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Since there has been some discussion of the odious doctrine of eternal torment in Hell, I thought I'd post a link to this defense of traditional Catholic hell teaching by Dr. Dennis Bonnette. Bonnette summarizes the conclusions this way:

 

"On careful reflection, the notion of hell as a place of eternal punishment for the souls of the wicked after death turns out to be (1) a just application of retributive justice by a Divine Lawgiver who stands ontologically above the natural law of his creation, (2) a natural sanction that is actually self-imposed by a will stubbornly opposed to the righteous laws of Infinite Goodness, and (3) a powerful tool designed to use the natural avoidance of pain – both spiritual and physical – as a motive to follow God’s laws and prepare souls for a spiritual ascendancy leading to the direct vision of God himself, which is man’s perfect happiness.

Hell, then, is not something evil in itself, but a natural byproduct of the order of being... "

 

https://strangenotions.com/hell-and-gods-goodness/

 

Bonnette is a retired philosophy professor and committed Thomist.

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4 hours ago, ficino said:

 

Bonnette is a retired philosophy professor and committed Thomist.

 

 

Is this guy a cult leader?  I hope he is not a literal father with children.  If he is, or was, since he is now retired, the chances of him being abusive would be very high.  I am curious as to how popular his classes were?  Somewhere along the way he got a very large dose of conditioning with fear.  Very sad!

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Bonnette taught philosophy at Niagara University, which is a Catholic university. He has a large family and IIRC around 50 grandchildren. I don't know how he was viewed by students. I've interacted with him for over a year on Strange Notions. He is not a bad chap but is very doctrinaire.

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I am not at all surprised by the quoted defense of the doctrine of hell as the writer expressed it.  Since I left Christianity, I have continued exploring the Bible and, in particular, the four Gospels.  What I have seen is that at least by my reading, is that the common Christian concept of hell does not match the actual words in the Gospels.  Hell is not that important in the Gospels, though many Christians definitely focus on it, especially certain preachers who use it to scare people into becoming Christians to avoid such described punishment.

 

The Gospel that stands out the most to me that does not speak of eternal punishment is the Gospel of John.  Take one of the most well known verses of the Bible, John 3:16.

 

”For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

 

Now, let’s look at the obverse of that verse.  It would be something like this:

 

”For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever does not believe in him shall perish and not have everlasting life.”

 

In other words, the result of not believing in Jesus is not eternal torture in hell, but, instead, Jesus will not call nonbelievers from the grave so that from that point forward they will live forever like he will with believers.  See John 6:40 (“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”)

 

This reading of John requires reading John separately from the other Gospels and truthfully searching for the meaning of that Gospel and that Gospel alone and not allowing the other Gospels to bleed over into it.

 

Bottom line is that the Gospel of John does not have hell, but only eternal life or eternal death (but no hellish torture).

 

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5 hours ago, Overcame Faith said:

Gospel of John does not have hell

 

Which would be a much more Jewish approach. The commandments were so they could have their god's favor and live well on Earth, not even a promise of an afterlife, certainly nothing about damnation (except perhaps poetically as destruction, chaff being burnt). 

 

Damnation seems dragged in from the other dominant religions of the day, Greek and Roman being most politically powerful, then Zoroastrian from Persia. 

 

The rabbi video above seems to imply that the OT is from God because it doesn't reference hell, but instead refers to temporal consequences. But it also mentions (Jer 44) that the people told the prophet "Look, when we made cakes for the queen of heaven, we had rain. Now that we don't, there's no rain." The prophet has to counter, well god is going to hurt you even more for not obeying him, and you deserve it. Same thing, just not eternal. 

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36 minutes ago, Fuego said:

 

Which would be a much more Jewish approach. The commandments were so they could have their god's favor and live well on Earth, not even a promise of an afterlife, certainly nothing about damnation (except perhaps poetically as destruction, chaff being burnt). 

 

 

Agreed.  John is much more like the Jewish approach except for eternal life for believers.  That was the author’s incentive for people to join the Christian movement.

