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Why do Christian based religions need HELL as the ultimate destination for Non-Believers?

 
SteveMcKerracher
 
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SteveMcKerracher
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28 October 2014 21:44
 
Dennis Campbell - 23 October 2014 05:36 PM

2. An Atheist who has honesty, and integrity, believes everything he does based on reason and evidence, and in so doing is true to himself, always being open to new perspectives, and does his best to constantly make the world a better place for having lived in it.

Much as I’d like to agree, being one, but “atheist” does not imply any basis on reasoning and evidence, etc etc.  I suspect, or hope, that most atheists are in fact more likely to use reason and evidence more, but that may be an artifact of not subscribing to mainstream religions.  I’ve known too many convicts, hundreds, who’re atheist, if they bothered to think about it, but reason and evidence played little part in their thinking.  Selected sample though.

You missed the context BTW.  I wasn’t implying this is how all Atheists behave, or all Theists behave.  I was asking a rhetorical question of our Theists, and described a possible but hypothetical theist, and a possible but hypothetical atheist, in context of which do you think goes to heaven/hell and why?

Trying to illuminate how irrational it is to say even if there was a judgment, it would hinge on a faith belief, and not the rest of life.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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29 October 2014 18:20
 
SteveMcKerracher - 02 September 2014 05:50 PM
Persuading Others for Eternity - 01 September 2014 09:00 PM
Hannah2 - 24 August 2014 10:08 PM
EN - 17 August 2014 07:30 PM
envy me - 17 August 2014 05:51 PM

I think EN sees damnation as not an eternal fiery torture, but simply death, if I remember right.

Death (cessation of existence) would be worst that could happen, as I see it. It appears more likely that God will simply be reconciled to everyone in the end. But I suppose I have to leave open the possibility that some wouldn’t want that even if it were offered to them.

Hell is way worse than death.  Would you rather have an eternal root canal or be non-sentient?

I think hell is more about justice than control.  It is the ultimate comeuppance for evildoers, in case they weren’t punished sufficiently in their lifetime.  When I Googled “hell,” I found the concept was in many ancient religions, all over the world.  For people who believe in a soul, it just makes sense that bad souls go to a bad place.


Hell makes sense to me logically just like prison makes sense to me. The world and universe both have embedded within them a sense of right and wrong, justice and evil. Even as prison is necessary for the vilest and most violent, it seems that hell is logically a place for those deemed the most evil or who violate the standards of whomever created the universe. While many may not believe hell exists, think it should exist, or is even just, in principle the concept of hell is no different than the concept of prison. It will be interesting to see if it does exist who gets a chance to determine the veracity of religious dogma considering hell is a belief of most religions.

Do you believe in eternal hell?  That’s a heck of a lot different than prison.

Do you think its rational that a god, existing in reality, that denies all evidence of its existence, would judge people based on lack of a belief, that it withheld evidence for?  Would that be a “good” god?  If we grant the huge assumption that a god exists, and then the huge assumption that an afterlife exists, and then the huge assumption that this god will judge the presumed afterlife, and then the huge assumption that this judgement will be for eternity… 

Can we really even imagine that this god would be judging people it CREATED TO BE RATIONAL, for not believing based on lack of evidence, the god denied us?

Granting all those assumptions, it seems much more likely to judge based on actions, rather than beliefs.

Who do you think should go to heaven, and who to hell:

1.  A devout Christian, active in the church, knows the bible like the back of his hand, and seems to have an active relationship with Jesus, having publicly accepted him into his heart.  BUT in the privacy of his home, he mentally, verbally, physically, and sexually abuses his wife and three daughters for years, making their life a living hell, and causing trauma that will probably never heal. (This from experience, not a hypothetical, and I know of dozens of similar cases from personal experience.)

2. An Atheist who has honesty, and integrity, believes everything he does based on reason and evidence, and in so doing is true to himself, always being open to new perspectives, and does his best to constantly make the world a better place for having lived in it.

According to your holy book, who goes to heaven, and who goes to hell?

As I’ve said many times before, I don’t believe in eternal hell, nor do I think that it is taught in the New Testament, because the Greek is poorly translated.  As I have also said many times, eventually everyone will be saved.  As Paul explains in I Corinthians, in Christ all will be made alive (resurrected), but each in his own time.  Christ first, then those who are his at his coming, then after his earthly reign and after death is finally defeated, all the rest, so that God will be all in all.

