Can we talk about remorse in literature? I Think Judas is the most poignant example of remorse from ancient literature, perhaps the first true example of remorse as opposed to mere regret. Orestes is the closest example to remorse in pre-Christian pagan literature, but his quest is not for forgiveness, but for acquittal, so it's fundamentally different for, say, someone like Raskolnikov.
Orthodox reading list and FAQ's for liberals, Protestants, atheists and so on, for those so inclined: http://pastebin.com/bN1ujq2x
Whether or not Christ takes pity on Judas has nothing do with it. as hell and heaven are not distinct places, but are both being fully conscious of God's love penetrating you. To Judas, it will feel like the worst fire, because he is so remorseful he will be ashamed to loved by God, he'd rather not exist at all. God's love will be agony to him.
"Spirit when acting, appears, qua consciousness, over against the object on which its activity is directed, and which, in consequence, is determined as the negative of the knowing agent. The agent finds himself thereby in the opposition of knowing and not knowing. He takes his purpose from his own character, and knows it to be essential ethical fact; but owing to the determinateness of his character, he knows merely the one power of substance; the other remains for him concealed and out of sight. The present reality, therefore, is one thing in itself, and another for consciousness. The higher and lower right come to signify in this connexion the power that knows and reveals itself to consciousness, and the power concealing itself and lurking in the background. "
"Ethical rightness, which insists that actuality is nothing per se in opposition to absolute law, finds out that its knowledge is onesided, its law merely a law of its own character, and that it has laid hold of merely one of the powers of the substance. The act itself is this inversion of what is known into its opposite, into objective existence, turns round what is right from the point of view of character and knowledge into the right of the very opposite with which the former is bound up in the essential nature of the substance — turns it into the “Furies” who embody the right of the other power and character awakened into hostility."
I would say people who hold such an exclusive, narrow-minded and cocksure view of what Christ and Christianity is are hypocrites living in glass houses.
But then nobody asked me, and I'm not pigheaded enough to impose that view on you.
That's the Orthodox conception of hell.
St. Isaac the Syrian expressed it well:
I also maintain that those who are punished in Gehenna are scourged by the scourge of love. For what is so bitter and vehement as the punishment of love? I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater torment from this than from any fear of punishment. For the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against love is sharper than any torment that can be. It would be improper for a man to think that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God. Love is the offspring of knowledge of the truth which, as is commonly confessed, is given to all. The power of love works in two ways: it torments those who have played the fool, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend; but it becomes a source of joy for those who have observed its duties. Thus I say that this is the torment of Gehenna: bitter regret. But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.
Also, universal reconciliation isn't heretical per se in Orthodox Christianity, it's just something we can't be sure (and even if it's possible, it still requires the free choice of those whom it affects), but we pray for it: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apocatastasis
" Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
-1 Corinthians 3:13-15
Remorse, grief and regret can all be felt simultaneously, you goddamn charlatan. Stop drawing false dichotomies. Stop intellectually masturbating over your own pseudo-intellectualism. Stop being a contrarian, Oedipus was a valid example. Just stop.