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Rosa Mystica

Fear Of Hell

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I don't know if this is the right folder to put this in, but I'll ask my question anyway. Here goes:

 

Does anyone know how to overcome the fear of Hell? I ask b/c I feel that I will *never* overcome it! I can't bring myself to think of my religion as compassionate anymore. And yet I feel that I shall be punished for an eternity if I leave it.

 

Catholic Christianity has caused so many problems for me. As much as I hate to admit it, a lot of damage has been done to me by it. I have not been able to attend church for a month because I panic there!!!! The more honest I am with myself, the less plausible my system feels to me. I've pretty much lost the faith part. But I haven't lost the fear part! I cannot. Eternal damnation is not something I want to be wrong about! But staying in the system hasn't helped me either. Heck, I feel guilty simply by posting here! And there seems to be no escape from all this guilt.

 

Please advise me if you can. I am completely and utterly burnt out by believing in this stuff. Deep down, I hope that a loving God is above such petty revenge fantasy crap as Hell.

 

Rosa

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The doctrine of Hell and eternal punishment is the primary reason I left Xianity. Either Hell exists and Yahweh is infinitely cruel and injust; or Hell is an invention of the Church. I simply refuse to believe in a monster who would punish his children just because they choose not to believe in him. Without the Fall and eternal punishment, Xianity falls apart. There is simply nothing to save us from.

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I never really struggled with that part of deconversion. For some reason, it went as easily as the other ridiculous doctrine.

 

My husband has struggled a lot with it though... he says it helps to remember how crazy and unjust the whole idea is. It only makes sense within a conservative theological outlook... and if you can no longer relate to that, then it should follow that hell sounds ridiculous too. It sounds like you are already doing that... so keep contemplating the idea of a loving god. :)

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I never really struggled with that part of deconversion. For some reason, it went as easily as the other ridiculous doctrine.

 

My husband has struggled a lot with it though... he says it helps to remember how crazy and unjust the whole idea is. It only makes sense within a conservative theological outlook... and if you can no longer relate to that, then it should follow that hell sounds ridiculous too. It sounds like you are already doing that... so keep contemplating the idea of a loving god. :)

 

This makes sense, and I *had* reached a point where I acknowledged that even if the bloody place does exist, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to end up there. I relapsed into fear again, though.

 

Focussing on the concept of a loving God is a good idea. I shall have to do that more often. And yeah, Hell is *not* a sign of love. I think I'd be willing to swear my life on that. It is an utterly hideous concept.

 

Oh God, why is this bloody process not complete yet?! I've been struggling for a good year and a half with all of this. I don't know how much more I can take. :(

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Put it that way. For thousands of years before Jesus, Jews did not believe eternal.hell.fire (the reasons for the dots is Jews did not believe each individual element or combination either).

 

Regarding Jesus as the Messiah, both camps have their reasons. But how come "all of a sudden" the eternal.hell.fire, a doctrine regarding the critical destiny of humanity would pop up since the founding of Christian Church?

 

I believe one is responsible for his actions, but No, I don't believe eternal hell fire.

 

'Hope that helps.

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Out of all the scripture "they" exposed me to, I still remember one (and I probably won't get it right 'cause I tossed my bible) "You shall know a tree by its fruits." I personally think that's a good one. If you look at your life and the "fruits" of xianity, you might say that the fruit "disproves" the teachings. I don't know about you, but I've never had peace because of xianity--even when I tried real hard to be good. Xianity has brought me pain, suffering, and mental anguish.

 

Getting over the fear of hell is a hard one for me too. When my parents beat me in the name of god, they'd tell me it was for my own good to keep me from hell. You could say that they beat the fear of hell into me.

 

I just know that paying attention to the effects of things in life gives me a clearer picture of what to believe in. So, hell and its concept has not improved my life, made me more spiritual, or even a better person.

 

Screw hell then! It must be a xianity fairy tale so that you and I wouldn't question the rest of the system! Hell doesn't exist except in the minds of the muniplative and the controlling. That's what the "fruit" of that belief system tells me.

 

Hope that helps!

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Screw hell then! It must be a xianity fairy tale so that you and I wouldn't question the rest of the system! Hell doesn't exist except in the minds of the muniplative and the controlling. That's what the "fruit" of that belief system tells me.

 

Hope that helps!

Exactly! To Hell with Hell!

