CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{April 9, 2007}   Eternity


I spent my Easter Sunday doing laundry, cleaning my apartment and making the attempt to start doing my taxes. The only reason I knew it was Easter was because it said so in my planner.

Does this mean I’m a bad person? Was it wrong for me not to go to church? Am I going to burn in hell forever – for an eternity?

Around Easter time, 2003, I wrote a bit for CityBeat about eternity. Click here to give it a read.

To say I got a lot of hate mail on it would be an understatement, but eternity is a long time – like forever. Think about it. Is that something that’s appealing to you?

Larry Gross

(Artwork from


Matt says:

Not being religious, yesterday was just another day for me also – but sometimes I wish Easter Sunday would fall on a Monday, just to get another day off work!

Donna says:

Religion is important to me and I found your original story a bit offensive but I know you didn’t mean it to me. We look at things very differently.

hard as nails says:

i figure i’m going to hell. at least most of my friends will be there so i won’t be lonely.

Jackie says:

You’re going to ROT IN HELL, Larry, and I’ll probably be right there with you!

Biscuit says:


Has it ever occurred to you that we have all died and Cincinnati is hell? We might be living the sequel to “Sixth Sense”

Stan says:

Cincinnati is hell?

Come to think of it, Skyline chili is hell. Maybe this Biscuit is on to something.

Gus_J says:

Larry it’s funny you bring this up, my mother and I were having this discussion last night… Ostara is a wiccan/pagan holiday that is supposed to fall around the equinox, it’s a celebration of life and fertility (thus the eggs, chicks, etc.) The name is derived from the goddess Eostra (Ishtar.) The big feast we enjoy with family and friends is symbolic of the feast shared with the goddess. I’m not discounting the teachings of Jesus or any of the prophets for that matter, they were all righteous in their own way, however, nobody really knows when Jesus was born or when (or how for that matter) he died. If I get the drift, Jesus as the type of dude that wouldn’t have cared if you celebrated his birthday or death day, he would probably try to celebrate life and eat with you everyday. I have a feeling Jesus was so good, his teachings conflict with the church, and they had to steal dates from other religions holidays to sell Christianity at the time (see Constantine) Christmas is more of the same. So no, you probably aren’t going to burn in hell, and there probably isn’t an angry deity out there waiting to punish you for not gorging yourself on lamb and pickled eggs. I like holidays because for silly superstition or not, they put my peoples in the same place at the same time.

Gus_J says:

Oh yeah, I really liked “Eternity: God’s Cruel Joke” I liked the one about Christmas too, I almost pissed myself when I read it. I forwarded the link to a bunch of people around Christmas.

Gus says:

“they put my peoples in the same place at the same time.”

I can relate to this, Gus. Around the holidays I often look forward to getting all the people I know in the same place. After about 10 minutes of this “joy,” I’m ready for it to be over. I wonder what that says about me?

Larry Gross says:

The last comment was from me, Gus. No, you’re not talking and answering youself – yet.

Gus_J says:

Well, I do have my moments brother 🙂

Betty says:

I try to treat people the way they want to be treated. If that gets me into heaven, great. If it doesn’t, at least I’ll burn in hell knowing I gave it my best shot.


Re: the eternity piece: I think what you’re missing Larry is that eternity is not about the physical body. You’re too tied to your physicality with all that–I personally look forward to death as the time when I will get to shed my body, with all its pains and problems, and reach a new level where my spirit is all there is.

Also, FYI–the Catholics anyway, the ones who do it right, don’t teach Hell as fire. Hell is simply defined as separation from God. Which could be a lot of things, or nothing at all.

But if you’re one of those people who says they’re going to hell, that’s actually good–it means you are conscious of the spiritual dimension, and conscious of what kind of person you are. If you think you are going to hell, it means you think about how you are living your life, and probably see ways to improve it. That’s a good start, I think.

Marilyn says:

“To say I got a lot of hate mail on it would be an understatement…”

Well, gee, I’ll bet all that hate mail was from peace-loving Christians, yes?

It took me a life time to unlearn all the crapola I had been taught regarding religion. I’m thankful that I now have concepts that make sense to me, and I would never dream of pushing my beliefs on anyone else.

Naw Larry, don’t worry about hell.

Del says:



“Well, gee, I’ll bet all that hate mail was from peace-loving Christians, yes?”

Marilyn–please keep in mind that the hate-mailing ones don’t speak for ALL of us Christians. A lot of us truly are peace-loving.

