Who’s right – the Gospels or YouGov?

HellquoteOne of our Glasgow readers, George (his real name!) sent me a copy of a letter he had submitted to the Daily Mail, in response to their article Oh hell – it’s the least that we deserve, by Jonathan Brocklebank, September, 11, 2015.

The article is a commentary on a YouGov poll which “shows significantly more guilty consciences in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK, with 14 per cent admitting their sins merit damnation.” Only “10 per cent of people in the rest of the UK think Satan’s furnaces should await them in the afterlife.”  [Ed: and before our English readers jump to the wrong conclusion – this has nothing to do with the independence referendum 😀 ]

I’ve been unable to find a link to the article online (not having a Facebook , Google or Twitter account) but the reader who sent me his unpublished letter also enclosed a copy of the article, so here are a few quotes from it.  You can study the YouGov poll here

The YouGov survey revealed that: “…despite Scots’ dimmer view of their own moral virtue, they are less afraid of death than those in the rest of Britain. They are also less likely to believe in the afterlife…”  The survey asked: ‘If there were a heaven and a hell, which would you end up in?” The article continues:  “Among Scots, 48 per cent believed they would pass through the Pearly Gates – in line with the UK average.  The proportion willing to admit they deserved the other place was surprisingly high – a finding which one minister said might be explained by Scots’ cultural Calvinism placing greater weight on sin.” [Ed: Well, it sure ain’t because they’re hearing  thunderous sermons on Hell  in Catholic parishes. ]

Below is our reader’s letter to the Daily Mail:  he is disappointed it was not selected for publication, so it will be pleasing to be able to let him know that we published it here and discussed the very good points contained therein…

George’s Letter to the Daily Mail…

Dear Sir,

I found the results of the YouGov survey on “would you end up in Heaven or Hell?” fascinating and most revealing.

As it happens, I had been reading about the forthcoming centenary of the apparitions, in 1917, at Fatima where Lucy, one of the three seers, when asked this same question later in life said: “Taking into account the behaviour of mankind, only a small part of the human race will be saved.”

This seems to agree with many of the saints who answered “that most people will end up in Hell.”  Indeed, Jesus Himself said in the Gospels that “few” are saved and enter by what He called “the narrow gate.”

All this runs counter to the YouGov results, e.g. 52% of Londoners believed they were “heaven bound”. As for views on “fearing death” when only 16% of those surveyed said that “death scared them” we know that St Paul said that we all should approach death and the final judgment with “fear and trembling.”

All this “doom” seems to be at loggerheads with comments from the majority of the clergy over the last half-century, saying that “most, if not all of us will go to Heaven.” Seldom a mention of Hell.

Could they be guilty of  genuine heresy?  Perhaps another YouGov poll is needed. 

Yours etc.

Comments invited

24 responses

  1. It’s just a pity that Britain no longer has the old miners union leaders; we could always rely on them to eventually shut Hell’s furnaces down

    • Athanasius,

      LOL !

      That was a good letter, but not surprised they didn’t publish it. The letters editor wouldn’t have a clue about Fatima and wouldn’t believe that “Gentle Jesus” said “few” are saved. Still, I always think that it’s good to write to papers because at least one person at that paper has read the truth.

      • Nicky,

        I agree about George’s letter. It is a great letter for a Catholic newspaper but the secular press were never going to publish it. Mind you, I doubt if a Catholic newspaper would publish it either! They don’t write much about Hell either! He finished with a very good question though – are these priests who are saying everyone is going to Heaven, guilty of genuine heresy? I say yes, and so that begs the question, why hasn’t something been done about it? Are we really to believe that the bishops and priest don’t actually believe in Hell?
        What’s the point of being a priest then?

        I took a look at the YouGov survey and it is just incredible that under 50% of the over 60s believe in God or a greater power and even they don’t believe in an afterlife. How confused are they? So much for multicultural religious education. It’s made things as clear as mud!

        • Fidelis,

          I also agree that George’s letter is great but not really of interest to the tabloids or any of the press, really.

          I don’t know what the point of being a priest is if you don’t believe in Hell. If there’s no Hell there’s no need for rules/virtue etc. It really is a nonsensical thing, that priests have stopped preaching about Hell.

