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Christians Don't Want To Give Up Hell


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Robert Bell has written a book that may or may not disprove the existence of hell. What interest me is how angry some Christians are that one of their own is saying that there isn't much biblical support for hell. I would think that most Christians would read the book before they came to a conclusion about its content. The book isn't even out yet but there are blog posts written about why hell is needed.

 

Josh Harris(I kissed Dating Goodbye) has written his own criticism. To me, his reasoning is faulty. This interests me because the initial reason that I began question my faith was the belief in eternal torture for finite crimes. Remember many Christians don't believe that just serial killers and child rapists end up being tortured for eternity(although I don't think that even they deserve such punishment) but that some poor person who simply can't believe ends up suffering forever.

 

Josh wrote:

 

 

 

Bell: This is why lots of people want nothing to do with the Christian faith. They see it has an endless list of absurdities and inconsistencies, and they say, "Why would I ever want to be a part of that?"

Answer: Sin will always appears as a trifle to those whose view of God is small. If you were to discover a little boy pulling the legs off of a grasshopper, you would think it strange and perhaps a little bizarre. If the same little boy were pulling the legs off of a frog, that would be a bit more disturbing. If it were a bird, you would probably scold him and inform his parents. If it were a puppy, that would be too shocking to tolerate. You would intervene. If it were a little baby, it would be so reprehensible and tragic that you would risk you own life to protect the baby. What's the difference in each of these scenarios? The sin is the same (pulling the limbs off). The only difference is the one sinned against (from a grasshopper to a baby). The more noble and valuable the creature, the more heinous and reprehensible the sin. And so it is with God.

 

 

 

 

If God were a grasshopper, then to sin against Him wouldn't be such a big deal and eternal punishment wouldn't be necessary. But God isn't a grasshopper, He's the most precious, valuable, beautiful being in the universe. His glory and worth are infinite and eternal. Thus to sin against an infinitely glorious being is an infinitely heinous offense that is worthy of an infinitely heinous punishment.

 

We don't take sin seriously because we don't take God seriously. We have so imbibed of the banality of our God-belittling spirit of the age that our sins hardly trouble us at all. Our sin seems small because we regard God as small. And thus the penalty of hell--eternal conscious suffering under the wrath of God--always seems like an overreaction on God's part. If we knew God better, we wouldn't think like that.

 

Bell: [You] see, what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about who God is and what God is like.

Answer: You couldn't be more right. But I question whether the god that you are describing is the same One I am describing.

 

My take is that there is more responsibility on the more knowledgeable and powerful being to be just than on the lesser creatures. A parent that abuses their three year old is held to a higher standard than a three year old that whacks his parents. The parents might end up in jail and might not get their child back. The three year old gets time out or a swat on their butt. Christians believe that their god is all knowing, all powerful and all loving. It should matter more how their god treats his creation than how his creation act toward him. Of course, Josh doesn't point out that god made us imperfect. In order for me to compare god to the parents of a three year old, I would have to add that the parents taught the three year old to hit them and then tortured him forever for doing so.

 

As far as the grasshopper analogy...a child that tears off the legs of a bug is more likely to graduate up to dogs and maybe humans. Many serial killers started with animals. So, I would simply walk away from a kid hurting a bug.

 

My question is, Why can't Christians see the injustice in their belief in hell and why wouldn't they openly embrace any softening of this myth?

 

 

 

 

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They don't care about the injustice of hell --

 

Because they believe it won't happen to them.

 

Because they believe they are not going there and everyone else is.

 

And that makes THEM special (in their own small minds).

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They don't care about the injustice of hell --

 

Because they believe it won't happen to them.

 

Because they believe they are not going there and everyone else is.

 

And that makes THEM special (in their own small minds).

 

 

Sadly, I think that this is true. When I was a Christian, hell was a heavy burden that stayed with me. The idea that anyone would end up in hell really, really bothered me. I would think that most Christians would at least consider anyone's argument who could disprove such a horrible place using their bible as a source.

