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Heaven? Sure. Hell? Not So Much.

posted by nsymmonds

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Just when it seemed to have cooled off, the topic of hell is back on the front burner — at least for pastors learning to preach about a topic most Americans would rather not talk about.
Only 59 percent of Americans believe in hell, compared with 74 percent who believe in heaven, according to the recent surveys from the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
“I think it’s such a difficult and important biblical topic,” said Kurt Selles, director of the Global Center at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School. “There’s a big change that’s taken place as far as evangelicals not wanting to be as exclusive.”
At the recent annual Beeson Pastors School, Selles led two workshops to discuss “Whatever happened to hell?” He asked how many of the pastors had ever preached a sermon on hell. Nobody had, he said.
“I think it’s something people want to avoid,” he said. “I understand why. It’s a difficult topic.”
The Rev. Fred Johns, pastor of Brookview Wesleyan Church in Irondale, Ala., said after a workshop discussion of hell that pastors do shy away from the topic of everlasting damnation.
“It’s out of fear we’ll not appear relevant,” he said. “It’s pressure from the culture to not speak anything negative. I think we’ve begun to deny hell. There’s an assumption that everybody’s going to make it to heaven somehow.”
The soft sell on hell reflects an increasingly market-conscious approach, Selles said.
“When you’re trying to market Jesus, sometimes there’s a tendency to mute traditional Christian symbols,” he said. “Difficult doctrines are left by the wayside. Hell is a morally repugnant doctrine. People wonder why God would send people to eternal punishment.”
Speakers said the seriousness of Jesus dying for man’s sins relates to the gravity of salvation vs. damnation, according to Johns. “If you don’t mention God’s judgment, you are missing a big part of the Christian gospel,” Selles said. “Without wrath, there’s no grace.”
Pope John Paul II stirred up a debate in 1999 by describing hell as “the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.”
Although the pope was reflecting official Roman Catholic teaching, some U.S. evangelicals expressed misgivings about the implication that hell is an abstract separation from God rather than a literal lake of fire as described in the Book of Revelation.
The pope’s comments on hell stirred up the ancient debate about whether hell is a real place of burning fire or a state of mind reflecting a dark, cold emptiness and distance from God.
Evangelical Christians have traditionally offered a sterner view of salvation and damnation. A Southern Baptist Home Mission Board study in 1993 estimated that 70 percent of all Americans are going to hell, based on projected numbers of those who have not had a born-again experience.
Human ideas about hell were still in ferment as the Bible was being written. The theological concept of hell has a rich cultural heritage, according to historian Alan Bernstein, author of “The Formation of Hell.”
The ancient Hebrews focused on the afterlife following their Babylonian captivity, when they experienced the torment of ungodly enemies who seemed to have an unjustifiably good life on Earth. During the Babylonian exile, Jews were exposed to Zoroastrianism, which asserts there is an eternal struggle between good and evil, with good triumphing in the end.
The Hebrew concept of “Sheol” — the realm of the dead — may also have been influenced by the Greek mythology of Tartarus, a place of everlasting punishment for the Titans, a race of gods defeated by Zeus, Bernstein writes.
From about 300 B.C. to 300 A.D., those influences combined with Hebrew speculation about an eventual comeuppance to the worldly wicked.
In translating the Bible from Hebrew to Greek, the Greeks used the terms Tartarus, Hades and Gehenna. In Greek thought, Hades is not a place of punishment; it’s where the dead are separated from the living.
The term Gehenna referred to a ravine outside Jerusalem that was used as a garbage dump. It had once been a place of child sacrifice and became a symbol of pain and suffering, Selles said. As a garbage dump, it was probably often a place of fire as trash was burned, emphasizing the symbolism of the flames of eternal damnation, he said.
Jesus never soft-pedaled the concept of hell, Selles said. “It’s not metaphorical in Jesus’ mind; it’s a real place,” he said.
In 410 A.D., St. Augustine defined four states of afterlife: those so good they go to heaven; those so bad they go to hell; those who deserve some relief in their eternal torment; and those who deserve to be lifted out of torment after repenting for their sins. That set the stage for the doctrine of purgatory in 1237 A.D.
The Bible contains a litany of colorful images of hell as both fire and darkness, as in the Gospel of Matthew, which refers to “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” and “the outer darkness” where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.”
Either way, Selles said, pretending that hell doesn’t exist, or trying to preach around it, short-circuits the Bible.
“This is a doctrine, a teaching, that’s being neglected in churches,” Selles said. “It needs to be preached. It’s part of the Gospel.”
By GREG GARRISON
c. 2009 Religion News Service
(Greg Garrison writes for The Birmingham News.)
Copyright 2009 Religion News Service. All rights reserved. No part of this transmission may be distributed or reproduced without written permission.



