Jump to content

When Liberal Christians Deny The Doctrine Of Hell...


Recommended Posts

Today, more and more Christians are distancing themselves from the odious doctrine of eternal damnation as described in the New Testament. (Read The Case Against Hell.) It would seem that the idea of infinite punishment for finite sins doesn’t sit well with reasonable and loving people.

 

Liberal Christians are also beginning to conclude that “hell” is nothing more than a gentile construct invented by scribes and theologians, who then cleverly inserted the concept into the New Testament, since there is no mention of “hell” in the Jewish scriptures.

 

One would be tempted to applaud modern day Christians for rejecting this cruel and spurious doctrine were it not for ONE THING: The Person who introduced and promoted the idea of “hell” is none other than “Jesus Christ,” their Lord and Savior! How does one reject the teachings of the Teacher and STILL call oneself His disciple? (“A pupil or follower who helps to spread his master’s teachings.”)

 

If this “hell” is nothing more than the add-on dogma of men, words placed unfairly into the mouth of “Jesus”, then that begs the question: What ELSE have men tampered with? And can we trust any account of the Bible?

 

-- To be a “Christian”, is to believe in and follow “Jesus Christ.” (Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 16:24, 19:21, Mark 8:34, 10:21, Luke 9:23, John 10:27, 12:26)

 

-- “Jesus” taught the doctrine of “hell.” (Matthew 5:22, 5:29, 5:30, 10:28*, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33. Mark 9:43, 9:45, 9:47, and Luke 12:5*.)

 

(*Note how "Jesus" goes out of his way to emphasize having the
fear
of God and His ability to torture His enemies! No terrorism here, is there?)

-- Many Christians today DENY the doctrine of “hell.”

 

-- Ergo: Christians are either calling “Jesus Christ” a LIAR, OR they are saying that we CANNOT trust the Bible. (Or the more popular refrain: "The Bible doesn't HAVE to be taken LITERALLY.") But if we can neither trust the Bible (it's just a "book" after all), NOR “Jesus,” then where is the foundation for “faith” in Christ? It crumbles into dust.

 

“Christianity” MUST now be abandoned by the dissenting Liberal Christian. Only those wishing to remain disingenuous, sweeping this reality under the rug, in the vain hope that no one will notice the unseemly smell of offal, will be able to continue with the charade of calling themselves “Christian.” (Unless the "Christian" now decides to change the rules of the game, and redefine "Christ" and what it means to be "Christian." Which is just further proof of a designer, man-made religion, of NO "holy" value at all.)

 

If there is NO “hell” from which one needs to be “saved”, then what is the point of “Christianity”? All the promises and threats of the Bible have been made moot. “Church” has been neatly reduced to nothing more than a religious country club. Membership is optional.

 

So why bother? Why worry? Do as you wish and damn the “eternal consequences”, for there are none.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is the school of thought that declares that Jesus at least was not speaking of an eternal torture chamber filled with fire set approximately in the spiritual realm of the physical center of the earth, but an actual refuse dump outside Jerusalem. Some believe that Jesus' contemporaries would have known this, therefore, the idea of an eternal burning place had to have been inserted later on, and in other parts of the NT, that Jesus didn't "speak" in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

.....

 

So why bother? Why worry? Do as you wish and damn the “eternal consequences”, for there are none.

 

The other day this christian friend was "witnessing" to me, and it was ironic that I had to defend the doctrine of hell and bible(ie I was pointing to him what he was saying). He kept saying "Hell is separation from God".

 

I hate it when they can't admit that their own bible has rubbish like this

 

BTW are there any more pro-hell verses apart from the ones you gave.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree the anti-hell doctrine makes xtianity kind of pointless, but is that so bad? With no fear of hell to drive believers and the focus on love instead, it might make for a less disastrous religion.

 

I'd be glad if they pruned that book down to simply, 'love thy neighbor'. :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just my take on the verses: :grin:

 

Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

 

What is anger without a cause other than judgement of oneself or others? Who suffers when judgements are made without a cause? In whom does the fire of anger burn? The person making the judgement.

 

Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

It seems this is speaking of an internal battle of right and wrong. It the thought, or way of living, offends yourself, then get rid of it because if one is to hold these offensive ideas as truths, then they are living in hell.

 

Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.

 

Same as above.

 

Mat 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

 

This one I am suspicious of because the NLT version states "Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." I don't see this in the KJV, in fact, him is not even capitalized showing that it would be referring to Him. So, I can see this verse saying to fear yourself, because you are the one that creates hell for yourself. Or, fear the one that you believe to be bearing the truth, because you have given the power to this person to convince you of lies. This person can kill your soul and your body.