 

The belief in hell is a way of justifiying an us and them mentality. I think that it also weakens empathy among some Christians. The only reason to reject Christ, according to some Christians, is to do so on purpose. That is why some Christians insist that atheists really believe in god. No one, they think, would reject their faith unless they wanted to do so. This makes them feel like those who are tortured for an eternity deserve to suffer.

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"He's the most precious, valuable, beautiful being in the universe."

 

:Wendywhatever:

 

 

Let me puke....

 

 

We don't take sin seriously because we don't take God seriously. We have so imbibed of the banality of our God-belittling spirit of the age that our sins hardly trouble us at all. Our sin seems small because we regard God as small. And thus the penalty of hell--eternal conscious suffering under the wrath of God--always seems like an overreaction on God's part. If we knew God better, we wouldn't think like that.

 

 

 

 

Oh yeah, God doesn't tend to overreact at all, his punishment always fits the crime:

 

" 23 From there Elisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some boys came out of the town and jeered at him. “Get out of here, baldy!” they said. “Get out of here, baldy!” 24 He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the LORD. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. 25 And he went on to Mount Carmel and from there returned to Samaria."

 

(2 Kings 2:23-25)

 

 

He is so loving, so fantastic, so precious, beautiful, fair isn't he?

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They don't care about the injustice of hell --

 

Because they believe it won't happen to them.

 

Because they believe they are not going there and everyone else is.

 

And that makes THEM special (in their own small minds).

 

To be fair, I never felt like this as an xian. I felt horrible that others were going. I just felt powerless to do anything about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just like the OP, a big reason I left Christianity was because I knew I genuinely wanted to believe in god and couldn't, and to think that I would be tortured for eternity for that was just insane and contradictory to a loving god. Keep on perpetuating the idea of hell, Christians. You're just solidifying people's disbelief and disgust of your religion.

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As a Christian, I used to justify hell by saying "The bible is God's road map to his house...if you don't follow it, you'll get lost and end up in hell." Looking at that reasoning now, I can see how crazy it really is. The omnipotent, omniscient creator of the universe can't stop people from getting lost? Can't help them find their way?

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What if you were to discover a little boy miming the act of pulling the legs off of an invisible, non-existent, grasshopper, an invisible, non-existent, frog, an invisible, non-existent, bird, an invisible, non-existent, puppy, or an invisible, non-existent, little baby then what?

 

Bell: [You] see, what we believe about heaven and hell is incredibly important because it exposes what we believe about who God is and what God is like.

Answer: You couldn't be more right. But I question whether the god that you are describing is the same One I am describing.

Once you get past invisible and non-existent does the actual form your god takes on matter? I argue they are identical.

 

mwc

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Now that I am not a Christian, it makes me sick to my stomach hearing Christians justify hell. I so wish there was something I could do to destroy this monstrosity. This person's description of God's beauty and glory and how the trespass against such beauty deserves such cruel punishment....just makes me sick.

 

Beauty and goodness of any being just don't go together with hell. Unfortunately, people can't see that. It's like they are blinded by their belief.

 

I had a dream where I saw that the people were badly beaten up but for some reason they didn't notice it. I tried to tell them that something is wrong. But they said that everything was ok and that I shouldn't worry (I was afraid they were going to report me to the authorities, so I stopped insisting.) But the feeling was of such hopelessness: it's like everyone was blind: they were so abused and they thought it was ok. I felt sick to my stomach about this even in my dream.

 

I still was a Christian at the time of the dream. So I thought the dream meant there is something bad going to be happening in the world (non-Christian world). But now I see that this dream fits Christianity best. Christians are abused by their image of God, by their leaders and were brainwashed to think that they deserve it.

 

If you are walking among the people who just don't get it, what do you do? Such monster deeds are presented as lovely and good.... such blindness.

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