There Is No Hell

When we project an appetite for vengeance on God, we pervert the divine image.


03/13/2011 04:20:01 PM

I've always felt God's unconditional love and eternal goodness. And I've always questioned what I was taught as a Catholic; if you committ a sin, you will go to hell, but if you ask God for forgiveness he will forgive you. Through my life I have seen that even when you don't ask God for forgiveness, he still gives it to you. I've always felt that there was a heaven and a pregatory (which, I believe, is here on earth) but how could there be hell? This article has given me something for my soul to digest and my soul feels complete; it may lead me to a great truth: forgiveness. "Pray that before your enemy dies, he will experience a taste of true peace and happiness." To forgive is be human, but to do this is to surrender to God.


02/01/2011 03:23:33 PM

I agree, too, an interesting topic. I have been interested in the history of science for a long time and since a college class in particular. My own UU views have ranged and embraced various perspectives from Taoism, Buddhism, and psychology, for example. Meanwhile, hell has taken the shape of the kind of existing evils that make a difference in making the world a pleasant or troubled place to live. From work with the non-profit PIRG�s to membership in a food co-op to getting a masters in political economics, I have traced the evils of the world to their social, psychological, and philosophical character. I am glad to read the late Rev�s comments affirming love from Biblical Scripture. My own experience of the proof of such affirmations comes from engaging in the work of Louise Hay in "You Can Heal Your Life," the 12 Step groups like Al-Anon, and Buddhist meditation and study. Christian Science has also been a denomination that has interested me for its intense conviction of God�s love and power, and the way a person can align with that powerful truth. More recently, I have appreciated the Mormon�s attention to the co-operative business model, and the World Council of Churches activist stances. While I have been through many challenges, I have found that my commitment to prayer and meditation above all provides me with the humility to move through despair whenever it reappears and embrace that spirit of Love that returns and the little openings that become visible. I don�t know if efrixione will ever get back to this thread, but I certainly know the feeling of extreme challenges. I highly recommend the 12 Step groups like Al-Anon and Debtor�s Anon. Let go, and let God, and learn the Serenity Prayer, "God, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, and the courage to change the things I can....." Good luck and God bless all.


12/25/2010 04:03:46 PM

Hm, very interesting article.


12/17/2010 11:35:36 PM

My favorite quote from this article: "Jesus was anything but a biblical literalist." Amen! We MUST begin to seek the spirit of the Word, not the letter. The eternal Word IS the Spirit, and is alive and active (not to be confused with the mere words on a page). I had my own experiences with the fear of hell, and even had a psychotic breakdown because of it. Here's my story: and


11/28/2010 12:58:09 AM

I used to be a fervid Christian. My faith was as big as the universe. I could talk with God and he answered to me (even when I did not agree with most of his answers). One day, I got a stroke. A month later, I discovered my wife was cheating. I forgave her, and left my house. The new boyfriend could not afford to pay the mortgage and the house was foreclosed. I lost my full time job. My finances are a mess. Because I'm, a school bus driver, I get paid only during 9 months every year. The rest of the time I have to make do with the loan sharks (payday loans), which drain my meager pay until I'm done. I have nobody to go to when I have a need (even if I did, my pride prevents me from asking for help). Tomorrow I have to go to court because I failed to pay the deductible to the hospital for the battery of tests after my stroke. Hello!! Where is God? My prayers were unanswered and my faith disappeared as mist under the sunshine. I'm considering suicide but another part of me tells me to wait a bit more. But things are not getting better. Has any of you been in a situation like this?


09/18/2010 10:26:49 AM

Also- Jesus NEVER said the word hell. He said Gehenna Fire--which was a garbage dump on the outside of Jeruselum where the fires were kept continuously burning so everything in it would be completely destroyed. Dead bodies of criminals were thrown into this dump that weren't thought good enough for a proper burial. Hell in the OT simply meant the grave. Google Gehenna Fire and spend some time studying that. Then study how hell has been mistranslated many times. You will be surprised. I wish ppl would stop spreading lies about our God. He is "Just" but not CRUEL!!! satan loves this lie cuz it makes God out to be worse than Satan. We are supposed to believe that sin is so repugnant to God, but that ETERNAL TORTURE isn't? Come on. Study the bible and what Gehenna fire truly means. Can go to for more info.


09/17/2010 08:07:44 PM

The book of Enoch is not inspired by God. There is a reason why it was left out of the bible. Jesus said scripture cannot be broken. Any Christain who reads this book should see right off the bat that it is NOT inspired. The book of Jude may quote something Enoch said, but that does not mean this book was written by Enoch. Someone just put his name on it to give it authority. In the book it says that a certain angel (dont remember name) has the authority to be over man's repentance. That is a lie. ONLY Jesus has that right!! So, therefore if you believe this book, then you don't believe the truly inspired Word---the bible. Christains should not quote books that are not in the bible as scripture. They were not included for a reason. If they were meant to be, then God has enough power that He would've seen to it they were included. Thank you.


08/14/2010 03:47:43 PM

UU theology is new to me but i took the faith personality quiz in candor and scored 100 UU. Always thought I was some class of christian but seemed unable to accept most denominational doctrines fully. The whole concept that God was or could be a vindictive eternal punishment giver was difficult to accept so my individual theology posited a loving god who accepted all souls but this just seemed too good to be true. This sermon was uplifting beyond my ability to describe. May we all go with God.

