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Rosa Mystica

Fear Of Hell

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I guess I stopped fearing hell after a few things happened.

 

First off it was the rationality of hell doctrine that got me questioning Xianity in the first place. When my father's parents died, my devout fundie-mentalist mother told me rather sadly that since they hadn't ever said the right Magic Xian Words ™, they were probably in hell.

 

It didn't make any sense to me that god would send the only two people who were truly, consistently loving and kind to me to hell, while he would happily accept my abusive, critical, unloving mother, simply because the former hadn't said some formulaic bullshit one-liner about accepting Jesus as lord and savior (while my mother had). I kind of thought that was fucked up, frankly. I kind of secretly started thinking god was kind of a dick if that's the way he played it.

 

Eventually I came to the conclusion that if there was a hell, and my grandparents were in it, I'd rather spend eternity suffering with them than spend eternity in heaven with my mother and her petty-minded, punitive deity - because of how much my grandparents loved me. I never doubted that they'd love me in the afterlife, and since they cared so much, I wanted to be with them. I would choose hell over heaven for them, and for others that I've known in life since that would probably be there too. My sister, my husband, my best friend - if we all end up in hell, that's where I want to be. Fuck god. Fuck worshipping him forever. Fuck any deity that would punish finite error with infinite torment. That's fucked up.

 

It was just a downhill slide from there. ;) I just gradually stopped believing in any kind of afterlife entirely. No hell, no heaven, no continuation of consciousness, just a ceasing of existence. And y'know? I kind of like the idea of oblivion. It doesn't bug me so much anymore.

 

Fwiw.

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I've been de-converted for about 3 years now and despite being convinced that I have absolutely no reason to believe in hell, I simply cannot shake my fear of the irrational possibility that Christians happen to be right in their blind faith.

 

I feel like the fear has somehow been hard-wired into my brain from years of indoctrination as a child. I don't want my last thoughts before death to be infused with fear that I'm about to enter a place of eternal torture. It appears to be Christianity's legacy in me.

 

Does anyone have any advice for getting my emotions in line with my reason? I can't appeal to reason because my reason is already in place.

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I feel like the fear has somehow been hard-wired into my brain from years of indoctrination as a child. I don't want my last thoughts before death to be infused with fear that I'm about to enter a place of eternal torture. It appears to be Christianity's legacy in me.

 

Does anyone have any advice for getting my emotions in line with my reason? I can't appeal to reason because my reason is already in place.

I can certainly understand this, I was also taught about hell at a very young age and I was scared shitless, and this carried on into adulthood and even for awhile after I deconverted about 2 years ago. I guess the thing that finally got me over it was that even when I was a Christian I thought I was going there anyway, so it didn't seem to matter if I was or was not a Christian, I always felt the God of the Bible was unreasonable, irrational, childish, emotionally immature, psychotic, schizophrenic, etc., etc., etc., so I never felt I could totally trust him in the first place. If it ends up a being like that is real, then it knows I tried to be a Christian, I tried to do what he wanted, I tried the best I could to do what I thought was right, and if that's not good enough and he wants to torture me forever anyway then there's nothing I can do about it. Absolutely nothing. So why should I worry about it while I am here? What good does it do? :shrug:

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This might just be a "replacement" of sorts..but I began exploring other hmm...areas? of belief about the afterlife, and whether there is one or not.

 

I waver back and forth on the issue. I've experienced/seen/felt things that tell me there may be (nope, can't back that up with "proof" :grin: ) but just looking into what other possibilities there were..that banished the notion of eternal hellfire for me.

 

Now..I just don't know. I kinda hope there is something after this.."

If you believe in forever, then life is just a one night stand. If there's a rock n roll heaven, they must have a hell of a band!"

 

Ok..I've been listening to XM 70's all day..got me melancholic and reminescing..and thoughtful..

 

I do know this, when I was finally able to give up the fear of an eternal hell..I became a more balanced person. Not quite so much urgency to things..I can take this life one day at a time and not worry about forever.

 

Its hard to say how to get to that point. I spent 23 years living in fear. That's half the time I've been alive and its hard to let go. I had gotten to the point where I feared that if I thought the wrong thing at a lousy driver, I was going to hell..what a way to live, huh?

 

I think the final blow to my belief was when a friend got sick. He was an uberfundie christian..and towards the end of his life, got really weird. He had a message board, but ended up banning most of us because we didn't live up to his standards. We didn't understand at first. It wasn't until we found out just how sick he was, that we did understand. He softened in the last few weeks of his life..before the cancer took him completely. But, he never gave up his belief.

