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One thing I have noticed reading various posts in here the last 2 days is how many of you dont fear hell. I do not believe in god, I do not believe in heaven or hell. But honestly, the idea of a real and physical hell has been ingrained or indoctrinated into me for 32 years. I remember believing in hell at 6 or 7(which is a really fucked up thing for a parent to do to a small child). So I still haven't shaken the fear of hell. It was my biggest fear during my years as a Christian as well. 

I was just looking for insight/advice on this and how many of you overcame it

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It's old, its crappy, but basically my answer is always the same. So I made a video about it.

 

 

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Thanks LogicalFallacy, I'll give it a watch after my kids go to bed

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The two characteristics which define me most, post-deconversion, are my intellect and my integrity.  These two items make up the core of who I am; and if I lose either one, I would cease to be. 

 

In order to go to heaven, I must confess that jesus is lord.  I cannot do this with any honesty; because I do not know that it is true, and what I do know suggests it is false.

 

Therefore, confessing that jesus is lord would be an act of betrayal against myself.  It would be the rejection of everything that makes me who I am.

 

Spending eternity with a god who demands such a betrayal would be hell for me.  Thus, I am hellbound either way.  Since I'm going to hell anyway, there's not much sense in worrying about it.  I'd rather keep myself.

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6 hours ago, Larryd said:

One thing I have noticed reading various posts in here the last 2 days is how many of you dont fear hell. I do not believe in god, I do not believe in heaven or hell. But honestly, the idea of a real and physical hell has been ingrained or indoctrinated into me for 32 years. I remember believing in hell at 6 or 7(which is a really fucked up thing for a parent to do to a small child). So I still haven't shaken the fear of hell. It was my biggest fear during my years as a Christian as well. 

I was just looking for insight/advice on this and how many of you overcame it

From the age of 4 I was pushed into Sunday school etc where the fear of hell was ingrained. 

 

Yup I overcame it and quite easily I'd say - I read up on biblical history and scholarship such as that by Bart Ehrman and saw the Bible for what it was - a book of mythologies and stories in which the old testament has no such concept of hell, as it was a xtian invention meant to control people. 

 

Why fear something that's as real as Santa Claus? Btw, Bart just published a book called Heaven and Hell that covers the subject. 

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For me the fear of devils vanished when I saw that I had been fed lies by well-meaning people, and that collectively we kept "reasoning" our way around the lies and inconsistencies. 

 

For a more palpable fear, bordering on PTSD, I had to use microdosing of mushrooms (plus one full-on trip). They are a natural way to reset things at a very deep level. Sadly, the gov't still regards them equal to heroin or meth, which is purely political since there is no danger or addiction involved (and no rich pharmaceutical companies becoming more rich when you eat mushrooms). Once the fear was gone, it was gone. I still get no-particular-reason anxiety now and then, but the previous triggers are disarmed. 

 

 

 

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My fear of hell evaporated once I accepted that human beings do not have souls.  Not while alive, not after they die.  Whether that's a comforting thought or a distressing thought doesn't matter.  It's what the evidence from a variety of scientific disciplines shows.  The subject of "what is a human being" is no longer beyond the reach of science.  Here is a good read:  The Soul Fallacy by Julien Musolino.  He is a cognitive scientist and psychology professor at Rutgers University. 

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Over the course of my Chrisrian life, I began to move away from a belief in a Western penal Hell and more towards an Eastern Orthodox version of it. To me Hell was being in the presence of God and not wanting to be. I also came to believe that this was only painful for as long as the individual rejected God's embrace (so to speak).

 

So I guess I stopped fearing hell before I stopped believing in it. 

 

 

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It's a complex issue. I struggle but each's strugle is different.

      First, for me to believe any kind of specialist on their word be it a neuroscientist or historian is kind of the same as believing a priest or shaman on their word so personally unverifiable claims do not have that much power on me. I cannot verify most of what bible scholars or scientists say at my level. 

       1. It depends the intensity , quality and quantity of the hell teaching you had. For example some people fear Armageddon a lot. My church put very little emphasis on that and actually a well known elder said said he is worried about his end not the end of the world. I have very little emotional reaction to the idea of apocalypse. But hell and the afterlife as well as demonic possesion so I respond to that. It was even recommended as a daily recollection.