06/27/2010 01:51:41 PM

One cannot prove a text with a text. The Bible does not prove itself to be absolute and inerrant. There are certainly inspired passages, in which men were open to the pure love and direction of God when they wrote. Other times, however, they were attempting to explain things as they wanted them to be or thought they were. Hell does not exist. It does, indeed, attempt to twist and correct God into a vindictive Creator with no true understanding of the creatures He has created. It is an attempt to terrify people into believing.


05/05/2010 10:21:32 PM

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Enoch 21 Where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division. Columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss, and deep was their descent. But neither its measurement nor magnitude was I able to discover; neither could I perceive its origin. Then I exclaimed, How terrible is this place, and how difficult to explore! 6Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered and said: Enoch, why are you alarmed and amazed at this terrific place, at the sight of this place of suffering? This, he said, is the prison of the angels; and here they are kept for ever.


05/05/2010 10:21:29 PM

2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: Revelation 20:10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Matthew 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal. Enoch 21 Where I beheld the operation of a great fire blazing and glittering, in the midst of which there was a division. Columns of fire struggled together to the end of the abyss, and deep was their descent. But neither its measurement nor magnitude was I able to discover; neither could I perceive its origin. Then I exclaimed, How terrible is this place, and how difficult to explore! 6Uriel, one of the holy angels who was with me, answered and said: Enoch, why are you alarmed and amazed at this terrific place, at the sight of this place of suffering? This, he said, is the prison of the angels; and here they are kept for ever.


04/28/2009 09:30:31 AM

Yes, Sodom and Gomorrah are two words. Care to elaborate on what you believe those two words have to do with there not being a hell? Thanks.

04/13/2009 08:17:11 PM

Two words: Sodom and Gommorah.


12/23/2008 10:14:49 PM

Gabriel says, "This article shows a lack of basic theology and an embarrassing ignorance of Scripture." No, it shows a disagreement with certain scriptures, not an ignorance. There is a difference. One can be well-versed in scripture without believing them all to be Divinely inspired. Human beings wrote the Bible. Human beings are fallible. There much that is inspired in the Bible. There are other parts that are obviously the works of men. I don't blame them; they were trying earnestly to make sense of God as God moved in their hearts and minds. But as is true with anything we do, there are human shortcomings scripted into the Bible. God does not make mistakes. But people do. I would posit that it is the naive who believe in demonic forces or beings, because it is easier to blame exterior forces for causing us to act or believe in certain ways rather than laying the blame where it belongs - upon our own very human, very fallible, and potentially very selfish selves. We will never be separated from God; He knows each of us personally and perfectly, and loves us in spite of our shortcomings and our sometimes evil and selfish and cruel deeds. We will repent now or in His presence, and all of us will be united with Him in eternity. That is a simple and most beautiful Truth.


12/21/2008 02:41:09 PM

This article shows a lack of basic theology and an embarrassing ignorance of Scripture. I suppose I could start a church and call it the "Universaloid Church" and claim that God is really the devil. The big tragedy is that demonic forces have been very effective in persuading the naive that hell or diabolical beings do not exist. In Scripture, Jesus Christ warned many times of the consequence of eternal damnation. One sample of this are Jesus' own words - "..Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41 Understand that virtue is only possible in a world where evil and vice is a free choice. Thus the existence of evil. Evil is merely the absence of goodness, much like darkness is the absence of light ; Hell is the absence of God. God could have made people "good" as fire is "hot" but then we wouldn't be able to freely choose goodness. The whole purpose of our creation is for the emergence of characters who would inherit eternal life. But eternal life has a price, which was paid by Jesus Christ; however, we still must do our part. We must keep God's commandments, repent of our sins and live the gospel. Simply read Matthew 19:17 where Jesus clearly says: If you want to enter life, obey the commandments. Jesus Christ also warns of those who think they will be saved: "Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity." - Matthew 7:22-23 Therefore, heed the warning: "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done....Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city...Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." --Revelation 22:12-14 God created natural and spiritual laws which, if transgressed, have built-in consequences. The laws of health tell us that we must avoid drinking poison. If we drink poison, our bodies will die. Spiritual laws are the same. If we do certain things we separate ourselves from God. Since on Earth we exist inside of time, we have opportunities to reconcile with God. But if we die in a state of separation from God, we are eternally separated from God in the spiritual world. This is simply because God lives in eternity. Thus heed Jesus' warning in the parable: "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' For many are invited, but few are chosen." --Matthew 22:11-14