 

Mat 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

 

Same as 5:29

 

Mat 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

This is speaking of the ones that claim religious athority to gain converts and these are the people that lie and cheat and preach to cover up their deeds (Mat 23:14). If this is the mind of the person preaching then the one they convert will not only believe them, but will believe it to be true himself. This is how 'hell' spreads.

 

Mat 23:33 [Ye] serpents, [ye] generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

 

How indeed when they live and spread lies.

 

The rest are basically the same thing. Just my thoughts on it! :grin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This approach is an Athiestic Fundamentalism.

 

I am a Christian, I do not believe the bible is an accurate or reliable book. It tells a story, elements of which I accept others I reject.

 

Not all Christians have defined themselves in relation to the bible, in fact mainly Evangelical Protestants have.

 

Over time the vast majoritiy of Christians have defined their belief in relation to traditions passed down over time. This is why Christianity changes all the time.

 

So once again the bible is not the foundation for all Christians many Christians have never accepted it as more than a guide, much of which is not reliable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This approach is an Athiestic Fundamentalism.

 

 

Please elaborate on this term. I want to know more about "Athiestic Fundamentalism."

 

I use the term to describe the following viewpoint.

 

(NB It is used when the fundamentalist view is expressed by an Atheist)

 

You can only be a Christian if ............

 

A Fundamentalist Christian uses the expression to show because use don't agree with them you are wrong.

 

A Fundamentalist Athiest uses the expression to show that because you don't agree with you are wrong.

 

I think their positions are the same.

 

That is they define something in terms of their own understanding and do not allow for people to hold a position that is different fron their view, ie only a yes/no answer is allowed, choose either black or white, it is either literally true or literally false.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can atheism have a fundamentalism? Atheism refers to absence of religious practice, while fundamentalism refers to devout, literal, interpretive religious practice. Do you not feel that "atheistic fundamentalism" is an oxymoron?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How can atheism have a fundamentalism? Atheism refers to absence of religious practice, while fundamentalism refers to devout, literal, interpretive religious practice. Do you not feel that "atheistic fundamentalism" is an oxymoron?

I would describe fundamentalism as a rigid and inflexible view of religion and how it should be practiced.

You don't have to be religious to have an inflexible view of it.

An Atheist is not ruled out of having inflexible views just because they don't follow a religion. Look at the way so many atheists will argue that X or Y cannot be a believer because they don't fit the athiest pattern.

 

 

In regard to this thread:

James Barr cites 3 characteristics of fundamentalism

1) Biblical inerrancy

2) A rejection of modern theology

3) Rejection of those who do not fit as not being Christian

 

In this thread the following was stated:

1)-- Ergo: Christians are either calling “Jesus Christ” a LIAR, OR they are saying that we CANNOT trust the Bible. (Or the more popular refrain: "The Bible doesn't HAVE to be taken LITERALLY.") But if we can neither trust the Bible (it's just a "book" after all), NOR “Jesus,” then where is the foundation for “faith” in Christ? It crumbles into dust.

 

2) “Christianity” MUST now be abandoned by the dissenting Liberal Christian.

 

3) Only those wishing to remain disingenuous, sweeping this reality under the rug, in the vain hope that no one will notice the unseemly smell of offal, will be able to continue with the charade of calling themselves “Christian.”

 

 

As a non-fundamentalist Christian some of the most scathing and personal attacks I have had are not from Fundamentalists but from athiests. If a person has no belief in gods at all, why does it so outrage them that some of us can have belief in a form that is non-fundamentalist?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a non-fundamentalist Christian some of the most scathing and personal attacks I have had are not from Fundamentalists but from athiests. If a person has no belief in gods at all, why does it so outrage them that some of us can have belief in a form that is non-fundamentalist?

 

Hey personally, I have no problem with liberal christian. However the liberal christians say that "eternal torture" is just a metaphor.

 

On what basis are they saying "eternal torture" is a metaphor? And why is "eternal life" considered a literal meaning?

 

To me I think they are holding the same position as fundamentalist, whereby they are saying that their interpretation is infallible?

 

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/jftill/i.../inerrancy.html(Good Site which examines the fundamentalist viewpoint)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Waynus, I see your point and recognize its validity. However, it does not invalidate Grinch's point.

