“The Christian Candidate’s Guide to Infidels”

rick-perry-the-christian-candidates-guide-to-infidels “…The ancient and medieval Christians wouldn’t have had much to say about pure atheism, which is an 18th-century concept. Their closest analog would have been Epicureanism–the belief that worldly pleasure matters above all. In Christian-themed literature, at least, Epicureans were held in special contempt: Dante placed Epicurus and his followers in the sixth circle of hell, where their punishment for denying the immortality of the soul was to live out eternity in a fiery tomb. Honorable Muslims and pagans occupied Limbo, the relatively pleasant first circle of hell where the only punishment was the inability to ascend to paradise. A couple of pagans, including an obscure character from the Trojan War named Ripheus, even managed to make the improbable trip to paradise. Ripheus got there based on his strong belief in God’s providence, even though he couldn’t have accepted Christ during his lifetime. (The message of Ripheus is that God is unpredictable.) Dante had a particular dislike for the indecisive–those we might call agnostics. They wandered around the fringes of hell, and the poet wouldn’t even waste his time talking to them.” [. . .]  –Brian Palmer, Slate, August 15, 2011