11/27/2008 10:39:15 AM

Espiritus said. "They choose against God, and He respects their choice by allowing them to be without Him forever." I say, "No. God's love for us is so great that He created us to be with him forever. Espiritus' comment suggests that whatever we want is acceptable to God because he respects us, and that His "respect" is greater than His love. Yes, we have free will to a degree here on earth (mental illness and other enormous social-economic-cultural-physical health issues notwithstanding), and it is God's desire that we accept His will in our lives, that we open ourselves to Him and come to know and love Him and to love one another. However, He also knows those mitigating factors in our lives...abuse, isolation, depression, fear, extreme poverty, oppression...and knows that these factors can greatly influence our attitudes towards many things, including His loving message and our desire to accept it. This does not stop Him from loving us with His perfect, unconditional love. He is perfect in knowledge, understanding, and compassion for His children. Why would He respect poor choices? More importantly, why would He condemn us for poor choices? When we face God in the next life, and everything is stripped away from our consciousnesses except for our own spirits and the Ultimate Reality of God before us, we will all know Him and fall before Him in repentance, sorrow, hope, and pure love. God did not create any of us so flawed that in that moment, our souls will not recognize our beloved Creator and accept Him with rejoicing. There is no hell. Truthinjesus accuses Rev. Forrest of creating his own god. I say, "No. He has not created a false god. He is sharing a beautiful Truth about the real and only God. It was humanity who created the concept of hell and tried to put that on God's great shoulders. But it does not fit."


09/14/2007 12:50:57 AM

I believe in a God that loves. God created us made us what we are. Why would he throw us away? This is essentially what hell is, a waste basket for the unwanted and damaged. I know that when we die something good happens, we move on. We become one with that which created us. I know this because even now we can prove that energy does not die, it only changes. The Soul is energy. It drives us, it is our core. I believe this is where we have a “Come to Jesus meeting”. We receive a total truth of our lives and the good and bad we accomplished. We must deal with this knowledge under the perfect light of God. There is no better punisher then ourselves. Until we come to a peace with what our lives were, there may be a unhappiness for a while, which may be termed as a type of hell. But, I believe God does not turn away from US. God is there with us the entire journey. When we can forgive ourselves we can then take in the full love of God. So, there can be no hell if God truly loves us.


03/22/2007 12:09:03 AM

Hell doesn't exist. It's partially a scare tactic by the church (and other religions with a concept of hell) to get people to believe. However, it's mainly just a part of man's classic story of good vs. evil, of which, of course, man is the star. God is supposed to be the ultimate good, while Satan is the ultimate bad. It's a natural concept that developed with our brains from pre-man.


03/05/2007 05:57:42 PM

God doesn't send people to hell. They send themselves by living wicked lives. They choose against God, and He respects their choice by allowing them to be without Him forever. This "choice" card is always a peculiar one, especially since according to virtually all theologies, God is the one who created people, and guess what - they had no choice in the matter. So this weak insinuation that God has to bow down to choices falls flat on its face.


11/14/2006 07:01:28 PM

The trouble with Rev. Forrest is he is guilty of breaking the 2nd Commandment, which is to fashion a god to suit yourself. He is making his conception of God to suit his distaste for the truth of Hell. Because God is good, He has to punish sin. If a judge waived judgment of a convicted criminal, he would lose his license! How much more God would be blamed of injustice if He didn't judge sin and not punish those who sinned against Him. We've all broken God's law - the 10 Commandments and we deserve the righteous punishment for them. But God, in His love, sent His Son to pay the fine for our crime. Therefore He could be just and gracious to us at the same time.


07/18/2006 09:21:48 AM

The Bible tells us very clearly that there is a Hell. When Jesus was crucified He went down into Hell and unlocked the doors of Hell. On Judgement day we will be judged by God and if we haven't been His during our lives and lived according to His Word we are going to Hell.


07/15/2006 12:46:46 PM

I understand what you are saying. My point is that when we use the term "fault," we are inevitably conveying the idea that something bad is involved - bad could mean evil or unfortunate, but it ain't good. And I don't think having or lacking faith is, in itself, either a good thing or a bad thing. By our fruits we are known. If a hardheaded atheist's fruit is a life of selfless service to others, in what possible sense is that bad? If a religious fundamentalist's fruit is to spread hatred in the name of God, in what possible sense is that good? This is why I find the use of the term "fault" kind of odd in this context.


07/15/2006 01:41:07 AM

"Why speak of fault with regard to lack of faith?" It is like I explained. These are those who do not come to faith because they have proud or loveless hearts. Perhaps the opposite side of the coin would be a really good and kind person who was raised by kind and loving Buddhist parents in Thailand, where almost everyone is Buddhist. Maybe they've heard the Gospel, but don't come to believe in it because they have experienced Buddhism in a positive way. On the predestination thing, I think predestination as it is usually conceived is nonsense. Catholic theology does use the term predestination, but it really only refers to God's foreknowledge of the salvation of one's soul. It does not indicate that He caused it to be that way. God bless you Heretic, Dan


07/14/2006 09:47:57 AM

Concluded from previous: Yet I think that a dichotomous "fate" is a reality; people DO choose to be alive (reflecting the presence of God's spoirit within them) or dead (rejecting and burying the light of God's spirit within them), but that is a moment-by-moment description of how we live here on Earth in this physical life. Thus, "resurrection" is not about me as a distinct personality being reborn after I die; it is about the constant opportunity we all have to embrace aliveness of spirit, no matter how long we have skulked in the darkness of superstition, fear, rage, guilt, envy, obsession, judgmentalism, etc. Finally, we agree that predestination is nonsense. I believe that this bizarre notion came about as a desperate attempt to escape the vending-machine dilemma: to posit that God has absolute control while preserving the idea that salvation depends on our faith alone.


