Jesus Needs New PR

Jesus Needs New PR


'Jesus rules Hell!' says @PastorMark

Ugh…

“If I’m wrong, I have nothing to lose,” says Mark… “If you’re wrong, you have everything to lose…”

That’s not faith. That’s nothing but fear.

And it’s such a weak argument or really, no argument at all…

And it’s just like the fear that the pastors and teachers at my Independent Fundamental Baptist Church adhered too. Except they would have thought Mark Driscoll was going to burn in hell.

Found at Christian Nightmares.



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Adam Whitley

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:18 am


Sigh… Scaring people to God? It’s what I grew up with.

Jesus rules Hell? If Jesus is in charge of everything then why does Mark say that the broken condition of the world is our fault? And if Hell is eternal, then is Jesus still there since He took our punishment for us? And why would blood be on his hands if he doesn’t “warn” (scare) people?

This Uber-Calvinism just amazes me in the worst way. He is simultaneously telling us that God controls absolutely EVERYTHING while trying to scare people into making a decision.

//AW



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Justin

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:19 am


While I currently live in Atlanta and attend Andy Stanley’s church I lived in Seattle this past summer and attended Mars Hill while living there. I don’t necessarily agree with all of Mark’s statements, but I do believe there are a lot of truthful things he says that other preachers are simply scared or unwilling to say.



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VorJack

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:28 am


“If I’m wrong, I have nothing to lose,”

Oh, how nice. Driscoll has discovered Pascal’s Wager.



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:34 am


    Exactly! What a fallacious argument. (1) Where is the free will in this argument? Coercion is not free will. (2) Pascal forgot about all the other thousands of religious that one has to choose from besides Christianity.



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      sbuxjosh

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:40 am


      I don’t think Pascal was being serious. Mark however…



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:44 am


        Pascal was being quite serious, I assure you.



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          Elemenope

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:07 am


          Mm. My epistemology prof. was pretty sure he wasn’t being serious. I personally don’t know, but it doesn’t seem to fit with everything else Pascal had written about religion; it was more of a thought experiment than a serious argument for faith.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:33 am


          Ah! Noted.

          I thought it was similar to the whole “let’s prove God’s existence” at the end of The Discourse.

          Thanks, Nope!



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James Williams

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:30 am


I agree with Driscoll. Fear may not be the best tactic in many cases, but it’s a valid method of letting people know why they need to believe. Jesus mentioned it. He warned of it. Why in the world would His followers want to avoid it?

I’d rather make someone uncomfortable now if it will keep them from agony forever.

What, exactly, is your problem with the “Jesus rules Heaven” statement? Scripture is pretty clear that hell is not populated by Satan until the end of the age (Rev 21).



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:32 am


    I agree with Driscoll.

    We know, James… :)



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      Larry Shallenberger

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:50 am


      Ha! (Nothing but love, James.)



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      James Williams

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:10 am


      For the record, I don’t agree with Driscoll about everything, and don’t think we’d be hanging out together if we were neighbors. I meant I agree with him here.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:34 am


    I’d rather make someone uncomfortable now if it will keep them from agony forever.

    James,
    Jesus never once thought like this in scripture. He never once used Hell as a selling point for following him. I think you’re doing the so-called “Good News” an injustice by thinking like that…



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      James Williams

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:08 am


      Seriously? All those parables where He warned that Behavior A will get you a nice ending to your story (Matt 25 has at least 2 of these) and Behavior B will get your (depending on which parable we are speaking of) cast into outer darkness, or the lake of fire, or a place where there’s weeping and gnashing of teeth. I cannot believe you aren’t aware of these, so I’m assuming you explain them away somehow. I’d be curious to know your interpretation.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:37 am


        “I’d rather make someone uncomfortable now if it will keep them from agony forever.”

        This is philosophical speculation. It is neither fact nor truth.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/facts/



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm


          It is fact. Consider how often one stretches a muscle before exercising. Natural life is a reflection of the super natural in many ways.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:57 pm


          Wrong. You need to actually READ the entry from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy if you want to make an actual contribution to the conversation on facts, truth, and speculation.

          Oh, wait. That might be too intellectual for you. Never mind.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:06 pm


          Actually what I said was not literal enough for your mind. So in reality what I said was too intellectual for you. You can’t see past the concrete block of your so called facts to see what is unseen in the world. The irony in that is how you treat philosophy like a crutch.

          I don’t blame you, what is unseen is very scary because we can’t control it.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm


          The unseen world?!? Like Plato’s eidos?

          Is that all you’ve got? Really?

          Does Harry Potter exist in the unseen world? How about unicorns, cuz I think unicorns are neat.



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:03 am


          I am personally a huge fan of unicorns myself. I asked for one for Christmas and was denied. So, I have no idea if unicorns exist in the unseen world or not. I hope so.

          As for Harry Potter, he made it to the big screen and is no longer a figment of the imagination.



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          Elemenope

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:10 am


          >>As for Harry Potter, he made it to the big screen and is no longer a figment of the imagination.

          Er, how does this make him any less of a construct of imagination? Things that “happen” on screen are an illusion, in more ways than one.



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        sbuxjosh

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:20 am


        @ James

        The Bible originally didn’t have such a concept until the Jews met with followers of Zoroastrianism. It was adopted by then. Also, the parable about lazarus and hell is straight from the Gemara Babylonicum. Your concept of hell is not the predominate one taught in the bible.



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          James Williams

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm


          The heck it’s not.
          :)



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:01 am


          Jesus spoke in parables, He used story to make a point. Since He owns the world, it does not matter where the story came from or if it’s true. Since He owns the world, it is also possible he put that story into existence before He showed up on Earth.

          People forget we are dealing with the God of the universe so quickly.

          PS your argument leaves too much room for opposite reasoning. It’s not very solid.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm


        Yes, the unseen world. No it does not belong to Plato.



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      matt mewhorter

      posted January 29, 2011 at 12:44 pm


      In fact, when people wanted to follow Jesus, he would sometimes ask, paraphrasing here, “You sure about this? This is no easy road. Consider the cost.”



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Jennifer

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:34 am


First let me preface this comment by saying by no means do I believe in scaring people into Christianity. But, I also believe that hell is very real and very scary.

So how does one go about teaching about hell without promoting fear?

I just feel like sometimes on this blog, methods of teaching/preaching, whatever, are criticized, but no alternative means to the message is conveyed. WWMPTD? :) (Or anyone else for that matter…)



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:42 am


    Jennifer,

    Using “Hell” as a selling-point for Jesus actually elevates Hell’s importance above that of Jesus’s importance… because it’s like saying… without Hell… there’s no need for Jesus…

    Isn’t Jesus more than an escape route? And I’m not trying to be sarcastic.

    Would Jesus be relevant to your life without Hell?

    I know Christians who answer “no” to that question…. which uplifts Hell far above Jesus… Jesus becomes simply the “x” in some weird scary spiritual equation…



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      Jennifer

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:18 am


      Agreed. I’ve said that many times about Jesus not being an escape route. I’m a Christian because I want to be closer to Christ, not further from hell.

      However, I still don’t see how you teach about hell without it being scary. The fact of the matter is, as I believe, and the Bible teaches, that you go to hell if you’re not a Christian.

      I just don’t see how you can tip-toe around it.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:39 am


        “The fact of the matter is”

        No. It is not.



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          Jennifer

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:46 am


          You cut me off. I said “The fact of the matter is, as I believe, and the Bible teaches…”

          As Christians, we believe these things to be facts and truths–that’s called faith.

          Just because you do not believe them doesn’t make my use of the word “fact” wrong.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:04 am


          Yes, it does. Fact and truth have very specific meanings as I’ve already pointed out.

          All you have, all you will ever have, is philosophical speculation. Period. End of story.

          To claim otherwise is to make a false claim.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 8:09 pm


        Um, yes actually it is a fact in the bible. Try reading it before you argue its contents. It doesn’t even require a smart mind to get that much out of it.

        It is not everyone else who is skewed on what fact is, it’s you.

        Such irony.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm


          Christina, I am a deconverted Christian. I was raised in the Baptist/Bible Church tradition, so if you think I don’t know the Bible, from cover to cover, you are wrong. I deconverted for good about 5 years ago, which means that I spent about 31 years of my life in the church.

          When I speak of facts, I speak of real facts, not fictitious ones. To say that Harry Potter is courageous is not a fact in any real sense of the word because Harry Potter is fictitious.



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:06 am


          Actually yes it is a fact. If he was written by the author as courageous (i’ve never read or seen any HP movies so i’m unclear on that) then yes that is indeed a fact as it applies to the fictitious character Harry Potter. For someone so educated, you have no idea what that word fact means.



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          Elemenope

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:18 am


          Er, no, LRA is correct. You run into serious problems of denotation when you assign “facts” to non-existent entities. Humans are remarkable in that we can imagine very detailed scenarios and worlds that are not entailed in any way by reality; this gives us great flexibility of thought, but it also introduces the potential for self-deception about the difference between reality and fiction. One of the ways we fool ourselves most effectively is assigning “facts”–i.e. attributes–to our imagined entities.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:41 pm


          Yes, thank you, Nope!

          I kept bringing up the point because Driscoll specifically said in the video above that the existence of hell is a fact AND a truth.

          This is very poor metaphysics!

          Further, other people wanted to say, “Well, it is a fact to me.” No, it is not a fact to any one person if you think that hell is a place where all people who don’t earn admission to heaven go.

          People need to recognize that in making claims of truth or fact, they are exerting the verifiability or the existence of appropriate evidence to support said truth or fact. When called on to give the verification or the evidence, these people then want to say, “Well, it is true and factual to me!” Bunk! That is pure bunk! THAT has been my point all along.

          People need to be more careful with their language. If someone claims or assumes a certain idea to be truth or fact, I’m going to ask for the verification or the evidence every time. To get upset and call me arrogant for doing this is simply ridiculous and unfair. If you are the one who made the claim, then you need to be ready to defend it, as suggested in 1 Peter 3:15. If you are unprepared to do that, then you’ll need to withdraw the claim for truth or factualness of a statement and be satisfied that you have speculated, philosophically. What is so awful about that? It’s honest, and last time I checked, Christians are called to be honest.



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      Larry Shallenberger

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:22 am


      I think, to answer Matt’s question, Jesus becomes relevant in that we don’t need to wait until the afterlife to begin to experience God’s kingdom.

      Ironically, Jesus did describe himself as an escape route. When he said “I am the way, the truth and the life” he used the same Greek word “ex odus” that we get the scripture “Exodus” from. Jesus was/is the answer to theological exile from God. That truth isn’t contingent Hell’s existence or not.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:40 am


        “That truth isn’t contingent Hell’s existence or not.”

        *sigh*

        Y’all Christians are so lazy with your language!

        :(



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          Larry Shallenberger

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:44 am


          I type faster than I think sometimes.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am


          I’m just frustrated because people use words like “fact” and “truth” inappropriately.

          Roughly…

          A “fact” is a claim that is empirically justified and is known a posteriori.

          A “truth” is a claim analytically and or empirically justified and known a priori.

          Truth has a 2,500 year old history in the Western tradition and at least a 3,000 year old history in the Eastern Tradition. Fact has a history since the Enlightenment in Western history. Yet, people throw these terms around to describe their speculations willy-nilly.



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          JBH

          posted February 4, 2011 at 2:01 pm


          LRA – quick question. How are your definitions of “fact” and “truth” empirically justified? Where is the evidence that your definitions of these words are more empirically justified than the definitions of someone else?

          We all have presuppositions about what we believe. To make a claim that God, or evidence of God, must submit to the definitions you claim for “fact” and “truth”, would seem to force God to have to do something that even your own words, “fact” and “truth”, cannot do.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm


          I think it’s hilarious how arrogant you are. I would be willing to bet my education and experience-including philosophy art and world travel-far outweighs yours.
          Just a bet though.

          Guess what? I still found that I am nothing without God. The simple life is the real life-that’s the secret you are missing out in knowing it all.

          Good luck with holding yourself to that gold standard for your entire physical life. It ain’t worth it. Take it from someone who knows something better. There is something better out there for you, you should grab it.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm


          Christina, you are making yourself look silly.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 8:11 pm


        No, the gospel of Christ makes everyone look silly. Including yourself.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm


          Ok, Christina. Whatever you say.



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:07 am


          I didn’t say it, just passing the message along. You know how it goes…don’t shoot the messenger.



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 5:57 pm


      Jesus doesn’t need selling points, that’s why He got up on the cross. Just sayin.



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        LRA

        posted January 29, 2011 at 1:34 am


        1 Peter 3: 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect

        So, yes. Apparently, Jesus *does* need selling points, and you are expected to give them. You are expected to give REASONS. And you are expected to do so with GENTLENESS and RESPECT.

        Calling me arrogant for expecting you to give reasonable answers to my questions and then refusing to give any good reasons for your supposed “hope” FAILS to follow this expectation.



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      Grace

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm


      I hadn’t thought of it like that before. Excellent point.



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      Marni

      posted January 29, 2011 at 7:04 am


      I get what you’re saying Matt, I do – but this is where our theological differing viewpoints are coming into play.

      Just because Jesus was sent, does not negate the law beforehand. Just because we now have grace upon our doorsteps to embrace, does not mean God is not just; and that we should never again know the truth of His justice. No, absolutely not! In fact, we need to know the justice side of God in order to understand why we have been saved – or why others truly need to explore the possibility of salvation in their own hearts.

      This is all going back to the Theological debates of old – all the way back to those like Calvin and Hodges themselves all based on the study of sin.

      However, there is an unerring truth that we need to understand the depravity of our sin. For otherwise, God would have never sent Jesus – never.

      Yes the scriptures, throughout, informs us to not fear 365 times in various areas – but it does also inform us to have fear “of Him” – in which this means to be fearful of eternal separation from Him (hell). Fear is not meant to be utilized as a tool of our own choice – however, God has the ability to utilize it to prompt conviction in the hearts of His children.

      Fear has its place in this world – and He says He works everything together for His good (that even means the fear we will feel and experience in this life).

