Originally, this group was nothing more than a redirect to another group, with a description that read
"Are you trying to get to the Hell's Waiting Room Group? If so, go here:http://www.flickr.com/groups/eternal_damnation/"
(link removed) but those joining the group had different ideas, and I liked those ideas, so I thought, why not have a little give and take? Taking the title more literally than I had intended, at first, a new member of the group submitted this photo, writing
"I'm inside the crater of the inactive Volcano of Nisiros Island. The big holes still exist and you can hear the boiling waters and smell the sulphur!"
Inactive, but not extinct, I would guess? This was not entirely how I had pictured the group evolving. The group to which this one redirected was, in part, described by this ...
"... featured and features images that in one way or another suggested an entrance to the underworld. The sort of images that would be welcome there would be welcome here ..."
... so I was hoping to see a lot of Dante and Milton inspired images and writing on that group, or at least some - and I haven't given up on that, planning to post some of that, myself. As for this group - I never leave a redirect as a redirect, forever. The title was suggestive of my long term plans for the group - images suggestive of the area surrounding the doorway to Hell, and of the unwise soul's trip to get there. If one looks at Mr. Christodoulou's photo, one finds that it fits the title of the group, but not the original intended purpose - but I just couldn't bring myself to remove that image from the pool. I liked it too much, and it was the only image in the pool, at the time. I did want to see this group get used, and groups have been known to fold without anybody ever joining them, so I bent a little and rethought the group. Having done so, I saw that the concept of the group was improved in the process.
Think about that image, so bright and sunny and cheerful looking, not such a bad place to sit, one thinks at first - but, in fact, there is great unpleasantness beneath one's feet, not at all suggested by the friendly looking setting. Boiling waters under a volcano are a sign that magma isn't so far below, and the smell of sulphur suggests the presence of toxic, even corrosive chemicals being produced by the low level volcanic activity taking place below. The pleasantness of the scenery is deceptive, at some point maybe even dangerous - and in religious discussions, how would sin usually be described? The road to perdition could very well appear bright and sunny, welcoming the traveler with the false promise of a good trip. I don't know that Mr. Christodoulou had any of that in mind when he submitted his photo - I'm guessing that he didn't - but it's a good message to come across, even if one does so by accident. I broadened the subject matter for the group, and quietly thanked G-d for the sign and the good fortune, and Alexandros for the photo, shortly before making him a moderator for the group. A little hasty, as I hardly know the man, but that's what social networking sites are for, much of the time - taking a few risks.
Shots of volcanos, geysers and other structures of a volcanic nature are welcome in this group, in general, as are conceptual or allegorical images suggestive of a journey to Hell, either in the sense of a literal physical trip, or in the sense of the soul being lead astray. Fire and brimstone having long been associated with images of Hell, these seemingly distinct topics are not altogether unconnected, artistically, but we do have the very different subjects of theology and geology (vulcanology, to be specific) being raised. How are they to be discussed?
Not evangelistically. There are groups for that. This one is run by a Jew who appreciates the literature, and is supportive of the efforts of those who would follow and serve G-d more fully, which is to say that if you're here to sing the praises of the Christian Devil or some unclean spirit, or speak disrespectfully of G-d, I will ask you to take that elsewhere. There will be no blasphemy here, but there will also be no attempts at conversion, here. One can't talk about Milton without raising the subject of religion, but one can discuss religion from an academic point of view or, at least as Wikipedia would define the term, a neutral point of view, not speaking of what people should believe, but what they did believe, and perhaps exploring the implications of that. I'm not importing the "no original research" rule from that site into this group, not entirely, but I would suggest documenting one's claims whenever possible, as one is writing for and to laymen, the administrator, himself, being a layman himself, as far as much of the subject matter goes.
Original writing, both on the subject of volcanos and vulcanology (the branch of geology dealing with volcanic
phenomena), and on the subject of the soul's progress are welcome in the discussion section. A Christian point
of view is not necessarily supposed - there are Buddhist hells, I'm told. Other religions can be explored in
nonfiction, and fiction is welcomed as well, as long as one remembers that the group is for general audiences. I
know that can be limiting, and will set up a companion adult group, if there is any interest - one in which the
harsher passages of literature, unsuitable for younger readers, can be posted, but in which pornography will still
be unwelcome. One other thing - as I write in the description of the group that this one was once a signpost for,
"... but this place is going to remain more of an English departmental tea kind of place - we prefer to keep our wretched agony and soul shattering despair on a more genteel level."
Courtesy will be expected of you, and yes, you do know what that means. I think that covers it, so let's go to the group.