  • Chall8987

    Go ahead. I hope the Christians bring back the fire and brimstone because that’s what has lead to their decline in the first place.

  • pagansister

    Hell is just as abstract as heaven….neither are real.
    Interesting that in 1993 the Southern Baptists are so knowledgable that they figured 70% were going to hell? What a bunch of BS. Wonder what those numbers would be now? Probably meet a few Southern Baptists there….if it was a real place, that is.

  • Henrietta22

    Selles sounds like a delightful man to stay away from.

  • nnmns

    I believe the Pope is head of the organization that holds the patent on heaven, hell, the Christian god and such. It would seem that if he says hell is dull but not hot that should settle it for Christians, even when he changes the RCC’s mind, as happens embarrassingly often on one thing or another.

  • Nate W

    We Orthodox have no official position on hell, although the literal burning lake of fire idea doesn’t seem to be all that popular. A few believe in apokatastasis (the salvation of all things), and many believe that hell is a subjective state: it is heaven as experienced by those who do not want to be there, infinite love as experienced by those trapped in their own hatred, eternally perfect being as experienced by those whose wills seek only destruction. The evangelicals are wrong on this matter; the idea of a literal hell and a God who punishes us for eternity does not belong in a good Christian theology.

  • nnmns

    “the idea of a literal hell and a God who punishes us for eternity does not belong in a good Christian theology”
    But it gets a lot of butts in pews.

  • cknuck

    If you don’t believe in the bible then you don’t believe in hell if you do like I do then you believe.

  • jestrfyl

    So many people are so happy sending so many other people to Hell! It’s a wonder that God even has to show up for any judgments with so many willing earthly magistrates to handle the job!
    Operating from a default of fear is great for controlling people, but it is not really much faith. I have always taught, preached, and believed that faith is a positive thing. Working from faith means you are not concerned about what happens once life is over. Live as a citizen of “heaven” today, as the Bible says. “Lillies of the field” and all that good parabolic material would be wasted if we were so worried about going to Hell that we forgot to live first.
    “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now” Thanks, Kenny Chesney.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    cknuck,
    Couldn’t have said it better. That is EXACTLY the issue. Assuming one believes in something, what is it? There has to be one thing at the beginning, one idea accepted on faith from which other ideas may be derived, one primary focus of faith. And that is the question: what is that thing? Many people believe PRIMARILY in the Bible, and everything they believe about God DEPENDS on what they read in the Bible. In that case, their belief in God is SECONDARY to their belief in the Bible. And if the Bible portrays God as doing things that we would detest and condemn if done by a human monarch, they will believe that–BECAUSE the Bible says it, and their primary faith is in the Bible.
    Most churches are, to greater or lesser degrees, Bible-oriented. And that is why I stopped going to churches years ago.

  • pagansister

    NateW:
    I enjoyed your post,the idea that hell is believed by some to be a subjective state. I very much agree with your last sentence:”The evangelists are wrong on this matter; the idea that a God who punishes us for eternity etc…”
    “Working from faith means that you aren’t concerned about what happens once life is over”. jestrfyl
    Much time is spent by some worrying about their “afterlife” that they forget to “live” in the here and how. Agreed.

  • cknuck

    H4C one word: wrong if you want to say what I mean then let me tell you first. Our belief in God is not secondary to our belief in the bible. Okay the bible is a guide to how to honor God and to how to live; our belief in God is through personal relationship. We talk to God. We hear God, we obey God we are blessed by God and often we are healed by God.

  • Charles Cosimano

    The Bible says there is a hell. Ok, the Bible is wrong. That solves the problem.

  • Gregg

    I have to say that I believe in a literal hell simply because I believe the Bible and all that it says. The only thing that I can say for those that don’t believe that there is a hell had better hope they are right, because if they are wrong they have everything to loose, but as for me, I truly believe that there is a hell and if I am wrong, I have nothing to loose.

  • nnmns

    Let Gregg’s post put the lie to anyone who thinks a lot of people aren’t Christian out of fear and cowardice.
    Thanks for making it so clear Gregg.