 

Weird/sad thing..after he died, I had this dream/vision type thing. He was sitting on a rock..not able to "go into heaven" cuz he still wasn't "good enough"..I thought long and hard after that. Was it a sign? Who knows? Most likely just a conglomeration of my thoughts of Jerry and his death..and the helplessness that brought. I never met this man in real life. I heard his voice on some tapes he made..good singer, if you're into country..

 

But, if there is an afterlife..is it determined by what we believe here and now? Like..if you believe you are going to hell..will you?

 

Ok..now I really am rambling on..too much coffee and oldies music, I think. :lmao:

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I guess the thing that finally got me over it was that even when I was a Christian I thought I was going there anyway

 

I actually felt this while I was Christian, too. I constantly worried that I hadn't properly "confirmed" my faith, that there was something I wasn't doing right, that I didn't believe "enough" to make it to heaven. I kept re-confirming and re-confirming, and it was partly this perpetual fear that convinced me that there was something wrong with Christianity, not myself as I'd been thinking. But unfortunately, the fear hasn't completely gone now that I'm an atheist.

 

Sometimes I almost feel like God exists and I become simply resigned to the fact that I don't believe in him - that I can't - and am going to hell. It does help if I remind myself that if the Christian God exists, then he's really quite a cruel tyrant and fuck him if that means I'm going to hell...

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I've been de-converted for about 3 years now and despite being convinced that I have absolutely no reason to believe in hell, I simply cannot shake my fear of the irrational possibility that Christians happen to be right in their blind faith.

 

If all the shit they teach about god is true, it's hard to imagine hell is much worse than spending forever stroking the ego of an egomaniacle sociopath. Face your fear and you can conquer it. Rather than worrying you might be going, simply accept that you will, and embrace the horror. Besides, everyone who's anyone will be there in hell with you.

 

Read books that expose the fiction for what it is. Through knowledge you can get past this. Carl Sagan's "The Demon Haunted World" is helpfull, as are books about the mind("How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker), and the history of religion ("The History of God" by Karen Armstrong).

 

When I was a cultist, my brain had been conditioned to accept all kinds of nonsense. I feared ghosts and couldn't stand being in a dark room unless my back was to a wall (never mind that ghosts can pass through walls in ghost mythology). After I apostized, I still had this irrational fear. I knew it was irrational, but yet, I made sure I had lights on until I was safely in bed (that the bed would provide safety against ghosts is also irrational of course, but this was a childhood fear I never grew out of). I feared demons in the same way - ghosts and demons were sort of the same thing to me.

 

So, I decided to face my fears. I forced myself to walk around the house at night in the dark. If I felt something was right behind me, I would force myself not to turn to look, but instead to stop so that "it" could get me. Now I can wander freely in the dark, with only rare relapses.

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Rather than worrying you might be going, simply accept that you will, and embrace the horror.

 

But as an atheist, I don't actually believe in hell, so I don't see why I need to accept that I'm going to hell in order to deal with the inconsistency. I see your point about facing my fear, but I think there's a difference between facing a fear and accepting/believing that it will be realised... I think the former is healthy, but I don't know how to face a fear involving eternal suffering :unsure:

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I actually felt this while I was Christian, too. I constantly worried that I hadn't properly "confirmed" my faith, that there was something I wasn't doing right, that I didn't believe "enough" to make it to heaven. I kept re-confirming and re-confirming, and it was partly this perpetual fear that convinced me that there was something wrong with Christianity, not myself as I'd been thinking. But unfortunately, the fear hasn't completely gone now that I'm an atheist.

Believe me I did the same thing, I think I got "re-saved" no less than 4 different times because either I thought it didn't stick or I didn't get saved "properly" or I didn't feel like "a new person in Jesus", or I probably could have come up with 100 other reasons why I thought I was still going to hell. I think the biggest part of confusion for me was not knowing if you got saved by faith only, or if you had to have faith and also works (i.e. never sin again, tithe, witness, "live life for Christ", etc.). It was just a constant battle with doubt.

 

Sometimes I almost feel like God exists and I become simply resigned to the fact that I don't believe in him - that I can't - and am going to hell. It does help if I remind myself that if the Christian God exists, then he's really quite a cruel tyrant and fuck him if that means I'm going to hell...

