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StevieWeevie

Fear of Hell

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I have been in the deconversion process for some time now and have been finding it very painful. One thing that has been causing me much fear is the concept of Hell. My Catholic friend tells me that God doesn't send anyone to Hell and doesn't want anybody to go there. That it breaks his heart if someone chooses to go there. That it is not a place but a self chosen state or condition of self exclusion, self alienation from the love of God, who is love. Because God respects our free will, he regrettably allows this. He would never violate our free will. Apparently the catholic church grows in its understanding and is continually developing. That while the Church may have understood it differently in the past this is its present understanding. That the images used in scripture are just that, images or pictures and not to be taken literally. I don't buy this. I would appreciate some feedback on this.

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Post deleted and moved to the other 'Fear of Hell' thread. 

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Ugh, I just realised I've hijacked Steve's thread :(

 

I honestly didn't realise because I asked the same question as Steve with an identical thread title. I'll try and move my questios to my thread about 'Fear of Hell'. 

 

Sorry Steve, sorry all. 

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I just joined yesterday and am still in the "process of deconverting" so I apologize that my answer is not as detailed as others' here. I've struggled with doubt for years and have been actively not a Christian for like 6 months or so. I felt the same exact paralyzing fear of being wrong and "being sent to hell." All I can really do is assure you that I know how you feel and still struggle with it, but that it DOES get better. The longer you accept that you have believed something false, the more comfortable you become with your new found reason and rationality. What really GREATLY helped me was considering all the different religions/beliefs out there and what those religions consider to be hell. Like, as a Christian, if I'd died and "been wrong" than Allah would have sent me to hell, but I had never feared that. Everybody is going to somebody's hell and as soon as that clicked, I didn't fear hell from Christianity any more than I'd ever feared something like reincarnation or hell according to any other religion. If you were in a different culture, you'd likely be fearing the wrath of some other deity. Make sense?

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Thanks ag_NO_stic

 

The thinking that other religions have their own hells doesn't really pacify me. I mean, I understand what people are talking about when they speak of not being worried about the Islamic hell or the Buddhist hell, but it doesn't really give me comfort. Reason being, I was brought up to believe all other religions were false and Christianity was the only true religion. Other religions do say the exact same thing, but the indoctrination that "Christianity is true all others religions are not" - "Christianity is true all others religions are not" - "Christianity is true all others religions are not" has a powerful hold on me. 

 

I do understand the reasoning behind it all though.

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Thanks ag_NO_stic

 

The thinking that other religions have their own hells doesn't really pacify me. I mean, I understand what people are talking about when they speak of not being worried about the Islamic hell or the Buddhist hell, but it doesn't really give me comfort. Reason being, I was brought up to believe all other religions were false and Christianity was the only true religion. Other religions do say the exact same thing, but the indoctrination that "Christianity is true all others religions are not" - "Christianity is true all others religions are not" - "Christianity is true all others religions are not" has a powerful hold on me. 

 

I do understand the reasoning behind it all though.

 

I completely understand that. That's where I still struggle sometimes, it's not like I'm 100% all the way through it. It's just has gotten so much better. It gives me comfort to see others who have been here awhile and recognize where I am now and say "Oh yeah, that goes away" while I see it happen before my eyes with each day that passes. If you think about it, a Muslim believes in their own doctrine so fully that some will go and commit suicide over it. Most religions assert that they are the one true religion, but you were never swayed by their reasoning because of your own indoctrination.

 

You have an emotional fear response, but it's like a breakup. You can objectively see the reasons why the relationship was unhealthy, but the time heals the wounds and the pain. I think it all kind of comes together.

Step one: Why would a God tell me he loves me and say he gives me a "choice" and then, after knowing the deepest most intimate part of my mind, send me straight to hell. Why would he give me a brain capable of reason and then punish me for it?

Step two: What is hell anyway? Oh, apparently there have been some translation issues and skewing of the bible. So you're saying it's only when Jesus comes on the scene that everyone is eternally damned? I guess it's true that Jews don't fear it because it's not in the Old Testament...so it's not a literal lake of fire?

Step 3: Where in the heck is hell anyway? Is my soul going to feel pain like my physical body does? Where on earth would fire be that is bound by our laws of physics but in a metaphysical way.

Step 4....I guess everyone really does have a legitimate fear of their own hell. My own concept is found nowhere in the Bible. I guess someone out there is really, truly convinced that they will come back as a beetle if they don't behave in this life. Muslims really, truly believe their way is the only way. I've never ever been threatened by it. Heck, even Christians disagree about who's going to hell. Some say you can lose your salvation, others say you can. Some say using the Lord's name in vain'll do it, other's say God's grace overcomes your sin....so I might even be wrong in my own belief!

Step 5....it sounds like ultimately there is nothing I can do anyway, I clearly am incapable of believing this bull which is the only requirement. So much for your "love", prick. If it's really there, guess I'm burnin' because I won't worship you.

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I completely understand that. That's where I still struggle sometimes, it's not like I'm 100% all the way through it. It's just has gotten so much better. It gives me comfort to see others who have been here awhile and recognize where I am now and say "Oh yeah, that goes away" while I see it happen before my eyes with each day that passes. If you think about it, a Muslim believes in their own doctrine so fully that some will go and commit suicide over it. Most religions assert that they are the one true religion, but you were never swayed by their reasoning because of your own indoctrination.

 

You have an emotional fear response, but it's like a breakup. You can objectively see the reasons why the relationship was unhealthy, but the time heals the wounds and the pain. I think it all kind of comes together.

Step one: Why would a God tell me he loves me and say he gives me a "choice" and then, after knowing the deepest most intimate part of my mind, send me straight to hell. Why would he give me a brain capable of reason and then punish me for it?

Step two: What is hell anyway? Oh, apparently there have been some translation issues and skewing of the bible. So you're saying it's only when Jesus comes on the scene that everyone is eternally damned? I guess it's true that Jews don't fear it because it's not in the Old Testament...so it's not a literal lake of fire?

Step 3: Where in the heck is hell anyway? Is my soul going to feel pain like my physical body does? Where on earth would fire be that is bound by our laws of physics but in a metaphysical way.

Step 4....I guess everyone really does have a legitimate fear of their own hell. My own concept is found nowhere in the Bible. I guess someone out there is really, truly convinced that they will come back as a beetle if they don't behave in this life. Muslims really, truly believe their way is the only way. I've never ever been threatened by it. Heck, even Christians disagree about who's going to hell. Some say you can lose your salvation, others say you can. Some say using the Lord's name in vain'll do it, other's say God's grace overcomes your sin....so I might even be wrong in my own belief!

Step 5....it sounds like ultimately there is nothing I can do anyway, I clearly am incapable of believing this bull which is the only requirement. So much for your "love", prick. If it's really there, guess I'm burnin' because I won't worship you.

It's all a big ball of mixed yarn, keep pulling strings until the ball disappears.

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It's all a big ball of mixed yarn, keep pulling strings until the ball disappears.

Guess I better get back into knitting. ;)

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Guess I better get back into knitting. ;)

:)

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