   I recommed Steve Hassan's books and his ideas of phobia indoctrination and how to cure them. Also recommend EMDR therapy and some body based therapies like craniosacral therapy and TRE trauma release exercise.  They worked for me but try and see if they help you too. Not a guarantee. 

     What helped was 1. Recognizing that thinking about hell is also a mental habit, a conditioned response. So I am trying to treat it like one. So like if you use to watch tv 2 years every evening when you want to stop you still feel that inertia, that pull towards it. Language is also a kind of learned mental habit. If you learned French in highschool you can't unlearn it automatically. This something easily understood and personally verifiable.

     Also  something I learned from a philosopher called , I think, Derk Perenboom and his discussion of free will. Which I think is an illusion. The universe is either deterministic or indeterministic. In either case you have no control upon the causes and effects of your action. If it is bound by hard rules basically the whole script if the universe was there from the beggining.  If not and it us random then you cannot know or control the outcome so there is no responsability. So hell depends solely on this creator god not me.

     The third was studying the history and philosophy of christian universal salvation. Recommend here David Bentley Hart and Illaria ramelli.

     I don't know how much time it will take, as I said it is different for everyone. These sources helped me a bit. Hope you will be fine. 

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Years of indoctrination (brainwashing) take a toll. The Hell concept is not some logical argument that has evidence, it's an assertion that targets the emotions, particularly fear. Because of that, logical arguments against Hell don't always work very well.

 

But consider that Christianity, the inventor of Hell, is based upon and grew out of Judaism, and they had no Hell in their story. Some Christians don't believe in a Hell either. The concept of eternal agony as the fate of the majority of people is just one of the bizarre, extraordinary claims made without any evidence of its validity. 

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4 hours ago, florduh said:

Years of indoctrination (brainwashing) take a toll. The Hell concept is not some logical argument that has evidence, it's an assertion that targets the emotions, particularly fear. Because of that, logical arguments against Hell don't always work very well.

 

 

This .

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5 hours ago, florduh said:

Years of indoctrination (brainwashing) take a toll. The Hell concept is not some logical argument that has evidence, it's an assertion that targets the emotions, particularly fear. Because of that, logical arguments against Hell don't always work very well.

 

Guess I was lucky. The logical arguments worked pretty well for me as soon as I read up on them. And I'm a person that can be at the mercy of my emotions sometimes if I'm not careful. 

 

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Thanks everyone for the responses. I'm going to look into some of the reading. Its given me something to think about

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Hi Larry,

I left my belief in hell long before I left my church. I had many discussions about hell on various christian forums and got banned from some of them because I wouldn't believe in hell and I couldn't shut up about it. 

 

The conclusion I came to about hell from Bible study was that nobody is kept alive forever in hell in order to be tortured alive forever as too many Christians believe. There is more evidence in the Bible for either annihilationism or universalism. 

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Hell to me was mostly just some vaguely-amusing image of cartoon-style devils, kind of like the ones depicted in cartoons like "The Far Side".

Never was scared of it. I figured, if there actually was a god out there, and he knew me, he would probably like me a lot! There's juss no way he would send me to some nutty eternal punishment.  

 

Did anyone else feel the same way?

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Well WE like you a lot, @Tsathoggua9!

 

When I was young, grade-school age, I regarded hell and the devil as cartoons and not real. But after going full-on fundy in the early 2000's I began to have anxiety over the potential legitimacy of hell. Being the type that always analyzes everything I quickly came to the conclusion that this part the the doctrine was strong indication that it was added to the books at some point in order to solidify the grip that the mind-control had/has on people. Fear is our strongest emotion and fire is our greatest fear so...

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3 hours ago, MOHO said:

Well WE like you a lot, @Tsathoggua9!

 

When I was young, grade-school age, I regarded hell and the devil as cartoons and not real. But after going full-on fundy in the early 2000's I began to have anxiety over the potential legitimacy of hell. Being the type that always analyzes everything I quickly came to the conclusion that this part the the doctrine was strong indication that it was added to the books at some point in order to solidify the grip that the mind-control had/has on people. Fear is our strongest emotion and fire is our greatest fear so...

