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How Did YOU Think About Hell Back Then?

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Having once been a Christian, you presumably believed in Hell at some point in your life.  For me, Hell is one of the hardest parts of Christianity to accept. And of course Christians are all over the map when in comes to attitudes to Hell...

 

What is Hell? 

During or since our deconversion, many of us have seen videos or articles explaining how the concept of Hell can be seen to evolve in the pages of the Bible, and how it continued to evolve up through Dante’s Inferno and the many medieval paintings that featured Hell.  In modern times, some say that Hell is merely an eternal separation from God, which sounds just fine to many of us apostates now, especially if this God resembles the one in the Old Testament. Or maybe Hell is just annihilation - death as the end of everything - which again sounds better than some of the alternatives...

 

Who Goes to Hell?

Christians also differ sharply as to who actually goes to Hell: for some fundamentalists, everybody who doesn’t conform to their particular denomination’s dogma and practice is Hell-bound for sure.  Others say that all who accept Jesus as their savior (however that is done) escape the flames.  Or all baptized Christians avoid Hell but everybody else is toast (but wait: were you baptized by sprinkling or by immersion???). For others, Hell is reserved for only the worst of the worst of humanity, such as Hitler and people who drive too slowly in the fast lane.

 

So I’m interested to hear what you thought about Hell when you were a Christian.  And I’d especially like to hear how you felt about people going to Hell.  Surely you knew, if only slightly, people who didn’t qualify to be saved from Hell.  Maybe close family members, friends, or just acquaintances. Maybe just strangers you saw coming out of dens of sin like bars, nightclubs, strip-joints, brothels or movie theaters, or folks walking their dogs or playing golf while you drove to Church. Did you feel like they deserved it?  Or did you try not to think about the nice but unchurched guy next door burning for eternity?  Was Hell one of the things that pushed you away from Christianity?  Or did fear of Hell keep you in the fold or torment you as you went through the deconversion process?  Or both?

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2 hours ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

So I’m interested to hear what you thought about Hell when you were a Christian.  And I’d especially like to hear how you felt about people going to Hell.  Surely you knew, if only slightly, people who didn’t qualify to be saved from Hell.  Maybe close family members, friends, or just acquaintances. Maybe just strangers you saw coming out of dens of sin like bars, nightclubs, strip-joints, brothels or movie theaters, or folks walking their dogs or playing golf while you drove to Church. Did you feel like they deserved it?  Or did you try not to think about the nice but unchurched guy next door burning for eternity?  Was Hell one of the things that pushed you away from Christianity?  Or did fear of Hell keep you in the fold or torment you as you went through the deconversion process?  Or both?

 

I started out as a Christian at age 30, with a foundation of agnosticism. So after 10 years it was only really a surface irritation , kind of like a boil. Jesus was never in my bones through and through, so Hell as well as other doctrine didnt faze me very much. As a Christian I didnt give it much thought because I knew I wasn't going there, so after giving Jesus the boot, Hell had not grown into some terrible fear. I just reverted back to agnosticism where I still didnt give it any thought.

 

I probably really subconsciously rejected a lot of the fear thrown at me by the rabid fundy freaks during my Christian days. (Oh my god! Maybe I never really was a Christian! Hope I wasn't - lol)

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I was never all that comfortable with Hell doctrine.  In my nightly prayers I always made room to ask for some relief for the souls trapped there.  I don't know why, except Ive always been overly sensitive and empathic.  There was a long time I thought I was going to Hell myself, so there's that too.  I remember thinking that people should stop having children because they'd eventually fall from grace and end up suffering eternally.  It's surreal what you'll believe when looking in hindsight.

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I remember, as a kid, asking my mom (who is still steeped in her fundy cult) how it is that all the Jews who suffered in the holocaust went on to hell, yet there were stories of Nazis who confessed and became "born-again" and , therefore went  to heaven. This didn't make sense to me as a kid and I wanted answers. I wanted to know why Anne Frank was in hell. My mom tried to say that we don't know what happens when a person is dying. In other words, they might in their dying breath turn to Christ. That didnt sit right with me. So then I asked what about all the people who never even heard of Jesus? Why do they have to go to hell? Again she went through some mental gymnastics about how each will be then judged according to their deeds and how everyone has some knowledge of God " written in their heart," but again it didnt fly. The last straw was her switch to a belief in predestination in which she believed that God actually CHOOSES who goes to hell (billions of people!). That was when I was a teen and although I clung to faith later in life (thinking I needed to do this for my kids), it planted a seed of doubt that started to grow into eventual agnosticism. The whole concept of hell, when examined closely, should be enough for any Christian to doubt God as good. I guess all compassionate Christians will need to be lobotomized in heaven. How else could they enjoy it knowing so many people are frying?

