on so many levels, not the least of which is simply that it stars Keanu Reeves, an actor who I find painful to watch on the big screen. Or any screen, for that matter. I can feel the strain of his effort to act. It makes me so uncomfortable. No one has told him that he can't act, or else he refuses to listen. Either way, he continues to do it, and it's as if he's completely unaware of the damage he leaves in his wake as he plugs away.

So, Constantine is a really bad movie. Really. Bad. But, for some reason it got under my skin. Constantine (Keanu) is a man who committed suicide but was brought back to life by doctors in an ER. Constantine died for about two minutes, and in that time, because it's a sin in the Catholic church to kill yourself, he was banished to Hell. Upon visiting Hell, he decides to spend his life fighting off demons and Satan, in the hopes that this will get him back in the Big Guy's good graces and buy him a ticket on the Acela train out of Hades when he dies again, presumably without emergency medical intervention and thus for good.

I've never spent much time thinking about Hell. But let me tell you, as depicted in this movie, it's a very icky place. And for the first time ever, I got scared. I don't really want to go there. And certainly not for eternity.

I wasn't brought up Catholic, so after my baptism, I didn't get much Hell in my daily life. It wasn't really on my radar screen until I watched this movie.

Prior to this weekend, my thought process was as follows: If there is a Hell, then God is mean. If God is mean, then I don't like this system and therefore I won't believe in it.

Now my thought process is this: If there is a Hell, then God is mean. If God is mean, then I don't like this system but actually there are lots of systems I don't like or believe in that really exist...

Is God, and Hell, another one of these? Is it like our prison system, where you can disapprove all you want of the created laws but you'll still have to go there if you break one? The laws make sense to me, so I don't argue with the prison system (much). But God's laws seem to make sense to lots of people. Am I just the renegade in the religious society? Am I thumbing my nose at a system that in the end has the power to lock me up and throw away the key regardless of my staunchly held disbeliefs?

I started to think... church on Sunday, a couple of confessions... is that a big price to pay for the security of knowing you aren't headed South to the Fires after you kick it? Maybe not. It honestly never occurred to me that Hell could exist without my belief in it. It could just exist. And if it does, then I haven't really taken the proper precautions. I'm a compulsive person, and a woman, and these two things together mean I get my Hep B vaccine series even though I 'probably won't need it', I wear sunscreen, and I wash all my fruits and vegetables before I eat them. I don't take chances. So am I taking the biggest chance of all by blowing off God every weekend for a lie-in and a lazy brunch?

What frustrates me the most is that Keanu Reeves has cast a shadow of doubt over my carefully innoculated world. I hate that I got scared by a B-rated movie and some shit special effects.



Jenn said...

I enjoyed the hell out of this post. Thanks. :)

jenn, just another blogger

4:30 PM
Calsyn said...

Lots of great posts, great thoughts :) Good to read it and know that someone else here thinks, instead of just writing about how they ate lunch at an Italian resturant and don't get along with their family. Just their everyday life, I mean.

5:02 PM