        • Fidelis,

          I think the point of being a priest these days is to help build a fairer world! They’ve not made a good job of it so far, but that’s all I ever hear them talking about!

          • Athanasius,

            No problem. I think it’s not a bad idea to have a joke to kick start such a serious topic! Here’s one that’s tailor made for you…

            Q Does the Bible say that if you smoke you can’t get to heaven?

            A No, but the more you smoke the quicker you’ll get there… 😀

            • Editor

              I secretly hope there’s some truth hidden in that spoof answer; about getting to heaven quicker, I mean.

      • Nicky,

        Maybe it is a comment on Catholics that the Daily Mail wouldn’t know about Fatima. That shows we are not doing enough about it, spreading the message.

        • Lily,

          I think that’s a very good point. If more of us wrote in to the papers about Fatima when there’s articles on war etc. to tell them about the Consecration of Russia/world peace, they might just take an interest and check it out.

          George’s letter is very good and I am surprised that the Daily Mail didn’t publish it, because his other points, especially about most clergy not speaking about Hell as that is important in itself. It’s a wonder they didn’t just cut out the rest and publish that.

  2. I find this topic really fascinating. In the YouGov survey, it says “Many Britons are scared of dying, the poll found. Some 68 percent admitted to being scared of death and 20 percent confessed it “scares them a lot.”

    I’m ashamed to say that I’m in that 20 percent that is very scared of death and no matter how often I’m told to have stronger faith, I can’t stop being scared of that moment of death. It really really terrifies me.

    Is there anybody else with that fear, or should I be confessing this fear as a lack of true supernatural faith? I’ve tried to explain it as I do believe in God, judgment etc. and I know that if I die in a state of grace I won’t go to Hell but my emotions take over and the fear grips me when I think of those last moments on this earth.

    I’d be interested to know if anyone else is in that 20 percent with me!

    • Josephine,

      I realise that the following involves two saints but I’m sure the underlying (or rather quite obvious) message applies to the lives of all of us who are striving for salvation.

      The following is taken from The Life of St.Dominic Savio:

      In December 1876, about a month after St.Dominic Savio’s death, Don Bosco had a vision of the young saint in all his glory. During his conversation with the saint (later written down at the express request of Pope Pius IX), Don Bosco said to him, “Tell me,Dominic, you always practised many virtues. What gave you most consolation at the hour of your death? Purity?”

      “Not that alone”, replied St. Dominic.

      “A clear conscience?”

      “That’s a good thing but it was not the greatest.”

      “Hope of glory in heaven?”

      “Not even that.”

      “What then? Having made so many sacrifices?”

      “No.”

      “What,please?” persisted a now embarrassed and confused Don Bosco.

      “It was this: the assistance at death of the Mother of God. Tell the boys,Father. Tell them never to forget to pray to her all the days of their lives.”

      I see this as showing us that thankfully, it is the aspect of St.Dominic’s exemplary life which is the easiest to emulate, namely persevering in daily prayer to Our Lady, which will make all the difference at the hour of our death.

      • Spudeater,

        Thank you tremendously for posting that from the Life of St Dominic Savio. I’ve never heard that before. I have heard people saying that if we pray to Our Lady, we can be sure we will be saved, but that is truly truly helpful – that she will come to us at the moment of death, and the evidence from a saint. That is just beautiful.

        Thank you so very much. I am determined to overcome my fear and I think this will go a long way to helping me. Thank you again.

      • Spudeater,

        I agree with Josephine – that is a fantastic extract from the Life of St Dominic Savio.

        My beloved mother, who died in February, always prayed that Our Lady or St Joseph would come for her at the moment of death. I have very good reason indeed to believe that this was, indeed the case. She prayed the rosary and many other prayers every day, and died clothed in the Brown Scapular, in which she had been enrolled some years earlier.

        It is very consoling indeed and it is the possibility that Our Lady will come for me * that keeps me from the utter fear of which Josephine writes and which I understand very well.

