"There is no end to suffering in here; stop sinning before it's is too late," reads an inscription, appropriate for Lent, at one of Singapore's more interesting tourist destinations — The Bloody Ten Courts of Hell. (Click on the link for a foreshadowing of what awaits those who fail to heed the inscription's warning.) The courts are the main attraction at the Haw Par Villa, built by the brothers who gave the world Tiger Balm. (Had only the makers of Mentholatum done something similar for my hometown!)
The near universality of belief in Hell is interesting to contemplate in light of what both Natural Theology and Perennial Philosophy teach, especially since many moderns wrongly label the idea as a relic of the "judgmental" (uncool) religious traditions of the West absent in the "non-judgmental" (cool) East.
Self-described "crypto-perennialist" Arturo Vasquez recently reminded us that "it is profitable to study other forms of religiosity and cultures, since... in them are embodied foreshadowing echoes of the Word of God" — On the inherent superiority of Western culture. He continues, "They also teach us concepts that we, in our sanitized, modern mentality, once understood but some time ago forgot."
So, the Chinese (and just about everyone else) were aware from time immemorial of the reality of eternal punishment, and in 1937 two Chinese-Singaporean brothers used their wealth to create not only "a venue for teaching traditional Chinese values" where grandmas could take their grandkids and scare them into behaving properly, but also, unwittingly, a place where souls might be offered "foreshadowing echoes of the Word of God" and His call to repentance.