Well I really don't think you have anything to worry about. I am quite convinced that either "god" as we define it doesn't exist, or if a god does exist that we somehow sense through what some call our "spiritual side", that we don't know anything about this god in a "revealed" way, (i.e. through prophets, mullahs, saviors, rabbis, pastors, priests, etc). At the end of the day, Christianity functions no different than any other religion, it's just a representation of a particular culture's set of beliefs at a given point in time. Otherwise, are we to believe that god's are all cultural racists, since all of them seem have their own "chosen" races, including the Christian god Jehova? There's really no reason for any of us to think that the Christian god(s) are any more real than the ancient Greek gods or Aztec gods or Egyptian gods or any other culturally "revealed" gods. Know what I mean?

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Well I really don't think you have anything to worry about. I am quite convinced that either "god" as we define it doesn't exist, or if a god does exist that we somehow sense through what some call our "spiritual side", that we don't know anything about this god in a "revealed" way, (i.e. through prophets, mullahs, saviors, rabbis, pastors, priests, etc). At the end of the day, Christianity functions no different than any other religion, it's just a representation of a particular culture's set of beliefs at a given point in time. Otherwise, are we to believe that god's are all racists, since all of them seem have their own "chosen" races, including the Christian god Jehova? There's really no reason for any of us to think that the Christian god(s) are any more real than the ancient Greek gods or Aztec gods or Egyptian gods or any other culturally "revealed" gods. Know what I mean?

 

I do know what you mean. It's just that my emotions don't line up with my rational beliefs, and because I did happen to be brought up with the idea of the Christian God, it is him that I fear exists rather than the God of any other religion. I think it's a battle I'll be fighting with myself until the day I die, and I hate thinking of worrying about hell in that moment instead of feeling ready to die...

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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

Okay, Rosa, I will try to help you out here.

 

First off, you have to get yourself out of the mind-set that the Christian God is God. Christian God is not God. Christian God is a man with an abacus on the mount. This Christian God does not -- repeat, DOES NOT -- exist in any way shape or form...

 

In Catholicism, you were taught that God created everything. Right? Then it would serve that if this were true and everything God makes is perfect, then why would God make Hell?

 

The only punishment we endure is the prison of our own mind. It is not God that does not forgive -- it is ourselves we do not forgive. Have you ever heard the saying, "I am my own worst judge?" That comes with much thought. We are our own worst judges. No one else can damn us if we don't damn ourselves.

 

Hell, like Heaven, appears to be a state of mind -- not an actual place where your soul goes and burns for eternity. Why would a perfectly loving God, send a God creation to hell?

 

That makes no sense. Is it saying God fucked up? If God is perfect, God does not fuck up.

 

So when you think in these terms, you will see that God -- if all-loving as an entity -- is perfect than none of offspring of such God will be damaged or less than perfect. Do you follow what I am saying?

 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with your trepidation and I hope I have shed some light for you. It is a common misnomer that individuals have because of the brainwashing that goes on in Xian religious beliefs. But trust in yourself and that's the best way to develop your own spiritual link to the world. Whether that means believing in God or not, is purely up to you...but I will ask you this:

 

If God really wanted a religion, would God have picked the type of religion Christianity is now and has been for a very, very long time?

 

I am anxious to hear your response. Hope I helped!

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I think it's a battle I'll be fighting with myself until the day I die, and I hate thinking of worrying about hell in that moment instead of feeling ready to die...

Well think of it this way.... according to Christians we have until the moment we die to repent of our sins and give our life to Jesus, and they definitely capitalize on that by telling us that we better turn to him now, for we don't know when that day will be, blah blah blah. But the reality is that most people don't die instantaneously, in fact I think most people are quite aware that they are going to die right before they actually do. Meaning I think most people have the chance to "repent" and turn their life over to Jesus if they really want to. So if you're that afraid when the time comes then you go ahead and do it.... problem sovled. I really don't think anyone is going to wave their finger in your face and accuse you of intellectual dishonesty in your final moment on this earth :HaHa:

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Rather than worrying you might be going, simply accept that you will, and embrace the horror.

 

But as an atheist, I don't actually believe in hell, so I don't see why I need to accept that I'm going to hell in order to deal with the inconsistency. I see your point about facing my fear, but I think there's a difference between facing a fear and accepting/believing that it will be realised... I think the former is healthy, but I don't know how to face a fear involving eternal suffering :unsure:

 

I don't mean that you should actually rationally believe in hell.

 

Look, you are having this problem because you are not one person. None of us is. Although we have that illusion, everything we know about the way the mind works indicates we are really multiple persons, each taking turns being in control. The rational person has to convince the irrational one that hell is desirable. The rational person knows hell is a lie, but someone else in side you is irrational and doesn't know. That person can be convinced by the rational person that hell is the best option. Once s/he believes hell is good, you will no longer fear it.