        * only “no the noo” – a friend of mine who once taught primary school in Govan, told me that after teaching about the magnificence of Heaven and how everything we could ever hope for would be there, to make us happy, she asked the class to raise their hands if they would like to go to Heaven. Only one small boy didn’t raise his hand and she had to stifle her laughter as she looked in his direction, and saw the pupil next to him dig him in the arm and say in a loud “whisper”: “put yer hawn up, it’s no the noo…” (Trans. “put your hand up, it’s not right now…” !) 😀

        In other words, I do hope and pray that Our Lady comes for me – but not for quite some time yet. I have a lot of prayer and penance to get through first!

    • Yes Josephine I am also terrified of dying.Like you I understand that should I die in a state of grace hell will be avoided.This in some ways is off comfort.I don’t lack faith I am just truly terrified off meeting our lord who quite rightly will want me to account for why I didn’t lead a better life.

      • Morgana,

        I was so terrified, not thinking I could ever be at peace going to my judgment, but Spudeater has helped me an awful lot in that way. The quote from St Dominic Savio is wonderful. I will focus on asking Our Lady to come for me at that terrifying moment. I’m sure you will do the same.

        • Josephine,

          Thank you for your kind reply. I’d like to take some credit but I suppose I should really defer to the two sainted protagonists quoted in my post!

  3. It is quite obvious from having a look around, that decadence abounds. This is a sure sign of widespread damnation. There is a complete gulf of unimaginable proportions, between what these people believe and what is fact.

    Claims of ignorance will not avail when judgement comes. It is nigh on impossible to avoid in our interconnected online world, the Christian religion (as well as all the false religions). Man is bound by divine edict in these cases to embrace or deny Christ.

    Those in temporal authority, charged with the highest responsibilities, would do well to consider which way they are leading the flock.

  4. A reader who has been following this thread and is very interested in the comments about death, asked me to post the following prayer, from the Pieta prayer book, which she says every night – in case others find it helpful:

    Prostrated at thy feet and humiliated by my sins, but full of confidence in thee, O Mary!
    I beg thee to accept the petition my heart is going to make. It is for my last moments.
    Dear Mother I wish to request thy protection and maternal love so that in the decisive instant thou will do all thy love can suggest on my behalf…

    To thee, O Mother of my soul, I consecrate THE LAST TWO HOURS of my life. Come to my side to receive my last breath and when death has cut the thread of my days, tell Jesus, presenting to Him my soul, ” I LOVE IT” That word alone will be enough to procure for me the benediction of my God and the happiness of seeing thee foe all eternity.

    I put my trust in thee, my Mother and hope it will not be in vain.

    O Mary! Pray for thy child and lead me to Jesus!

    • I think if we’re consecrated to Our Lady anyway, we wouldn’t need to use that prayer or am I wrong about that?

    • Ed.,

      That’s a good prayer for anyone to have in their armoury. I’m interested in the ‘two hours’ part which you could say is asking for twice as much help from Our Lady as a routine Hail Mary – not that any Hail Mary can be considered ‘routine’. As the Curé d’Ars said, ‘No prayer is ever lost.’

      Anyway, I thought I’d reproduce the following prayer, harvested from a Carmelite Church, with a similar theme which I previously posted on the General Discussion thread on May 31st:

      O Holy and Immaculate Virgin, beauty and splendour of Carmel, look down with special favour on me and shelter me in your maternal care. Strengthen my weakness, let your wisdom enlighten the darkness of my mind that I may ever increase in faith, hope and charity.

      May your assistance be mine during life, your loving presence my consolation at death and my surety when I stand in the presence of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

      The above prayer has the slight advantage of being a bit shorter so could easily be said while walking in the street, making the tea or even when you’re standing at the bar waiting for a drink with the queue six deep on one of your all too frequent pubs-and-clubs nights.

  5. I think George made a judicious mention of Fatima and the saints, just enough to show that they were more in line with Jesus’ teaching than the YouGov poll – LOL!

    Is it just me, or is it true the there are more atheists now than in the past, or are we just hearing more about them now? I keep hearing about people, including so called “Christians” who don’t actually believe in Hell – or God for that matter. There was a vicar on TV not that long ago who said he didn’t believe in God. How can anyone, in their right mind, say they’re Christians but don’t believe in God?

    I’d actually never think of writing a letter to a tabloid newspaper, so well done George for doing that.

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