      So no, I do not disagree with Him here based on the truth he is revealing – though honestly, even as a human I highly dislike the wording. I am not a Mark Driscoll fan by and large, but the one thing I cannot contest is that he stands firm on the truth that God – our Father – is love *and* justice. No matter how much I may not like it sometimes, the truth is a hard pill to swallow.



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    sbuxjosh

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:42 am


    “So how does one go about teaching about hell without promoting fear?”

    It’s impossible. It’s the nature of the beast.



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      Matthew Paul Turner

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:45 am


      You stay out of this! :)

      Hahaha…



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      Larry Shallenberger

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:49 am


      I think it’s a three part question:

      1) Does the Bible teach there is a Hell. (y/n) If no, stop here.
      2) If yes, what does the Bible say about the nature of Hell? How do our cultural conditioning and interpretive practices create a distorted lens about what Hell is like.
      3) If it’s true then it needs to be taught w/in context.

      A overwraught controlling parent warning about the dangers of traffic does not disprove the dangers of a child playing in the road. It just means the parent needs to chill out.

      We need calm and slow conversations.



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        Claire

        posted January 28, 2011 at 8:58 am


        Thanks, Larry. Although I’m not for scaring the (literal) hell out of people, one thing I loathe about some of today’s churches is this idea that they have to make hell sound like a place where people will find puppy dogs and rainbows…Or sit around and just be a wee bit sad.



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        sbuxjosh

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:07 am


        “A overwraught controlling parent warning about the dangers of traffic does not disprove the dangers of a child playing in the road. It just means the parent needs to chill out.”

        Who is who in this analogy? It looks like you mean Jesus is the road?



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          Larry Shallenberger

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:15 am


          What?

          I’m saying that the existence of high strung preachers, like the ones I sat under as a child, does not prove nor disprove the existence of Hell.

          I’ll keep the metaphoric language to a minimum I guess.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:42 am


        “If it’s true”

        How are you going to verify it?

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth/

        Yeah, you’re not.



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          Larry Shallenberger

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:47 am


          You are correct. It’s a faith thing that presupposes the existence of God and his ability to reveal himself through scriptures.

          You’ve opened up a whole new epistemological conversation about the possibility of religious knowledge. Proud of yourself? ;)



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:08 am


          Yes I am!!

          :P



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          Jordan

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:51 am


          All of that is from the analytic tradition, which generally has a certain understanding of truth. I think that conversations within continental philosophy are closer to the “truth” of hell. But then it becomes some sort of existential, and then, not the “fact” Driscoll is talking about, even if it is true (as say, a “mode of being” or a “mood”). That is, perhaps, easier to verify, but who will be satisfied?



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:15 am


          If you want to go all pomo on me that’s fine. But there is quite a difference between saying something is true and/or fact *for everybody* and something is true and/or fact *for oneself*.

          When Christians make a claim that all people will go to hell without Jesus, they are making claims for everybody. An analytical approach is thus appropriate, here.

          I’ve never heard a Christian make the claim that if he himself doesn’t accept Jesus, then he himself will go to hell and that this is true only for him and something else is true for someone else. It’s possible, I’ve just never heard it.

          And, are you sure you want to evoke the Continental philosophers here?

          According to wiki, Continental philosophy consists of “German idealism, phenomenology, existentialism (and its antecedents, such as the thought of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche), hermeneutics, structuralism, post-structuralism, French feminism, the critical theory of the Frankfurt School, some other branches of Western Marxism and psychoanalysis”.

          These folks aren’t particularly sympathetic to religion in general, or Christianity, in particular.



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          Jordan

          posted January 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm


          Haha, I suppose I will go all pomo here…sort of. Or, something like it, whatever it is (my obligatory distancing from post modernism ;) )

          I think though, if “hell” is characterized as an existential, that is, part of the structure of being, then it is a condition of everyone else. I think it would be, then, something like despair is for Kierkegaard. Where, basically everyone is in some form of despair, whether they are aware of it or not. And, of course, Kierkegaard, being Christian, connects the Christian’s despair to their misrelation with God. Where faith (which is not here, merely assent to a proposition, but a relation to, haha, truth; that is, God; and made possible through the event of Christ) is the “cure” of despair. But then, of course, “truth is subjectivity”. Such that, all that really matters is one’s own relation to it…and it gets pretty hard to speak for another in that case.

          “No, I tell you, you really are in despair!” (I feel like despair could be replaced with hell, but I’m hesitant to equate them)
          “Yeah, ok, sure…”

          The move from despair to faith, as well, seems to be similar to Heidegger’s move from inauthentic to authentic existence. Though, it starts to sound like moral categories (both sets) when put that way, and that doesn’t seem to be either author’s intention. They are modes of being, then. And, both would say we spend pretty much all our time in despair or in the inauthentic. Only rarely do faith or authentic moments happen. And they are, in some sense “heavenly” or “divine”. Levinas’ call of the Other, “the Face”, is something similar.

          All of that leads to a, maybe, strange eschatology. But it seems to be similar with Jesus’ Kingdom talk (neither East nor West, Jew nor Greek, like a seed that turns into a tree where birds make their nest, its ‘at handedness’- here and not yet). Levinas’ ethics and deconstruction, etc. seem to be leading to something like that. As well as the dismantling of conceptions of God (or other related “things”), such that it becomes possible to experience the Other or Otherness or “that which is ‘beyond'”. The struggle to articulate what that is is in some way a “religious” move. This is, essentially what religions have been doing. The Hebrews and Christians have had an understanding of “the meaning of being” and have articulated it through the Bible.

          So, yes, in a sense there seems to be much looking down on religion and Christianity, but there is generally a sense that they have been trying to articulate a “religious” experience. The opposition to religion as ideological state apparatus, rather than expression of “the real” or what have you. Zizek for instance.

          At the end of this, I should say, that I do agree with you. Considering Adam’s comment below, its ridiculous to say “The fact of the matter is…” rather than “In my narrow, slightly suspect, reliant on certain traditions, interpretation of some passages, you are going to go to hell without Jesus”. But, I guess, its harder to get a feeling of fear after all those qualifications. I’ll admit, I moreso wanted to see where my thought would go if there was another interlocutor (other than myself) and I had to write it down. Its interesting territory, I think. Haha, did I get too close to mysticism?



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 3:35 pm


          Well… since all of your words merely refer to other words, they are meaningless…

          Just kidding!

          :D

          That. Was. AWESOME!

          Thanks for putting that together. I do enjoy reading Continental philosophy, and I think that my own sense of “authenticity seeking” comes somewhat from Heidegger or Marcuse might have called authenticity.

          However, I also think that religious claims are often (but not always) on par with “The present king of France is bald.”



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          Jordan

          posted January 28, 2011 at 4:49 pm


          Haha, that’s what makes them meaningful!

          I did mean to mention truth as disclosedness. That there is a disclosure, an uncovering (as well as a covering at the same time) of the meaning of being. And I think that is connected very much to that sense of the religious. Somewhere there is my quibble, haha. So much effort to drag it back and forth with previous statements though.

          It is, of course, very possible (even likely) that the claims are equivalent to that statement. No se.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 5:04 pm


          Ah! But do we discover the truth or do we invent it?

          And another can of worms gets opened.

          LOL! :)



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          Jordan

          posted January 28, 2011 at 5:22 pm


          I want to say something that sounds profound, like “discovery is invention”. Haha, but I can’t say that with a straight face ;)

          I’m actually not even sure if the question makes sense…as in, distinguishing between them might actually be really difficult. They may be two sides of the same coin. It sounds bizarre, but it has to do with our being conditioned, but also that we condition our experiences. There is a back and forth between me and the world…Different people/different cultures experience different worlds. Such that, they are discovering and creating (in certain senses of the word). Ok, now you know, I am an idealist (I’m parroting Ernst Cassirer in this paragraph, basically).



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:32 pm


          Hahaha! Discovery is invention? That is hilarious!

          :D

          Well, I’m cool with idealism, I suppose. I’m a nominalist who is Quinean about my approach to truth. I’m a staunch empiricist and anti-universalist (however, I think there are certainly tropes/memes that people have in common). I think science is the best thing that ever happened to epistemology. I think that the humanities have an important role that is even better than epistemology in some regard– to render in many, many glorious ways the human condition. Religion is part of that, but all religions are equal here, for me.



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          Jordan

          posted January 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm


          Ay ay ay, things got crazy down there last night.

          I’ve read some Quine in some epistemology classes. Epistemology is not really where my interests are though…so he didn’t make much of an impact on me.

          I’m reticent to privilege science though…but that’s not to raise another “symbolic form” (art, language, myth, religion, etc.) above it. They are all special ways of making meaning. And, as such, they have their own “truth”. Problems arise when one tries to talk as though a religious (in this case, perhaps, mythical) truth is a scientific truth. I think this is probably where so much of the arguments are taking place. And it leads to “misunderstanding” or disagreement.

          That is not to say then, that we just leave one realm to itself and only talk from our favourite position. No, there is always tension, push and pull. I find there is a certain amount of “life” within those conversations…and it makes people pretty cool creatures (that its possible).



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          LRA

          posted February 1, 2011 at 5:57 am


          Yes, it did get pretty crazy! LOL!

          Well, even from a philosophy of language position, one cannot exactly justify mystical “truths” as you call them because given the plethora of mystical traditions (and other religious traditions) we have lots of contradictions and no way to sort them out.

          Plus, people shouldn’t dismiss semantics when talking about religion because religious “reasoning” is often an exercise in semantics!

          The SEP has a great entry of theories of meaning:

          http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/meaning/

          My other concern for the use of fact and truth is for the notion of denotation. Empty referents are a serious problem for metaphysical speculations, and that is why I bring it up.

          :D Thank you for your comments– they are greatly appreciated!



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          Jake L.

          posted February 1, 2011 at 10:24 am


          Citing an entry as the basis for truth? Who is to say that the basis is true and factual? Plato? Someone has to validate Plato – other than you and Plato.

          If a fact is “empirically justified…”

          See: empirically. based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic

          Wouldn’t the fact presented about God and the Bible, as expressly experienced and observed by those with whom you’ve argued, be considered a priori “fact,” if based upon empirical evidence?

          Big words, and I think in the end we’re talking about semantics, and using them to tear each other down in an intellectual battle of the internetz. Everyone loses.



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          LRA

          posted February 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm


          Sorry– how exactly have you experienced God in a way that is more convincing than experiencing, say, Aslan?

          What sense data do you have??? That is what experience means. Sense data.



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    Adam Whitley

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:52 am


    I grew up in Christianity like this and I can tell you from my experience that using God as afterlife insurance makes Him irrelevant. A couple years ago, I found a church where the pastor asked us if we would still be Christians if there were no afterlife and it changed my entire perspective on Christianity. Our mission for Christlikeness should look a lot different and be a lot more constructive/redemptive than this video.

    //AW



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      Aran

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:03 am

      John F

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:18 am


      Indeed, I even try not to mention heaven/paradise/new jerusalem/whatever. As Christian Aid’s slogan used to go ‘I belief in life before death’



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John

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:35 am


Weird. I though Pastor Mark ruled hell.



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Travis Mamone

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:42 am


Ah, yes, nothing like scaring the Hell out of people (literally) to get them to come to church more!

The funny thing is there are a number of Christians who think this is the ONLY correct way to preach. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we stop talking about sin. But for me, it wasn’t the flames of Hell that got me to where I am today. It was the promise that Jesus could save a poor wretch like me from the bondage of sin.



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Larry Shallenberger

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:44 am


I can’t shake a belief in Hell but I don’t think it’s what I was taught as a child. But that said, fear isn’t an intrinsic motivator. I might come to fear and outwardly to submit to God but fear cannot teach me to love God.



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    Dan

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am


    Some would argue that God wants our fear while I believe you would agree with me in interpreting the New Testament (as underscored by the Greatest Commandment) that God would rather have our love. He doesn’t want us to accept him because we fear Him, but because we love Him. I believe that if it was fear that God wanted, Jesus’ time on Earth would have been way different.



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Robbie Hilton

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:47 am


MPT, do you believe hell is real? If not, I understand your statements about fear. If you do believe in hell, don’t you think that it is a fearful place and would you call Jesus a preacher of fear.. Matthew 24:50-51 “50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

I’m not saying I agree with Mark’s doctrine, just wondering how you even talk about hell without being considered a perpetrator of fear? How would you tell someone that hell is a real place without fear being a part of that?



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TheOtherMPT

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:51 am


My belief is that Hell is quite real as much as Heaven is quite real. The fact is that there must be balance. Anytime someone overemphasizes one side of the coin (so to speak) they are doing a poor job of presenting the other side if they’re preaching/teaching the Word as Pastor Driscoll is doing. While Jesus never used Hell as a selling point for having people restore their relationship to God (the whole point behind Jesus’ ministry), he did bring it up and use it for warnings and even to drive home a point in parables.



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    Aran

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:06 am


    “there must be balance”

    Why? Where does Jesus teach that ultimate good/love must be balanced with ultimate evil/hate?



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      TheOtherMPT

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:23 am


      I am talking about in our Christian discussions, not what Jesus was teaching. He discussed Hell but he also discussed Heaven. I’ve heard people strictly talk about Heaven and others strictly talk about Hell. I think these are wrong. Only talking about Heaven, while great, ignores the strict nature of God, even to so-called believers who, at the judgement seat, Jesus says He never knew them. Only talking about Hell, while terrible and frankly depressing, ignores the grace and love from God. Both are in the Bible so how does one have the right to emphasize one while ignoring the other? I guess a better way to put it is that there must be a closer balance in discussions of Heaven and Hell.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:09 am


        (btw, love the new moniker! LOL!!!)



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joy-renée

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:55 am


I actually just have a question. When he talks about the punishment in hell being matched to the level of sin committed while on earth, where is the scriptural reference for that? That’s poorly worded, but anyway…

I’m not necessarily coming against his statement–I was just curious if anyone might know where that argument came from.