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Ok, let us have a field day with. Just because I cam from an Orthodox tradition which finds catholic opinions about the OFFENCE of God blasphemous. :)

 

1. One, an infinite invulnerable God cannot suffer or be offended.

2. Infinite goodness also means infinite mercy so the infinite possibility of forgivness.

3. Retributive justice DOES not make right the order of the universe. That could only be fulfilled by universal salvation and restoration. If a person breaks an egg and I slap his face, the egg WILL not magically come back. The first order is beings with God, any sort of restoration means beings with God again. Retributive justice PUSHES the person FURTHER from God. So the DISorder is made bigger, not made into order.

4. When a human chooses between finite goods - he will choose the one which seems the best. A chocolate addict will choose chocolate over apples. A man will choose the most beautiful between two women. So, in this world, if the highest finite good is some sort of knowledge about God, then it would naturally choose it. If it chooses another thing, it means it does NOT see that finite good as the best. Because good is always choses subjectively and it is an ultimate relative thing, this would prove God is NOT the best good because he DOES not appear good to all people all of the time.

5. He shows a misunderstanding in the human will. It is naturally prone to many concrete actions. Hunger wants food, sexual impulses want sexual events, etc all. Al bodily desiers have very fixed targets. 

6. If God is infinitely good and powerful and all he does is good, it means every creature must also be good. If a creature of God creates evil, so is imperfect, it means it's creator is also imperfect.

7. God may exist outside creation  but,  the orthodox view is that he also exists within creation through uncreated energies, because HE ACTS in creation. If he does not exist at all within creation it means there is a divorce between God and his actions. Like somehow my words exist totally separate from my body. God cannot exist outside himself.

8. All creation depends on God. If a creation would have the ability to totally separate itself from God, then that would mean annihilation. But if a being remains in contact with God, while also refusing anything from him, it also mean there is a separation, a divorce in God himself. A being keeps a part of God in him while separate from God.

9. Also he creates beings knowing beforehand they will be sent to Hell, BEFORE any human has made any choice, so this is God's choice. God would have to punish himself with separation from Himself because he made a choice of allowing, actually creating evil. 

10. If God cannot convince his own creation to make the right choice, although God knows all things, this means God is weak and defeated by his own creation. But this cannot be, as God is all powerful.

 

All this led me to believe the version of Isaac the Syrian is the only one with some modicum of sense, in his second part of his homilies , newly discovered, by Sebastian Brock, Syrian Christianity expert. Hell and he Fall were intented by God from time eternal, in order to bring about a yet to be fully understood divine revelation.

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The whole idea is that people are doing exactly as planned. Everyone of us. Exactly as planned. Now, or later, we will be part of truth. So that I started not to worry at all about Christianity being real. If it is real, I will eventually find out, and exactly in the form - here, after life, ressurection, etc it is hard to make notions for these things. I am already doing what I am supposed to be doing. This is the only version of Christianity that I find in any way palatable. So everyone here, will eventually know God and understand all that is to understand. This is not nihilism or me doing crazy stuff like killing people just for fun. Because for me it is not fun. It means doing good things without any worry at all. It brings me peace and happiness and compassion whenever I think about it. So it works for me, I think, at least in this psychological way.

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It sounds like there is a lot weighing on your mind.  If you are like me, there are times when I have to take a vacation from all the thinking. 

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I have a different definition of, "false religions," than the rabbi, of course. Any religion which is demonstrably false, judaism not withstanding. Other than that, yeah, he has a point about christianity being false from a jewish perspective. 

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I was expecting a argument trying to get away from the idea God is actively sending people to hell, and I was not disappointed. Seems to be a favorite argument in apologetic circles, somehow God is absolved from turning us into eternal BBQ. The obligatory, "...well, hell is really self-imposed." Sure.

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23 hours ago, TinMan said:

I was expecting a argument trying to get away from the idea God is actively sending people to hell, and I was not disappointed. Seems to be a favorite argument in apologetic circles, somehow God is absolved from turning us into eternal BBQ. The obligatory, "...well, hell is really self-imposed." Sure.

The best rebuke and most funny rebuke to this was - I want to sin and not go to Hell. Who forces me to go then , against my will/ choice? 😅

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