 
Poldano
 
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Poldano
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17 November 2014 19:59
 

IMO, the question makes assumptions that are not true. Christian religions don’t need hell, but many use the concept in their political and marketing campaigns against other religions, usually other Christian religions. I don’t find that so very different from governments or political parties using fear-based ideologies, or from salesmen using guilt-based or shame-based rhetorical tricks to sell their products.

With respect to individuals on the receiving end of fire-and-brimstone preaching, to use one notorious example, hell is the concretized fear of never-ending bad consequences for failure to follow the religion’s prescriptions. Adopting an appropriately cynical attitude, if a person’s life is already mostly full of misery, it’s hard to convince that person that things could get worse; evocations of hell are useful for that. In other cases, for people who are sure of their own invincibility, only the most lurid imaginings of harm might be able to mitigate some of their haphazardly destructive inclinations; fear of hell is purported to be useful for that as well.

A notion of hell that was advanced to me a long time ago was that of a wasted life, or a life that was not lived to make the most of one’s talents. This is very much in line with one interpretation (perhaps the dominant interpretation) of the Parable of the Talents in the Christian bible. In that interpretation, the attitudes or inclinations warned against are fear of failure, laziness, perfectionism, and narcissism, among others;. These are the interpretations that I get, probably because I am seriously inclined to them; others might interpret other faults as covered by message. The salient point of any such interpretation is that hell is a state of being into which individuals can drift simply by following their own inclinations. No afterlife is required to reach such a state. I don’t think any such interpretation is inconsistent with core Christian doctrine, but it’s a hard message to get across to people who are fundamentally limited in their experience and concept of living.

 
 
Pineapple
 
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Pineapple
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20 November 2014 08:43
 
Poldano - 17 November 2014 06:59 PM

With respect to individuals on the receiving end of fire-and-brimstone preaching, to use one notorious example, hell is the concretized fear of never-ending bad consequences for failure to follow the religion’s prescriptions. Adopting an appropriately cynical attitude, if a person’s life is already mostly full of misery, it’s hard to convince that person that things could get worse; evocations of hell are useful for that. In other cases, for people who are sure of their own invincibility, only the most lurid imaginings of harm might be able to mitigate some of their haphazardly destructive inclinations; fear of hell is purported to be useful for that as well.

I think you may be applying too modern an interpretation.  The concept of Hell is a simple scaremongering device for primitive peoples.  Equating Hell to wasted life and some kind of post-modern ennui also seems a bit unnecessary.

 
Poldano
 
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Poldano
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21 November 2014 03:02
 
Pineapple - 20 November 2014 07:43 AM
Poldano - 17 November 2014 06:59 PM

With respect to individuals on the receiving end of fire-and-brimstone preaching, to use one notorious example, hell is the concretized fear of never-ending bad consequences for failure to follow the religion’s prescriptions. Adopting an appropriately cynical attitude, if a person’s life is already mostly full of misery, it’s hard to convince that person that things could get worse; evocations of hell are useful for that. In other cases, for people who are sure of their own invincibility, only the most lurid imaginings of harm might be able to mitigate some of their haphazardly destructive inclinations; fear of hell is purported to be useful for that as well.

I think you may be applying too modern an interpretation.  The concept of Hell is a simple scaremongering device for primitive peoples.  Equating Hell to wasted life and some kind of post-modern ennui also seems a bit unnecessary.

I am providing a modern-appropriate interpretation, and one that is apropos to the fears of upper-middle-class Americans. Whether I’m right or wrong, extravagantly over-the-top or spot-on, is irrelevant. We humans need polar motivations in order to function. Some of these need to be from external sources, since we do need to adapt to environments other than our own individual neurologically-prompted wishes. Some people have advanced, to me, this particular interpretation of hell, and I have used it to motivate myself.

[ Edited: 21 November 2014 03:05 by Poldano]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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26 November 2014 23:16
 
Poldano - 21 November 2014 02:02 AM
Pineapple - 20 November 2014 07:43 AM
Poldano - 17 November 2014 06:59 PM

With respect to individuals on the receiving end of fire-and-brimstone preaching, to use one notorious example, hell is the concretized fear of never-ending bad consequences for failure to follow the religion’s prescriptions. Adopting an appropriately cynical attitude, if a person’s life is already mostly full of misery, it’s hard to convince that person that things could get worse; evocations of hell are useful for that. In other cases, for people who are sure of their own invincibility, only the most lurid imaginings of harm might be able to mitigate some of their haphazardly destructive inclinations; fear of hell is purported to be useful for that as well.