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    Kellen

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:05 am


    I think that kind of punishment sounds more like Dante’s Inferno rather than the New Testament.



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      joy-renée

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:36 am


      That’s what I thought, but I wasn’t sure if there was something I was missing.



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    chrisnu

    posted January 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm


    That can be read in the Apocalypse of Peter. It didn’t make it into the final New Testament canon, but it was included in earlier canons, and certainly helped shape views of hell in the church later, as well as The Divine Comedy.



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Daniel Rothamel

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:09 am


I happened to watch this sermon yesterday, so finding this post today is a fortuitous coincidence. :-)

First things first, this is a 5-minute clip from a 45-minute sermon.

Second, the scripture on which Mark is preaching is Luke 13:22-30. I’ll reprint it here for the sake of context (NIV):

The Narrow Door

22 Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, 24 “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. 25 Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’

“But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’

26 “Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’

27 “But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!’

28 “There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. 29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

I don’t know about you, but to me, that seems like Jesus telling folks, “walk through the narrow door, before it shuts, or God will deny you, shutting you out of the kingdom of God forever, to a place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Maybe that’s not hell, but being outside the kingdom of God, without a way of ever entering through that already shut door, doesn’t sound like the way I want to spend my eternal life.

I do, in fact, fear that possibility. Jesus is clearly saying it is a possibility. I have to imagine that he knew those to whom he was speaking would have feared it, too.

That fear does not make me want to love Jesus or God any less. It does not discourage me. In fact, I fell quite the opposite. I want to do everything I can to love Jesus and the Father more. I don’t want to weep and gnash my teeth for eternity, wishing I had done what is difficult and walked through that door. I want to follow Jesus. Jesus said the opportunity to walk through the door is there, but that the door will shut. I want to walk through that narrow door before it shuts on me.

Perhaps this parable is uncomfortable. Perhaps the thought of some people being shut out of the kingdom of God is difficult for us to understand, difficult for us to accept. This difficulty does not make it any less true.

You can call Pastor Mark’s style Calvinistic, or fear-mongering, or whatever other term you can think of to distance yourself from his words. What are we to do, however, with the words of Jesus? What are we to do when His words cause discomfort?



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:24 am


    “What are we to do when His words cause discomfort?”

    Pay attention to that feeling. It’s called cognitive dissonance. Use your critical thinking skills to keep digging. Keep asking hard questions. Be honest about the inconsistencies.

    At some point, you have to decide if you want to seek “truth” as best you can, or if you want to let a 2000 year old document keep fooling you into believing in things that have no evidence behind them whatsoever.



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      John

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:32 am


      LRA:

      My thoughts exactly. Nicely put. Do you have a blog of your own?



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      Daniel Rothamel

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:51 am


      Allow me to clarify, “discomfort.”

      I’m not talking about cognitive dissonance. I’m not conflicted.

      My discomfort comes from the fact that there are people who will not enter the kingdom of God. I acknowledge that there is also the possibility that one of those people could be me, if I chose to be.

      I love people. I want them to experience the joy that the love of Jesus, the Love of God, has brought into my life. I want them to know and experience the love of Jesus and the love of God. I want them to reach their full potential as children of God.

      Jesus says two things very clearly–

      1) He is the way. Only through Him can we find eternal life. (John 14:1-13)

      2) It is my responsibility, as his follower, to show others that He is the way. (Matthew 28:16-20)

      What gives me discomfort about the parable of the door is that not everyone will find the door. We (the community of disciples) must show it to them. Even then, some people will not choose to walk through the door, no matter how badly I want them to, or how much I love them. This does not discourage me from wanted to fulfill my responsibilities, but it does make me uncomfortable. I guess I would say that it makes me uncomfortable in a good way.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:13 am


        If you believe that, then you believe in a cruel “God” indeed.

        Also, you ought not worry so much. There is not a shred of evidence for the existence of hell. Or Valhalla. Or Hades. Or Mount Olympus. Or Shobari Waka.



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          Daniel Rothamel

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:47 am


          Would you call a parent cruel if he or she says to a child:

          “I love you. I want you to do what is good. I want nothing but the best for you. I will always be here to support you. If you do wrong, and ask for forgiveness, I will freely give it. You can rely on me whenever you need me. I will shower my blessings and grace on you every chance I get. But, if you know what is right but choose to do what is wrong, if you do not show love for others as I have shown love for you, if you turn your back on me, you will suffer.”



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:20 am


          Wow. It is quite a leap to that warm, fuzzy mush from “love me or I will burn you forever!”

          (1) Have you ever heard of abusive parents?

          (2) Have you ever heard of psycho exes?

          Your “God” fits both of those profiles.



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          Joe

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm


          @LRA

          Did you honestly just say that? As a Christians that has had very abusive parents I find your comments to be incredibly ignorant and well…stupid. It’s obvious from reading many of your comments you have this unhealthy need to slap people over the head with how right you are.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 1:02 am


          Joe, please don’t assume you know anything about me or my childhood.

          Take your indignation elsewhere until you have some actual evidence for you silly claims.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 1:37 am


          BTW, read your own Bible. I would suggest you start at 1 Peter 3:15.



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          Grace

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm


          I agree with LRA that a God who says “worship me or else” is abusive and cruel. And as she also alludes to, there’s no particular reason why we should believe in that version of God over any other version. It would hardly be fair of God to punish people for not picking the One True Faith (TM) out of dozens of options. Maybe God should have made it a bit more obvious which one is right.



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:09 am


          A God of mystery who seeks to be united with his children would do no such thing. They know who their Father is, and when they want to come home He will welcome them all with open arms.

          BTW they left home on their own accord, not his.



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          Grace

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:51 am


          It’s both sad and fascinating to see the contortions you force yourself into to pretend that your god isn’t a petty and cruel tyrant.



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          Elemenope

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:26 am


          BTW they left home on their own accord, not his.

          I did? When did I do that?

          Or is this one of those “Adam acts for all mankind” deals?



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm


      I seek truth every day, and it’s not even close to anything you are saying. You spend a lot of time here spreading your own gospel, how can anyone have any time to really look for truth?



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm


        Once again, a brilliant insight from the queen of the anti-intellectuals.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:14 pm


          It’s a waste of your precious intellect to think that I care whether or not I am smart enough for you. The fact is I am not. I don’t say what I say too look awesome. I don’t say what I say to be better than anyone or to look good. If I wanted to keep my pride and my dignity I would not speak at all. I am quite aware at how foolish I look.

          It matters not compared to a richer glory…



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm


          M’kay!



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          Sandy

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm


          LRA-perhaps if you took the time to click on Christina’s name and read her story, you wouldn’t be so quick to name call. You may not agree but I think you are being really insulting.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:26 am


          Sandy, how have I possibly been insulting when I’ve been inundated with ignorant tripe? It is not insulting to point out the flaws in a fallacious argument. That’s what adults do. Adults have reasonable discussions on topics, backing up their claims with evidence.

          People like Christina have broken irony detectors. Claiming a speculative argument as truth is, at best, ignorance, and at worst, delusional arrogance.

          If a person insisted to you that the sky wasn’t blue, but was really fluorescent green with magenta polka dots and then cited faith as the reason, you’d think that person unhinged, right?

          Well?

          So, no. I’m not being insulting by insisting on a high bar for evidence when fantastical claims are made. Even Christian apologists recognize that great claims require great evidence. Too bad they don’t understand what great evidence entails.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:46 am


    Daniel,

    Mark’s church released this video. They edited it and posted it on YouTube.com. THEY obviously believe we didn’t need to see the whole 45 minutes of the sermon for us to get context or understand Mark’s point. So that part of your argument is null.



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      Daniel Rothamel

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:02 am


      Fair enough.

      I’m pointing it out only because I happened to have seen the full thing yesterday. As I was watching the full sermon, I had a similar reaction to his statement that Jesus rules hell. It made me go, “huh?” That’s one of the reasons that your post caught my eye on twitter.

      There is also the possibility that THEY misjudged. Of all the things he covered in that sermon, that wasn’t the 5 minutes that really stood out to me, even though I did take note of it. I thought the parts about the duality of the exclusivity/inclusivity of Christ were more noteworthy. I think they posted that part as related clip on the YouTube page. I’d post it, but I don’t want the link to throw me into SPAM. Akismet HATES me. ;-)



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Alise

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:12 am


I’ve never understood the appeal of Pascal’s wager. Seems like the saddest kind of faith one could have.



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    VorJack

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:38 am


    Does it even qualify as faith? If you’re simply paying lipservice to an idea on the off chance that it might save you from damnation, are you really being faithful?



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:51 am


      It’s fire insurance.



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Larry Shallenberger

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:17 am


One of the best things I ever did was to enter into a fast friendship with a universalist. I don’t see eye to eye, but man I’ve come to see things differently and more nuanced.

And I’m definitely seeing a God more committed to people than I ever imagined.



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LRA

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:17 am


On hell, he says, “This is a fact.”

A “fact,” huh?

I do not think that word means what he thinks it means.



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    gkx

    posted January 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm


    L from TX… quoting The Princess Bride. I like this. :)



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:22 pm


      :D

      Hee hee!



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asmith180

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:18 am


The only thing I have to say is this: as a student pastor speaking directly on the topic of hell is not an easy topic. To me I totally believe what the Bible says and that it is a real place but the fact that teaching it somehow draws a sense of negativity today. Almost like “who are you to tell me that I am going to hell” if I don’t accept Jesus attitude in society. So my thing is this, if the Bible clearly talks about this place and that it is the final destination for all that don’t proclaim Christ, what is the correct way to speak this truth? I think each person who teaches it has to be careful in the way they present this truth and understand that not everyone will accept the way that it is taught.



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:26 am


    “So my thing is this, if the Bible clearly talks about this place and that it is the final destination for all that don’t proclaim Christ, what is the correct way to speak this truth?”

    Truth, hmmmm.

    I do not think that word means what you think it means.



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cxlink

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:23 am


I’m a little confused. He doesn’t say this stuff weekly so I don’t consider him a “turn or burn” preacher. But according to the Bible isn’t he speaking truth? And hes not screaming it on a street corner he is telling this to the congregation at his church.

Are the implications of “never using fear” avoid mentioning anything in the Bible that’s scary? Sorry hell and eternal damnation is a pretty scary thing and for Christians it should be eye opening, sobering and motivating.

If we stop saying truth because it may be scary, uncomfortable, or evoke emotion, then whats the point of truth?



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:28 am


    “If we stop saying truth because it may be scary, uncomfortable, or evoke emotion, then whats the point of truth?”

    What truth? Where?

    Have you verified somehow that there is a hell? Where is your evidence? (REAL evidence, not speculations or circular reasoning.)



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      cxlink

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:38 am


      Any truth.

      My proof of Hell is Biblical, but if you don’t believe the Bible is true then you have just as much proof that Hell doesn’t then I do that it does.



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        VorJack

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:49 am


        “My proof of Hell is Biblical, ”

        Oddly enough, universalists and annihilationists say the same thing.

        Look, no one is asking you to change your mind, but can you at least admit that reasonable and well meaning people can come to different conclusions?



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:59 am


          Totally!

          Did it come across that I thought people who thought differently then me were in some way inferior? Sorry if so.



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        Matthew Lyon

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:54 am


        what the hell?

        stop fighting.

        if “the kingdom of god is at hand” speaks to the rule of peace and love, faith and hope, then the kingdom of hell is fighting and discord, insults and defensiveness.

        what you live is more important than your belief. beliefs affect behavior, but behavior affects people, and God, as we ALL agree, loves people the most.

        Now, i suggest you post why you feel intimidated by the chance that hell does/doesn’t exist. we live in a PoMo world, so emotional stories can’t be argued with, but can elicit compassion.

        compassion, people, where the HELL is compassion?



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:00 am


          I wasn’t aware that there was fighting.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 9:55 am


        Ok, so hell is real because the Bible says hell is real because the Bible says the Bible is truth?

        No, that’s not circular at all.



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:04 am


          It is circular, but its what I believe. If it wasn’t circular and didn’t support itself then there would be cause for alarm.

          Hopefully all beliefs Christian or non are circular.

          Like you don’t believe in hell because the Bible talks about it and you believe the Bible isn’t true, also circular.



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          sbuxjosh

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:14 am


          a) Doubt does not equal belief. If I doubt your bible, that’s not a faith postition.

          b) I can use your same argument for the Koran. Why don’t you believe it? Or at least give it the same amount of merit. Seems incredibly biased.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:16 am


          Circular reasoning is bad logic. What you believe is literally illogical.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:39 am


          @LRA
          I totally agree what I believe is illogical and its counter intuitive, fortunately I don’t rely on my flawed and limited logic nor my intuition to save my soul.

          But if you don’t believe you have a soul or that you don’t need to be saved then why worry about it, in your case?

          @sbuxjosh
          Sorry I didnt understand the reference for a.

          But b) I don’t believe the Koran is the true. Much like those who read the Koran don’t believe the Bible is.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:25 am


          “fortunately I don’t rely on my flawed and limited logic nor my intuition to save my soul.”

          No, you rely on the flawed and limited document called the Bible.

          “But if you don’t believe you have a soul or that you don’t need to be saved then why worry about it, in your case?”

          Because I live in a society chock full of people like you. These people make flawed and limited policy based on your flawed and limited anti-intellectualism that affects me. I don’t like it! So, I speak out against it.



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm


          So your beef is more with politics then Christianity?
          Or maybe a better way of saying it is you don’t like the people in power imposing their views on the laws that affect you, because their views are contrary to your own?

          I understand that but it works both ways. I would prefer some laws that I consider to be unjust to be overturned, but that’s the wonderful thing about democracies the majority speaks and if you don’t fall into that majority then you probably wont get what you want.

          Sorry to hear your not happy with some politicians who make decisions based on their faith.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm


          No, my beef is with the fact that my rights and the rights of others that are specifically guaranteed in the Constitution are being violated.

          Your “tough titty, we have the power” answer shows that you have no problem violating my rights.