The Hell doctrine is like a holographic projection of a man with a gun who's telling you that if you do not comply with his orders, he'll shoot you. At first, it's quite reasonable to grant the possibility that he may be real; facing a man with a gun is a grave situation, and a mistake could be disastrous.

 

However, there comes a point when you realize that the only purpose the man has is to make you cower, that what he's doing is completely evil and morally indefensible and, most importantly, as long as you continue to cower, nothing will change.

 

At this point for many of us, extreme moral outrage kicks in and we reach a point where we understand that to continue to cower is a form of hell which we have already been living in and which we can no longer tolerate, even if it means our death.

 

We stand up and say to this projection,

 

"Fuck you! Shoot me or don't shoot me, but either way, !!!FUCK!!!YOU!!!"

 

When he does not shoot us in response, we gain the courage to walk right up to him and wave our hands through his body, finally seeing just how insubstantial the projection was all along.

 

 

When we realize that believing in Hell in order to avoid Hell is itself Hell, Hell implodes and becomes nothing.

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Rosa, I had that "what if" feeling for a few months after giving up my faith. This, from Robert G. Ingersoll, took the fear out of me.

 

Nothing could add to the horror of hell, except the presence of its creator, God. While I have life, as long as I draw breath, I shall deny with all my strength, and hate with every drop of my blood, this infinite lie. I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.

If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men.... What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.

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Hi Rosa Mystica,

 

I'm not sure why, but during my deconversion experience, the fear of Hell dropped off at the same time as the rest of my Christian beliefs. I think it may have been because when I was still a Christian, the fear of Hell was a motivating factor in much of thought. I didn't want to "sin" because I didn't want to go to Hell. I wanted to read my Bible and pray because I didn't want to go to Hell. I wanted to witness to other people so I wouldn't go to Hell. I'm not sure why, but my "salvation" always seemed to be in need of some sort of maintenance to insure that I would not go to Hell.

 

Then one day I realized, if God really is more concerned with the state of our hearts than our outward signs of devotion, as many evangelicals will claim, then surely he wouldn't want me stop sinning and pray and witness just because I didn't want to go to Hell. He would want there to be an inner change. He would want me to do these things because I "loved" Him and because I loved other people, not because I wanted to avoid hellfire. So, I prayed for that inner change... and it never came. Fear of Hell seemed to be the only reason to "walk the Christian walk," but I no longer feared Hell because "God has not given us a spirit of fear." After that, I became kind of apathetic about the whole thing.

 

But you're right, the idea of Hell is not compatible with the idea of a loving God in any way. I'll go a step further and say that it isn't even compatible with the idea of a just God. I think the difficulty that many Christians have upon leaving the faith is that they have been so indoctrinated by the church into believing that they are lowly worms undeserving of salvation that the punishment of eternal hellfire seems almost appropriate. But ask yourself, can you really believe in a just God that would punish anyone eternally for the sins of a single lifetime?

 

If not, then ask yourself what kind of God you do believe in. You identify yourself as a theistic seeker, so I would ask you to determine for yourself what kind of God you believe in. What are His or Her attributes? Furthermore, as yourself if these attributes are compatible with eternal punishment in Hell.

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Put it that way. For thousands of years before Jesus, Jews did not believe eternal.hell.fire (the reasons for the dots is Jews did not believe each individual element or combination either).

 

Regarding Jesus as the Messiah, both camps have their reasons. But how come "all of a sudden" the eternal.hell.fire, a doctrine regarding the critical destiny of humanity would pop up since the founding of Christian Church?

 

I believe one is responsible for his actions, but No, I don't believe eternal hell fire.

 

'Hope that helps.

 

This is how I overcame my fear of hell. I did an intensive study on the history of Christianity and actually (literally) drew out a timeline for stuff. I'm a very visual person, but anyway...when I saw it all laid out in front of me, well, history speaks for itself. Christianity cannot be THE truth and hell did not come into being until much later in history.

 

 

ETA: I also had a sort of "transitional" religion in Noachidism. It was my "out" with the God of the Jews. But as I continued to study, I realized that hell was literally a made up concept.

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Hell sat on my shoulder for a good while, but it is just incompatible with any concept of god that is beyond primitive.

Think of us humans, how we cannot stand to see someone suffer, yet those who preach it tell us god can sit and watch us burn for all time! Are we more compassionate than the "all loving god"?

Hell is a man made concept, a god who is like a superman but with primitive instincts, wants and desires instead of mature compassionate well developed ones.