  • pagansister

    Too much fun here to worry about a make believe place, Gregg. I’ll take my chances…since there is really nothing to worry about. But if it floats your boat…so be it.

  • cknuck

    nnmns your post just confused the hell out of me (pun intended). what do you mean?

  • Nate W

    Gregg, I’m not sure those who don’t believe in hell have anything to lose. Christian salvation doesn’t require a belief in hell, and it doesn’t require a belief that Jesus saves us from hell–the Bible simply doesn’t teach anything of the sort. Salvation comes from Christ’s person and work, not from what we individuals believe about hell. Our eternal destinies are not determined by whether or not we believe in a literal place of eternal bodily torment.
    Nor do you need to believe in a literal place of eternal bodily torment just because you believe the Bible. The Bible nowhere attaches the disclaimer “This is not symbolism” to its descriptions of the lake of fire. Our beliefs about hell don’t stem directly from the Bible but more from our broader conception of who God is and how God relates to the world. Western theology has long taken a juridical guilt-and-innocence model of our relationship to God to be primary: God is just, so the righteous must be rewarded (except the Reformed Protestants, who are rewarded for Christ’s righteousness rather than their own) and the unrighteous must be punished; salvation is about no longer being guilty so we no longer have to burn in hell. But Eastern theology, and some “liberal” strands of Western theology, on just as firm a biblical foundation, see love as most basic and understand salvation as the healing of our marred and broken capacity to love God and love each other rather than the removal of our guilt so that God no longer has to punish us. We’re still saved from a “hell” of sorts, but it’s the hell that we ourselves create by falling away from the cosmic dance of love that constitutes our very being; it’s the burning fire of the individual soul so crazed by hatred that it wants to destroy the world whose very nature is loving communion, the soul that eternally struggles in vain to destroy even itself but is faced with the fact that God loves it to much to let it perish entirely.
    The doctrine of hell is only the backside of the doctrine of heaven, the recognition that God cannot force people to freely love and so cannot ensure that all creatures will freely enjoy the good things God has created. The problem with fire-and-brimstone preaching and the typical conservative Western doctrine of hell is that it too often reverses this order, making heaven the backside of the doctrine of hell, as if heaven were nothing more or greater than not being hell.

  • cknuck

    Nate i don’t know what bible you read or if you are someone who just refuses to believe the bible,
    (1) Everyone will exist eternally either in heaven or hell (Daniel 12:2,3; Matthew 25:46; John 5:28; Revelation 20:14,15).
    (2) Everyone has only one life in which to determine their destiny (Hebrews 9:27).
    (3) Heaven or hell is determined by whether a person believes (puts their trust) in Christ alone to save them (John 3:16, 36, etc.).
    (1) Hell was designed originally for Satan and his demons (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10).
    (2) Hell will also punish the sin of those who reject Christ (Matthew 13:41,50; Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).
    (3) Hell is conscious torment.
    • Matthew 13:50 “furnace of fire…weeping and gnashing of teeth”
    • Mark 9:48 “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched”
    • Revelation 14:10 “he will be tormented with fire and brimstone”
    (4) Hell is eternal and irreversible.
    • Revelation 14:11 “the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever and they have no rest day and night”
    • Revelation 20:14 “This is the second death, the lake of fire”
    • Revelation 20:15 “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire”

  • GodsCountry

    God’s Spirit reveals truth to the faithful and helps interpret truth for the faithful.
    Those without faith, without a Guide, will always be able to comment about the written words of the Bible, but never about the truth those Words bear.
    There is no communion between the light and the darkness.
    Light, however, obliterate the darkness.
    May the faithful remain strong.
    Hell exists.
    It is where those without God dwell and will dwell forever.

  • pagansister

    “Hell exists. It is where those without God dwell and will dwell forever”. GodsCountry
    Really? So far that has been totally untrue in my case and those of many others I know. I’ve lived long enough to know that hell exists in the imagination of many…key word…imagination.

  • nnmns

    Sorry if I made that to obtuse cknuck. Gregg is glad he believes in hell because if he didn’t he might be in it. In other words he’s afraid of the (miniscule) chance chance he’ll go to hell so he’s a Christian, of sorts.
    Make sense now?

  • nnmns

    And GC as is so often the case your post has no basis in fact. It’s just claims for your position of choice, with no hint of proof.