          You better hope and pray that Christians are never a minority in this country. What goes around comes around. Unless, of course, there are people like me who are willing to speak up for your rights.

          Believe whatever stupid thing you want. I don’t care. But quit trying to force it on everyone else.



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          cxlink

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm


          Wow you got vicious there. I’ll stop after this response. I do wonder what rights are built into the constitution that you feel are being currently violated.

          There was not “tough titty, we have the power” in my post because I definitely don’t feel represented by those in power, be it president, house or senate.

          “Believe whatever stupid thing you want. I don’t care. But quit trying to force it on everyone else.”

          I find this comment odd, because you came on a Christian blog to force your views on those posting here, not the other way around. So if you free to come to a gathering place of Christians and force your ideas on and please don’t get all self righteous and act like I came to your non-christian blog and said you were all stupid for believing whatever it is you do or don’t believe.

          Basically if you going to do it you shouldn’t say it’s wrong for someone else too.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 2:21 pm


          Excuse me? I’ve not forced my views on anyone. (1)I have been welcomed here by the owner of this blog and several of his readers. (2) Since when is discussion forcing?

          I am referring to the shenanigans of the Religious Right. Yes, they *are* trying to force their views on everyone.

          Have you heard of the Texas Board of Education and their war on science, social studies, and appropriate and responsible sex education? Have you heard of Prop 8? Have you heard that abortion is a voting issue still, all these years after Roe v. Wade?

          These are just a few of the issues that are going on today. Look at how many idiots in government are anti-intellectual yocals who want our SECULAR nation to be a Christian nation, praise Jeebus!

          I’m angry and rightly so. I expect to get the freedom that the Founders of my nation guaranteed me, and I’m using my voice to speak out against those who would deny me that.

          Simply put, I’m not in the wrong here. Period.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 2:54 pm


          Also, I shouldn’t need to remind you that the name of this blog is “Jesus needs new PR”… you know, PR? Public relations?

          If I can’t talk about the damage that Christians are doing to the PR of a movement that claims to be about love, then where can I talk about it?

          And, BTW, I may be snarky. I may need to have more patience from time to time. I might even be a jerk. But I am not vicious.

          Telling people that they are going to burn in hell for an eternity is violent. It is vile. It is truly vicious.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm


          No, he or she relies upon the message of the gospel. Not a book or a person. You should check it out sometimes seeing as you haven’t quite heard or understood its message yet.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:22 pm


          You don’t know what you are talking about. You don’t know me at all. You are just mad because I refuse to submit to some random claim of authority. You are as bad as the church I left behind.

          Hear me now… I WILL NEVER SUBMIT TO ARBITRARY CLAIMS OF AUTHORITY. No one should. It’s stupid!



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm


          Your arrogance is that you think any one of us cares what you submit to or don’t submit to. I assure you we do not. I personally have more non Christian (philosophical even) friends than I do Christian friends who are not in the slightest submissive to God. You fail to see your general arrogance period. Your arrogance is what is offensive, not your beliefs.

          I’m actually having trouble swallowing the massive irony in it all.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:36 pm


          Good grief! You are just not very intelligent are you? Enough! Enough of ridiculousness. Enough of your dogma. Enough of your ugliness. You are a poor example of what agape is supposed to be. You should be ashamed of yourself. Since you have no ability to actually engage the arguments I’ve made, you must resort to ad hominems. Yes, you are really are that dumb and obnoxious. It is tiresome. I’m tired of your clanging gong bullsh*t.

          When you actually have something engaging to say or something that actually moves the conversation forward, come back and present it. Until then, stop following me around the whole g*ddamn blog and pestering me!



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          Christina

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:12 am


          Judging from this response I have engaged exactly the place God intended me to engage because He loves you and misses you.

          PS I am pestering everyone don’t feel special.



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:37 am


          *sigh* (of exasperation!)



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 1:41 am


          1 Peter 3:15



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm


      Hell is life without God and you are living it already. You are sewing hatred and arrogance here. That’s hell.

      The hell in the after life everyone is speaking of is a life with nothing more than the brokenness inside of yourself that you are covering up with all of your fallible logic.

      Jesus leaked light onto the world when He died and what He brought is yours to take. You should try it out some time and stop hanging out around this soap box trying to convince everyone that you are happy and they have it all wrong by having faith in Jesus.

      Joy and “truth” is not something that has to be argued. That is the mistake of man. Truth is always there in front of us. We either see it or we don’t. That’s it. Everything else, including subjectivity and personal life view, is convolution.

      And very stressful I might add…boy I’m glad I don’t live this discomforting mess every day. I actually might have to sop reading this blog too. All this brokenness everywhere is weighty.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 6:38 pm


        Your concern is noted.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm


          My concern is not actually for you, it’s for my family. AKA the Kingdom of God.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm


          LOL! You really are a piece of work, aren’t you?



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm


          That’s exactly what I am. Created by the one and only God who promises to complete the work He started in me.

          You are too, BTW. Just sayin.



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Jacob Beaver

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:38 am


I havent read all the comments so i dont know if anyone has touched on this or not, but Jesus doesnt mention hell in the way we think of it. Most of the time he mentions a literal place called gehenna which has been translated to hell. the other time he mentions hades which of course is the greek mythological underworld which everyone was very familiar with in the 1st century.

I completely agree with MPT here. Nothing but fear tactics. i have heard that argument over and over. And yes, to most Christians, Jesus is pointless except for saving them from hell. I think its as far from the actual good news we can get.

When Jesus speaks of hell in the scripture he is always using metaphoric language and it has way more to do about the “here and now” than it does about where you are going to go when you die.

If anything, Jesus and the scripture depict the recreation of ALL things here on earth and not physical places called heaven and hell.

i would to discuss the parables which refer to hell.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:42 am


    Thank you for mentioning this. I wanted to earlier. But had to take my kid to daycare. :)



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Jacob Beaver

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:41 am


I would Love to discuss the parables dealing with hell. (is what that was suppose to say)



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    Matthew Lyon

    posted January 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm


    yes, let’s do that.

    can you quote it here?



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      Jacob Beaver

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:07 pm


      well start with the sheep and the goats in matthew 25 in short… obvious metaphoric language to begin with unless you think actual sheep and actual goats are being judged. plus if you take it literal then there is not other way to view the “final judgment” other than a work based judgement. the reason the goats were condemned is because they didnt do good works, not because they didnt ask jesus into their heart. actually the sheep who were declared righteous for doing good works, had no idea they were doing them to Jesus. again, if you take this literal then you go to heaven not because of your faith but solely on works (same goes for the rich man and lazarus) however, taken metaphorically and applied to how we live today this story is not about believers and non believers… but in fact, many times Christians would end up being the goats because they are not living the life Christ has called them to. in this case feeding, giving water to, clothing, visiting, and taking care of the “least of these”.
      Jesus is using a metaphorical story to portray a truth about reality and he uses imagery that his listeners will get and can relate to.



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Jnc

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:50 am


I have only been reading these blogs for about the last 4 months, but it seems you have an issue with Mark Driscoll even more than what he’s teaching. I haven’t listened enough to know or sure, but every time I hear that he says something that seems ridiculous, if I take the time to listen to the whole sermon and hear it in context, it usually makes way more sense. I don’t think it’s fair to just pull bits and pieces…it doesn’t work when we do it with the Bible either….and we try all the time!



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    Chad

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:45 am


    ” I don’t think it’s fair to just pull bits and pieces”

    It is Mars Hills that pulls out bits and pieces and puts them on the web for people to view.



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Riggs

posted January 28, 2011 at 10:26 am


Are we depending on the preaching of Mark Driscol to get us to Heaven? Is he the Christ? Why do we put him on a pedestal? Mark is just a messenger. He’s not perfect – he’s human. Were his tactics the best? Who knows – unless you live in Seattle and are part of his congregation it’s tough to say. Remember – Mark truly believes that one should be a “missionary in his community”. So similar to how Paul’s tone is different in his letters because each letter was to a different church. Depending on the church’s actions – Paul used a different tone. I have to assume Mark knows his audience so perhaps he felt the need to use the “fear” tactic. Were people saved during this church service? Perhaps… I’m not sure. I’m not here to defend Mark or conclude that he was 100% right… but…

In Philippians 1, Paul was talking about how preachers were teaching with the wrong motives… and his conclusion to the discussion in verse 18 (NLT) was “But that doesn’t matter. Whether their motives are false or genuine, the message about Christ is being preached either way, so I rejoice”.

C’mon fellow believers – let’s rejoice in the fact that Christ is being preached and people are being saved. No matter who’s doing the preaching.

Let’s assume Pastor Mark is really called by God to be the Pastor of Mars Hill Church… then Pastor Mark is not accountable to us (quite honestly, he shouldn’t care what we think) – he is accountable to God. After all… it’s only God that can save – no pastor, preacher, missionary, or blog commenter has that power. But we can proclaim what we believe to be the truth with boldness as they did in the book of Acts.

Again.. Paul in Galatians 1:10 (NLT) said “Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant”



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    Grace

    posted January 28, 2011 at 9:02 pm


    GMars Hill had 4 million downloads of its sermons in the past year and it’s impossible for all of those to come from MHC members. I’d say what Driscoll is teaching is of relevance to quite a lot of people outside MHC, and he should be held accountable by other Christians for what he says. It’s disappointing that so many Christians give him a pass for his violent, misogynist, Eurocentric rhetoric and teachings. I’m glad to see him called out for his rhetoric – and as someone who’s not a Christian I gotta say, his approach is not doing the church any favors. He looks like a woman-hating bully to most people outside the very small world of complementarian evangelicalism.



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Zack

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:06 am


May I suggest a name for Pastor Mark’s approach: “By the way, Jesus Loves You Evangelism”

e.g. “You’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, you’re going to hell, and by the way Jesus loves you.”

Maybe my own ministry is off base, but if I have just a few minutes to share the gospel with people I want to spend as much time as possible telling them how much Jesus loves them, not how much He wants to send them to hell.



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    Riggs

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:36 am


    Mark didn’t have just “a few minutes”… he had an entire 2 year series… which is what he is in the middle of. He just happened to be at the passage that talks about “hell”.

    Not justifying his “scare tactic” but to say he’s not using his time wisely to share people the love of Christ is basically you admitting to being uninformed.

    And if you’re only knowledge of Mark Driscol is from what is reported on this site – you’re only getting a small sample size of Pastor Mark’s teaching – therefore uninformed.



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      Zack

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm


      There are a lot of things that I could say in response, but I’ll keep it simple. I’m not “uninformed” about Driscol, I am very familiar with what and how he teaches. The problem that both he and you share is the notion that this and similar issues come down to a lack of knowledge, or as you call it being “uninformed”. In reality, it is my being informed that leads me to the conclusions that I draw. Fundamentally it’s a difference in opinion, not a lack of knowledge. He’s reformed and I am not.



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Adam Ellis

posted January 28, 2011 at 11:08 am


To say that Hell is spoken about clearly in the Bible, is more than a little misleading. To say that it consistently speaks of Hell as the dominant concept articulated by American Evangelicals is ludicrous, especially if you know anything about the original languages and contexts:

• For starters, the word “Hell” is used for multiple Greek and Hebrew words that no one would have necessarily connected otherwise. In the Old Testament, there is little to no original concept of afterlife. By the end of the O.T., an eschatology involving resurrection begins to emerge (See Jewish scholar Jon Levinson’s book “Resurrection and the Restoration of Israel” for more on this http://amzn.to/dJEAXX ). The word translated “Hell” in some translations in the O.T. is actually “Sheol”…which is a Babylonian concept of afterlife, in which all people good or bad go to the same place…which is an awful place (see the Gilgamesh epic).

• In the New Testament, Jesus speaks about “hell” more than anyone else, but he is (a) speaking to primary audiences who already claimed to believe in God, (b) using the word Gehenna (as has already been mentioned in the comments), which is an actual physical place. He is obviously using this metaphorically, but to say this obviously points to an afterlife of eternal conscious torment for individual who don’t cognitively agree with the divinity of Jesus and/or who commit individual personal sins is speculative at best.

• Paul never directly mentions Hell, and to claim that his use of the word “destruction” necessarily refers to eternal-conscious-torment-Hell is also speculation. Such a translation is certainly possible, but it is inconsistent with how “destruction” language is dominantly used in the rest of the Biblical text (See the prophets for good examples). In fact, to equate Paul’s use of “destruction” to Hell, would for reasons of consistency and context require one to take an annihilationist view of Hell (as would Paul’s “second death” v/s “eternal life” language). I don’t particularly have a problem with such a view, but it is more than a little difficult to reconcile Paul’s use of “destruction” or even his overt language about afterlife with an “eternal conscious torment” approach.

• The word translated “Hell” in Peter’s writings is actually (and somewhat confusingly) “Tartarus”, which in Greek Mythology is not even particularly related to afterlife, but rather is a place next to “Hell” (the land of the dead in Greek Mythology) and is the place where the Titans (older deities who were overthrown by “younger gods” in Greek Mythology) resided.

• (This is somewhat related) The imagery of “fire” in the Biblical text is dominantly used as a purifying agent rather than torture or punishment.

• The word “Hades” which is also sometimes either translated “Hell” or used as a synonym for “Hell” also comes from Greek Mythology. Hades was a Greek God (the brother of Zeus) who ruled the land of the dead. This being the case, the natural assumption would be that references to Hades would thus refer to death or “where the dead are” generally, rather than to “Hell” specifically.

For the record, I actually do believe in the afterlife, and have done a lot of thinking, study, work, etc. regarding eschatology. Additionally, when I mention above that something is a concept from Greek or Babylonian mythology, I do not mean to imply that the Biblical use of it is mere “borrowing”, (in fact, I think it was often done intentionally by the Biblical writers in an attempt to be subversive with regards to the competing narratives articulated by those in power, in favor of the narrative they themselves held to be true. My point is that the concept of “Hell” in the Bible is quite complex, and we do ourselves and our faith no favors when we attempt to present it otherwise, much less when we try to use an oversimplified understanding of it in an attempt to somehow scare people into becoming Christians. Fear-based avoidance cannot produce passionate disciples of the Way of Jesus.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:27 am


    Comment win!



