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The Engine Of Christianity


Castiel233
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The Engine of Christianity

 

For me the doctrine of eternal suffering is the engine that drives Christianity, has ensured its survival, and is perhaps the main reason why a lot of people convert and or stay converted. The idea that God has to send people to hell (including children) because He can’t have sinners in Heaven is nasty stuff indeed and one has to draw the conclusion, that either God has limited free will Himself or He is a literal monster. (Assuming He is real)

 

If I could go back in time, and remove the doctrine of eternal suffering from the Bible and only that teaching, Christianity, having its main recruiting weapon removed, would be historically a shadow of its former self I think. A book, with talking animals, ghosts, wizards, demon infested swine and enchanted fruit might not be taken so seriously without the threat of damnation tacked on.

 

I will add to Christians reading this, why are you not afraid of failing the God of Islam and going to His Hell.

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Agreed, and welcome to the forums, Castiel.  The doctrine of hell was invented by dark age monks as a means of controlling the common folk through fear.  That it has survived is a testament to the terrible power of the mental virus that is christianity.

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I agree that fear of suffering is really the thing that makes people believe all the strange things in Christianity (e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation).  In a kind of boot-strapping technique, the doctrine of hell is actually part of the "faith" by which a Christian is saved from that imagined hell.  Fear of suffering is the beginning and the end of Christianity.  Christians imagine suffering that exists in this moment, and in the next, and then in every moment, stretching past the horizon of time.  Nonbelievers will experience this suffering, and Christians will not.

 

But I don't really get it -- what's so bad about suffering anyways?  Suffering is just a part of life, and is the fuel for growth and learning.  It seems a bit childish to wish to avoid sufferring -- even eternal suffering.  Eternal suffering would exist only as present suffering does -- one moment after another.  So, Christians say that it will be "excrutiating" -- well, everyone's experience of suffering is relative.  I love public speaking in front of an audience, whereas certain people experience that as pain and would rather be dead.  I really think the Lake of Fire (if it exists at all) will likely be my idea of heaven.

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I agree that fear of suffering is really the thing that makes people believe all the strange things in Christianity (e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation).  In a kind of boot-strapping technique, the doctrine of hell is actually part of the "faith" by which a Christian is saved from that imagined hell.  Fear of suffering is the beginning and the end of Christianity.  Christians imagine suffering that exists in this moment, and in the next, and then in every moment, stretching past the horizon of time.  Nonbelievers will experience this suffering, and Christians will not.

 

But I don't really get it -- what's so bad about suffering anyways?  Suffering is just a part of life, and is the fuel for growth and learning.  It seems a bit childish to wish to avoid sufferring -- even eternal suffering.  Eternal suffering would exist only as present suffering does -- one moment after another.  So, Christians say that it will be "excrutiating" -- well, everyone's experience of suffering is relative.  I love public speaking in front of an audience, whereas certain people experience that as pain and would rather be dead.  I really think the Lake of Fire (if it exists at all) will likely be my idea of heaven.

I'd agree that some suffering might be a fuel for growth and learning, ( you might having experienced a painful illness, recovering have a better appreciation of life for example) I totally reject the idea that it's childish to wish to avoid suffering, either in this world or any other.

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Doctrinally - agreed.

 

However,the real "engine", to my mind, is familial and peer pressure to conform.

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I agree that fear of suffering is really the thing that makes people believe all the strange things in Christianity (e.g. the doctrine of the Trinity, the incarnation).  In a kind of boot-strapping technique, the doctrine of hell is actually part of the "faith" by which a Christian is saved from that imagined hell.  Fear of suffering is the beginning and the end of Christianity.  Christians imagine suffering that exists in this moment, and in the next, and then in every moment, stretching past the horizon of time.  Nonbelievers will experience this suffering, and Christians will not.

 

But I don't really get it -- what's so bad about suffering anyways?  Suffering is just a part of life, and is the fuel for growth and learning.  It seems a bit childish to wish to avoid sufferring -- even eternal suffering.  Eternal suffering would exist only as present suffering does -- one moment after another.  So, Christians say that it will be "excrutiating" -- well, everyone's experience of suffering is relative.  I love public speaking in front of an audience, whereas certain people experience that as pain and would rather be dead.  I really think the Lake of Fire (if it exists at all) will likely be my idea of heaven.

I'd agree that some suffering might be a fuel for growth and learning, ( you might having experienced a painful illness, recovering have a better appreciation of life for example) I totally reject the idea that it's childish to wish to avoid suffering, either in this world or any other.

 

 

I agree

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Agreed, and welcome to the forums, Castiel.  The doctrine of hell was invented by dark age monks as a means of controlling the common folk through fear.  That it has survived is a testament to the terrible power of the mental virus that is christianity.

 

I'd say 'adapted' more than 'invented.'  Egyptians, Greeks, and Persians all have their own versions of hell.  Probably Canaanite faiths as well, but I'm not sure about that.

 

I suspect the Persian/Zoroastrian concept is most likely to have influenced Jewish thought; since Jewish monotheism started appearing around the time the Persians were occupying Israel.

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Doctrinally - agreed.

 

However,the real "engine", to my mind, is familial and peer pressure to conform.

 

This

 

most people are born into religion. From their earliest years the flavor of the region is all they know. It begins with Christmas and Easter as children then off to VBS for more assimilation until it is such an integral part of their lives that it is almost treasonous to even ponder any other religion let alone *gasp* no religion. The fear factor is just part of the package.

 

I equate it to Nationalism or Patriotism. Myself I cannot imagine betraying my country that is not to be confused with betrayal of the government. As I have gotten older I have rationalized a distinction between the people and ground I stand on and the assembly that governs it. Similarly with religion, I have confirmed the universal truths that most religions provide but you don't need all the religious precepts and infrastructure to practice them.

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Doctrinally - agreed.

 

However,the real "engine", to my mind, is familial and peer pressure to conform.

 

This

 

most people are born into religion. From their earliest years the flavor of the region is all they know. It begins with Christmas and Easter as children then off to VBS for more assimilation until it is such an integral part of their lives that it is almost treasonous to even ponder any other religion let alone *gasp* no religion. The fear factor is just part of the package.

 

I equate it to Nationalism or Patriotism. Myself I cannot imagine betraying my country that is not to be confused with betrayal of the government. As I have gotten older I have rationalized a distinction between the people and ground I stand on and the assembly that governs it. Similarly with religion, I have confirmed the universal truths that most religions provide but you don't need all the religious precepts and infrastructure to practice them.

 

The born into religion argument is one of the most effective one non believers can use, rather than the problem of evil (which the OT has answered, God is the creator of evil)

 

I mean this is the rub isn’t it. If you’re born into a Muslim family, in a Muslim country, where the punishment for leaving the Muslim faith is death and you whole heartedly accept the revelation given to the Prophet and do everything that Islam asks of you, and do so with a sincere heart and belief you are going to Allah’s heaven after you die, then you do die and it’s the pit of Christian Hell instead. Where is the fairness or sense in that?

 

How does God sleep at night knowing he is going to have to torture children in the hereafter for the “crime” of being born into the wrong faith.

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That's one thing that gets me. That he 'has to' torture anyone. Isn't that a problem for the whole idea of 'sovereignty?' If he 'has to' do something, it means he is not completely in control and is thus subject to some other kind of law.

 

Propitiatory atonement seems like some kind of cheat or loophole, like it's a workaround to some problem that exists outside himself.

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