I think you may be applying too modern an interpretation.  The concept of Hell is a simple scaremongering device for primitive peoples.  Equating Hell to wasted life and some kind of post-modern ennui also seems a bit unnecessary.

I am providing a modern-appropriate interpretation, and one that is apropos to the fears of upper-middle-class Americans. Whether I’m right or wrong, extravagantly over-the-top or spot-on, is irrelevant. We humans need polar motivations in order to function. Some of these need to be from external sources, since we do need to adapt to environments other than our own individual neurologically-prompted wishes. Some people have advanced, to me, this particular interpretation of hell, and I have used it to motivate myself.

Your interpretation of hell being a wasted life is right on.  “Gehenna” was the garbage dump of Jerusalem.  The worm did not die and the fire was not quenched in the garbage dump.  That is where waste was deposited.  It was not intended to mean eternal suffering.

 
mjhrobson
 
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mjhrobson
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27 November 2014 18:04
 

It is not clear that Christianity requires (of necessity) a hell as a final destination point. Theologically hell is at most a side effect of the fact that within Christianity salvation can only be granted through Grace (from God). However well you behave without Grace you do not get salvation… no salvation, no eternity in heaven with God. What is an eternity without God… if you are a Christian: Hell. This does not necessitate Hell being an eternity of torture in the common parlance use of the word torture.


I will say that Hell, as eternal torment, and the destination for Non-believers is clearly a feature of many Christians who hold to a theology of Biblical inerrancy (which is interestingly only about 200 years old). This is, however, not ubiquitous within Christianity. It does not play much of a role in Liberal Theology, among Quakers, or in Unitarianism. The only thing that is ubiquitous to Christianity Theologically specking is that we require the Grace of God for salvation.

 
Pattertwig
 
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27 February 2015 15:45
 
davids - 06 October 2013 12:19 AM

I find it quite absurd that christian based religions, “Catholics, Baptists, Muslims and the likes…” describe HELL as the only “Alternative” for NOT following the “FAITH”. In other-words, the consequence for not joining “THE CLUB” results in a BLACK, DARK, PAINFUL outcome.

An alternate view, with a true story.  FYI, CS Lewis and most nonfundamentalist Christians and even some fundies would agree with what I told “Bubba” about hell in this story:

BUBBA’S LAST SUPPER
Orem Utah, May 2001

I answer the knock at the door, and it’s Lover’s brother, Bubba.  Bubba and I don’t usually see eye to eye, although it’s not for lack of effort.  Lover and I took Bubba in when he expressed an interest in getting out of his Washington gang.  Got him a job.  It was a great relief when we got him out of our house and into an apartment, and we weren’t eager to take him back when he pissed people off and lost both job and apartment.  Last I’d heard he was mooching off some poor white kid that called Bubba his “homeboy” in adoring tones.  We tried not to laugh when Bubba rolled his eyes behind the kid’s back.

While I don’t want Bubba moving back in now that we have kids, it’s great to have him for a visit.  I welcome him in, but Bubba isn’t coming in.

“Go get my sister.”

“Please come in, Bubba.”

“No, I’m not coming in.  I’m just coming here to say goodbye.  To my sister.”

Lover calls from the living room.  “Who is it?”

“It’s Bubba.”

“Tell him to come in.”

Bubba folds his arms and glares at me.

“I already asked Bubba to come in.  He wants you to drop the baby and come to the door.”

Lover comes to the door concerned.  “You going back to Washington?”

“No.”  Bubba waves his hands.  “I’m leaving : everywhere.  I quit, man.  I’m just out of here.  Goodbye.  I’m going to end it.  And you aren’t going to talk me out of it.”

“At least come in and talk to your nephews.  They will miss you.”

“No!  You’ll try to talk me out of it.”

“Come, sit, talk with us.  You owe us that much—“

“I owe you nothing!”

Whatever.  I shoot Lover a “Trust Me” look, and she bites back the panicked reaction she seemed to be about to blurt out.  It’s not that Lover trusts me with her brother’s life – God save me from the day that anyone trusts me that much.  It’s just that she can see that I have an idea, and she doesn’t have one at the moment.

“Bubba, I understand there’s nothing we can say to talk you out of it.  What if I promised you I wouldn’t say anything against it?  All we want is to have one last dinner with you.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“I am not asking you to trust me.  I am asking you to have dinner with your sister, and with Thing One and Thing Two, two nephews that adore you.  And if I or Lover say anything to talk you out of suicide, then you can walk right out of here.”