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    Danny

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:28 am


    Great thoughts.

    Do you mind elaborating, (and if you don’t want to do it in this blog I understand)on your thoughts about what the afterlife actually is?



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      Adam Ellis

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:51 am


      I’ve got to finish writing a sermon, so I can’t really do much with your question right now. Also, it would be a pretty substantial piece of writing for a comment…but MPT sometimes asks me to do guest posts, so who knows?

      In the meantime, I’d point you to a somewhat diverse group of thinkers from N.T. Wright to Jurgen Moltmann. Also, I’ve written some on my personal blog (linked above). If you want to search through that, I’m sure you could find various places where I’ve touched on the subject.



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        Dianna

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm


        I love Moltmann. He was a major part in my (literature) thesis. His views on death and community are fascinating.

        Just throwing my seconding of that recommendation out there.



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:41 am


    Thank you for that. I wish more Christians would think as carefully as you about the complex narrative that is the Bible.



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      Adam Ellis

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:52 am


      Thanks for your kind words. I take that as a high compliment.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm


        Aw! LOL!

        :D



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:29 pm


          I feel that I should add here that I think the Bible is a human work of art. It is literature. It is fascinating and it has value in a scholarly sense.

          What ever complaints I may lodge about it, it still deserves at least that respect.



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:57 pm


          I believe that the Bible is other things as well, but I agree with you enthusiastically that it is literature and art, and it’s more than appropriate to discuss it on those terms whether one thinks that there’s anything else to it or not.



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      Riggs

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:56 am


      Salvation is simple… let’s not over-complicate it. Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

      So… where do they go then if they don’t go through Jesus to the Father?

      Am I misinterpreting that verse?



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        Adam Ellis

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm


        Well, in context Jesus’ intention really doesn’t seem to be to give his disciples a warning about Hell. While there question seems to be somewhat about afterlife (though it is very vague, asking only about how to follow Jesus where he is going), if you continue reading the rest of Jesus response to them (the rest of John 14), he seems to be subverting their question (in true Jesus style) to get them to engage with LIFE rather than focusing on afterlife. In both Greek and Hebrew, the term that is translated “Salvation” literally means “Rescue”. I really have trouble with an understanding of “salvation” that makes it primarily about the afterlife. Old Testament texts that refer to salvation are rarely if ever talking about afterlife, and most New Testament texts require a good bit of speculation to arrive at such an interpretation, given the context and the way the terminology is used in the rest of the Biblical text. It’s worth noting that in the passage you referenced, Jesus is addressing people who are already his followers. Their question was about how to continue to follow him in light of the coming events.

        I’d argue that in the Biblical examples we have of evangelism, afterlife is never “the pitch”.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm


          really?

          Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

          Mat 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

          Mat 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

          Luk 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

          Luk 16:23 And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

          although, I do agree with you on one thing: heaven is indeed falling to earth even now as we speak.



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:07 pm


          Christina,
          Yeah, that’s really what I’m arguing. If you’ll scroll up a bit to my first comment in this thread, the concept of Hell in the verses you list is MUCH more complicated that you would assume at first glace when reading an English translation of the text.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm


          Actually it’s pretty spelled out to me, that’s why i used multiple verses to paint the context. As far as translation goes, why do you say you have faith in God when you distrust His power to keep a translation in tact for the sake of His children? I’m not sure I understand the necessity to overcomplicated the words Jesus spoke.
          His best quality was His clarity. Something I admire a lot because I lack it I must add.



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm


          Christina,
          Are you arguing that the translation process was inspired by God, and that all translations of the Bible are equally valid…that every translation of the Bible is equally accurate? If so, that position is going to prove very difficult to defend. Just comparing and contrasting the English translation to each other creates enormous problems for your premise, not to mention comparing any translation to the original language.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm


          I’m saying that God is in charge of His book, not you or any other man. You either believe in His authority or you don’t believe in Him at all.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:41 pm


          Wow. An argument from authority. I would expect no less from you.



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm


          Christina,
          You can’t possibly be arguing that anything presented as the word of God should be accepted without question. It sounds like you are saying that anything that anyone claims is the Word of God should be accepted as such. That can’t be what you are saying. How much evil has been perpetuated in God’s name that God would have nothing to do with?



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:26 pm


          I am not arguing that. I am talking specifically about the ENGLISH translation in general. There are many “translations” that are inaccurate. You basically assumed there is no English translation that is accurate enough, and that everyone must read the Greek or Hebrew transcripts. I know that is not true because if that were true the gospel would be dead.

          No concept in the bible is too complicated for the simple man. Jesus came in a manger and called himself a shepherd. He lives for simplicity. You are leading people astray by saying that. Acting as if the bible requires a man of intellect and knowledge to interpret the bigger concepts to a simple man. Absolutely not true.

          Also, it’s not my argument, it’s God’s.

          Again, I trust God not man.



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          Elemenope

          posted January 29, 2011 at 9:43 am


          The problem of hapax legomena alone would be a daunting one for your theory to overcome. Translation is a tricky business when you are familiar with all the words’ rough meanings, but when a word only occurs once, that problem is amplified tremendously. There are several of these orphaned words in the Bible, and translators are all over the place on them.

          More to the point, though, this idea that the ideas in the Bible are simple is a problematic one even from the text. At several points Jesus himself becomes frustrated with the disciples not understanding his metaphors and parables, and they had the benefit of access to the source first-hand. If his hand-picked students have trouble while they were there operating in the original language and with the capacity for follow-up questions, what makes you think it would be easy now?



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:27 pm


          I would also like to remind all Christians that Jesus’ MO was to use the foolish man to shame the wise.



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          Grace

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:13 pm


          Christina, you are trusting man if you’re basing your entire concept of the afterlife on bible translations done by men.

          I know that is not true because if that were true the gospel would be dead.

          The only way to know whether English translations are accurate or not is to compare them to the manuscripts we have. You’re literally saying it’s impossible for a mistranslation to be common to most or all English bibles because . . . you say so? the bible says so? This is not a proof. And incidentally, there are are a number of historical examples of errors of translation that were widespread and persisted for centuries. But I guess those historical facts can’t be true because then the bible would be dead?



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:23 pm


          No I am not trusting man Grace. I trust that the Bible is the divine work of God. That’s faith. God welcomes man to participate in His Kingdom, but the whole thing is in His hands. That’s that gist of the whole Bible. If you have a fear of man (in regards to translation and so and and so forth) that’s your business. I trust God.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm


          BTW it is disheartening how highly you underestimate the power of the Gospel. Again, i’m not sure why anyone who won’t take all of the power for what it is even bothers. It seems like such a waste of time to muddle with the Bible at all if you refuse to acknowledge its power. Its power has NOTHING to do with men. God has been trying to tell us this since the dawn of time. GOD IS GOD. Not man.



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          Grace

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm


          It seems like such a waste of time to muddle with the Bible at all if you refuse to acknowledge its power. Its power has NOTHING to do with men. God has been trying to tell us this since the dawn of time.

          The Bible hasn’t even existed “since the dawn of time.” Heck, it hasn’t even existed as long as Christianity has been around. Perhaps you’re not aware that for the first few centuries of Christian history, which books were “inspired” wasn’t a settled question.

          I trust the historical record. You know, documents and facts. And the historical record says there have been plenty of errors in bible translations in the past. I wonder how you make sense of believing in a book that is itself a historical artifact when you don’t trust the kind of historical research and evidence that informs the editions of the bible we read today.



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        Sbuxjosh

        posted January 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm


        The problem is Jesus probably didn’t say that. John is the most unreliable account of the words of Jesus.



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    sbuxjosh

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm


    Hats off to you adam.



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    Bret

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm


    You’re muddying the waters with intellectualism. The biblical idea, though expressed in myriad ways, is that people that do not accept Jesus go to hell.

    The Simple Gospel: Jesus Saves

    The Simple Alternative: Jesus punishes.

    Any more than this is either confusion or (worse) outright deception. Rightly divide the word of truth or do not wish to be a teacher.



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      Adam Ellis

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm


      Wait. Paying attention to context is “intellectualism”? And…intellect is bad? And paying attention to context and original languages somehow muddies the waters? And the Biblical context should be ignored if it complicates or is incompatible with predetermined doctrinal formulas?



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 5:42 pm


        When you put intellect before the message of Christ, which is the vibe you’re passing off whether you intend that or not, it is dangerously bad.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm


          Wow. Now we have an argument from ignorance. Fantastic. How many more logical fallacies can you commit, Christina?



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm


          No we have an argument for faith. Faith is weighing all the options and going for the adventure, it has nothing to with ignorance. Ignorance is pride. I know how foolish faith seems to you, you don’t need to remind us.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:50 pm


          But that’s just it, Christina. You haven’t weighted all the options! Do you know the intricacies of all the religions on the planet??? I dare say you don’t!

          Way, way up the thread, Vorjack (who I know from Unreasonable Faith) mentioned Pascal’s wager. That is what you are doing here. You’re wagering that you are right. Have you considered Islam (both Sunni and Shiite)? Have you considered the myriad of schools that come out of Hinduism? Have you considered the various forms of Buddhism? Honestly?

          You cling to dogma to comfort you because the thought of not being special to the God of the Universe (TM) is scary. The thought of not having a purpose in life is scary. The thought of ceasing to exist when you die is scary.

          Even so, it doesn’t make your religion the correct one. In fact, there are no guarantees that ANY of the religions are the correct one. But, without evidence, and in the face of the thousands of religions on this planet, you insist that YOU are correct! Talk about arrogance!

          I am skeptical of all religions and supernatural claims because to throw myself into any of them is foolish given that I have NO MEANS to choose one over the other! But, I’m the arrogant one?

          Sheesh!



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 10:40 pm


          Christina,
          I am the preaching minister for a church, and I was a youth minister for mor than a decade before that. I have a Master of Theological Studies degree and teach Biblical Studies at the University level. I have been done foreign mission work in Ukraine and Mexico. I have led teams of people doing hurricane relief work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in the name of Jesus. I have preached funerals for premature babies, and I have wept with teenagers after I helped load their father’s body on the van that would take him to the funeral home. I assure you that I have done all of these things and more because of my faith, and not because I have “put intellect before the message of Christ”. Frankly, I resent the implication. The fact is that I care deeply about these things. I think they are so important that I’ve spent countless hours studying them and doing my best to live them out with honesty, integrity, and some semblance of the character I see displayed in Christ. The arrogant, self-righteous behavior you have displayed in your comments on this blog is exactly the kind of thing that Jesus gets furious about in the gospels. Behavior like what you’ve displayed here is what Christians have become known for, though the majority are nothing like this. I am exhausted from having to apologize for people who behave like you have. I’m so tired of having to deconstruct this twisted version of Jesus before I can talk to people about Jesus and his Way.
          I’m done talking to you. Feel free to keep calling my integrity into question and insinuating that somehow seriously studying the Bible makes me less likely to understand it. I’m fine to let people observe our interaction so far. And judge for themselves which seems to be more in line with the teachings of Jesus and/ or has the ring of truth.



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        Jacob Beaver

        posted January 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm


        haha… people tell me all the time that i study the bible too mcuh. thats a great one. I have a (messed up) intellectual view as well. we have follow blindly i guess.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm


        As far as logic goes, it is no good to me. I am past the logical phase and have moved on.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:53 pm


          You say that like it’s a good thing.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:29 pm


          It is a good thing.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:28 pm


        Mr. Ellis, for a preacher you talk a lot about your own works and don’t spend much time talking about the Gospel or the power of Christ. I’m an educated fool at best, but I have thrived with many men of God who would be very dissapointed in that fact.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:32 pm


        @LRA don’t begin to act as though you know where I have been and where I haven’t been. I weighed my options THOROUGHLY.

        I am without a doubt (with the evidence of my personal journey) there is nowhere better to thrive than in the loving arms of Christ Jesus.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm


          No. You haven’t. Really. Stop this. All you are doing is continuing to build a case against yourself. I mean, really??? You are going to sit there and say that you have studied in depth every single religion on the planet? Really? Really really?

          And people wonder why I get mad at Christians.



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm


      Either this comment is a bit of sarcasm, or else it is very sad and disturbing.



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        Adam Ellis

        posted January 28, 2011 at 1:21 pm


        Go with the sarcasm…at least for my part. ;)



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm


          LOL! I meant Bret not you! Sorry for the lack of clarity!



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      Grace

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:16 pm


      You’re muddying the waters with intellectualism.

      That right there is a huge part of why so many people find it hard to take conservative Christians seriously.



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      Elemenope

      posted January 29, 2011 at 9:45 am


      If it is truly so simple, what is the purpose of the rest of the text?



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        Green Eggs and Ham

        posted January 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm


        To test your faith, just like the dinosaur fossils.



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Charlie Chang

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm


As far as I see it, Jesus mostly told the religious people they were going to hell. I don’t recall him telling the tax collectors and prostitutes they were going. Grace is weird.

nicodemusatnite.com



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm


    He didn’t need to, the Pharisees were doing that already. That’s pretty much the same nowadays with the gay debate.



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Bret

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:40 pm


Guys, if you study book of Acts, the early Apostles not once preached on the love of God. Not once. The entire context for presenting Jesus is the coming judgment. We can’t dismiss this kind of information as only “scare tactics.” I think Mark is giving a pretty balanced and Jonathan Edwards-esque deadpan presentation here—nothing sensational at all.

Grace only makes sense in the context of a horrific hell. What grace/salvation are we preaching without the backdrop of biblical punishment? Sometimes I think that Christians like the way Oprah Winfrey uses the word grace more than Jesus.



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm


    exactly. this is the real damage of using scare tactics. people have now awakened from the abuse of the scare tactics and instead of walking out a life of healing they and are ignoring the truth all together.

    what parent in the world wouldn’t warn their child about the dangers of walking into a camp fire?

    this is silly.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm


    Bret…

    I’m pretty sure I disagree emphatically with every sentence of your comment.

