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The Hell Test


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This is a worthwhile topic but I don't think it belongs in the Testimonies forum. Since it is about the theology of the doctrine of hell, I am moving it to the General Christian Theological Issues forum. I will monitor the thread and if at some point I see it should be moved to the Den, I will move it there. But for now, I will move it to General Christian Theological Issues.

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No but I still believe in Jesus and God, I know I don't have to be Christian.

Isn't this pretty much the definition of being a Christian?

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OK, first off, I have to admit to just having skimmed about the first half of the page from the link, and gave the second half an even more cursory glance.  It was very long.

 

But basically all I got from this page was universalist apologetics.  The "If hell is real..., why..." questions were unending.  Many of them were valid, but they cherry picked, and many of them presuppose the same loving god that most Christians, and some passages of the Bible tout, ignoring the vengeful god who plays so prominently throughout so much of the Bible.

 

In actuality, the ancient Jewish, and later Christian conception of the afterlife evolved over time, not to mention the infusion of outside ideas, prominently Hellenistic ones.  It's reflected both in the scriptures, and stuff that Christianized Westerners continued to write after the orthodox canon was mostly negotiated.

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No, God and Jesus are worshipped by a religion but they are not religious beings. Anyone can believe an all powerful supreme being exists and a spiritual figure like Jesus existed without being a Christian or any kind of religious person. Jesus didn't even teach or create religion.

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No, God and Jesus are worshipped by a religion but they are not religious beings. Anyone can believe an all powerful supreme being exists and a spiritual figure like Jesus existed without being a Christian or any kind of religious person. Jesus didn't even teach or create religion.

 

 

The vengeful God was ignored because he was created as a religious fear tool and has nothing to do with the god of spiritual matters.

 

OK, I don't understand...Belief in the Christian god, trinity, etc., however you care to frame it, is still specific to a particular god, or godhead.  How can you separate these?  I agree with you absolutely that the vengeful god was created as a religious fear tool: that's the stick, for those who preach it.  It doesn't make loving Jesus any more real.  Loving God is also used as a tool.  Indeed, those who believe in vengeful god would think he is the god of spiritual matters: it's just that they think that he'd fry your ass!  How can you trust what you read from the Bible, or hear from Christian teachings, or conclude for yourself about loving god while you dismiss the vengeful god out of hand, though he's propagated through the same sources and memes?

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You can still be a Christian and a universalist, many Christians don't even bother to the read the bible.

 

I absolutely agree, on both counts.  If this was directed at my post because you thought I was suggesting otherwise, it was a misunderstanding.

 

Just bear in mind that Christians can (and do) come to universalists doctrines, and doctrines that only a very few elect are saved which they find support for from the same Bible.

 

And of course I'd say that the idea of Christian universalism is just as flimsy as other competing Christian doctrines.

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You could have at least read a few passages.

 

Sorry to do this--I hate to post saying I'm deferring an answer, but I need to pick up a pizza and do some Christmas-eve stuff (you may enjoy the irony of this coming from a non-believer, if you like).  I'll try to find a few moments later this even to try to throw in an example or a verse or two.

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You can still be a Christian and a universalist, many Christians don't even bother to the read the bible.

 

I absolutely agree, on both counts.  If this was directed at my post because you thought I was suggesting otherwise, it was a misunderstanding.

 

Just bear in mind that Christians can (and do) come to universalists doctrines, and doctrines that only a very few elect are saved which they find support for from the same Bible.

 

And of course I'd say that the idea of Christian universalism is just as flimsy as other competing Christian doctrines.

 

 

While I was out picking up the pizza it occurred to me to clarify: in the OP you indicated that we could use this stuff to challenge Christians, but the page was basically a Christian universalist apologetic page.  Sure you could use some of the material to challenge some Christians, but it would be using apologetics from a competing Christian faction.  The stuff based on unwarranted suppositions or other fallacies would be combating nonsense with nonsense.  On the other hand, I think there were a few good points in there, if I recall correctly from my brief scan of the page earlier.  Anyway, now to eat some pizza before looking up the promised references.

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You could have at least read a few passages.