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I was raised in the Church of Christ, which maintains that only its members will be going to heaven. Everyone else is lost! 

Had a hard time believing that almost the entire world population was gonna wind up in hell, even as a child.......

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I grew up LDS, or whatever the hell we are admonished by his egotisticalness to call it this week. They don't preach Hell. Just various levels of "Heaven". 

 

Then I met Mrs. MOHO and became a lukewarm xtian and always pondered each pastore's concept of Hell. 

I watched with much consternation and concern as Mrs. MOHO "progressed" from lukewarm to absolute, over-the-EFing-top, screaming, unabashed fundy. Discussions of this with her made it crystal clear that this metamorphosis was fueled by her fear of Hell. 

 

More pondering of this Hell thing led me to regard the notion of "only OUR kind of xtian avoids the eternal torment" and "even really really GOOD people don't escape it unless they believe like WE do" as nothing more (or less) than hard-core manipulation tools. 

 

This in turn led me to Carrier, and Hitchens, and Dawkins and Fitzgerald et al.  

 

Obviously the entire xtian doctrine is a manipulation tool as are all religious doctrines. 

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I don't remember thinking about hell too much as a Christian. That might have been because I didn't really think it existed. My thinking was more along the line of hell simply not being in the presence of God in the afterlife. In other words, I think hell, at least for me. was simply dying and that was it. There wasn't anything else. 

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14 hours ago, Geezer said:

I don't remember thinking about hell too much as a Christian. That might have been because I didn't really think it existed. My thinking was more along the line of hell simply not being in the presence of God in the afterlife. In other words, I think hell, at least for me. was simply dying and that was it. There wasn't anything else. 

     I didn't think about hell all that much either.  Only when my OCD was acting up and I started little sort of prayer spirals so that I was "right" with god so I didn't die with sin or any of that nonsense or it somehow popper onto my radar in other ways (which is probably what triggered my OCD).  But I sure thought it existed.

 

     If I had to find a parallel I would say it would have to be prison.  I don't think about it much either.  It's something I know exists (I've seen 'em).  But I have that mindset that prison, like hell, is for other people.  Not little old me.  And as a xian the odds of you, meaning you personally not those other xians and fakers, going to hell are nil.  Zero. Zilch.  Because you've got jesus on your side as the get out of hell free card.  Not like prison.  Shit could happen and I could wind up there for some reason.  No get outta prison cards for me.  So I think I actually take prison a little more seriously than I did hell in that respect.

 

          mwc

 

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As a fundamentalist, I was incredibly, strangely indifferent to the thought that everyone around me was going to hell besides my tiny isolated community. It's remained a bit of a mystery to me as to how I could be that indifferent, but I think a large part of it was the extent of my indoctrination, combined with some reluctance to really examine the issue in any depth because it did make me uncomfortable when I considered it. But I chose to swallow the church's interpretation that every person on this earth that wasn't saved somehow chose their own destiny because god gave them a chance to repent, and they didn't. Nevermind the fact that the church wanted it both ways and contradicted itself, as it taught people have free will to decide their fate, but yet at the end of the day, it's god that wills belief or disbelief.

But in the end, the concept of hell was what resulted in my deconversion, because I believed I had some family members that would end up there, and it was too painful and too much to handle. That was the start of my questioning and the beginning of the end.

This is one of the best blog posts I've read regarding hell and the power of fear. http://blog.edsuom.com/2013/12/healing-from-hell-horror.html

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I thought of something as I was deconverting that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it here.

 

Let's suppose there is a God and some kind of eternal reward and punishment,  and this God has a expectation of what you believe and what you do. Your destiny hinges on getting these two keys areas correct. Just based on that premise, picture the predicament humans are really placed in:

 

One: How does one even establish there is a God, let alone what its character is like, therefore how could you actually know what you were expected to believe about God, let alone anything else.

 

Two: If there was one true faith out there, what possible tools could humans employ to figure it out. I suppose if there was only one religious belief system out there and its beliefs were cogent and consistent amongst its believers, that would at least narrow the choice down to a 50/50 chance of being right. But that is not the case, there are literally thousands of religious systems all claiming to have a corner on the truth. Nearly all of them are unable to be tested for veracity, so we are all stuck again trying to figure out the true faith with no real way of knowing how to do that.