07/14/2006 09:40:10 AM

Continued from previous: You see salvation or lack of salvation in terms of a just destination for things we have and haven't done in our lives, and apparently finding faith is one of those things but not the only one. I don't: I see immortal spirit returning to its immortal source after physical life, with no judging, no reward, no punishment. Does that mean Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler go to the same place? Not at all; when people die, they are dead. It is spirit that lives on, and spirit is not that finite being with a human name who lived for a finite period on Earth. Spirit transcends our human identities and the good and bad deeds we have done in our lives. I have no idea what that spiritual realm is like, and I don't worry about it since there is no way we can know. My concern is how I live on Earth, not what I'm supposed to do to gain a salvation or escape a damnation that I don't believe in anyway. Continued


07/14/2006 09:28:00 AM

LoveCC, Thanks for your note directing me back here. Again I appreciate your appeal to logic (yes, I place high value on rationality; it is one of the manifestations of the spirit of God within us.) I know you aren't a fundamentalist, BECAUSE you don't respond to challenges by flinging out scripture (though I see you can hold your own with those who do). On this topic: 1. Okay, we both reject "vending machines." 2. About "Those who do not attain to faith but seem like good people": Faith in what? In God? In Jesus? In this vs that church? In God as imbuing spirit rather than as superbeing who sits outside, glowering at human folly? In rationality and courage and compassion for their own sake? And why speak of "fault" regarding lack of faith? Is an atheist at fault if he has heard and rejected the Christian message but devotes his life to selfless service because he feels it is a good way to live? Continued


07/14/2006 12:39:09 AM

(continuing from below) But let's look at that phrase from a logical perspective, as I know you're big on that. The phrase says "through their own fault". So by phrasing it in this way it is made definitional that the culpability for the loss of heaven rests with the person who lost it. FYI: It is not required for Catholics to believe that God applies sufferings to those in hell. It is permissible, and fairly common, to believe that their suffering is that of regret that they chose to live as they did and lost the great gift God wanted to give them. Number 3: God does not decide who will have faith. Faith is a response of the intellect, directed by the free will, with the help of Divine Grace. How does all this sound to you?


07/14/2006 12:38:41 AM

Well I am most certainly not a fundamentalist. The vending machine analogy is certainly not an accurate expression of my views on salvation. As for number 2: A lot of protestants believe that faith is an automatic ticket to salvation. That is only the case when that faith is crowned with a charitable heart. Loveless faith is dead, and will be of no avail to anyone. As for those who do not attain to faith, but seem like good people: I once read in a Catholic theology book something that made a lot of sense to me. It said that they who do not attain to faith "through their own fault" will not attain to salvation. Perhaps this is like people who don't come to faith because of their pride and hard-heartedness, or perhaps they are greedy and fear that the Church is just after their money. (continued above)


07/12/2006 09:22:16 AM

LoveCC, I know that evil is real, and the San Diego case has obviously affected you profoundly. However, my vending machine analogy was more about the notion of salvation by faith. I've had 3 different responses from fundamentalists: 1. Yes, the vending machine analogy is accurate. 2. No, for God still decides who will and won't be saved. But they get evasive when I say, "Well, if God has some wiggle room here, then maybe some non-Christians will be saved and maybe some Christians won't - which sort of makes 'salvation by faith alone' meaningless." 3. God is in control of everything. He decides who will have faith, and those he chooses to have faith are those who are saved. "So we are talking about predestination?" I ask. "Well, no. You see, we all have free will..."


07/11/2006 11:06:38 PM

It's not just about failing to do something, like put in the coins. Some people, like the guy who raped and murdered the little girl in San Diego, knock the vending machine over, rip it open with a crow bar, and still all the coins. And this doesn't quite capture what a horrific thing it is to torture a little girl with perverse sexual acts and brutally murder her. That is not just failing to put your coins in, that's evil.


07/10/2006 09:08:11 AM

Continued: Regarding your statement that God doesn't consign people to hell, but that they send themselves there and he merely respects their wishes. I've heard variations on that idea before, and what it instantly made me think of was a vending machine. I can choose to put money in and get a snack, or put nothing in and get nothing; the machine simply responds to what I do. Is God then nothing more than a vending machine, dispensing salvation to those who do the right things (be it deeds or faith or both), like a vending machine dispenses snacks to those who put in the right coins? And, like the machine, dispensing nothing to those who do the wrong things or fail to do the right things? To me, God is not a vending machine, helplessly dispensing or not dispensing his "product" depending on what we do or fail to do.


07/10/2006 09:02:06 AM

LoveCC, Ah! Our dialog spills over from the companion board, "Catch Hell." Let's skip over whether the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and get to the content of what you have said. 1. Those words of Jesus suggest that salvation is by deeds, not faith - the diametric opposite of standard Christian doctrine. 2. It has been argued that the "everlasting fire" refers not to an after-life hell but to a real, ancient-world pit where corpses were burned and buried. If so, then perhaps Jesus is saying that people who show no concern for those in need are spiritually dead (comatose, I'd say, because one can awaken from a coma but not from death) and therefore may as well be in the burial pit. 3. Denying the existence of God has nothing to do with leading a wicked life. I personally know a large number of atheists, and their lives are at least as morally upright as those of the Christians I know.