 

Sorry to do this--I hate to post saying I'm deferring an answer, but I need to pick up a pizza and do some Christmas-eve stuff (you may enjoy the irony of this coming from a non-believer, if you like).  I'll try to find a few moments later this even to try to throw in an example or a verse or two.

 

 

OK, here ya go, just to name a few.
 
Matthew 13:49-50: ...The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
 
Matthew 25:41: Then he will say to those on his left, "Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."
 
Luke 16:22-24: The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire."
 
Revelation 21:8: But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
 
Notice that these are all from the New Testament.  In the Jewish mythology before the advent of Christianity, New Testament concept of hell didn't really exist.  The ancient Hebrews were more focused on the here and now of this life: there was this concept of Sheol, the "grave" or dismal abode of the dead.  The concept of Gehenna is also introduced in the Old Testament, but was originally a reference to the "Valley of Hinnom," a cursed site where followers of competing gods are said to have sacrificed their children.  It later became a Judeo-Christian reference to a place of punishment, more akin to the modern Christian concept of hell than the more neutral Sheol.  The Old Testament contains references to Sheol and an evolving concept of Gehenna.  The New Testament references Gehenna and Hades, borrowing and adapting Hellenistic ideas.  Christians who like to delude themselves into believing that the Bible is self consistent and actually true have the job of somewhat clumsily stitching together these inconsistent and evolving concepts of the afterlife to fit into the orthodox concept of hell (or their particular sect's concept of hell, or lack thereof, as the case may be).
 
Personally, I think that there is more of a case to be made from the Christian perspective (as opposed to the pre-Christian perspective) for the existence of hell than against, but modern day mythology that people actually believe is itself a dynamic, evolving thing, so it's whatever they make of it.  They have to appeal to faith, and reinterpret the already conflicting stuff that's written about it in their holy book to self-align AND to align with their own conclusions.
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You could have at least read a few passages.

 

 

It rambles and doesn't seem to have a point.  It's one Christian arguing that other Christians have the wrong theology.  To me that is the wrong approach.  If I were to take that rambling message to my Christian relatives they would simply dismiss it as a false teaching.  With forty thousand (or so) different flavors of Christianity they get use to dismissing much of Christianity.  To me it's just better to jettison the entire religion.  There is no baby in that bath water.  Being an ex-Christian has so many advantages over liberal Christianity that I could write a book.

 

 

Now with that said I have no problem with a Wiccan who reveres God and Jesus.  Perhaps the spirituality section would be a good place for you to talk about your new, ex-Christian beliefs.

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Now with that said I have no problem with a Wiccan who reveres God and Jesus.  Perhaps the spirituality section would be a good place for you to talk about your new, ex-Christian beliefs.

 

 

As an aside, I know someone on another site who has done this for years - I recall him describing his rejection of fundamentalist Christianity and conversations with his partner reminiscent of much that is written here on Ex-C; yet, as I understand it, he identifies the god with Christ and the goddess with the Virgin Mary.  He fits in well on a Pagan site and I would see him as a "former Christian" despite the oddities of his current belief system.

 

I agree, however, that relying on one set of Christian apologetics against another is dangerous for the non-Christian.  I would not want to be seen as possibly validating one side of the Christian civil war.

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I'm still into wicca

 

I've heard of people mixing the Christian and Wiccan religion.  Nothing wrong with it imo.  I do the same thing, just different ones..  

 

It's pretty common for followers and fans of religion to not call it religion.  Yeah the Christians that devastated the Americas with genocide also thought their beliefs were 'real' and not just religion like those ignorant heathens had.  

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The Great Goddess is no virgin. She is the very embodiment of natures fertility and fecundity… the creative force. I have a very hard time equating that with the sterility of the patriarchal christian god and his eunuch offspring.

 

sorry, just had to say that.

 

Carry on...

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The Great Goddess is no virgin. She is the very embodiment of natures fertility and fecundity… the creative force. I have a very hard time equating that with the sterility of the patriarchal christian god and his eunuch offspring.

 

sorry, just had to say that.

 

Carry on...

 

Didn't say that I understood it - just that it works for him...

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