  • GodsCountry

    Once again, startling refutes with the power of…mice that roar.
    My basis is God.
    God is.
    God always was and always will be.
    Hell is for those who do not believe God exists, surely for those who lead others to this fatal conclusion.
    Hell is demonstrated by the tortured logic of the “progressive” thought process. Bereft of God, it is hopeless, without substance or base, mist driven by the wind, self-refuting, historically hollow.
    The audacity of “progressive thought”.

  • cknuck

    nnmns you will spend your whole life looking for proof you look for a dog and pony show from God, ha! Not the way to go my friend.

  • Nate W

    cknuck, what reason do you have to believe that the descriptions of hell are literally, physically real? I mean, half of them come from Revelation, a letter chock full of apocalyptic imagery that’s most certainly not meant to be taken literally, for literalism is not in the nature of apocalyptic writing. Daniel is at least partially an apocalyptic book as well, and the proof texts you offer from the Gospels (often as well couched in apocalyptic imagery) do not clearly point to a literal physical eternal torment meant as God-inflicted punishment for committing a sin. We all have our own pre-biblical commitments that help us make interpretive choices when things aren’t perfectly clear, and as I said before, Westerners in the Augustinian tradition have quite a commitment to a juridical understanding of the God-world relationship that causes you to read ambiguous and/or symbolic texts in quite different ways from how Easterners, who by and large lack that juridical model, read them.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Gregg offered Pascal’s “wager” as the reason for his belief. But Blaise Pascal, aside from being a devoutly religious man, was also a scientist, and he was smart enough and honest enough to acknowledge the weakness in his own argument–a person can choose to do something or not do something, but cannot choose to believe something. Pascal’s only solution was to advise non-believers to… pray…. for faith.
    Does it occur to anyone how utterly insulting it is to God (for those of us who do have belief of some kind) to imagine that God has set up a special place for the eternal banishment or punishment of those whose crime is… not believing in God? Suppose a human monarch who never appeared in public instituted a policy that required the execution of anyone who didn’t worship him–would we not describe that monarch as a vanity-driven tyrant?
    PLEASE don’t tell me that we cannot apply human standards to God–if we have standards by which we can identify different things as good and evil, we have no right to say that God is good for doing things that we would say are evil if done by a human monarch.
    And just to be very clear: I am NOT saying that God is evil. I reject the entire notion of hell for non-believers. That is a vile and disgusting thing to attribute to God.

  • cknuck

    Nate so you don’t believe that Jesus literally descended or ascended?

  • jestrfyl

    Nate, I am pretty sure I am with you in this discussion. But I have to admit that unpacking the last sentence in you last posting was a bit much. Simplify and don’t be so anxious to use all the vocabulary and syntax from your texts. No well written sentence should include that many words or ideas. Even Paul would have benefitted from an editor. I agree that scriptural composers should be granted the intelligence enough to write in metaphoric and symbolics ways. But your entire sentence – though valid – about juridicial models is muddled.

  • Nate W

    I believe Jesus was literally God incarnate. I believe he was with the Father before his incarnation and returned to the Father after his resurrection. I do not believe he literally ascended or descended, as if heaven were some place up in the sky that we could get to if we just went high enough.
    In all interpretation of biblical texts, we’ve got to identify what’s being said and what imagery is being used to say it. My point is that once you peel back the apocalyptic imagery in places like Revelation, and once you temporarily suspend your prior commitment to the idea that God deals with the world primarily in the categories of guilt/innocence and punishment/reward, then it’s not clear that the idea of a literal physical hell plays any important role in a biblical theology. You MAY be able to legitimately find support for that idea in the Bible, but it’s certainly not the case that it’s the obvious or only reading that can be faithful to the text.
    For issues like incarnation, on the other hand, you have to do a lot more than peel back the apocalyptic imagery. You have to actually dispute the theology of Paul or John and dismiss them as later corruptions of the original message of Jesus, or reduce the gospel to a purely ethical meaning, or something like that. That’s not what I intend to do. All I mean to say is that you have to account for the importance of genre: an apocalyptic book or passage cannot be read in the same way that you’d read one of Paul’s theological arguments in Romans, for instance, because they’re two entirely different styles of writing.

  • jestrfyl

    Nate,
    Your last post was well written and much clearer, though the second sentence of your second paragraph was kind of long and would probably have been better as two or three sentences based on each clause, that had its own point to make and would have benefited from some further explanation.
    I am seeing a progression in your writing that is becoming more interesting. It seems to me that your are becoming less patently dogmatic and more critical in your thinking. Is this a reflection of your advancement in your academics or simply a more personal style? It is not as if we will agree in many things, but it seems that you are more able to communicate without all the vehemence and near aggression.