    I mean, bringing up Jonathan Edwards and implying that he offers a “pretty balanced” perspective is laughable.

    But this sentence…

    Grace only makes sense in the context of a horrific hell.

    That sentence is a travesty…

    Grace has absolutely nothing to do with punishment of any kind. It has to do with receiving something (good) that you in no way merit or deserve.

    How do you sleep at night?



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      Jay

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm


      Grace has absolutely nothing to do with punishment of any kind. It has to do with receiving something (good) that you in no way merit or deserve.

      There is also mercy Matt which actually does have to do with punishment. It’s through God’s mercy that we do not receive what we truly do deserve.

      I don’t understand why people are so afraid of having this debate. One may not see it as a good tool of evangelism and on that I will probably agree.

      But people WILL ask at some point. And we cannot gloss over biblical truth with, “Well we really don’t know!” type responses.

      I see that a lot with many of the ‘emergent’ Christ followers these days. There’s a lot of “We don’t really know” when it comes to addressing certain issues in the Bible. But the same people have no problem believing that our Savior was born of a virgin birth, was crucified on a cross, buried and then ascended to the throne in Heaven three days later. There’s no problem with the literal acceptance of those miracles but it’s ok to place a question mark after everything else?



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        Matthew Paul Turner

        posted January 28, 2011 at 1:32 pm


        Bret mentioned grace… not mercy…

        And Jay, people can yell about Hell, scream about it, talk about it kindly, blog about it, or paint it with vivid detail, and still… WE DON’T KNOW. You might believe… but you don’t know… There’s a huge difference between believing and knowing.

        And I’m not ‘emergent’… I’ve never been. Not really sure what it means…



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          Jay

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm


          Ok, then how about “Pain in the ass” instead of emergent?

          You know what that means. ;)



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          Matthew Paul Turner

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:41 pm


          Totally… and I’m definitely that… though I try really hard not to be faithful to it… :)



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:41 pm


          Apparently, MPT is only an algesia gluteus minimus.

          Apparently, I’m an algesia gluteus maximus.

          (LOL!)



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:27 pm


      Pardon my literal approach here, but if you didn’t know what you were being saved from how could you possible understand that you require saving at all?



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        Mike

        posted January 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm


        Perhaps injustice, death, and our own sinful natures? I’m not arguing there isn’t a hell, but I’m pretty sure all these things are very much worth it for us to want to be saved from, even without fiery eternal doom.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm


          I absolutely agree with you. In fact I don’t normally participate in the hell debate because hell is already here on earth and I think we do well to put more focus on such things rather that the hereafter.

          However in this case I am seeing a very disheartening distortion of Christ’s message. To say it doesn’t exist is very dangerous.

          I <3 Jesus BTW. It hurts me when people lie about Him. Call me crazy.



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          Adam Ellis

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm


          Christina,
          “Lie”? Seriously??? Who are you accusing of lying? That’s quite a serious accusation.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:34 pm


        Whoever denies the reality of hell is the liar Mr. Ellis.



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          Larry Shallenberger

          posted January 29, 2011 at 5:37 am


          I’m doing to timidly dip back into this conversation since I see how heated it’s become just to say this.

          N.T. Wright, in “Surprised By Hope” does NOT deny the existence of Hell. He does try to separate our understanding of Hell from Jesus’ teachings on Gehenna (which Adam summarized earlier). In fact, Wright points out that Paul mentions Hell clearly.

          Wright argues that the Bible speaks on Hell less than we think it does and that we’ve come to an understanding of Hell that is not consistent with God’s nature. He goes on to speculate– and he admits that he’s speculating– on what a Hell would look like that does not include eternal active torture.

          I don’t know if Wright is correct or not, but I hope he is.



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      Jake Kaufman

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm


      Grace only makes sense in the context of a horrific hell.

      This statement makes me sad. And, angry…but not @ Bret. It makes me angry at the polluted system that we’ve created (and mislabeled by calling it the Church of Jesus) which has caused statements such as this to be the predominant belief of so many people. The end result of this escapist theology is that we create apathetic followers of an archaic religious institution who are content to turn their eyes from the world, cross their fingers, and wait for the next life. And blame post-modernism for their ineffectiveness.

      The Jesus I follow would not have been pleased with that. “I am the way, the truth, and the Life” was not a battle cry for the religious elite to use to lift themselves up…it was a reminder: the heart of the Father is for us…not against us.



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        Ben Greene

        posted January 28, 2011 at 2:59 pm


        Great Post Jake!



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        Jay

        posted January 28, 2011 at 3:23 pm


        There’s escapist theology but in my view, it’s no worse than works theology or separatist theology.

        Why are people seemingly afraid to discuss hell in the context of Christianity?

        Here’s the thing. What happens when a new Christian asks you about Matthew 13:47-50?

        What happens when they ask about Matthew 5:22? Matthew 5:29-30? Matthew 11:20-24? Luke 16? Mark 9:48? I could go on.

        Jesus spoke very clearly about hell (and at times he did not use the word ‘hell’). Why?

        I agree, if one accepts Christ simply as a means for avoiding hell, then that is escapist theology. But further study of God’s word reveals we are to do much more (the book of James is a perfect example) but it’s not something you simple tuck away and fail to discuss simply because it makes some people uncomfortable.



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm


    Haha! I call Poe.



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Pingback: Some Thoughts on Hell by Adam Ellis | Coffee Please

Carole Turner

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:42 pm


I just wish everyone commenting here would read the book, “The Great Divorce” by C.S. Lewis. It’s all about Heaven and Hell. It’s #1 on my all time favorite books.



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm


    Carole, I think it’s it’s a bit too much to ask people to open their eyes to the possibility that they don’t have all the answers and that the answers actually lie in the last place they want to look.

    Don’t you realize? These people know it all.



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 1:18 pm


      Really? Cause I thought is was just you.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm


        Absolutely not, I don’t know anything.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 1:28 pm


          You and Socrates both…

          ;)



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 5:36 pm


      Socrates is dead. He’s not interesting in the least.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm


        Says the most ignorant poster here. Keep going, Christina! You’re on a roll!



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 8:31 pm


          By all means…you’re on a far greater roll than myself.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 9:13 pm


          Well, it may interest you to know that Socrates (from what we know through Plato) espoused the theory of Logos… you know Logos? The word? The word that the book of John claims Jesus to be in the beginning?

          Yeah. John totally ripped that off from the Greeks. But, you know, dead Greek guys are boring. However, dead Jewish guys are apparently fascinating.



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          Christina

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:39 pm


          I know more about Logos than you do which is why I am in the place to deny all logic. (LEAN NOT ON YOUR OWN UNDERSTANDING.) Just in case you were wondering, I do in fact have a college degree, from a completely secular art university (full of gays and creatives and writers and philosophers oh my) and not a Christian university I might add.

          BTW Jesus is alive, and He just heard that. Not cool, man.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:46 pm


          Oh, wow. Well, if I had known that you went to an *art* university, well, I might have paid you more respect.

          *sigh*



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:40 pm


        PS I should add that my knowledge of logic is by not means attributed to me, but God. He gave me that education.



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          LRA

          posted January 28, 2011 at 11:45 pm


          LOLOL! Of course! YOUR version of stuff is backed by God himself! Of course! Who could ever argue with that?



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      Elemenope

      posted January 29, 2011 at 10:02 am


      Christina, I think you are making a pretty serious error in conflating two very different claims.

      LRA, for example, isn’t claiming that she knows everything. Far from it. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t made any direct appeals to her own knowledge. What she has done, rather, is attack your conceit that you have the knowledge that you claim. That may rankle you (I don’t know many people that it wouldn’t), but it is a very different thing than claiming to know everything.

      I’ve read Lewis’ The Great Divorce. I thought it was interesting from a literary point of view (though The Screwtape Letters was, IMO, better). But I found it unpersuasive as a matter of Christian apologetics. People hold their beliefs for many different reasons, and it is arrogant presumption to assume that they do so merely because of closed-mindedness or hard-heartedness.



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    Green Eggs and Ham

    posted January 31, 2011 at 12:04 am


    I have. I still don’t believe in hell or in an omnipotent, benevolent god.



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Richard Jett

posted January 28, 2011 at 12:56 pm

BMH

posted January 28, 2011 at 1:02 pm


This is just another piece of an ever-growing set of data that supports my theory: Mark Driscoll is a douche.

I have a similar theory about John Piper, though in that case there is at least a small set of conflicting data.

Both are part of a larger theory I’m working on: How and Why Calvinism Turns White Males into Total Dicks.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 1:24 pm


    Hahahahaha… this is hilarious!

    You’re a theologian, aren’t you? What have you written? :)



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      BMH

      posted January 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm


      No, I’m not a theologian. But I am a university professor. Every year I watch dozens of white male 18-20 year olds discover John Piper. Then I sadly watch as they decide that ‘justification’ means ‘justification to be an A-hole.’

      So, that’s the data set I’m workin’ with.

      Just discovered your blog recently. Lovin’ it.



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    Grace

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:23 pm


    John Piper is totally a douche.

    He’s 100 times better than most white evangelical leaders on race issues, I’ll give him that, but given how bad the rest are, that’s also not saying that much.



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Christina

posted January 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm


Just a little tid bit…hell is simply a life as far from God as possible. Some people here are already living that and are quite comfortable with it.

God is a gentleman, He gives everyone what they ask for.



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    Green Eggs and Ham

    posted January 31, 2011 at 12:13 am


    The hell described by traditional christianity is the complete absence of god. Natural grace exists in this life; there would be none in an eternal hell.



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Seth

posted January 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm


Wow now I realize why I despise this site. Taking things out of context and ridiculing them is not loving or Christ-honoring. This site is written by someone who is obviously seeking to bring up contention, strife, and divisions in the church. Pastor Driscoll is speaking the truth, and obviously people don’t like the truth so you ridicule it. I feel awful for all those on here that don’t know the true love of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be a judgement. It is a disservice to all around you if one does not speak clearly on the subject as Pastor Mark did. I cannot express how badly I feel for the maker of this site and those commenting. Speak the truth in love.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 28, 2011 at 1:57 pm


    Then don’t read my blog, Seth. I won’t be offended.

    But… I’m pretty sure my little blog can’t take credit for “contention, strife, and divisions in the church,” since those things have been around for centuries.

    And Mark might speak your version of “truth”… but he speaks it in arrogance (in many people’s opinion).

    And if I remember correctly… love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant…



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm


    Ah, finally. A moment of real truth here!



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 6:46 pm


      You wouldn’t know truth if it b*tch-slapped you.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:42 pm


        I guess you’re right, since you’ve been “b*tch-slapping” all day.

        Sometimes when you’re love sick, nothing else matters. What can I say?



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          LRA

          posted January 29, 2011 at 12:42 am


          Asking questions and expecting logical answers is b*tch-slapping, huh?

          LOL!



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Joel M

posted January 28, 2011 at 2:43 pm


mark driscoll makes me so mad i can no longer watch his video clips for the snooty self-righteousness they used to afford me.



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Dean Atkinson

posted January 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm


I don’t mean any of this sarcastically.Adam, have you studied all of the scriptures in the original Hebrew and greek? What about, the White Throne judgement in Revelation, it speaks of those being cast into the Lake of Fire which is seperate from the bottomless pit I believe. Also, Matthew do you believe in hell at all, as far as a place for those who have rejected Christ? I agree that the love of Christ is what purple should focus on, He had made His gift of salvation by faith and Grace available to all, but I do see in scripture where there if a place of torment for those who have rejected His salvation.



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    Dean Atkinson

    posted January 28, 2011 at 3:06 pm


    Man I apologize for all of the typo’s, wow!



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ccoffer

posted January 28, 2011 at 4:24 pm


There is no hell in the bible. Just like there is no purgatory in the bible. These are inventions of the old Roman Church. Most of what people think they know about hell is straight out of Dante.

How can a martyr fall asleep in Christ, yet a sinner lie awake forever in torment?(fer ever n ever n ever n ever) That really turns John 3:16 on it’s head now don’t it? Hmmm. How does that go again? Oh yeah, EITHER perish OR have eternal life.

This cartoon hell is the worst lie Satan ever foisted upon the world. Satan’s dominion is on Earth, not in some underground cartoon amusement park of horrors.



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm


    Um, do you research. I recommend the story of The Rich Man and Lazerus to start. Satan’s dominion is both earth and hell.



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      Jacob Beaver

      posted January 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm


      again in short…rich man and lazarus obviously metaphoric unless you think people are going to be having nice, calm conversations while while burning in Hades (the word that is used in greek, however jesus spoke aramaic) if you look closely at the parable (a fictional story used to convey truth) you see that the rich man has a gate which separates him from a beggar who longs for only a crumb from the rich man table. the rich man refuses to bring lazarus from the hell that he is in and leaves him outside the gate begging. both men die, lazarus goes to Abraham side (A great feast)and the rich man ends up in hades where he is in torment. (notice its not because he didnt believe in Jesus but instead because he didnt give to lazarus) now there is a chasm separating him and lazarus and this time its him begging for the drop of water rather than Lazarus begging for a crumb. The rich man then tells Abraham to send Lazarus to bring him the drop of water. in other words, the rich man still views lazarus as a servant.
      again, this story is about how we are living here and now much more than about where one will end up when he dies. If not, then passing by a beggar on the street without taking him in, according to this story, is deserving of eternal punishment in hell that you seem quite find of.



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      sbuxjosh

      posted January 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm


      The parable about lazarus and hell is straight from the Gemara Babylonicum. If Jesus told it, he was telling a story from pagan mythos.

      Christina, you have multiple times argued against logic yet, you continually use it in your argumentation. What gives? You rely on logic to prove your point (given certain presumptions) and when you don’t like the facts presented you seem to disregard the whole system haphazardly. The bi-polar nature of your rhetoric is disturbing to say the least. How can anyone take this seriously? you might as well admit to being a Dialetheist.



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Tina

posted January 28, 2011 at 4:26 pm


I read this site all of the time…but never comment so Hi, MPT.