07/08/2006 10:48:44 PM

God doesn't send people to hell. They send themselves by living wicked lives. They choose against God, and He respects their choice by allowing them to be without Him forever. But hell is indeed real. Not only does Sacred Scripture tell us so, and Scripture is truly the word of God, who as Truth Itself, can not lie. But it is even on the lips of our most loving Jesus in the Gospels. He says that those who have given their brothers food, drink, or clothing, or visited them in prison, will go on to life everlasting. But to those who did not care for their brothers he will say "depart from me, you accursed, into the everlasting fire" as the Gospel testifies. If any of us wish to call ourselves Christians, let us not make our God and Savior out to be a liar. May, by His grace, each of us be found worthy to partake of the blessedness of heaven when it is our turn to be judged. Amen. Alleluia.


06/22/2006 11:54:02 AM

In my early Christian days, I too believed in a literal Hell for the "unsaved" and held to that belief for years. However these days, the doctrine of Hell leaves me with more questions than anything else. If God through Christ is to be victorious at time's end, why would there still be a majority of people who'd wind up in Hell? I know many of my fellow believers would acknowledge that only a "few" will make it to Glory. If that's the case, I see God as loser instead of winner; at best a phyrric victor. If there's a Hell, I'm more inclined to believe in a finite Hell where the mess in our lives is "burned" out of us so we can get to Heaven. Ultimately there will be no one lost-not even ol' Satan him/herself. Peace!


04/12/2006 08:33:16 PM

Namchuck: "is simply an assumption based on an a priori conception of him." A priori knowledge is knowledge that is outside of experiance. I would cansider this type of knowledge to encompus mathematics and our ability to reason and create. My knowledge of Jesus teachings is based on experiance(reading) and objectively making a determination as to their value. Buddha and Jesus were both seekers of the truth withen the context of their culture, which included Judaism for Jesus and Hinduism for Buddha. Neither found these paths satisfying and suaght to seek more. When it came to God Buddha kept sileint and when it came to the kingdom of God Jesus used parables to force listeners to seek for themselves. If Jesus lived in India and Buddha lived in Judea I am sure perspectives would remain within the context of their culture, meaning Jesus would of had Buddha's perspective and vice versa. Either way I see them both worthly of emulation. peace..


04/12/2006 08:25:27 AM

Namchuck: I don’t see a cause and effect connection between the state of scientific knowledge and a societies concepts of due process, equal protection of the law, social and economic progress, etc. Social norms do not require an accurate cosmology. Law is one of the oldest professions. If you have people you have law. They go hand in hand. Law is an “art”. Is Greek art inferior because they did not understand cosmology? Is democracy an inferior concept because the Greeks did not have a 21st century understanding of the Universe and worshiped many gods? Certain areas of human progress are independent of each other. I believe you would agree if you had a full understanding of the Jewish legal system.


04/11/2006 11:14:23 PM

Quite right, LivingEZ123, but I wasn't suggesting that the Bible authors' were making scientific claims. Their writings simply reflect their (mis)understanding of the cosmos and nature, which, indirectly, dilutes their ability to be reliable guides in respect to how one should live.


04/11/2006 11:10:01 PM

That "Jesus was grossly misunderstood", jd70, is simply an assumption based on an a priori conception of him. For all we know his sometime petulance and vindictiveness might have been downplayed in the gospels. Personally, I think the Buddha may have considered Jesus somewhat benighted and dogmatic. At least the Buddha maintained a "noble silence" in respect to untestable propositions, like the concept of God, or the notion that epileptics were possessed by demons, or that one's enemies would roast in hell where their "worm dieth not".


04/11/2006 12:49:05 PM

(2) The religious value comes from the authors assumptions as to the relationship between the Deity and creation. God was the first cause. The creation was good. Torah is not self proving. It assumes the reader believes in God. The Torah is my cultural inheritence. Others have cultural inheritences that are equally valuable. Christian go wrong when they try to use the Gospel as self proving texts. No religious scripture is self proving of what it says. Content is always subject to doubt, verification and inquirey.


04/11/2006 12:43:07 PM

Namchuck: (1)'the bible does reflect the writers' understanding of nature and the cosmos, and it is that perceivable understanding that is wholly wrong. So what I wrote was correct and undeniable...'' As to the accuracy of the discriptions of physical reality, I don't think of them as claims. They just reflect the authors concepts of physical reality which are not accurate by modern standards.


04/11/2006 07:11:22 AM

"And these other traditions accomplish more without the need to threaten anyone with the fires of hell." Amen to that, but I see the same truth at the core of all of them. I would say Jesus was grossely misunderstood. The religion that made him a god just does not jive with what he taught. Lets just say I think He would get along just fine with Buddha. The idea of hell is about as rediculas a notion as ever invented.


04/10/2006 11:44:43 PM

(continued) And I must say that, the Bible does not fare well in comparison with the much richer and more universally compassionate teachings of Buddhism, or the doctrine of universal brotherly love in the philosophy of China's Mo Ti, or the search for the inner "Way" that willbring the individual and all things into harmony. Read beside these other traditions, which say and enjoin more with less theological undercarriage, Christian ethics is not outstanding. And these other traditions accomplish more without the need to threaten anyone with the fires of hell.