Is that possible or feasible?

Hell doesn't exist and any thought that you have that says it does comes from years of indoctrination. The emotion associated with it may remain once you can grasp that, but it will fade with time.

I hope you can see a small glimpse of light soon in this difficult time you are going through.

Cat

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This is how I overcame my fear of hell. I did an intensive study on the history of Christianity and actually (literally) drew out a timeline for stuff. I'm a very visual person, but anyway...when I saw it all laid out in front of me, well, history speaks for itself. Christianity cannot be THE truth and hell did not come into being until much later in history.

 

I'm very much with Lilith on this, knowledge is power. Once you see the truth about history & how it's all a glorified myth that replaced yet another mythological system (I mean, everyone did believe in the Greek Gods before they became 'myth.'), then things will become easy to not believe in the hype, as it were.

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Hell like so many other elements of Christianity is of pagan decent. The Egyptians had the underworld, the Greeks had Hades'. It was fear of these places that kept the members of society in line and caused them to fear the gods so to speak. It's an imaginary torture chamber and nothing more. No one knows anything of death because no one's ever come back to tell us all about it. Imagination runs amok with the fear of the unknown, death is unknown to all of us so it's easy to focus on the absolute worst possible scenario.

 

I don't know about god/gods but I do know that *IF* there is a creator(s) it's nothing like mans imagination says it is. Higher learning and becoming a better person seems like the logical scenario, fear prohibits growth so I doubt a real god (if one exists) would prey on our fears but would encourage us to seek answers without fear. The world is ours for the taking and learning, its in our hands if we choose to explore it or choose not to. Fear is our greatest weakness IMO. I know it's mine..

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when I was quite young, I figured that good people didn't go to Hell, because that didn't make sense. I also figured that since my family loved me, and I loved myself, that God must love me as well. That made good sense to me, and I doubted God would send someone he loved to Hell. Later, I began to doubt that eternal torture was justified for ANY person, no matter how evil they had been. How could infinite suffering be called for for finite evil?

 

When people told me it was an all-or-nothing deal, that God even sent good people he loved to Hell if they didn't jump through all the hoops, the gift of salvation didn't seem much like a gift at all.

 

Later, I began to notice that the Bible sort of sucked, and surely God could scrape up some better writers. The Bible atrocities like the bears eating all those kids drove me the rest of the way away, and I hadn't even reached puberty yet.

 

Hell doesn't make sense, and things of this world DO make sense, whether we like them or not. How could one instance of God's work be so at odds with the others? I concluded that it could not, and the Bible and Christians were just wrong. Without the support of the Bible, Biblegod evaporated for me, taking my fear of Hell with him.

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I don't know if this is the right folder to put this in, but I'll ask my question anyway. Here goes:

 

Does anyone know how to overcome the fear of Hell? I ask b/c I feel that I will *never* overcome it! I can't bring myself to think of my religion as compassionate anymore. And yet I feel that I shall be punished for an eternity if I leave it.

 

from Personal Statement on Faith

 

Read #7:

 

1. Belief is the result of the psychological desire that something be true, compensating for the fear that it may not be. The greater the necessity for compensation, the more fanatic the belief.

2. The more fanatic the belief, the more hostile the individual becomes towards those who do not believe or believe otherwise.

3. The whole of theistic religion is a belief-system (1) born of the fear of the unknown, and (2) is participated in, and promoted by, the individual equal to the degree of their personal fears.

4. Theistic religion is a tool of mental slavery used on those who are held captive by their fears, by those who seek absolute power and control through the submission of the fearful.

5. Every theistic deity is a myth that is created and used to establish, promote, and glorify the weakness, powerlessness, and fear of the fearful.

6. The greater the personal fear, combined with the perception of personal weakness and powerlessness, the greater the propensity to act out in retaliation to those who do not fear and do not feel powerless.

7. Theistic beliefs become irrelevant and without merit in accordance to the degree of the dissipation of the fear of death, the halmark of what is unknown.

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Does anyone know how to overcome the fear of Hell?

 

The trite answer is, quit believing in it.

 

Of course, if you have not seriously considered the paradoxes of hell, this isn't really possible. So you are stuck. You must inform yourself or live in doubt.

 

Investigate the history of your religion. Search in books and online about how is it possible for a just god to condemn people to infinite punishment for finite crimes. Think about how you would treat a disobedient child. Would you kill them infinity over for sneakng a cookie?

