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Fear Of Hell


movingon
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I'm sure this topic has come up many times, but i cant seem to find the threads about it. I'm wondering what you all do with the fear of hell? The 'what if I'm wrong?' questions, and am now sentenced to hell? I've told myself I'd never want to worship a God who's willing to do that to someone, but I guess the thoughts still come and haunt me and I'm wondering how you guys dealt with it.

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Basically, you just have to wait it out. It'll go away eventually, as your new lack of belief has time to penetrate your subconscious. I can remember early on lying awake in bed terrified of being wrong and going to hell. Now I don't give it a second thought. I just sat here and thought about it and tried to drum up some fear. Nothing.

 

It'll get better; just give yourself some time.

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I think the fear of being wrong (Pascal's wager) was addressed very nicely by Richard Dawkins in this short video.

 

Best line to a Christian who asked him, "What if you are wrong?": "What if you're wrong about the Great JuJu at the bottom of the sea?!"

 

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I'm sure this topic has come up many times, but i cant seem to find the threads about it. I'm wondering what you all do with the fear of hell? The 'what if I'm wrong?' questions, and am now sentenced to hell? I've told myself I'd never want to worship a God who's willing to do that to someone, but I guess the thoughts still come and haunt me and I'm wondering how you guys dealt with it.

I had the same thoughts for a while. As I continue to think about the moral issues related to hell ( both the morality of a sadistic god and the morality of allowing billions of people to be born who will ultimately wind up in hell, not to mention that a loving god is supposed to have created such a place ) I see more and more how ridiculous such a concept really is.

 

It has taken time for me to rid myself of the fear of such a place because I believed it and feared it for so long. I think it just takes time for some of us to work through it.

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It is well known that the K'ching! people of Betelgeuse 4 worship Nfrootu, a 6-headed God whose most distinguishing characteristic is his gleeful post-mortem torture of Christians. The K'ching! Wholly Babble states in First Coincidences that "...he who bows the knee or confesseth that Jesus is Lord shall be covered in flaming birdshit for the first half of eternity, after which things shall get considerably worse."

 

So you see, Pascal was wrong. If there's an afterlife, you're pretty much screwed no matter what, because the odds against choosing the "right" deity are astronomical. Your only chance lies in the hope that, since all the interesting people will be in the Christian Hell - and since the Devil is so into tempting people to commit kinky sex acts, take drugs, and party like animals - it won't be nearly as bad as advertised.

 

In fact, I'm thinking that deliberately aiming for the Christian Hell might be the better wager.

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I surprisingly didn't deal with much of this. My fear of hell just suddenly didn't exist anymore. And its weird because as a Christian I was always worried I was going to go to hell.

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It takes time to get over it, believe me. That cruel teaching has been called here on this site "neurological sabotage", and its an apt description. One thing you might try is to read the material on hell from books and websites that promote Christian Universalism. There you can see the history of the doctrine and how it developed, the etymology of the word "hell", the use of parable and hyperbole. Other Christian writings that can be helpful come from an annihilation standpoint. This page is particularly good in its arguments against the idea of an "immortal soul": http://www.specialtyinterests.net/champions_of_conditional_immortality.html#6f

 

"My mind fails to conceive a grosser misrepresentation of language than when five or six of the strongest words which the Greek tongue possesses, signifying to destroy or destruction, are explained to mean `maintaining an everlasting but wretched existence.' To translate black as white is nothing to this." Dr. R. F. Weymouth

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I actually don't think I'm wrong at all...but in the infinitesimal chance that I am, it's where all the people I like are going.

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I actually don't think I'm wrong at all...but in the infinitesimal chance that I am, it's where all the people I like are going.

Not necessarily. I'm a strong atheist, but I understand theology enough to know that there are several ways that atheists can get to heaven.

 

First, Universal Reconciliation - the doctrine that everyone get's to heaven eventually, and in the eternal context, that means immediately.

 

More ways later.

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Hell can hardly be any worse than Earth. According to Christian doctrine you are already suffering the Curse of Yahweh here, so Hell is simply more of the same -- perhaps more intense, perhaps less. And no doubt you are already enduring the maliciousness and ignorance of other people, whether those other people include Yahweh, as Christians say, or does not, as the Atheist says, hardly matters. If the Christians are right, it is just cumulative upon what we already observe: There are powerful people who wish us ill and who hurt us. Christian doctrine is so close to the reality that we can observe using purely scientific methods, that we might as well assume that it is true and simply move forward without the religious debates or doubts.

 

Even so, what of it? What difference does it make if Yahweh is real and burns us with his curse? We're still enjoying ourselves, aren't we? Justice and goodness are still real things! We can still try to do the right thing and say sorry when we've done wrong. No God, no matter how powerful, can undo what it is that is Beautiful. That is why I expect hell and really don't care one way or another.

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I have found that consigning myself to hell completely removes all fear. The Christian bible's commands on how to be good Christian is so confusing that I highly doubt anyone can truly claim that the are following the word to the t. And then you have the after life of other religions. What makes you so certain that the Christian hell is anymore real than the Greek mythological hell or the Chinese Buddhist hell?

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