 

Having been in that space myself, there was a time when I thought that liberal (or progressive) Christianity was admirable, if perhaps misguided. But I have been persuaded by several non-christian observers (theistic and otherwise) that such christianity just doesn't make sense.

 

I can't comment on your own brand of worship, as I know nothing about it. But I have known a few progressive christians, and to me it seems they are simply comforting themselves with a vague New Age-y version of religion that allows them to get all the goosebumps and dance to the Jesus-tune without ever having to form anything like concrete ideas about their spirituality. God Lite.

 

What? The bible is full of nonsense but Jesus is Lord?

We throw out all the silly stuff in the bible, but the stuff we like is God's Word?

 

If you throw out some of Jesus, what real value is there in what you chose to keep?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a non-fundamentalist Christian some of the most scathing and personal attacks I have had are not from Fundamentalists but from athiests. If a person has no belief in gods at all, why does it so outrage them that some of us can have belief in a form that is non-fundamentalist?

 

Hey personally, I have no problem with liberal christian. However the liberal christians say that "eternal torture" is just a metaphor.

 

On what basis are they saying "eternal torture" is a metaphor? And why is "eternal life" considered a literal meaning?

 

To me I think they are holding the same position as fundamentalist, whereby they are saying that their interpretation is infallible?

 

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/jftill/i.../inerrancy.html(Good Site which examines the fundamentalist viewpoint)

 

 

I can't speak for Liberals, but I can for myself. I believe that both heaven and hell are metaphors.

 

However it's not always as simplistic as you are stating it. A true liberal might well believe in a heaven, but that does not have to mean a literal place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Waynus, I see your point and recognize its validity. However, it does not invalidate Grinch's point.

 

Having been in that space myself, there was a time when I thought that liberal (or progressive) Christianity was admirable, if perhaps misguided. But I have been persuaded by several non-christian observers (theistic and otherwise) that such christianity just doesn't make sense.

 

I can't comment on your own brand of worship, as I know nothing about it. But I have known a few progressive christians, and to me it seems they are simply comforting themselves with a vague New Age-y version of religion that allows them to get all the goosebumps and dance to the Jesus-tune without ever having to form anything like concrete ideas about their spirituality. God Lite.

 

What? The bible is full of nonsense but Jesus is Lord?

We throw out all the silly stuff in the bible, but the stuff we like is God's Word?

 

If you throw out some of Jesus, what real value is there in what you chose to keep?

 

 

I agree that Grinch is pointing out real inconsistancies with some forms of Christianity.

 

Liberals, Progrssives, Post-Modern Christians represent a complex group of beliefs and ideas. It seems on many forums inclucing this one their beliefs are always simplified into a straw man that is then easily knocked over.

 

My big problem is defining such beliefs in such simplistic ways shows that their is little understanding of the philosophical postions. As an example Paul Tillich is a classic Liberal theologian who spent much of his life grappling with these issues. He did not talk about vague new age concepts or picking and choosing from the bible.

 

The critics of Liberalism all too often never seem to have never considered the theological position, given their every criticism reflects word for word the Fundamentalist Evangelical (etc) views of Liberalism. I was a Fundamentalist Evangelical at one time and it's not at all hard to recognise the arguments.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I can't speak for Liberals, but I can for myself. I believe that both heaven and hell are metaphors.

 

 

And is there any objective basis by which decided that it is metaphor?

 

The problem with Liberal Christianity is that it is very subjective approach, because he I feel he is arbitarly deciding that certain part of the bible is a myth/metaphor just because it doesn't make sense to him.

 

from the website

 

but I have to agree with his defense of biblical inerrancy in his well known Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties. After explaining that witnesses in a court of law lose all credibility once they have been caught lying, he applied this principle to the Bible.

The same is true of Holy Scripture. If the statements it contains concerning matters of history and science can be proven by extrabiblical records, by ancient documents uncovered through archaeological digs, or by the established facts of modern science to be contrary to the truth, then there is grave doubt as to it trustworthiness in matters of religion. In other words, if the biblical record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested. As a witness for God, the Bible would be discredited as untrustworthy. What solid truth it may contain would be left as a matter of mere conjecture, subject to the intuition or canons of likelihood of each individual. An attitude of sentimental attachment to traditional religion may incline one person to accept nearly all the substantive teachings of Scripture as probably true. But someone else with equal justification may pick and chose whatever teachings in the Bible happen to appeal to him and lay equal claim to legitimacy. One opinion is as good as another. All things are possible, but nothing is certain if indeed the Bible contains mistakes or errors of any kind (pp. 23-24, emphasis added).