 

This is really the situation is with Christianity. So if God really is up there, he has put this burden on humanity to figure out who he is, what he wants you to believe, and what he wants you to do. And if you get it wrong, you are going to burn forever. That is quite literally an impossible task. How could you possibly figure out any of these things? And when I say figure them out, I mean you know them to be true, not that you have faith they are true.

 

I always put this scenario to believers. They are so confident they have it all figured out and they are sitting comfortably in God's back pocket. To which I say, how could you possibly know that to be true? If there is a God, they have no idea if they are pleasing him.

 

In reality if the scenario is true and there is a God with all these expectations, then anyone who got it right really just got lucky. 

 

That is why I do not believe in hell. There is no way a reasonable, let alone loving God would put us in such an impossible position. I could only see this being remotely true if everyone received direct revelation and signed some kind of contract indicating both parties fully understood expectations and consequences....not a cosmic guessing game.

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I thought about it back then in much the same way I think about it now; to wit: I ain't going so it don't make much sense in worrying over it.

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On 9/4/2018 at 8:55 AM, TinMan said:

I thought of something as I was deconverting that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it here.

 

Let's suppose there is a God and some kind of eternal reward and punishment,  and this God has a expectation of what you believe and what you do. Your destiny hinges on getting these two keys areas correct. Just based on that premise, picture the predicament humans are really placed in:

 

One: How does one even establish there is a God, let alone what its character is like, therefore how could you actually know what you were expected to believe about God, let alone anything else.

 

Two: If there was one true faith out there, what possible tools could humans employ to figure it out. I suppose if there was only one religious belief system out there and its beliefs were cogent and consistent amongst its believers, that would at least narrow the choice down to a 50/50 chance of being right. But that is not the case, there are literally thousands of religious systems all claiming to have a corner on the truth. Nearly all of them are unable to be tested for veracity, so we are all stuck again trying to figure out the true faith with no real way of knowing how to do that.

 

This is really the situation is with Christianity. So if God really is up there, he has put this burden on humanity to figure out who he is, what he wants you to believe, and what he wants you to do. And if you get it wrong, you are going to burn forever. That is quite literally an impossible task. How could you possibly figure out any of these things? And when I say figure them out, I mean you know them to be true, not that you have faith they are true.

 

I always put this scenario to believers. They are so confident they have it all figured out and they are sitting comfortably in God's back pocket. To which I say, how could you possibly know that to be true? If there is a God, they have no idea if they are pleasing him.

 

In reality if the scenario is true and there is a God with all these expectations, then anyone who got it right really just got lucky. 

 

That is why I do not believe in hell. There is no way a reasonable, let alone loving God would put us in such an impossible position. I could only see this being remotely true if everyone received direct revelation and signed some kind of contract indicating both parties fully understood expectations and consequences....not a cosmic guessing game.

 

Most people on this earth have a belief in one or more gods, and believe they know what those gods expect from them.  But their idea of God and what 'he' expects is almost entirely dependent on where they were born and who their parents are.  For those of us who were once Christians, if we could wind the clock back and arrange for us to be born in Saudi Arabia instead, we would almost certainly have grown up believing in the Muslim god and his prophet.  Or if born in India we would very likely have grown up believing in the Hindu gods.  If on the other hand we were raised without religion and then presented, let's say at the age of 20, with information about the world's religions, we would likely have no fucking idea which god(s) to believe in.  I'd like to think that, as 21st Century people with some knowledge of science, we would see no reason to believe in any of them.  But according to mainstream Christianity, if we were born into a non-Christian environment, we're likely headed for eternal suffering in Hell. 

 

So you're right, Tinman, that's what it boils down to.  And that's what most Christians just don't want to confront.  If they do face it head-on , as you and I and others here did, sanity - or basic human compassion - requires that they reject it.  Human civilization has in general progressed over the millennia, and a religious belief system that stays in the barbarous past is destined to control an ever-shrinking segment of the market of ideas.

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I think it was Voltaire who said, "Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool." I think that pretty well sums it up.

George Carlin had a great bit on hell. It started something like this: Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible

man living in the sky, who watches everything you do. And this invisible man has a list of 10 things that he doesn't want you to do.

And if you do ANY of these 10 things he's got a place of fire and smoke and burning that he will send you to suffer, agonize and cry...

but he loves you! And he NEEDS MONEY!