 

 

Aw, golly shucks, I likes all o' you guys, too!

 

I like yer point about fear. Once ya gots yer flock a'feared o' eternal damnation, they gonna be putty inna yer hands!

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On 5/9/2020 at 4:48 PM, Larryd said:

One thing I have noticed reading various posts in here the last 2 days is how many of you dont fear hell. I do not believe in god, I do not believe in heaven or hell. But honestly, the idea of a real and physical hell has been ingrained or indoctrinated into me for 32 years. I remember believing in hell at 6 or 7(which is a really fucked up thing for a parent to do to a small child). So I still haven't shaken the fear of hell. It was my biggest fear during my years as a Christian as well. 

I was just looking for insight/advice on this and how many of you overcame it


I’m way late to this conversation... haven’t been on the site at all lately. 
 

I really think that if my wife weren’t so afraid of Hell she might have deconverted right along with me 8 years ago, or 3 years ago when I was outed and ended up agreeing to an online study with a preacher. The preacher’s answers to my questions were inadequate, and she could see that. It really scared her that she could see that there wasn’t a good reason to believe! Belief in Hell kept her in, and led her to come up with mental tricks to re-convince herself about the Bible.
 

Fortunately for me, I never had that problem. I believed in Heaven and Hell because the New Testament talked about them. (But the OT doesn’t! That’s why the Sadducees didn’t believe in them.) It was just mental assent, though — I never imagined what it would be like. I never looked forward to Heaven even though I believed I would go there. I don’t get excited about going to real places, either! I might be a happier person if I looked forward to doing this or that, going here or there — I don’t know. But at least being this was made deconvert8ng easy. 

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I don't know how much I can relate and I might be the only one on here.

 

I still believe in the God today, but my question is not whether or not he exists, I just feel anxious questioning toward God. Regardless if whether it's all true or not, why would anyone else even consider it just and right that many people are going to Hell. I read some ideas that Hell may only be just for the most wicked, evil, and reprobate, but I digress on this idea. I strangely have no "fear" of Hell (except for perhaps maybe very "deep down").

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@ChelseaGuy: I suppose it intuitively feels more likely that a very powerful and intelligent being who teaches love and humility and forgiveness would feel no need to send people to such a place. At any rate, I believed along those lines for a very long time, and I think many people do at some level. It raises some interesting questions, though, about how we arrive at the beliefs that we do.

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2 hours ago, ChelseaGuy said:

I read some ideas that Hell may only be just for the most wicked, evil, and reprobate, but I digress on this idea. I strangely have no "fear" of Hell (except for perhaps maybe very "deep down").


Be thankful you don’t have a fear of Hell.  Many other people are not so lucky.  I never really had a strong belief in Hell myself, which made deconversion quite a bit easier.  
 

Roght now I’m reading Bart Ehrman’s book “Heaven and Hell”, which talks about how the concept of life after death evolved through the course of history,  ancient, Jewish and Christian.  It’s a good read!

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Hi Larry, It sounds like you and I had similar backgrounds, and a nightmare about hell from when I was just a kid is still vivid to me, and while awake, things weren't any better. This might sound silly, but just starting the use the word hell as a curse word was a big step forward for me. And I did a lot of reading about the origins of hell. Today, I view it as an ancient myth, and nothing more. But honestly, if for some reason, I were to end up sitting in a hell fire and brimstone message again, it would probably trigger me.

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     Hell is an illusion.  It lurks in the shadows.  Once you shine a light on it you can see there's nothing there.

 

     When I was really young we lived next to some apartments with this old tree.  In the day it was fine but at night it was an "evil" tree.  My siblings and I would make it a point to avoid this tree, or if we couldn't, we'd get ready and then sprint past it.  There was no rhyme nor reason that I was aware of as to why it was an "evil" tree.  It just was.  Probably because of some kids story we had read or watched.  I don't know.  We moved away but I visited when I was older and the tree was still there but it wasn't evil anymore.  I knew it was the "evil" tree but I had grown old enough to know that trees aren't evil.  They're just trees.  It was all in my mind.  Nothing more.

 

     That's hell.  It's all in the mind.  There's nothing there.  You just have to confront and accept it so that it no longer holds power over you.

 

          mwc

 

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