04/10/2006 11:39:50 PM

jd70: The verses dealing with the 'gross physical characteristics of offspring...' can be found in Genesis 30:37-42. And there are literally dozens and dozens of other references to things which we now know are similarly absurd. You are completely correct when you state that our understanding of the cosmos and nature is an "evolving process", and my point was directed at those who would claim that the Bible is inerrant and literally "God's word", and, hence, reliable in every way. And I wouldn't deny that there are parts of the Bible that "hold true today", but those parts are scanty in comparison with the great ethical philosophies of the classical world which are its predecessors and contemporaries.


04/10/2006 10:03:59 AM

Also I am not aware of the claim of "gross physical characteristics of offspring can be affected via the visual stimulation of breeding parents." I am not saying it does not exist, but rather expressing my ignorance of it. Could you point it out by verse?


04/10/2006 10:03:19 AM

"but how can a people's history be written that doesn't at some level reflect their understanding of nature and the cosmos?" Namchuck: I would agree with the above statement. With that said I would also say that our "understanding of nature and the cosmos" is an evolving process at the level of both science and subjective experiance. String theory for instance would suggest a universe that is infinite in nature. I am not sure though it is a matter of "right" and "wrong", since I believe we can not know what is absolutely right, but only correct what is "wrong" through new discovery and evolving processes. It is only through an "innarent" reading of the Bible that one would hold that the claims are absolutely true, but not the clams of the Bible in and of themselves. There are parts of it that are rediculas I would agree. There are also parts that would hold true today (see my statement of belief for example), but would fall outside the scope of science.


04/09/2006 11:24:07 PM

And I would dispute, jd70, that the Bible "makes no scientific claims". It certainly makes claims that fall within the province of science. When the Bible asserts, for instance, that the gross physical characteristics of offspring can be affected via the visual stimulation of breeding parents, well, that is something that science can investigate and establish either as true or false (it's false).


04/09/2006 11:03:16 PM

Nobody said, jd70, that the Bible was a "science book", but how can a people's history be written that doesn't at some level reflect their understanding of nature and the cosmos? And, of course, the Bible does reflect the writers' understanding of nature and the cosmos, and it is that perceivable understanding that is wholly wrong. So what I wrote was correct and undeniable.


04/09/2006 06:28:38 PM

Namchuck: "The Bible is wrong in its cosmology. It is wrong in its biology. And it is wrong in its geology (and wrong in a few other 'ologies." This is actualy not correct. The Bible is not a science book and therefor makes no scientific claims. It is rather a collectiion of naritives written by people during a particular time and in a particular place as a means to express how they experianced reality (or the Divine if one attributes reality to such.).


04/09/2006 05:16:22 PM

Cusdish: I know in Greek mythology Hades was the brother of Zeus, god of the underworld and lord of the dead. He was identified with the Roman god Pluto. The term then came to mean the kingdom over which Pluto rules, the abode of the dead. It later became a euphemism for Hell. I have a recollection that the word identified as “Hell” in the bible was a reference to a garbage dump outside Jerusalem. Shantti99 may be correct. I don’t recall the actual word, however. I also don’t recall my source. Perhaps the term attributed to Jesus was used as a metaphor and was later identified with Hades by the gentiles. Gentiles revised the meaning of Jewish words, concepts, history, religion, etc. to conform to Roman & Greek religion as expressed in orthodox Gospel.


04/08/2006 02:56:09 AM

Of course, nobody nows if there is a 'hell' or not, but then, nobody knows that there are not angry green unicorns on the dark side of the moon. But what would reason and good sense suggest? The Bible is wrong in its cosmology. It is wrong in its biology. And it is wrong in its geology (and wrong in a few other 'ologies. I wouldn't place too much reliance in a book that, while claiming divine authorship, gets so much basic information wrong. According to the Bible, the gross physical chracteristics of offspring can be influenced via the visual stimulation of breeding parents.


04/05/2006 03:09:20 PM

"Hell" is the theology of fear. It seems to work on some people.


04/04/2006 05:46:20 PM

Five minutes in Hell is too late to discover that one has made an eternal mistake. Wouldn’t God know this and do something about it? It makes no more sense for God to damn man for eternity for the actions of 70 years, than for us to condemn a newborn in the first second of his life to a lifetime of torture. Is anyone reading this willing to gamble that there is no Hell? What if you are wrong? A sure-thing is no gamble. *s* If I am wrong and Hell exists, then either God is there and so, it wouldn’t be Hell; or God is not there, and then there would be a place that limits God and that would mean that God is not omnipotent, and if God is not omnipotent, then God does not exist, and if God does not exist, then there isn’t any reason for Hell to exist. And if Hell doesn’t exist...well, either way, I couldn’t be wrong. *s* Are you willing to believe in a God so great that S/he would never damn you but would give you the gift of all eternity in which to grow perfect in Spirit?


04/04/2006 02:53:55 PM

Sorry to be blunt but how does anyone know if there is a hell? Have you been there? Did your great ancestor visit the place? NO! So people please do not think you know what or how hell is based on somebody else's beliefs...


04/03/2006 11:51:05 PM

I think the Greek word was "hades", shanti99. And while I think the whole concept of hell is illogical nonsense, Jesus did speak and teach it. In fact, in one of his stories, he paints the most lurid portrait of it (Luke 16:19-31). Jesus actually envisaged for his enemies an eternity of 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' in 'a furnace of fire', 'everlasting fire', 'fire (that) is not quenched', 'where the worm dieth not'. The doctrine of everlasting torture has justified such inhumanity and caused terror in children, adults, the elderly and the dying that it cannot be the work of a humane person.