 

I have yet to see any of the new fundamentalists give a satisfactory reply to Archer’s argument. All of their talk about a "high view of inspiration" is... well, just talk, but it does not make the problem that Archer identified go away. It doesn’t explain why an omniscient, omnipotent deity would do only a halfway job of "inspiring" men to write his "word." If such a deity could "inspire" the ideas, why would he not have been able to inspire the words? In fact, it seems a bit idiotic to me to call a book "the word of God" if the words in that book are not the words of God but only the words of fallible men who were given "ideas" to record in their own words.

 

What is your take on the bible?

 

Do you think that the bible is the inerrant word of god?or do you consider a opinion of men?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

 

What is your take on the bible?

 

Do you think that the bible is the inerrant word of god?or do you consider a opinion of men?

 

The bible is a record of mankinds attempts to understand the divine.

 

It is The Word of God only so far as it represents this human experience, in the same way the Koran and Gita are inspired.

 

In short it is NOT some divine revelation from an all powerfull being, if one exists.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bible is a record of mankinds attempts to understand the divine.

 

It is The Word of God only so far as it represents this human experience, in the same way the Koran and Gita are inspired.

 

In short it is NOT some divine revelation from an all powerfull being, if one exists.

O-kay. Then if THIS is your position/conclusion, then WHY have you been harping at my premise? You AGREE with me, and YET you still take issue with what I've said? :twitch:

 

You seem to have travelled a long, twisted road, only to arrive at the EXACT SAME conclusion I started with. "Christianity"/the Bible® is no more valid than any OTHER belief (being man-made), and therefore we can choose to ignore it or accept it WITHOUT FEAR OF PENALTY.

 

Or did I miss something? :shrug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

O-kay. Then if THIS is your position/conclusion, then WHY have you been harping at my premise? You AGREE with me, and YET you still take issue with what I've said? :twitch:

 

 

 

I agree that it is inconsistant to remove one item and not another from the bible just because it suits your belief system.

 

I disagree that this is Liberal Christianity. I disagree that this invalidates Christian thought/belief for non-fundamentalist Christians.

 

If there is NO “hell” from which one needs to be “saved”, then what is the point of “Christianity”? All the promises and threats of the Bible have been made moot. “Church” has been neatly reduced to nothing more than a religious country club. Membership is optional.

 

To bring Christianity down to the notion of being "saved" from "hell" is to ignore almost 200 years of non-fundamentalist theology.

 

My personal response to your post was that you were saying "Fundamentalist Christians are wrong therefore Christianity is wrong."

 

My apologies if this is not what you intended.

 

I don't think we differ very much on how we see the bible (a human document) but we differ greatly on what we see as Christianity.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there is NO “hell” from which one needs to be “saved”, then what is the point of “Christianity”? All the promises and threats of the Bible have been made moot. “Church” has been neatly reduced to nothing more than a religious country club. Membership is optional.

 

So why bother? Why worry? Do as you wish and damn the “eternal consequences”, for there are none.

 

I think you've just stumbled upon what Liberal Christianity is all about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If there is NO “hell” from which one needs to be “saved”, then what is the point of “Christianity”? All the promises and threats of the Bible have been made moot. “Church” has been neatly reduced to nothing more than a religious country club. Membership is optional.

 

So why bother? Why worry? Do as you wish and damn the “eternal consequences”, for there are none.

 

I think you've just stumbled upon what Liberal Christianity is all about.

This path was indeed the progression for me out of xianity. First realizing that hell is all fantasy, then that the Bible is not inerrant, and BAM BAM BAM - downhill from there. I know Gary, and his teachings makes so much more sense in context, but you are right, the inevitable conclusion is: So What? and Jesus Who?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was a liberal Christian before finally deciding to leave the faith (and I though Paul Tillich was a fascinating theologian, btw. Still do, as a matter of fact.) I can definitely appreciate that viewpoint. It can be a lot more complex than a simple "refutation" as in the OP can do justice.

 

Only a fundamentalist Jesus is pointless without Hell. There are elements within Jesus' words in the Gospels that indicate that they are not to be taken at face value. His moral teachings parallel that of both contemporary rabbis and of many moral thinkers throughout the world. Only the intellectually lazy demand a wholesale acceptance or rejection of the Bible as a whole. Ridiculous idea, if you ask me; the Bible is a set of books representing people from many backgrounds and worldviews, not a monolithic work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.