Steve Brown quotes J’s former pastor:
My friend Lea Clower says that religion is for people who want to stay out of hell, and Christianity is for people who have been there.
-Steve Brown, Approaching God: Accepting the Invitation to Stand in the Presence of God, p. 85
Of course the good news of this, as his been said by others many times, is that this life is the closest to hell the Christian will ever face (and the closest to heaven the non-believer will ever experience).
Does the statement need defending? Maybe.
C.S. Lewis describes hell as a “ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon self.” In another places, he says, “We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where every has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.” If you’ve tasted those things in your own life, you’ve tasted some of the poison that makes hell what it is. You’ve touched the edge of the flame. And it’s when you realize that that’s what it is – poison, flame – you’re just on the cusp of being ready to escape.
How do you escape? Realize that there’s already somebody there to whom you can scream for help. (See the previous post for an explanation on that one).