04/03/2006 05:54:14 PM

"Hellious?" It's like Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, yo. 'Hell' was a word grafted onto a uniquely Christian idea from Heathen beliefs which said nothing of the kind.


04/03/2006 08:02:34 AM

Jesus never spoke about a place called hell, only the hell you create for yourself. The word "hell" comes from a Greek word "hellious". Hellious was a garbage dump where they would sometimes burn bodies. A saying started then which was "You better streighten up, or you will burn in hellious". The saying stuck, and Churches found it useful as a tool to control the masses.


04/02/2006 04:13:14 PM

Yes, I DO believe in hell. I believe in the Bibles' words, I believe the Bible is God breathed...and the book of Matthew 10:28 explains enough for me. I believe there will always be people on this earth who do not believe in a lot of Christian beliefs...I am quite saddened by this...I pray that they delve into the Bible and find the answers which they need to believe what Heaven and hell represent. There is no such thing as scare tactics in Christian faith...we Christians simply believe all that our Lord requires of us and we will live humbly and follow HIS path to heaven.


04/01/2006 05:01:50 PM

Judaism is not dualistic with a separate power of evil. Judaism is of “this world”. God’s Kingdom is on earth. It is our place to make the earth a “dwelling place” for God. We accomplish this through our actions as well as prayer and faith. After death our soul returns to God who gave it(sheol in ancient times, now heaven?). The concept of the messianic age, (most modern Jews do not look for a monarchy to initiate the messianic age), is separate from resurrection. The messianic age does not involve miracles or setting aside natural law. It is envisioned as an age of peace brought about through universal adherence to the fundamental laws of humanity and due process. Resurrection fits into this paradigm since humans are fundamentally organic creatures. The form the resurrection will take is beyond our comprehension but remains a matter of faith. There is no hell. At some point the deserving of all peoples would be brought back to this earth, soul and organic body, to share “in the world to come”.


03/31/2006 08:54:37 PM

I believe that hell was an invention of the church. the hebrew word "sheol", which has been transalted as hell, in ancient hebrew simply meant "grave". in modern hebrew it does mean hell, but that is likely due to modern theological influence on the language. it is also worth noting that in ancient times in judaism hell was a non-existent concept for a long time.


03/31/2006 01:49:37 PM

Although I understand that Pope John Paul II spoke of Hell as separation from God, I believe that many conservative Christians do believe in Hellfire, and think of Hell as the place where the wicked endure eternal suffering. I agree that Hell is often used as an instrument for controlling others through terror. But I also think that our sense of justice causes us to look for a place where the evildoer will be punished. However, I really do think that, although the wicked may seem to prosper, wickedness is often its own punishment.


03/31/2006 12:28:38 PM

It is metaphysically greater to exist then to not. IMHO, it is metaphyiscally greater for me to have a billion dollars, than to not. That doesn't mean that I'm loaded to the hilt. Sorry, St. Anselm Jr., you'll need a better argument for the existence of Hell. IMHO, it is metaphysically greater that Hell not exist, because Hell is, by definiton, a separation for God and place of torment. Before you make positivist statements about what is and is not "greater", please define first what it is that you mean by "greater".


03/31/2006 10:16:23 AM

It is metaphysically greater to exist then to not. God sustaining of a person in Hell is therefore also an act of His mercy! Whoa, Paul. An idea of eternal torture of some kind is mercy, or something. That's just... Whoa.


03/31/2006 09:53:00 AM

To be honest, I have no beef with the idea of hell, in and of itself. If Hitler burns for all eternity, you won't hear me complaining. The reason that I generally say that I don't believe in Hell, is because whenever people talk about hell, it's usually about gay people going to hell or non-Christians going to hell, or some such judgmentalism. I would rather just not believe in Hell because it seems a belief that starts these kinds of intolerant conversations. So maybe I would say that, if Hell exists, it should be a subject left to God that humans should never ever talk about.


03/30/2006 09:33:17 PM

I believe Rev. Church has missed the point on the Christian concept of Hell. Hell (at least in Catholic theology) is not a place where God sends people because their sins are not pardonable. Rather, Hell is a state of the soul, a rejection of the individual from the love of God. Love is a free act and a person is free to refuse to love. Hell is also a type of mercy. It is metaphysically greater to exist then to not. God sustaining of a person in Hell is therefore also an act of His mercy!


03/30/2006 09:03:40 PM

If hell, as man has concieved of it, exists, then God is not omnipresent and ominbenevolent, unless God is in hell and loves human suffering. If there is a hell, good must come of it. God must be in the process of reforming human demons and letting them loose to keep others from the same fate. Kinda like self-reformed life-sentanced prisoners visitng troubled youth.


03/30/2006 05:42:36 PM

Well, not if you got the concept of 'karma' right, but that's another discussion entirely. Even the idea of Buddhist Hells, where they have them, is pretty much about going there cause you need to, and leaving when you don't anymore. :)


03/30/2006 05:33:51 PM

Hell is just one of those nasty superstitions created to control people when brute force would not work. Sort of like Karma.


