Normally if we are talking of the God of Jews and Christians who can forgive, we write it with a capital
to distinguish from 'the gods' of the pagans. Is there a hell? is the question you might have asked first,
rather than 'why' is there one. For Jews and Christians, the truth is that it is man who must forgive.
Men and women are free beings, God cannot forgive for them or on their behalf. I am speaking here
as a modern philosopher of religion, not just regurgitating old doctrinal language and thereby evoking
the misunderstandings that have accrued round it. God doesn't forgive man does. As a result of
man's lack of forgiveness, there is Hell. Where? Hell is a state people are in in every city, the drug
addicted, the mentally ill and rejected, the homeless and alienated, the lost and hopeless are all in
Hell. True forgiveness is a Christlike (godlike) act because by way of it we assume responsibility for
those in Hell. That's what the words in the Lord's Prayer, for instance, really mean.