This topic is for those who consider themselves spiritually advanced. That is, individuals who are acquainted with Swedenborg’s unique visionary revelations concerning the ontological reality of the Spiritual World.
Swedenborg offered many illuminating descriptions, based on direct observations of what both heaven and hell consisted of—including the “topological” features and the individual qualities of the inhabitants living in each of these diametrically opposed realms.
Swedenborg discovered that the men and women of this terrestrial earth are inwardly connected (heart and mind) to the influences of each realm. Influences from those who have their abodes in heaven love the Lord God and the neighbor, while those who exist in Hell have a burning hatred and contempt for God and for others. These two realms inflow into the hearts and minds of those still living on earth and fight a “turf war” over this psychical ground of the soul.
Those who have studied Swedenborg’s ideas have mostly taken the position that they can move the needle in this inner turf war of the soul towards heaven if they adopt the principles of loving God and the neighbor. Seems logical.
But Swedenborg provided an important and often overlooked caveat to this equation. Simply being good does not bring an increase in God’s loving influence into our lives. God’s infinite love is focusing on us at all times and is a non-issue—but having it “stick” requires a humbling and discomforting effort on our part. Heavenly goodness only flows in and takes root in our hearts and minds to the degree that we self-examine our lives, find specific faults and succeed (with God’s help) in resisting these character flaws.
This means exploring Hell’s most subtle and deepest “land grab” within our soul’s inner turf is the final frontier to tame. This inner turf of the human heart and mind determines what our spiritual environment (inner reality) will ultimately consist of. (The final battle of Armageddon actually takes place on this interior battleground!)
My experience has shown me that most people prefer to go directly towards trying to become “good” and “caring” individuals rather then risk anything that might lead to a loss of personal esteem. The church experience of such individuals usually embraces a community that supports everyone’s self-worth. In this “warm and fuzzy” scenario, affirmation trumps the nasty and uncomfortable process of true spiritual transformation and re-birth. So worshippers are often put at ease with hope and lower their guard instead of becoming more inwardly vigilant.
I know this because I attended seminary, where everyone is trained to be patiently supportive and to do nothing that would cause any concern or discomfort in another individual. No one is being trained to help others explore Hell—not as a realm apart from someone, but inside of someone! (Without Hell’s influence of opposition and resistance, Heavenly love would have no parameters or quality for its operation.) This is the biggest reason why I eventually choose not to take the path of ordination and instead, focus on the more self-challenging requirements for sincere spiritual regeneration.
Furthermore, if I were to join such church communities I would not be tolerated.
Instead, I have chosen to write books that not only challenge current worldviews but also challenge the individual to make the proper spiritual efforts in finding heavenly happiness—here and hereafter.