 

I think Mt 7:13-14 is pretty clear on whether few or many are headed to hell: "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that

leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (NASB)

 

Jesus was pretty plain spoken about the fires of hell, Mark 9:42-43   “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.  If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out." (NIV)

 

 

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Thoughtful question! Growing up Xian I was made to believe that there was only one true doctrine about hell - which of course is absolutely false. I am curious too what other people thought.

 

On 8/19/2018 at 12:03 PM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

What is Hell? 

The way I was taught hell was a place of unimaginable torment inflicted on the unelect for eternity for God's glory. It was definitely not punishment in the traditional sense of getting someone to atone for a mistake - there really is no repentance or atonement in Calvinism for any practical purposes. God really does enjoy torturing people for the sake of enjoyment, and he created most people specifically for this purpose (the 'unelect') and revels in it. The nature of the torture was unimaginable by design, so there wasn't a specific description just vague imagery of horror (i.e. our imaginations would just go wild). Johnathan Edwards famously evoked the image of a spider dangling over a fire as a symbol for God dangling a human soul over hell (I wonder if good ol' John killed spiders for fun?). Since there was no way the elect to go to hell (and everyone is so sure they are one of the elect until they are next to be ostracized), and no way for the unelect not to go to hell - the belief in hell wasn't so much about being scared out of doing anything bad but more about loving how awesome and powerful God is that he tortures people for fun. You're supposed to admire this character trait of him and praise him for it (why wouldn't you? you're not one of the unelect ARE YOU?)

 

 

On 8/19/2018 at 12:03 PM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

Who Goes to Hell?

Pretty much 99% of the human race: anyone who doesn't agree 100% with your personal preacher's increasingly specific and eccentric beliefs. The number of people who were considered 'true Xians' kept growing smaller over time. It kept getting smaller even after I left, to the point where I wonder whether my dad considers anyone other than himself (and maybe my mom) a Xian. Most family and definitely all friends go to hell. Interestingly, my aunts, who are more moderate Xians, have only started to realize in recent years that my dad have always considered them evil fake Xians (he's pretty good at hiding his true feelings). Interestingly, if you were a Xian and did not adhere 100% to the 'correct' belief (and hence a 'fake Christian') you were supposed to burn in an even hotter and more horrible level of hell than anyone else. Basically, in the implied hierarchy of hell atheists oddly are tortured the least. 

 

So the weird cumulative effect of all this as a kid was that I was afraid to make friends with Xians, because my dad said the most horrible things about them behind closed doors. I felt more comfortable making friends with atheists, because they didn't care about or think about them much. I also had a hard time going through life interacting with people and casually thinking "and *you* go to hell, and *you* go to hell, and *you* and *you* and *you* go to hell!" like it didn't matter to me one bit. How my family go through their life thinking this way beats me. 

 

Wow this post turned out longer than I thought I guess I feel strongly about this! Anyways, I'm guessing it's a bit more extreme than many other Xian perspectives on hell!

I hope it provides interesting perspective!

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I didn't think about it much growing up. It's only when I became a serious believer in my teens that I gave it more thought. In those early days I had numerous panic attacks because I thought I was going there, for various different reasons (because I thought I had "backslidden", because I hadn't yet been baptised, because what-if Islam or Catholicism was true instead?). Those were some scary days, for sure. 

 

But I got over all that. I also started to embrace the concept of hell as more symbolic fire rather than literal fire (because who wants to believe in a God that would burn people alive?) I did fear for other people, but I never questioned the "rightness" of it all. In fact, I defended it. I parroted the same old crap about how God gives us all a chance to repent, and if we did not, we'd have to face the consequences of our sin for ourselves. Of course this was all justifiable in my mind. God's a good judge and can't let sin go unpunished, blah blah blah. 

 

Now I see it for what it is - an unimaginably twisted scare tactic. It's played a very large part in my deconversion. I now see that hell - whether it's literal fire or just separation from God - is not justifiable in any way. It's still described in the bible as a place of horrible suffering - forever and ever. And for what? For believing the wrong thing? For a short life of sin? They say that God loves us more than any earthly father ever could. Yet even most earthly fathers would never dream of putting their children through even a fraction of the torment that God has in store for those who reject him. 