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Hi rosa Heres my take on it - I hope it helps coming from a slightly different view from some other posters.

 

Hell makes no sense whether you are a Christian or not.. I know many christians who cannot accept the idea of it so your fear is irrational but not just because you have deconverted.

 

It was actually a Christian thought process that convinced me it just could not be true in any way

 

This Christian thought process was ...

When talking about Science and religion I was told to try and balance things of the 'mind' and things of the 'heart'.

ie Science was all 'mind' - proof, facts, logic etc that basically showed we are just matter and molecules and nothing else. Ie souless.

It did not address issues of the 'heart' - love emotion well being peace. These are things that cannot be decomposed into meaningless atoms and molecules and are essential parts of our human make up. The Christian view was that God spoke to the heart and provided the meaning to life that science could not.

 

If you are still with me ... I applied this process to the idea of hell (and heaven)

 

The 'heart'

God is Love. God gives life meaning. God forgives. God is peace.

.. oh and God allows 80% of his creation to burn for ever and ever amen

I believed in God because I felt within me that it was possible that there was something else .. because there was a richness of spirit to be found within everyone, a sense of love and connectedness with all other life. A wholesome feeling.

 

Hell just does not fit. I can't 'feel' it fitting like i can feel God fitting. Some sort of punishment for wrongdoing makes sense but ETERNAL TORTURE!! And not just for bad people ..for children (My children!!?!) .. not a correcting love that punishes so that you know not to do that thing again next time. Once you are there you are there forever no matter what

 

And then theres heaven Imagine a place of peace and love. But what if you knew your child was in hell being tormented dailly WTF! :vent: Unthinkable!! And so then to enjoy heaven you must have all memory wiped out. But what does that leave you ... you are not you if you have no memory of anything. So how can heaven exist ..?

 

The 'mind'

Eternal anything is very difficult to cope with. Never mind something that can burn (ie us in a fire) but never diminish so that it burns for ever ! Madness

The OT never really pushed hell at all... where did it come from? Did God forget to mention eternal torture. That it was not really as important as getting his 600 laws down in writing or parting the read sea (thats some feat but if you had a choice of seeing the red sea part or knowing that there was a Hell of ETERNAL torture.. I think its more important to know about the latter)

 

So did God create Hell when Jesus came. If that was the case him coming to save us actually has the opposite affect - he was the catalyst for hell being created where most people will go. Oh thanks for that ! Thats what i call salvation..

 

There is only one reason for believing it. A literalist blinkered and unthinking reading of CERTAIN parts of the bible.

 

 

 

ROSA the main thing here is you KNOW its not true. You just have an irrational fear of it. Learn to look inside yourself and FEEL that its not true. Use all the logical facts and arguments to help you

If God exists then I think it is in the Love anyone can feel for the world or each other if the search. Hell is a monstrous idea that just does not fit with any idea of love.

 

I have babbled... I think that was more therapy for me :twitch: I hope you can take something from it that helps. Good luck :thanks:

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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

 

Hello Rosa:

 

You have been on my mind so much lately. Your question about overcoming the fear of hell and your assertation that "deep down, I hope that a loving God is above such petty revenge fantasy crap as Hell."

 

All of this has been mulling around in my mind for days now. :wub:

 

Last night some things came together for me and I'm going to share them with you.

 

1st of all - if there is such a thing as hell - people like me would definitely be bound for hell, correct. I mean - by any literalist definition I am a heretic?

 

2nd - this idea and understanding of God as Love (infinite, eternal, within all, through all and beyond all Love. Love that has no end, nor any beginning) -- well if this is true --- then where within the Alpha and Omega of love CAN something like "hell" exist. It just doesn't square.

 

But these things have already been pointed out - there is something more. You also are worried about what will happen to you if you don't believe in God in the "right way". Well I want to tell you a story about a friend who did not believe in God in the right way.

 

This friend passed away 6 years ago - she was in her late 80s. And in deference to her and her understanding of God, this friend did not "pass away" - she made her "transition". M never talked about people dying or passing away. She always used the term "transition", so that is the term I will use when I speak about the end of her physical life.

 

Now M was a heretic like me :) I miss her terribly - there are far too few heretic's in this world. But, anyway, when her life was nearing it's end we all knew it. She had never had any children. She had been a widow for over 20 years ... her friends were her family. At the end there were three of us who stayed near her at the hospital.