This topic is very interesting to me…conflicting, confusing…I grew up believing in God out of fear of going to hell. As an adult, I don’t want to believe/love a God who is cruel…so I’m on a journey.

I used to attend Gateway Church, not sure if any of you go there…but this message sticks out in my mind every time I think of hell…I would love to hear what you all have to say about it…

I posted a link to the website, you can listen or watch from there…Unfortunately, I can’t post a link directly to the message, but if you click on the year 2006, you will find the sermon:

Message title…Hell: Fiction or Fact, August 12, 2006.

http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons



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ccoffer

posted January 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm


I recommend Christina show us all the “hell” of the Old Testament. Jesus was an old testament guy. (Y’know, the word made flesh and all that jazz?)

Please cite it. I kindly suggest you “do your research” until you find it.

What is salvation anyway? Isn’t it eternal life? It is from death we have been delivered, not some mythical fiction invented by the corrupt Government of Rome.

Why is death not enough punishment to satisfy some “Christians”? It’s enough for God. After all, what are the wages of sin?



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 6:48 pm


    Oooh! Careful! If you call Christina on her bs, she might call you unsavory names.



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:43 pm


      Please tell me you have more in your philosophy bag than that.



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        LRA

        posted January 29, 2011 at 1:45 am


        In fact I do. 1 Peter 3:15



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Ben of BenandJacq

posted January 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm


I was super impressed that this post had 178 comments. Then i realized that LRA is pulling a “me in high school” and going all AOL chat-room with his philosophy up in here.

Well played, LRA. Well played indeed.



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    Ben of BenandJacq

    posted January 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm


    *her, apparently.



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      LRA

      posted January 28, 2011 at 7:14 pm


      Is there something wrong with discussing things on a blog? Your “well-played” comment feels like a criticism. Am I not supposed to talk about these things here?



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:44 pm


    Don’t blame her, that’s the nature of philosophy in general. Talk and talk and talk and talk…

    That’s it’s beauty I suppose.



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      Elemenope

      posted January 29, 2011 at 10:09 am


      That is a painfully cynical view of philosophy, and one that is problematic to Christian theology since philosophy is employed there to explain many of the more difficult positions and consequences of the faith. Their roots are deeply entwined, historically and actually. In many ways, the story of medieval Western philosophy *is* the story of theology.

      Philosophy is about talking, yes, but also about listening, considering, and experiencing. It is a set of tools for bracketing assumptions and reaching for clarity and precision in intellectually treacherous milieu. If you are secure in your faith, it can only benefit you to listen to what LRA is saying in her criticisms. Paul Tillich (perhaps the greatest theologian of the 20th century) named Nietzsche as the most important philosopher to Christianity; you are nothing if you cannot meet the honest cuts of one’s bravest critics.



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      Green Eggs and Ham

      posted January 31, 2011 at 12:21 am


      Indeed it is, you even throw in a question now and then.

      Philosophy is a thing of beauty and a labour of love. My life has been profoundly made better for having studied it in depth. Having spent nearly as long studying the bible and theology, I can unequivocally that the bible has not done the same.



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noelle

posted January 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm


185 comments! I’ll admit it. I’m curious. What are you kids fighting about if it’s not sex?

gimme a sec…uh huh….hmmmm….oh no you didn’t…yes, you did….LRA’s a girl, keep up

What Adam said. That I like. I would like to believe in heaven still. Is that ok? There are some people I’d like to see again. I’m ok with being wrong



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ccoffer

posted January 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm


LRA suffers from a delusion. LRA thinks she can outsmart the power that created her. LRA figures if she can outsmart some believers, she must be a higher form of life than those dumb old Christians.

I suppose I’m the same way. I really relish the opportunity to best an Atheist. My motives differ from those of LRA.

Intelligence is not a virtue. I’m smarter than LRA, but I can also beat a lot of people at chess and outrun a lot of people in a 40 yard dash. None of these things are virtues.

LRA is here for a reason. I trust our mutual Creator.



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    noelle

    posted January 28, 2011 at 7:59 pm


    are you 12?



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm


    Wow. So challenging people to think for themselves is delusional? Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is funny!

    Some people are so ridiculous!

    If you are trying to shame me into not having a voice, then you will fail. This isn’t church. This is a BLOG. I have the owner’s permission to speak here and that is what matters.

    If you don’t want to think about the criticisms I raise here, then skip over my posts. It’s simple, really.



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      ccoffer

      posted January 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm


      Smart never beats true. Ever.

      You can’t outsmart the truth.



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        LRA

        posted January 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm


        When you verify what you say is “true”, we might be cookin’ with gas. Until then, you’re just full of hot air.



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ccoffer

posted January 28, 2011 at 8:08 pm


I was.



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    noelle

    posted January 28, 2011 at 8:57 pm


    Good year?



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ccoffer

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:34 pm


“So challenging people to think for themselves is delusional?”
No, dear. Your argument is delusional. Never make the mistake of thinking you and I have a personal relationship. I’m responding to what you’ve said about yourself. I’m not making a judgment about you as a person. I think you’re perfect. Your statements, however, scream something…and it ain’t happiness.

I don’t hang out on Atheist blogs shootin’ the poo. Yet here you are.

You seek approval. You needn’t. You don’t need anyone’s approval.



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    LRA

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:15 pm


    What? That is a very presumptuous thing to say. My comments express frustration with the utter silliness of some people and not anger necessarily, for one.

    For another thing, the reason I’m here is to expose myself to Christians since I don’t go to church anymore. I found that I was pretty angry with Christians when I left the church, and so I thought I’d give myself a chance to be around them again and actually hear and discuss what they think. Yes, I challenge and debate, but I find that to be a healthy thing. (Of course, I get a little snipey when dealing with certain “young souls”, but whatev. Life goes on.)

    What I think is so interesting is that there are clearly people who just don’t like to think about hard things (like yourself, apparently), and they get all upset/snarky when I present good reasons for the things I think.

    You know, since posting here, I have talked with some very reasonable Christians and I’m finding a new respect for some of them. Sure, I argue and I challenge, but good reasoning is good reasoning and just can’t be denied! I respect Christians who are willing to make good arguments for the strengths of the Bible/ belief/ God/ Jesus and are willing to acknowledge the limitations. Since participating here, I’m, overall, less angry and judgmental about people of faith. That is what I meant to do by being here, and MPT has been a gracious host and a good example of agape.

    Finally, you have no idea about my private life so let me be a little vulnerable here and share some stuff with you.

    My academic life has been phenomenal! I went on scholarship to undergrad (psychology, French and special education) and then attended an Ivy League grad school where I completed my thesis (in the genetics of learning and memory, neuroscience) in the lab of a Nobel Prize winning scientist. I then went back and got some additional degrees (in philosophy and English). I’m currently in the process of applying to some of the top PhD programs in the nation (for science and society), and although it isn’t an easy process, I’m following my dream!

    In between various legs of school, I was (and am) a special education teacher. Right now, I work as a private tutor of students in private schools who don’t get special education services and I also work with public school students who are homebound for various health reasons. It is challenging work sometimes, but I love it! I love teaching… which is why my ultimate goal is to become a college professor. My other certifications include English, psychology, and French. If it becomes useful, I may certify in comprehensive science as well.

    I believe very strongly in liberal values that support social justice. I think that all people are equal– that all people have the right to live by the dictates of their consciences, to get an excellent education, and to have the freedom to live as they please so long as they aren’t causing real harm to others. It means that I support minority rights, regardless of whom the minority may be. Even Christians (although Christians are the majority for now). I think this is one of the ways that I can live as authentically as possible. I’ve learned that people (even me) are only really happy when they are free. When freedom is impinged upon by religious majorities, I get angry about it because I see the harm that it does. It is wrong, and I’m not one to sit down and shut up when I see wrong-doing.

    So your assessment of me is really quite wrong and unfair.

    I left Christianity about 5 years ago after being raised in it. My degree in philosophy helped me close that part of my life and move forward. Since then, I’ve wanted to continue to improve myself and grow as best I can. THAT is why I’m here. I certainly could (and do) participate in skeptic blogs, but I wanted a challenge. So, I chose JNNPR to participate. As long as MPT will have me, I will stick around.



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:52 pm


      I would take you on in a mental toughness challenge any day. I LIVE in the hard things. I’m a soldier. Literally.

      Your problem LRA is not you as a person, it’s your arrogance (not trying to insult you but i can’t think of a better word-i have had arrogant moments in my life as well) in believing Christians are mindless dummies who have been nowhere. This is a common flaw in the Atheistic view toward those who are religious.

      Yeah I agree, there are LOTS of idiot Christians out there. But You and I are level hun. And there are MANY like me. The only difference is my faith and your lack of it. I gave up that knowledge because it was useless to me when compared to the power of love which carries with it NO knowledge but the faith of a baby.

      It’s simply a matter of life choice, not smarts.



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        Christina

        posted January 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm


        PS You should know that I am indeed more free than I have ever been in my life. And that freedom follows me into eternity.



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        LRA

        posted January 29, 2011 at 12:08 am


        No, we are not level. You have nothing to add to this conversation, and I’m sick of you.

        Well, Christians… you have yourself a fine example of why skepticism is a growing trend all over the world and why Christianity is shrinking.

        Continuing to assert over and over ad nauseum “Nuh uh!” is not an argument. It’s stupidity.



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    Christina

    posted January 28, 2011 at 11:47 pm


    I agree. I’ve said it once. The brokenness reeks here. I think that’s why I can’t stop responding. I only get this involved with comment chatter on very rare occlusion.



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Charlie's Church of Christ

posted January 28, 2011 at 9:37 pm


if someone concludes on believing in hell “well better be safe then sorry,” its not really belief. They are obviously “deciding” to believe it, which implies at least somewhat of a doubt.



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    Grace

    posted January 28, 2011 at 10:27 pm


    This. The “you have nothing to lose” argument is total weak sauce.



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      Christina

      posted January 28, 2011 at 11:54 pm


      In actuality, to follow Christ you must lose everything on earth. So if that’s the argument then you are right. This however does not take away from the frightening reality of hell.



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        Grace

        posted January 29, 2011 at 12:53 am


        Using fear to obtain worship and “love” is abuse. I feel very sorry for anyone whose faith is based on fear of punishment.



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Elle

posted January 29, 2011 at 12:34 am


“God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him…”
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment…”
(parts of 1 John 4)



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Green Eggs and Ham

posted January 29, 2011 at 12:58 am


The doctrine of hell is at odds with the sovereignty of god. One of the best arguments against theism is the problem of evil. An eternal hell makes the problem of evil an eternal one. An eternal hell is a place where god is completely absent–a place where god is not sovereign. So, no Jesus doesn’t rule hell.

I wrote this little thesis for a third year bible college theology class. I got a very good mark on the essay, though the professor wrote copious notes in disagreement.

This little thesis was also an important milestone in my deconversion.



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Joel B

posted January 29, 2011 at 1:30 am


MPT –

Your courage in posting topics such as this impresses me, you certainly approach tough issues with the utmost humility and I appreciate that to no end. What discourages me is the ignorance displayed throughout the discourse by those in favor of an unending torment. I am not on board with an unending torment, simply because I could not live with myself if people were being cast into a never ending lake of fire and I was writing comments on the internet. I wonder how some of the above commenters can claim to have the compassion of a follower of Christ and still rationalize that belief. I also feel strongly against limiting the atoning work of Jesus Christ to a “get out of hell free card.” what do you think?

Pastor Ellis – Your humility, compassion, and wisdom in explaining this sensitive subject astounds me. God bless you, sir. I feel as if it is important as well to discuss the historical, sociological, and cultural origins of the West’s modern-post modern interpretation of Hell also. It is important to note, I believe, that such early church fathers as Origen and Gregory of Nyssa had no belief in eternal damnation, but rather viewed Christianity through the lenses of a Platonic circle, in which the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ brought complete reconciliation to the world, leaving nothing unfulfilled. Prior to Augustinian doctrine, which would be the inspiration for our Puritan-based orthodoxy we maintain today, hell was of little concern. There was not much thought past the fact that Jesus could possibly return tomorrow completing the noted platonic circle completely. It was the development of systematic theologies provided by Augustine and the social and cultural spreading of an accepted worldview by Constantine that brought hell into focus and gave rise to the way we think today. I would challenge those involved in this discourse that claim reliance on divine authority to ask themselves honestly if their reliance is rather based on tradition.

Since you already so eloquently provided a scriptural background for the resounding series of questions revolving around death and that afterlife (perhaps one of the greatest questions in regards to the necessity of religion) I hope that some historical and social insight on this subject is helpful. Thank you again, for your words of clarity and love.



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Joel B

posted January 29, 2011 at 1:56 am


Green Eggs and Ham-

You are very correct regarding the philosophical predicament regarding hell and the problem of evil. What is ironic to me is that the notion of hell had most of its roots in Augustinianism, which gave rise to Calvinism. Edwards in his truly Puritan fire and brimstone sermons is a great example of the Calvinist influence that folks like Driscoll reside in today. This is ironic because of the philosophical problems it creates. Destroying any notion of free will and giving God an abundance of absolute control (unconditional election according to classical Calvinism) means that he is sovereign over every facet of life and after life. For eternal torment to be true then, the theistic notion of God’s omni-benevolence is debunked and destroyed for humankind had absolutely no control over their own fate. Theodicy then claims in Evangelicalism that the existence of hell is an existence sans-God. For this to be true, Calvinism collapses because there is an area of existence outside of God’s control. Driscoll does not claim this, but fails to rationalize any issue of sovereignty vs. free will in regards to the problem of evil.



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Dianna

posted January 29, 2011 at 3:03 am


Joel B –

I think your comments succinctly sum up the compliments I was going to give, so add my ditto onto that.