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2 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

The way I was taught hell was a place of unimaginable torment inflicted on the unelect for eternity for God's glory. It was definitely not punishment in the traditional sense of getting someone to atone for a mistake - there really is no repentance or atonement in Calvinism for any practical purposes. God really does enjoy torturing people for the sake of enjoyment, and he created most people specifically for this purpose (the 'unelect') and revels in it.

 

I remember seeing this YouTube video where the guy quoted someone as saying, "If God is not glorified in your salvation, he will be glorified in your destruction". The YouTuber thought this was a "frightening but beautiful truth". Yeah, I really can't stand Calvinists. The shit they come out with makes me wanna vomit everywhere. Even when I was a devout Christian it made my skin crawl.

 

I'm also very sorry for your upbringing. That sounds horrible and a very unhealthy view to have been exposed to as a kid. 

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3 hours ago, DestinyTurtle said:

So the weird cumulative effect of all this as a kid was that I was afraid to make friends with Xians, because my dad said the most horrible things about them behind closed doors. I felt more comfortable making friends with atheists, because they didn't care about or think about them much. I also had a hard time going through life interacting with people and casually thinking "and *you* go to hell, and *you* go to hell, and *you* and *you* and *you* go to hell!" like it didn't matter to me one bit. How my family go through their life thinking this way beats me.

Yeah, this sounds familiar. However, in a weird way, I think it was the cognitive dissonance relating to how my family behaved, or what my parents modeled (they were never ones to preach against or outright demonize those not in the church) and what I saw in other people in the church, saying horrible things about people, that helped me wake up. There was this strange duality: we should love and pity and pray for non believers because theyre going to hell, vs on the other hand, they're all a bunch of devil worshipers who are evil because they belong to the world. I also shake my head at how my family can think this way, but ultimately, they stay in there, because using your brain and logic is a sin.

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On 8/19/2018 at 9:03 AM, ThereAndBackAgain said:

So I’m interested to hear what you thought about Hell when you were a Christian.  And I’d especially like to hear how you felt about people going to Hell.  

Hell was the concept that began my deconversion. 

 

For most/all of my 43+ years as a Christian Id accepted the standard fundagelical line: no Jesus belief, Hell was the eternal destination. Period. No discussion. 

 

But the book Love Wins by Robb Bell started the process. After it was published I ignored it for quite some time, as obvious  heresy and therefore unworthy of my time. Furthermore, a buddy was Bell’s literary agent (and agent to many other big Christian names - Eldredge/Jeremiah/Maxwell/and more) and that book blew up the firm: many of the conservative authors threatened to bolt if Bell remained a client. 

 

But I read it. And it blew my doors off - actual scriptural evidence to support the hypothesis that hell might not be permanent. So I read Francis Chan’s response - and found it pretty weak. I also realized that both these guys used scripture to make competing claims and Bell’s, especially from the morality perspective, made sense. 

 

So I reread them both. And had the same conclusions as I did initially. 

 

Then I made a huge mistake: Amazon’s suggestion after buying those two books was one called “Losing My Religion” and I bought it. Initially interested due to the REM lyrics it brought to mind, I read the summary: it was written by an ex-Christian writer for the LA Times Religion section who lived in Orange County and FOR YEARS HAD GONE TO THE SAME MEGACHURCH I was attending. 

 

It re-irritated some long long long ignored itches that I began to vigorously scratch. Yada yada yada ... I became an atheist. 

 

Since then, I haven’t given Hell a second thought. Nor heaven. Nor invisible friends or enemies. Fucking awesome. 

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, HeartFromTexas said:

 

Hell was the concept that began my deconversion. 

 

For most/all of my 43+ years as a Christian Id accepted the standard fundagelical line: no Jesus belief, Hell was the eternal destination. Period. No discussion. 

 

But the book Love Wins by Robb Bell started the process. 

 

 

@HeartFromTexas, you’re not the first one I’ve heard mention Rob Bell’s book as pivotal in their journey away from Christianity.  Although I haven’t read it myself, I can see why so many Christians - especially fundamentalists - were so unhappy with Love Wins.  It brought up an issue that many would rather sweep under the carpet: the reality - or otherwise - of Hell.  In ages past, Hell could be used to keep the faithful in the fold, but nowadays it’s more likely to drive people away from Christianity, or at least from fundamentalism.  And it seems to me that for many who abandon fundamentalism, a more moderate Christianity is often a waystation on the journey out of the faith completely.  