 

Now I must tell you that each of us had our own place in her life. One of her friends was a nurse by profession - during this period the nurse/friend made all the medical decisions. Another one M's three friends was her neighbor who took care of her house and her cats. My place in M's life was a spiritual friend. We had been heretics together for years. We knew how each other felt on these issues. I knew how she prayed, I knew her favorite Bible verses, I knew the language that she used to define herself spiritually. So, when physical life was ebbing away it was my job to help her spiritually.

 

Keep in mind Rosa that I HATE hospitals, when I am in a hospital room I don't ask, and don't want to know what all the equipment is that my friends are hooked up to. When I see that kind of stuff I feel that something is being violated and it is distressing. (I understand the legitimacy of it - it saved my father's life a year ago). But - that doesn't undo the fact that hospitial rooms seem a torture to me. :shrug:

 

M's last days on this earth were six weeks of hospital rooms for me. Day in and day out sitting with her and not knowing for sure when she would close her eyes and draw her last breath. I couldn't NOT be there because she needed me. My biggest worry during that period was that she would draw her last breath alone - and deep inside I wanted someone who loved her to be with her at that moment. And more than anything I wanted to be the one with her. I was driven by the fact that we had been deeply spiritual friends for 10 years - that I had learned so much from her. Her other friends had their jobs - but my connection with her was spiritual. So - it felt on a very deep level that it was my place to be with her.

 

The last two week's of her life M was non-responsive. For all intents and purposes she didn't know we were in the room - she was in a coma. Still something made me be there with her - day in and day out not knowing when it would happen. M used to call me her "angel". She used to introduce me as, "this is my angel, she takes care of me". I used to go home and tell my husband, "how do I live up to that - who could ever live up to that title"?

 

Well one night - I went home from the hospital. It was quite late, about 10:30. I'd been at the hospital most of the day, it was week's into the situation and the doctors could not tell us how much longer it was going to go on. I was physically and spiritually exhausted. I laid down on the couch and my youngest daughter came out of her bedroom with a gift for me. It was a little jewlery box - I opened it up and there - inside it was an angel pin. My husband had picked it up for me. Then he reached into his pocket and took out a second jewlery box. The box he gave me had the same angel pin.

 

He told me to take the first angel pin to the hospital the next day and give it to M. And he told me to keep the second angel - that I had "lived up" to M's name for me.

 

Well Rosa - the next day I went to the hospital - and I gave M her angel. I told her that my husband had bought it for her and that from now on she was going to be our angel. That she had the harder of the jobs, because I had only had to be an angel for 10 years. But now she had to be our angel for the rest of our lives.

 

Rosa within an hour she drew her last breath and made her transition. All those weeks of waiting - and within an hour of receiving that pin she left us. When it happened I was alone with her, my friend the heretic, and there was a deep peace in the room. Something deep inside me prevented me from running to get the nurse. For 20 minutes - or more- I felt a sense that peace needed to be fostered. It was a real feeling that M was in fact making a transition.

 

Afterwards .... I talked to the nurses about the angel pin and about how I had waited before calling them. You know what they told me, Rosa?

 

Keep in mind M had been moved to a wing in the hospital for terminal patients. These nurses are around the dying day in and day out. These nurses - 3 of them - we were at the nurses station waiting for the coroner - told me that they are surprised at how often comatose patients "wait" for those they love before drawing their last breath. They are surprised at how often comatose patients "wait" until someone gives them permission to move on.

 

Rosa ... how does someone who is comatose "know" that there is a person in the room whom they love? How does that happen?

 

Beyond that - M was a heretic (in the finest and most compassionate sense of the tradition). If the devil were coming to take her away - why did I feel only peace our last hours together? Wouldn't it stand to reason that since I hate hospitals, that since I feel they are invasion to the spirit (although sometimes a necessary invasion), that since my dear friend of 10 years was dying that I would have felt anxiety. Then add the devil coming to take her away ... if that were true ... how come in that room (with all that damned hospital equipment and all the noises affiliated with hospitals), how come in that room, at the end of a dear friends physical life was I ONLY feeling a sense of peace. Utter and deep genuine peace. No fear, no anxiety, no grief, only peace that things were the way they were meant to be.

 

I mean don't the religious literalists always use "being at peace with God" in contrast with this whole "hell" crap?