 

If you love someone, would you torture them, or even ignore them, forever? The purpose of punishment is to reform. If you are punishing forever, then reformation does not enter the picture. What then is the purpose of the punishment? Sadism?

 

Further, if god is self sufficient, then he does not want anything. Nor does he have emotions. None of it makes a fucking lick of sense if you are willing to think about it.

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Regarding Jesus as the Messiah, both camps have their reasons. But how come "all of a sudden" the eternal.hell.fire, a doctrine regarding the critical destiny of humanity would pop up since the founding of Christian Church?

 

That is also one of primarly question, if Jesus is supposed to be saving us from Hell, then how come it is not mentioned by Yahweh, especially since Hebrew God clearly says he doesn't hide things from his prophets.

Amos 3:7

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.

 

I mean do christians expect us to believe that it is just a coincidence that Greeks had a concept of hell long before christians, and the do we overlook the fact that the Gospels were written in these same societies.

 

It's quite obvious where did idea came from, and it certainly did not come from the Hebrew God

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To Rosa:

Just in case you haven't been back to your thread since your last post, some mountainously arrogant asshole Christian came in here to aggressively evangelize. A number of good people came right to your defense and landed on the clown with both feet.

 

Unfortunately, one of the results of this was that your thread effectively got sidetracked and cluttered up with many extraneous posts. Since your original question was so good and got such a large helping of excellent responses, I went through the thread and deleted any posts that were off-topic from your original question.

 

 

To any member who may have a problem with my decision, please feel free to pm me. Thank you very much to all who came to Rosa's defense. You make me proud.

 

 

Loren

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The hell doctrine was a huge reason why I deconverted. I couldn't bring myself to believe any of it anymore. I just couldn't.

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Hell in christianity is a double edged sword for the faith to have. On one end it keeps followers fearfull of even thinking of leaving and also causes them to want to convert others and gain more members out of concern for their spiritual wellbeing. On the other hand when you truly look at hell with a much deeper and more skeptical look you realize that "free will" doesnt even come close to explaining how an all loving god could eternally punish people for something that they didnt even know about .

 

So in cases when a person has a strong enough willpower, the doctrine of hell will actually cause them to deconvert as its unjust nature causes them to realize that xianity is nothing but one big mess of blatant hypocrisy.

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On the other hand when you truly look at hell with a much deeper and more skeptical look you realize that "free will" doesnt even come close to explaining how an all loving god could eternally punish people for something that they didnt even know about .

 

True. Not to mention how cold hearted it is to give man 'free will' and then force him into a choice where he really shouldn't use it, because if he does, he's going to burn for it.

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To Rosa:

Just in case you haven't been back to your thread since your last post, some mountainously arrogant asshole Christian came in here to aggressively evangelize. A number of good people came right to your defense and landed on the clown with both feet.

 

Unfortunately, one of the results of this was that your thread effectively got sidetracked and cluttered up with many extraneous posts. Since your original question was so good and got such a large helping of excellent responses, I went through the thread and deleted any posts that were off-topic from your original question.

 

 

To any member who may have a problem with my decision, please feel free to pm me. Thank you very much to all who came to Rosa's defense. You make me proud.

 

 

Loren

 

Thanks, Loren. I did see this person's posts. Knew better than to take him seriously, though.

 

I'm doing a little better today, actually. Still swimming in guilt some of the time (though this has lessened a bit). Perhaps I shall find the truth after all.

 

Thanks for the support, everyone.

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To Rosa:

Just in case you haven't been back to your thread since your last post, some mountainously arrogant asshole Christian came in here to aggressively evangelize. A number of good people came right to your defense and landed on the clown with both feet.

 

Thanks, Loren. I did see this person's posts. Knew better than to take him seriously, though.

 

I'm doing a little better today, actually. Still swimming in guilt some of the time (though this has lessened a bit). Perhaps I shall find the truth after all.

 

Thanks for the support, everyone.

 

Rosa ... nice to see you back on board. I've been thinking about and am happy to hear that things are a bit better.

 

Be patient with yourself, Rosa. You've had a lifetime of brainwashing - it will take time to undo all this.

 

I will tell you - as a Christian - that literalist doctrine is garbage. Pure and simple. My parents spared me all of it. But I do remember them leaving the Catholic church. It's not an easy road to travel - but after 35 years I can tell you they are both happy and well and do not miss the church of their childhood in any way.

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