Barbara says:

I read the first paragraph of your old column and that was enough for me. Your “Jesus joke” was horrible. What kind of a man are you?

Nathern says:

There is no god. You live, eat and sleep and pay your taxes then you die. That’s it.

Joy says:

Having gas forever doesn’t appeal to you, Larry? Ha! That story was funny.

Therasa says:

That’s right, Foxy, not all christians point their fingers at those who don’t beleive the same way they do – just most.

Marilyn says:

FoxyRoxy, of course I know you are correct. My husband is a strongly convicted Catholic and he is the gentlest soul I know.

But, in my experience, most Christians I have known dislike and judge by race and religion. They clamor for war. They detest gay folks.

These things I cannot justify.


Therasa–it makes me very sad to admit that what you say is pretty true.

But I also think a lot of folks wearing the “Christian” label these days need to be taken with a large grain of salt–especially those atendees of the “Big Box” churches–what the Big Boxes are selling isn’t true Christianity. Jesus said “take up your cross and follow me”–he didn’t say “get in thine SUV, driveth to church at a convenient hour to thee, sippeth thine free coffee whilst sitting in thine stadium seat and giveth of thy surplus gap sweaters once or twice a year. Oh and, above all, fell good about thyself!”–yeah, not so much the same thing as “take up your cross.”

God isn’t a Republican either, and he didn’t help Zach Johnson win the Masters yesterda–He’s too busy creating amazing things like this little guy:


Hey Marilyn–not trying to be argumentative, but that’s not just true of Christians–it’s true of “adherents” to other religions, as well. I can’t justify that type of behavior, either–The people you talk about are using religion as an umbrella for their own prejudices–but what they really need is a garbage bag to toss them in!

Marilyn says:

Hmmm, I’m doing some needlework and spent some time in thought about my sweeping statements earlier…

I do retract my over generalizations–Shame on me! I do know some Christians that do their best to follow the teachings of Christ. There are well-known ones like Mother Theresa, and lesser known Christians (like my husband) whom I respect.

Allen says:

I think I believe in some kind of eternity, but I don’t believe in organized religion. How many people in this world have been killed due to organized religion? It doesn’t unite people, it tears them apart.

Eileen says:

“The only reason I knew it was Easter was because it said so in my planner.”

This is sad, Larry. Really, really sad.

hard as nails says:

This is sad, Larry. Really, really sad.

……so is my soap today. really, really sad.

Marilyn says:

Eileen, isn’t it only sad IF it is sad to Larry?

Eileen says:

I knew Larry some years back. He’s a nice man but when it comes to God, he’s lost. That’s why I feel sad for him.


Allen–I think fundamentalism is more to blame than just organized religion–not to split hairs or anything.

Keep in mind, too–when Jesus said to turn the other cheek, he didn’t mean to be a doormat. The cultural context of that saying is very important. What he meant was to make the person slapping you challenge you as an equal, not as a lesser. He meant that righteous anger, anger in response to injustice, is not just OK, it’s GOOD. So peace, yes. Passivity in response to injustice? No.

Did the Crusades fall under that awning? Nope.

Is all of this relative and easily bent to someone’s own ends? Sure. Which is why we’re still talking about it! 🙂

Tad says:

“Is all of this relative and easily bent to someone’s own ends?”

This is truly the definition of organized religion.


Just don’t drink any of the Kool-aid Tad, and you’ll be a’ight. 😉

organized religion is a structure of man. faith is my bag; religion, eh, not so much. religion is a vehicle to faith, but it is not faith.

Hey Larry–it might not mean much, but I’ll pray for you. I have a feeling when the time comes eternity is gonna be pretty cool, and whether I forgot and ate salami on Good Friday or whether you did your wash yesterday isn’t gonna be at the top of the list of questions!

Kevin says:

Really interesting post today and interesting comments. I tend to agree with the negative thoughts on organized religion. I don’t think much of anything good comes of it.

Rita says:

I have not believed in organized in organized religion since I was twelve. A church leader visiting my parents said I was going to hell when he noticed I was reading about Ruth Montgomery and automatic writing. I was not impressed.

Several people who believe they “know” me say they pray for me – since I do not go to Church I do no believe in God. Reality is I am very spiritual – I believe in God, Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed. I just don’t believe in buildings and promoting a terrifying, wrathful God.

I really liked your article Larry. Enjoy your humor.

I thought the eternity and the Christmas pieces were hilarious!

Man, Larry, you one anti-social cat. It’s a wonder you procreated at all!

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