03/30/2006 01:33:06 PM

What's an easy way to catch a liar? Get him to talk. Force him to answer a barrage of questions relating to his lie. The more details he has to juggle, the more of a burden the lie becomes, and the easier it is to catch him contradicting himself. That method - invented by somebody's mom - generally works because there's a difference between witnessing something and making it up. What we experience, we describe - and even if we only remember of fraction of what was there, the details abound. What we make up, we only make up to fit a specific purpose - e.g. I was late because of traffic. There are no details to remember, just details that have to be invented out of thin blue sky. Making these details correspond is mental effort, and it becomes more difficult the further we go with it. I bring this up because Hell is one of those concepts invented by a liar, whose details don't correspond, and whose very consistency gives way the more we ask about it.


03/30/2006 10:43:55 AM

(cont. from below) Step#4: Accept all religious texts as utterances of God's word in different forms. Step#5: Give at least 10% of your income to charity. This satisfies all alms-giving and tiththing requirements across the board. Step#6: Pay your taxes. Step#7: Pray at least 8 times a day, including before meals and before bed. Step#8: Celebrate ALL religious holidays. Do all of these, and you'll be just about guaranteed to get into just about everyone's heaven.


03/30/2006 10:43:36 AM

The Lazy Man's Escape from Hell (all major religions): ===================================== Step #1: Believe that there is one God (with many names, BTW, Allah, Yahweh a.k.a. Yeshua a.k.a "Jesus"), which is at the same time triune and manifested in The Father (Brahman - Creator), the Son (Vishnu, Krishna - Preserver), and the Holy Spirit (Shiva - Destroyer; of evil, that is). Step #2: Accept that Muhammed was his last prophet. Yet, also believe that Jesus and Moses were prophets that came before. Step #3: Live your life according to the Karma Yoga, knowing that you reap what you sow, and eat and practice Kosher/halal living. The best bet is to simply avoid meat all-together and become a pacifist vegetarian. Treat others, including all animals, the way you want to be treated, and love them as yourself. (cont. above)


03/30/2006 09:58:49 AM

Is anyone reading this willing to gamble that there is no Hell? What if you are wrong? Well, here's what I call Cu's Wager: If *my* beliefs and experiences of what may be beyond this life are 'wrong,' then, these beliefs will still have enhanced my life and freedom, and maybe given me the flexibility to deal with the unexpected. If I believed restrictive and oppressive and fearful things told by people with means, motive, and opportunity to lie, and a record of doing so, and *that* was wrong, I'd have been miserable all along for nothing, woefully-unprepared for the unexpected, and have helped hurt others with it. The way I make the odds of those guys being *right* wouldn't register with the Lottery Commission. It's like the odds of a stopped clock being right, even if it *were* so twice in an oscillating universe. :)


03/30/2006 09:44:29 AM

Truthtalks post is the most specious reasoning I've seen for a while. Given that logic, one should find the religion with the worst hell and follow that one in order to save one's own skin. If that's not spiritual terrorism, I don't know what is....


03/30/2006 08:39:04 AM

That Da Vinci Code ad seems pretty in place for this subject. I've always wondered if Hell was simply something inserted by the Church to scare believers into controlling them. Even if not, and Hell really does exist, I don't think it's like anything we've been lead to imagine, as most of what is described to us comes from Dante's Inferno, cartoons, folks stories, and man-made sermons. Like the Virigin Birth, much detail is left out and out imaginations are filling up the blanks.


03/30/2006 08:21:54 AM

Scripture seems to be clear that there is a Hell (Sheol). And perhaps it appeared late in Scripture but so did Jesus. I don't discount the value of his message just because it was a long time coming. I just hope God makes some allowance for well meaning fools, then Rev Church and I may have a chance.


03/30/2006 07:16:52 AM

Anyone has the freedom to deny the existence of Hell but it is the greatest gamble of all. Five minutes in Hell is too late to discover that one has made an eternal mistake. Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven. It is illogical to assume that one place is real and the other is not. God made Calvary a roadblock on the road to Hell. If we choose to ignore that roadblock (i.e. receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior) then we are responsible for the consequences. Is anyone reading this willing to gamble that there is no Hell? What if you are wrong? ( Read John 3:16)


03/29/2006 11:07:17 PM

I agree w/ Rev. Church that hell undermines the message of the New Testament...He makes a good case, but I wish that he would have written more about the passages in the NT concerning hell and his view of them. If hell was invented and not meant to be in the Bible...there are some other implications, but, maybe they are not important to this topic (?).


03/29/2006 09:38:30 PM

You hope there is no Hell. wishful thinking on your part. Hell is as real as the sun that rises every day. I will take God's word for it any DAy over the Rev.Forrest Church' A REverend!! and does not believe in Hell>HUM!


03/29/2006 07:59:30 PM

Hell is a retarded concept. That so many people believe in it is an indication that progress is neither universal nor consistent.


03/29/2006 06:29:49 PM

Can't speak to the bit about Unitarians and Universalists, but Brother Dave used to say that the difference between Northern Baptists and Southern Baptists was that the Norther Baptists say, "There ain't no hell," while the Southern Baptists say, "The hell there ain't." Personally, I'm given to the view that parents dicipline their children to guide them, not for the sake of retribution - ever - that's just sick.