Bubba hesitates, so I continue:

“You’re a big guy.  You can walk right over me. What are you afraid of?”

“You could call the police and they’d stop me.”

“Follow me to the kitchen, and I’ll unplug the telephone.  You can sit on it.  No calls.”

Bubba follows me to the kitchen, dubiously, then says, “you don’t have to unplug it.”

“I keep my promises, Bubba.  And since this is your last supper, I don’t want anyone interrupting us.”  I unplug the phone.  “Lover, put on some music for Bubba.  Something he likes.”

Lover’s eyes suggest she’s got no idea where I’m going with this, but I’d better not let her brother do himself in.

Soon Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” is playing in the background.  Looks like Lover picked her favorites rather than Bubba’s favorites.  Just as well since Bubba’s idea of music breaks my concentration.

When Bubba sees that I’ve taken a chicken from the freezer, he stands up, angry:  “A frozen chicken?  That’s going to take hours to thaw!”

“It’s your last meal, Bubba.  None of us are saying anything to talk you out of it.  Even a condemned murderer gets a good last meal before dying.  Why are you in such a hurry?  Phone’s unplugged.  Kick back, enjoy the music, play with your nephews, talk to your sister. I’ll cook, And stay out of your face.”

Bubba eyes me suspiciously, but gradually relaxes.

“Wish I had me some smokes.”

“You know I loathe cigarettes, and this is Sunday.  But if you stay and have dinner with us, and if you still want to end yourself, I promise that I’ll break my sabbath, drive you to the store and buy you a pack of cigarettes.  That’s how much I want my wife and my nephews to have one last supper with you.” 

The music stops and after a comfortable silence, Bubba poses a theological question.  Not to Lover, but to me.

“Yo Pete.  Tell me about Hell.”

“Why do you want to know about Hell?”

“Because I’m about to go there.”

“You’re there already, Bubba.  Hell isn’t a place.  It’s a state of mind.  You’re more relaxed than when you came in, but I can see a vein beating on the side of your face halfway across the room.  How does your head feel?”

“Like it’s about to explode.”

“How’s your stomach feel?”

“Tied in nots.  It’s probably OK that you’re taking time to do dinner, since if I ate something right now it might come right back up.”

“Bubba, ‘hellfire’ is just poetry language for what you are feeling right now.  Guilt. Anguish. Despair.  Self-pity.  Damnation means being cut off from God, from love, family, and everything is good.  I’ve been there too, and it’s worse than a nightmare.  Can you understand why someone who has been where you are right now might describe it like being on fire?”

“Don’t I know it.”

“Bubba : I respect that you want to do yourself in.  But for hell’s sake, cheer up before you do it.  When you die, your spirit loses that body, and you lose the ability to change your mood.  Your mind, your spirit gets trapped in exactly what you’re feeling at the moment of your death.”

“Oh no.”

“I know you were asking about some hell after the judgment.  Well as I understand, if you’re judged wicked, even the place that God would send you would be like paradise compared to the state of mind you are in right now.  And if you die in this state of mind, that’s where you stay for a thousand years until Judgment day.”  I see that the term registers.  “OK, you’ve heard of Judgment Day, right.  And that it’s after the Millenium?  That’s why you’re stuck in this the state of mind you die in for a thousand years.”

“That really sucks.”  There’s a new species of fear on Bubba’s face.  The good news is that all there is to fear is fear itself.  The bad news is that fear itself is fucking scary.

“And it’s so easy to avoid, Bubba.  Cheer the fuck up!  Kick back, listen to tunes, eat a meal with people that love you.  And THEN kill yourself.  Go out happy, and stay in that frame of mind.”

“OK, so that’s what you mean.  No, that makes sense.”

It takes more than an hour for Lover to appear calm and to join her brother in light conversation. Fortunately, Thing One, oblivious to Bubba’s plight, engages him in a game involving rubber bands, while I chop and heat vegetables and prepare a gravy.  Thing Two coos at the ceiling.  The chicken defrosts while the flames of Bubba’s inner hell cool. 

Past the second hour, and we’re all getting hungry as the chicken bakes. 

What do you know, when Bubba’s belly is full and his mood is high, he’s lost interest in killing himself.

I have been true to my word: we never said anything to talk him out of it.  But since Bubba no longer wants to end himself, I am stiffing him on the smokes.

 
 
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