As I went through this, I was taking screenshots of certain comments so that I would remember them and be able to show them to others since permanent-linking is a pain. The ones I took were mainly of Christina and her supporters, and I just want to say this:

The attitude of anti-intellectualism in the church hurts us more than any belief in the existence or not of Hell, than any belief we may hold about gay marriage, abortion, whatever. When we say to the non-Christians of the world “I’m beyond logic” or “I don’t need your science and facts,” it just makes us look incredibly, incredibly stupid.

I have a very good atheist friend who deconverted after being raised in a fundamentalist church setting. He is also one of the smartest people I know. Yet, he respects me and he respects my belief in Christ. And he does so because I am willing to engage him on an intellectual level. I don’t inform him that I’m “beyond” his scientific pursuits because of my faith in Christ. I don’t tell him “I don’t need logic.” I don’t confuse “not needing logic and intellect” with “faith.” We have discussions about Christianity and the Church all the time, and neither of us has ever felt condescended to or inferior because neither of us are afraid to approach matters of faith, interpretation and religion from an intellectual manner.

Notice the negative and positive constructions I outline – there is a major difference between Christina’s statement of “I don’t need logic” or “I’m beyond logic,” and my statement of “I have faith that, while I do not have all the answers, I can still trust God.” Christina’s statement is defensive, responding to a world that demands logic in a defensive manner, saying that she doesn’t need it. My statement is a positive reinforcement of belief in that I don’t have all the answers yet I still believe.

Not to hold myself up as a paragon of what the church needs, but we need much less of the first and more of the second: positive reinforcement of faith and acknowledgment that we do not have all the answers.

The second statement acknowledges the challenges inherent in believing something that is hard for unbelieving world to understand and tells those nonbelievers that their questions, their ideas, and their intellect is important and understood. The first says to the unbelieving world that their questions, experience, ideas and concepts don’t matter because they don’t have Jesus. It says “I’m not willing to meet you on your level – I’m not willing to acknowledge that I might not be right.”

A couple of months ago, my atheist friend mentioned above asked me if I’d been born in a Muslim community if I would have arrived at the same conclusions about the truth of my religion – in other words, “How do you know that Christ is the truth out of all the religions?” I was honest with him – I told him that I have to acknowledge that part of my belief is an accident of birth. I happen to be born in the right household at the right time, and came to this belief. This does not mean that I do not believe that my faith is true, but that I acknowledge the sociological factors that go into how I got into Christianity initially. And you know what? He didn’t think I was stupid, he didn’t look down on me for admitting that I might be wrong.

It’s frankly not that scary to meet intellectuals on their level and to approach things intellectually. What’s scary is when we refuse to admit that we may not be able to answer their questions and then instead that we didn’t need that question anyway. What’s scary is when we realize we don’t have the answer, so we call the question stupid and dig in our heels.

And that, my friends, is what really sucks about the modern day Church. So many of us dig in our heels and call the questioner stupid when we come up against something we don’t have the answer to.



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    Dianna

    posted January 29, 2011 at 3:06 am


    *and then insist that we don’t need that question. Sorry for the typos.



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Larry Shallenberger

posted January 29, 2011 at 5:40 am


After reading all this, jesusneedsnewonlineapologists



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    Green Eggs and Ham

    posted January 29, 2011 at 9:26 am


    Evidence that Demands a Verdict isn’t one of them. He is preaching to people who share most of his assumptions, but who haven’t decided to sign up for full membership.



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Josephine Holmes

posted January 29, 2011 at 5:53 am


So I grew up in a Christian family, then in my early teens rebelled from it and was so-called ‘backslidden’. It was the hell message that got me back in the Church at 15…I was actually afraid that I would die in my sleep and end up in hell. For the next 10 years I was the absolute perfect Christian…according to Churches like Mark Driscolls. I was very religious…doing all the right things, ticking all the boxes. I was literally trying to win Gods favour so that I would fulfill some magical purpose and become some incredible preacher/pastor, and so that I would not end up in hell. I believed that at any moment I could make a wrong choice, and I would be back on hell’s path. Only in the last four years have I realised that actually that is not how Jesus works. He would never terrify someone into following him. Just as a loving father would know that frightening their child into doing what they want brings not love and respect, but only fear and obedience. And I don’t believe that Jesus is out to simply get our obedience. My biggest problem with Churches like this is that the message of love is completely forgotten…or twisted and warped, (eg his comment about other preachers not being courageous enough to tell you the truth of the hell message, meaning that his doing this is a form of love).
It is easy to get up there and tell people they are going to hell. It is not easy to give up your time to care for, love and be a friend to someone who is difficult. But I believe that the latter not the former would have been Jesus approach.

On another note…I love how he basically told everyone how brave he is for giving this message, in comparison to other ‘cowardly’ preachers.



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ccoffer

posted January 29, 2011 at 6:51 am


“Well, Christians… you have yourself a fine example of why skepticism is a growing trend all over the world ”

Except you aren’t a “skeptic” in any sense of the word. If you were, you would hold the first person testimonies in the New Testament to the same standard you hold the scribblings of Plato, Socrates, Pascal etc..

You aren’t intellectually honest. That is why you have no chance of prevailing in an argument with someone who is.



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    LRA

    posted January 29, 2011 at 8:32 am


    “Except you aren’t a “skeptic” in any sense of the word. If you were, you would hold the first person testimonies in the New Testament to the same standard you hold the scribblings of Plato, Socrates, Pascal etc..”

    Ummm, what? And pray, tell, how did you come up with this little bit of silliness?

    Are you accusing me of being a Platonist? A Cartesian? LOL! That is hilarious! Way, way up the thread, I mentioned to Jordan what my philosophical commitments are, and I’m absolutely NOT a Platonist or a Cartesian.

    To accuse me of being intellectually dishonest is absolute silliness, especially when you refuse to engage on an intellectual level. No, you are a child who crosses his arms and says, “I’M RIGHT! I’M RIGHT! LA LA LA!”

    Ridiculous! Quit trying to divert the conversation from the actual issues here with your insults. If you are indeed a Christian, you, like Christina, are a very poor example indeed.

    You are commanded to LOVE God with your heart, MIND, soul and strength and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself. Further, you are expected to give REASONS for your hope in Jesus with GENTLENESS.

    Fail and fail.



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    noelle

    posted January 29, 2011 at 8:45 am


    Wait, now you’re arguing with Joel, Dianna, and Josephine? I think they all made balanced and thoughtful points.



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    VorJack

    posted January 29, 2011 at 11:06 am


    If you were, you would hold the first person testimonies in the New Testament to the same standard you hold the scribblings of Plato, Socrates, Pascal etc..

    I’m not sure where you’re going with this. For the most part, we do approach other sources with skepticism. You might be interested in reading about the Socratic Problem.

    We have no first person testimonies from Socrates, and so there is a great deal of argument over what exactly he taught. There are disputes over the manuscript traditions of Plato. And Pascal … what exactly are you getting at there?

    But the exact origin of the ideas attributed to Socrates are less important to us than the origins of the sayings of Christ are to you. Socrates has no authority, it’s the content of the ideas we’re after. It doesn’t really matter what the source of the wisdom is.



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noelle

posted January 29, 2011 at 9:29 am


Oh I see. Sorry, didn’t mean to intrude on a private fight from 6 hours ago separated by a bunch of well-reasoned comments from other individuals. Carry on.

Hey, what you looking at for PhD programs? Nerdy jealousy here. I kinda miss school sometimes.



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    LRA

    posted January 29, 2011 at 9:57 am


    LOL! Sorry about that. I would have preferred to have stuck with listening to the well reasoned folks too. In the future, I will very much limit conversations with Christina and the hornets nest she stirred up. One reason I fought back (and it may not even be a good reason, but here it is)– I felt like people were trying to shame me into silence like they used to do at my church, so I was like, “I’m not going to be shamed into silence for asking hard questions ever again!!! No!” I know that is totally an emotional response, and it may not be a good reason, but there it is!

    Anyhow, I’m applying to Science and Society studies programs at a bunch of places (these tend to be history and philosophy of science programs, but a few have literature in there as well).

    I’m very much looking forward to it!!! I’m particularly interested in how cognitive neuroscience impacts society (especially now since we have so many diagnoses that affect everything from education laws to the criminal justice system). I’m interested in how our notions of praise/ blame are changing, how we view ourselves as human beings in light of the scientific evidence for the neural basis of cognition, how fMRI studies (and other such real-time observations of neural processes) are changing the field of psychology, etc.

    You mention a love of school… what stuff are you interested in?



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noelle

posted January 29, 2011 at 10:15 am


Good luck with the PhD programs. Sounds like something you’d be good at. Gonna teach after?

I already have the BA’s in Chemistry and Psychology, then the MD. Then the 3 yrs of residency. Advancing in my own career wouldn’t mean more school. It’d mean more residency (omg no) or a shift away from patient care into teaching, business, or leadership roles. But I like what I’m doing now, and I don’t have any plans to change

I once considered science journalism. Ever read the Dissapearing Spoon by Sam Kean? Good nerdy fun. Though I’d be just as happy to write for the onion. I love reading, so any literature or creative writing stuff would be interesting. My 2 required religion classes from a long time ago were interesting and I wouldn’t mind learning more about that. Medical history is fascinating. I could totally get into research, writing, and teaching on that. Sociology is interesting, but I need the real brainy stuff or I get turned off. I think I did enough mixing chemicals in a lab on my early yrs. Something purely cerebral would be nice



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    LRA

    posted January 29, 2011 at 10:54 am


    LOL! I totally left science because, after a while, I found animal surgeries and chemical mixing to be totally boring and tedious. I seriously thought about going to medical school, but residency… residency! My gosh! No thanks. I do admire people that have the sheer determination of will to go through that!

    What did you end up specializing in? Several of my girlfriends went to medical school, one is specializing in surgery, one is an internist, and one is orthopedics (I think that’s right). Anyhoo, had I gone, I would have wanted to do neurology, and maybe even pediatric neurology.

    :)



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noelle

posted January 29, 2011 at 11:43 am


Family Medicine. Something different behind every door, in 15 minute increments, all day 5 days a week. I never get a chance to get bored or feel like I’ve seen everything. Tired, yes. Bored,never. It’s a good job for me.

Any other specialty I might’ve liked would’ve meant doing a 3 yr internal med residency + 2 more for a specialty. I would’ve liked rheumatology or allergy maybe, but not enough to do more residency



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    LRA

    posted January 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm


    Auto-immune stuff is fascinating, but the whole immunology subject is complicated. All those signaling cascades!! Man! But I will say that the genetics of it is so very interesting. :D

    Immunology is right up there with cell metabolism for me– long and complicated cycles of biochemistry make my head spin.

    :D



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matt mewhorter

posted January 29, 2011 at 12:39 pm


He doesn’t believe it. In fact I don’t most Christians do. If he did it would keep him up at night. He would have to be on a load of medications and in therapy. Think about it. That is the worst possible burden and torment to have: a congregation with people looking up at him that he believes will suffer like that for eternity.

He said all that with a straight, dry face. So casually, even.

He either doesn’t believe in hell at all or believes a little and isn’t too bothered by it.



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Pingback: Mark Driscoll: If you don’t believe in hell, you’re going there « Are Women Human?

Carole Turner

posted January 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm


ok, MPT, I was very impressed when I clicked and saw that there was over 300 comments on this one post but now, after a quick review of the comments, I see that LRA contributed 295 of them :-)



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    LRA

    posted January 29, 2011 at 8:08 pm


    Aw! Christina contributed at least 95 of those…

    :D



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    noelle

    posted January 30, 2011 at 9:31 am


    If you read through them, I’d have to say we collectively nailed the intricacies of the entire argument of He’ll and American religion. Many points were repeated for good measure.



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      noelle

      posted January 30, 2011 at 9:32 am


      Stupid autocorrect. Hell hath no apostrophe!



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Mike

posted January 29, 2011 at 4:39 pm


The pastors would have thought the guy who originally came up with this argument is burning in the Hot Place too. This is called “Pascal’s Wager”. Pascal was a French philosopher, and as such, was Catholic too. We all know the French are no friends of America and therefore not Christian at all. Not to mention being Catholic means he wasn’t a member of THE ONE TRUE CHURCH. A double slam.



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Danielle

posted January 30, 2011 at 10:46 am


The thing I don’t understand is why he’s preaching on this in the first place. Pastor Mark doesn’t believe we have a decision or choice in the matter, so what’s the point of preaching it. I don’t understand the motivation. What’s the point?

That’s probably why he isn’t overly emotional about it.



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    Matthew Paul Turner

    posted January 30, 2011 at 11:37 am


    lol

    good point.



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seeking

posted February 2, 2011 at 2:02 am


MY struggle is that the vast and I do mean the vast majority of humanity, from babies that pass before born to the elderly were created with one purpose to glorify a Holy God in hell. They were created from the foundation of all eternity to go to hell. We should find great joy in that, celebrating God’s holiness and righteousness. I will admit I struggle with the idea that God hates, with an eternal hatred the vast majority of humanity. To put it plain I struggle with God hating people, personally and for eternity. That was a constant theme in my early Christian experience is how much God hates people, again personally and eternally. Very very very few people are saved, maybe .00000000000000001% of all creation, the rest are canon folder on the flames of eternal perdition. Every single second of their lives was a complete abomination of God and for that they will suffer, and suffer, and suffer and suffer etc.



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Bob Chapman

posted February 15, 2011 at 10:46 am


Jesus rules Hell. Isn’t that “Christus Victor”?

What happened to penal substitutionary? I thought Pastor Driscoll was a good little Calvinist.



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Annoyed

posted January 7, 2014 at 1:04 am


So many of you have a DISTORTED view on what the Bible says and what Hell is. It is so sad. Mark is speaking NOTHING but TRUTH that comes from the Word of God. And there is a comment here saying our main purpose was to glorify the Holy God in hell…. That is ridiculous. Hell was not made for us! It was made for Satan and the fallen angels. Open your eyes and read the Bible. Stop buying into biased comments and ‘preachers’ who ignore what the Bible says. Just because you do not ‘feel’ like God could condemn a vast amount of people to hell for sinning, does not mean that it’s not true. “For the Wages of sin is DEATH.”



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