PM3004: On Universalism

Universalism is the belief that all will eventually be saved and go on to everlasting life. This view is rejected by most Christian denominations, although a small minority have taught it - it is popular at the more liberal extremes of Christian thought. It can be traced back to the first few centuries of the church, but has always been a minority view. It has been criticized as destroying the motivation for ethical and religious behaviour and individual responsibility - if it doesn't matter what I do or what I believe, and I will go to heaven anyway, then in this life I can do whatever I want and believe whatever I want and none of it matters.

Universalists either reject the idea of punishment after death entirely; or else they believe in hell, but believe it has only a limited duration, after which everyone in hell is admitted to heaven.

Compare universalism to annihilationism - annihilationists also deny eternal punishment, but they do not believe in eternal reward for the damned either. In universalism, everyone is eventually saved. In annihilationism, the saved go to heaven, the damned eternally cease to exist, either immediately after death, or at the end of a temporary period of punishment in hell. The Catholic belief in purgatory implies a limited period of punishment after death for some - but unlike universalists or annihilationists, Catholics still believe in everlasting punishment for the damned.

Origen taught that eventually everyone would repent, be saved, and be admitted into heaven - even Satan himself. But several of his views (including this) were declared heretical by many of his contemporaries in the church, even as his contributions in other areas of theology were valued.

Although the term is normally used in the context of Christianity, it can also be applied to non-Christian religions which believe that everyone will be saved and go to heaven.

Maratreanism is a universalist religion - it rejects any concept of everlasting punishment. In Maratreanism, time is finite and circular - there is no infinite time in which everlasting punishment could occur. It would also be grossly immoral for the Goddess to punish humans everlastingly, given that if they do wrong they do so only by her Will that they do so. It also rejects the notion of annihilationism, as opposed to the fundamental nature of the soul, as that which cannot be created or destroyed.

Maratreanism believes that everyone is rewarded by Her promises - of a whole universe for their true desires - without exception; and everyone in the end shall be seduced by her to return to their original unity with her. As such, all are saved.

Maratreanism believes that those who commit extremely wrong acts - rapists, murderers, people like Hitler - are made to endure a process in which they experience all the bad they have done from the perspective of the victims. However, this process is not really "punishment" (even if sometimes it gets called that) - it is actually a curative, therapeutic process, which repairs the damage their acts have done. At the end of this process, which is finite in duration - even the worst person can only have a finite number of victims, whose resulting negative experiences must each be individually finite, and as a result the total period of this treatment must also be finite - they too receive the reward of her promises.