  • resist1

    I’m sad to think that I will go to hell because I cannot get my head around the concept of ETERNAL punishment for earthly, limited,non-eternal sins.
    In fact, isn’t the purpose of punishment to change the behavior of those punished? So those who find themselves in hell are being punished WITHOUT the option of changing and getting out. The judgement is final.
    So the Christian concept of hell isn’t really punishement is it? It’s pure revenge against enemies.
    And we are God’s enemies because. . .because we do bad things, or because we cannot stretch our minds into believing in a god described in a book that defies science and even ethics if you read some of the horrific slaughters and unjust severities God committed?
    I have followed Jesus for over 30 years, and the further I follow, the less I can embrace a God who, especially since there are so many versions, teaching, debates and limits on what one person can ever really KNOW, can demand that we weak, ignorant, mortal, easily misled humans face a monstrosity such as hell. And worse –God gives us NO proof except ancient, second-third-fourth-hand anecdotes. So the only route to belief is to be recruited by others and then to just “know” because it sounds and feels right — without EVIDENCE!!! When humans do that in other aspects of life they are considered crazy, psycho, or infantile to believe in hallucinations/fantasy!! But in religion it is the ONLY WAY! WHY!!!!!
    Forcing us to rely on emotion-based “faith” is cruel and unjust. And so is condeming those who have had no opportunity to even find the faith.
    That kind of injustice is of course why the Roman Catholic Church finally had to create the concepts of limbo, purgatury, etc. Otherwise, what can keep us from despair.
    I have nothing put pity for those who have been charred by the Calvinist doctrines and cruel preachers who gleefully deny salvation to the majority of sad humans trapped in this hard-hearted bet between God and Lucifer. The whole set-up is just THAT, a SET-UP, with humans as the helpless pawns. Anyone with any heart, especially those who have earnestly and honestly tried to develope the fruits of the Spirit, must eventually have to come to this conclusion — or deny love.

  • cknuck

    So Nate are you agnostic or do you have your own bible in your head. I cannot imagine your truth because in your truth we deserve all good. I have been alive for some time now and I know the heart of people and how greed develops. It is an old teaching that you can only con people who are greedy and that’s just about everyone of us. We have used the resources that God has given us with little regard for the coming generations humans basically did not receive what we deserved because of Jesus. That makes a case for a hell every bit as much as Christ makes the case for heaven.
    jest if you are going to continue to critique grammar I’m going to be afraid to post because I know my grammar reflects my educational level and when I rush posting in between meetings I’m even worse. All of you guys are very well spoken compared to me.

  • Nate W

    My guess is that it’s because it’s the end of summer, jestrfyl, and the troubles of the last school year are far from my mind. I think I tend to be much shorter and more “dogmatic” on the Internet when I’m bogged down with work.
    Plus, we haven’t talked about abortion in a while, which I think makes us all a little more restrained in what we type.
    To cknuck: No, I’m not agnostic, and no, I do not believe that we all deserve good. But I firmly believe that God wants good for all of us and for everything, or else God wouldn’t have created anything. God creates because God loves, and out of love He desires to perfect and glorify all things. I’m not saved because I “deserve” anything but only because God freely and lovingly wills to give me everything that I have, everything that I am.
    There’s not denying that there’s evil in the world. But we Christians need to have confidence that God will defeat evil, not just torture those who have been corrupted by evil.

  • Wannabe Theo

    Pope John Paul II stirred up a debate in 1999 by describing hell as “the state of those who freely and definitely separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.”
    This isn’t a conservative versus liberal issue. Last I heard, the previous pope was not considered a liberal. Similarly, I was raised in a conservative church; the pastor even taught literal 6 day creation. Not a liberal by any means, but he taught the same doctrine of Hell as the pope: Hell is being separated from God.
    It may be more abstract than a literal lake of fire, but it is no less real. In fact, if God is the ultimate reality, separation from him is more ‘real’ than mere physical flames.