 

Rosa ... the ONLY thing I felt in that room was peace. I felt peace because M had lived her life in peace - she made her transition the way she had lived. Pure and simple - no magical humanized "god" giving her a sense of peace as a present for being a good person. Just peace because that was WHO she was. Just love because that is what WE SHARED. She knew I was there, she knew I gave her the angel. I had been there many timese before, I'd told her many times before that she could "let go".

 

My husband said later, when he was telling me why he bought the angel pins, "something told me when I got off work yesterday that M needed to be 'pinned'". So he went and got the angels, and after I 'pinned' her she let go. She needed to know that she had a job to do, before making her transition.

 

Now I can't prove anything. I can't "prove" that a devil didn't come to take her away. But I can tell you I know "evil" when I feel it and I know "peace" when I feel it. I did not feel "evil" I felt only peace and love and - yes -joy. For 20 minutes - or so - after her last breath I felt something sacred - I could not move. I hate hospitals, I hate hospital equipment - I'd never before been with a person who was dying - and yet despite every instinct in me to leave that situation - something in me made me sit in a peaceful, quiet and joy filled and reverent silence. One does not feel that if "evil" is present. :shrug:

 

Rosa - the only "evil" in your life right now is the evilness of what has been fed to you all of your life. It is brainwashing - it really is. But, you can get beyond it. There are others here who have worked through it and they can help you.

 

But, remind yourself on a very deep level that non christians have been dying peace-filled deaths for the entire history of humanity. One does not need a tyrant god to "give" them peace as a reward. One only needs to live in peace - and it will certainly follow suite that one will then make their transition in peace. :wub:

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At the Christian college I attended, I had a literature professor talk about how he believed in heaven, but not hell, which was the first time I had even thought about one existing without the other. I couldn't reconcile it with my own beliefs at the time, but it seemed to open up a whole new realm of possibilities, and probably jump started my process of doubting the Bible.

 

In the months after September 11, I couldn't justify in my mind thousands of people going to hell at once, and the Jerry Falwell comments really put a lot of things into focus for me. "God is an asshole," I said to myself, and the only way to believe otherwise for me was to deny Christian doctrine and the existence of hell.

 

In my mind, for God to have some kind of greater purpose for us, hell cannot exist, because it already does, in enough forms, right here on earth! If God exists (still on the fence on that one) he must have some kind of better plan worked out than that, otherwise his status as supreme intelligence would certainly be questionable...

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In my mind, for God to have some kind of greater purpose for us, hell cannot exist, because it already does, in enough forms, right here on earth! If God exists (still on the fence on that one) he must have some kind of better plan worked out than that, otherwise his status as supreme intelligence would certainly be questionable...

 

I would agree with that.

 

I'm probably going to remain agnostic unless some indisputable proof of a deity's existence is found. You never know when a spiritual group might turn into a Jim Jones-style cult. There are just too many wacky belief systems these days. I'm not saying they're all wacky, but better safe than sorry.

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I think to myself that Xtianity has been borrowed and so is the idea of Hell though at church I'm still tempted at times to go to the alter just in case, oh well, i've only been an atheist for a little over a year so you should get over this fear with research.

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While I do believe in an after life, I no longer agree with the fire and brimstone fundamentalist hell taught to me by my faith.

 

I feel so much like the author of this thread. The biggest fear of leaving this faith is that you will wind up in hell on a technicality like, "Oh shit, they were right!"

 

I just know that I tried to be the best christian I could be. I tried to change everything about myself that everyone said was sinful. I tried and tried and TRIED harder...It eventually comes down to whether or not I am happy in the here and now. And wouldn't a true god of love, compassion, and creation value that? don't all parents want their children to be happy...and not autonomous drones?

 

Again, I have the same fears as well...But I'm slowly overcoming them. Perhaps when I am able to put some distance between my family and my faith the real healing will begin. I am tired of this internal conflict. However, you have to hurt before you can heal is how I look at it.

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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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Rosa -

 

There have been so many good posts here already, I hope you have found them encouraging and enlightening. I know so many people here struggle with this too, you are definitely not alone. There has been so much good information (I think i've spent the last hour reading through posts and following some of the links) hopefully some of it will help you with this burden. Keep reading and thinking for yourself and questioning, you'll find the truth. Just the fact that you are struggling with this concept should tell you something and show you that you're already on a better path than most xtians.

 

Don't get too discouraged with yourself, either. You have to figure all your years in xtianity can't all be undone at once, and in time your mind will let go. Heck, if they weren't so good at brainwashing and keeping people scared, there would be a lot more of us FreeThinkers out there! :grin:

 

 

-Gliph

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