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Hell And Religion


garrisonjj
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What are your main reasons for the disbelief in hell? Seems to me, many people are "religious" or practice their faith to escape the wrath of everlasting torment. Where did hell originate? Directly from a god inspired bible? or was it man's imagination that was created to control the masses. As you might tell, I still struggle with this and any help in further reading or web sites debunking hell will be appreciated.

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I don't know if I can be much help. Hell is part of a religion I don't belong to so it is meaningless to me. I believe it started as something to beat people into submission.

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What are your main reasons for the disbelief in hell?

...

Where did hell originate? Directly from a god inspired bible? or was it man's imagination that was created to control the masses.

My main reason for disbelieving in hell is simple...I don't believe in any afterlife anymore be it good or bad.

 

The Wikipedia has decent info on the whole hell thing so I'd suggest dropping by there for the basic background on it all.

 

But as I'm sure you know (since you seem to come at this from the whole Judeo/Christian POV) the ancient Jews didn't originally believe in an afterlife much less a place of eternal punishment. That all came later (with most Jews today believing that it is a temporary place of separation from their god for most souls). The modern xian hell is modeled primarily on the Hellenistic Hades and the Jewish Sheol (with the name borrowed from the Norse Hel as I recall).

 

As you can see it's a man made construct drawing on a number of sources that grew over time that, ultimately, was/is only used for the control of the masses and nothing more.

 

mwc

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I believe that it was a masterstroke when hell was created. Basically it appeals to people who are too simple to understand a reasonable argument. They're something a little higher than animals, and as such they respond to very simple motivators, like anticipated punishment or reward. Anyone a little more intelligent and less timid is not really much affected by something like that. Of course, there are always the people who want to seem intelligent by calculating the age of the earth via the biblical timeline or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, but they're just simple with the added pretentious streak. It's not important. Basically you can only get false conclusions if you're only given false premises to work with. Don't worry too much about it. If it keeps some people who would otherwise have been much worse criminals in line, then fine.

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I don't believe in Hell because the religion in question (Xianity) is known to be wholly false. Its concept of Hell is based on other Hells from other religions; perhaps Hells which are not so severe, but Xianity just kicked it up a notch or fifty.

 

Xianity is false, therefore so is Hell.

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I don't believe in hell for the same reason I don't believe in god: there isn't any compelling reason why I should.

 

A belief in hell entails a belief in the existence of some kind of afterlife, some kind of continuation of consciousness after bodily death. Nobody's ever come back from the grave to let the rest of us know which version of the afterlife is right, if any, despite reports of NDE's, spirit communications, or alleged interaction with ghosts. I think such things are odd phenomena in their own right, but probably have more to do with the psyche and cultural conditioning of the individual experiencing them than they do with proving that there's any actual objective afterlife to go to. Anecdotal evidence isn't good enough to prove there's an afterlife, and I certainly don't know of any scientific evidence that would back up the anecdotal stuff.

 

I think that the current version of hell is, as has been posted, an amalgamation of a number of different afterlife traditions, with the added twist of mind control through fear.

 

That's all I can say at the moment, before needing to run off to work. <g>

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It's been a gut-level thing for me. I had to choose between life and death. I just couldn't cut it being a zombie. It didn't work for me. I was taught that death by my own hand is wrong. Besides, I didn't have the guts to do it. My choices made me feel better. Many days I would ask myself if I made the right decision. I remember writing an entire paper on what if hell is real. But there was something inside of me that would absolutely not respond to the suggestion that hell is real. If hell was real, then I had to go back to living a horse and buggy Mennonite life with people who didn't want me and by all appearance hated me.

 

Your situation is probably not this drastic but you asked what convinced me. That is what convinced me. There was no way god would send me to hell for feeling so liberated and joyful. It simply made no sense. All the same, the fear was very deep-seated. One day I discussed it with a theology prof who does not believe in hell. He said, "When you die you'll find out." It was a flippant response. I couldn't handle it. Suddenly he seemed to realize his mistake. He added, "But then it will be too late."

 

I felt like he understood my fear, and shared in it. That gave me release. Mostly, it's been a matter of time. Time that is measured in years, not days or weeks or months. I see it as healing one of the deepest wounds inflicted on the human brain. It's seared onto the conscience. There is no quick or easy way around it; TIME heals all wounds. Sometimes it leaves scars. We can learn to deal with scars if we see them for what they are: scars. A reminded or worse days.

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I have a quick question. A bunch of religions have hells but I think only Christianity and Islam have hells specifically for unbelievers. All the other hells are just for people who are evil. Are there any other religions with hells for people who disbelieve?

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To the best of my knowledge, only Is-lame and Xianity have punishments for disbelief - because only these religions are driven by the concept of spreading "the faith." Most other religions that have punishments in the afterlife seem to base the idea of those punishments as hinging on a person's deeds, not their beliefs.

 

The concept of damnation for disbelief makes Is-lame and Xianity disgustingly unique amongst the world's known religions.

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I have a quick question. A bunch of religions have hells but I think only Christianity and Islam have hells specifically for unbelievers. All the other hells are just for people who are evil. Are there any other religions with hells for people who disbelieve?

Actually, the term "hell" is fairly inaccurate in this sense. The term "underworld" would be better and with that they were places that everyone went to not just the "evil" people. In Hades, for instance, there were several divisions were the "shades" could go IF they got ferried across the river to begin with. One for the "bad" people. One for the "average" (most everyone ended up there) and one for the "hero" types. They even had a special lower level (that gets mentioned in the bible one time) Tartarus (sp?) that is for the worse of the worse. Supposedly that's where the fallen angels are supposed to go (in xian theology not Greek).

 

The Egyptians had their afterlife which was basically an underworld that, if you were worthy of entrance, was sort of like a heaven but really just a perfected version of this life (if you weren't worthy you were destroyed by a monster like creature never to be seen again).

 

The Jews eventually came up with their own underworld, Sheol. Other cultures had similar concepts as well. Anyhow, I am obviously simplifying all of these but the point remains (I hope).

 

I haven't looked into whether other religions have punishments for unbelievers but to the best of my knowledge the do not. I mean, there are things in each religion that could get you in trouble if you're an outsider and you didn't know them (like the trials in the Egyptian afterlife or not having a coin in the Greek afterlife) but they're not "faith" based like the ones you mention. I've never really thought of it before but I might just have to look into it when I get the time now that you've mentioned it. :thanks:

 

mwc

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This site seems pretty informative...

 

The Hell Page

 

Polybius, the ancient historian, says: "Since the multitude is ever

fickle, full of lawless desires, irrational passions and violence, there is

no other way to keep them in order but by the fear and terror of the

invisible world; on which account our ancestors seem to me to have acted

judiciously, when they contrived to bring into the popular belief these

notions of the gods, and of the infernal regions." B. vi 56.

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I agree with what Gwen said. There is no compelling evidence of hell. And what god who claims to love everyone would devise such a diabolical torcher chamber that lasts for all eternity.

Why would I go through the arduous labor of creation and then consign some of my creation to hell.

 

When put into that perspective none of it is real.

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