 

I’m glad that your deconversion has been thorough enough to remove all fear of Hell.  I’m fortunate in that too, but I know there are some here who still are haunted by fear of Hell to some extent.  That breaks my heart, and for them it’s useful to show how the concept of Hell evolved through the Old Testament and into the New and even beyond, to where the modern idea of Hell comes from Dante’s ‘Inferno’ in the Middle Ages.  

 

So HfT, it sounds like you were a firm believer in the truth of Hell for a long time.  So how did you handle the ‘knowledge’ that people you knew were headed there?  Surely you had friends, acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors who were not Christian; how did you feel about them burning in Hell?  Were you convinced that they deserved it, so it didn’t trouble you?  Or did you try not to think about specific people going to Hell?

 

Thanks for joining in this topic!

 

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Easy peasy: they rejected the free gift of salvation offered by a loving sacrificing savior. CS Lewis said it best: the doors of hell are locked from the inside. 

 

Those who never heard, due to accident of birth? The creator endwelled within all the knowledge of Him and His Son. In their spirit they rejected Him. 

 

And God is gracious and loving and welcomes those whose hearts sought His. 

 

Seriously. This is what I KNEW to be true. 

 

Any of the dozens of problems and questions that immediately leapt to

mind when you read that bullshit? Easily ignored, overlooked, or logically pretzeled around. 

 

Sigh. 

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2 hours ago, HeartFromTexas said:

 

Any of the dozens of problems and questions that immediately leapt to

mind when you read that bullshit? Easily ignored, overlooked, or logically pretzeled around. 

 

 

One of the best things about being an ex-Christian is letting go of the ‘pretzeling’, the mental gymnastics, required to make everything add up.  No more choosing which part of scripture to accept while ignoring the contradictory parts. No more making excuses for a supposedly loving god.  No more reluctance to accept the findings of science in evolution and astrophysics.  No more struggles to reconcile one’s conscience with the litany of ‘sins’.  How good that all feels!

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33 minutes ago, ThereAndBackAgain said:

 

One of the best things about being an ex-Christian is letting go of the ‘pretzeling’, the mental gymnastics, required to make everything add up.  No more choosing which part of scripture to accept while ignoring the contradictory parts. No more making excuses for a supposedly loving god.  No more reluctance to accept the findings of science in evolution and astrophysics.  No more struggles to reconcile one’s conscience with the litany of ‘sins’.  How good that all feels!

Completely. How much energy is wasted in this world trying to make sense of things that are inherently nonsensical? 

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For my first twenty odd years,I reluctantly accepted it was eternal,conscious torment. Then more progressive Christians entered my life and I decided hell was separation from god and not hellfire on top of that. 

Then six months ago, I was thinking about God’s Love and I realized that if his love really is so amazing,than no one would be able to withstand it. That’s how I thought about it at the time. That even Hitler would be overcome by his love and so love would win. Which led me to read “LoveWins” by Rob Bell. But that only satisfied me for maybe a week before I realized I was just trying to salvage an old book and a religion I didn’t believe in anymore. 

Hell was invented to control people. That’s where I am now. 

 

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On 11/4/2018 at 5:33 PM, PurpleLilac said:

For my first twenty odd years,I reluctantly accepted it was eternal,conscious torment. Then more progressive Christians entered my life and I decided hell was separation from god and not hellfire on top of that. 

Then six months ago, I was thinking about God’s Love and I realized that if his love really is so amazing,than no one would be able to withstand it. That’s how I thought about it at the time. That even Hitler would be overcome by his love and so love would win. Which led me to read “LoveWins” by Rob Bell. But that only satisfied me for maybe a week before I realized I was just trying to salvage an old book and a religion I didn’t believe in anymore. 

Hell was invented to control people. That’s where I am now. 

 

 

 

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On 10/5/2018 at 7:44 PM, HeartFromTexas said:

Then I made a huge mistake: Amazon’s suggestion after buying those two books was one called “Losing My Religion” and I bought it. Initially interested due to the REM lyrics it brought to mind, I read the summary: it was written by an ex-Christian writer for the LA Times Religion section who lived in Orange County and FOR YEARS HAD GONE TO THE SAME MEGACHURCH I was attending. 

 

It re-irritated some long long long ignored itches that I began to vigorously scratch. Yada yada yada ... I became an atheist. 

 

Since then, I haven’t given Hell a second thought. Nor heaven. Nor invisible friends or enemies. Fucking awesome. 

 

That actually great that amazon is putting up these critical books as related content. Some one reads, "The Case for Christ," then face suggested content, "The Case Against The Case for Christ." 

 

😂

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