  • resist1

    I’m sad to think that I will go to hell because I cannot get my head around the concept of ETERNAL punishment for earthly, limited,non-eternal sins.
    In fact, isn’t the purpose of punishment to change the behavior of those punished? So those who find themselves in hell are being punished WITHOUT the option of changing and getting out. The judgement is final.
    So the Christian concept of hell isn’t really punishement is it? It’s pure revenge against enemies.
    And we are God’s enemies because. . .because we do bad things, or because we cannot stretch our minds into believing in a god described in a book that defies science and even ethics if you read some of the horrific slaughters and unjust severities God committed?
    I have followed Jesus for over 30 years, and the further I follow, the less I can embrace a God who, especially since there are so many versions, teaching, debates and limits on what one person can ever really KNOW, can demand that we weak, ignorant, mortal, easily misled humans face a monstrosity such as hell. And worse –God gives us NO proof except ancient, second-third-fourth-hand anecdotes. So the only route to belief is to be recruited by others and then to just “know” because it sounds and feels right — without EVIDENCE!!! When humans do that in other aspects of life they are considered crazy, psycho, or infantile to believe in hallucinations/fantasy!! But in religion it is the ONLY WAY! WHY!!!!!
    Forcing us to rely on emotion-based “faith” is cruel and unjust. And so is condeming those who have had no opportunity to even find the faith.
    That kind of injustice is of course why the Roman Catholic Church finally had to create the concepts of limbo, purgatury, etc. Otherwise, what can keep us from despair.
    I have nothing put pity for those who have been charred by the Calvinist doctrines and cruel preachers who gleefully deny salvation to the majority of sad humans trapped in this hard-hearted bet between God and Lucifer. The whole set-up is just THAT, a SET-UP, with humans as the helpless pawns. Anyone with any heart, especially those who have earnestly and honestly tried to develope the fruits of the Spirit, must eventually have to come to this conclusion — or deny love.

  • cknuck

    Nate then should I place you among the few who have edited the bible like Jefferson to your liking? You don’t believe in Christ going to hell or ascending to heaven but you do believe in the resurrection. I suspect you believe that God is almighty with limitations and I can only imagine God asking the question, “Nate what else has to change about the bible for you to believe with God all things are possible.

  • pagansister

    IMO and many others, the Bible can be interpreted LOTS of ways…it is not perfect…it has been and will continue to be “edited” for as long as it exists. After all, since the first books of it were put on paper, it has been revised and changed so many times how could anyone think it is or ever was THE WORD as written?! So the different quotes mentioning hell are just that…different quotes from differnt folks/books…Matthew, Revelation, Mark, John etc. as quoted above by cknuck. Choose your favorite…or just take them for what they are. Man made words, trying to prove the unprovable.

  • Nate W

    So, cknuck, am I to assume that you believe that heaven is some place up in the sky and that hell is some place down under the ground? If Christ literally ascended and descended, that’s what it would seem to suggest, after all.
    This isn’t about “editing” the Bible, it’s about interpreting it. I deny nothing in the Bible–in fact, my Bible’s bigger than your Bible! I could just as easily call you out for “editing” out of the Bible some statements that suggest universal salvation–statements throughout Paul’s letter’s suggesting that all are given life in Christ (e.g., I Cor. 15:22) or that Christ is “Savior of all people” (I Tim. 4:10), or John’s teaching that Christ atoned “not only for our [Christians'] sins, but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2). I could call you out for “editing” the clearest “definition” of God in the whole Bible, I John’s declaration that “God is love”; and I could remind that the Psalmist says that “love endures forever” (Ps. 106:1). Those who deny the universal restoration of all things consistently interpret these and other such biblical themes in ways that are simply unsatisfying to many of us. If God is love, and if God’s love endures forever, then why would God be compelled to resurrecting certain people from the dead simply for the purpose of letting their bodies burn for eternity? What in heaven’s name do the literal physical torments of hell have to do with a God who is love?
    We all have different commitments when interpreting a text. Mine, and that of many others in my church, is that God is love and that God’s love is the only thing that is eternal–everything else must be interpreted through this lens. If God created us “in the beginning,” it is because God loves us. If God became human through the virgin Mary, suffered and died and rose again on the third day, it was because God loves us. If we dwell eternally in heaven, it is because God loves us. If we dwell eternally in hell, it is because God loves us. The whole point of the Gospel is to make us realize this and to draw us to love God in response, so that we may freely enjoy the fullness of everything that God’s love has to offer.
    The juridical model of God as some kind of cosmic law enforcement agent whose main job is to dole out eternal punishment to those who have sinned does not cohere well the biblical definition of God as love. Those who believe in that model of God are certainly forced to dilute–to “edit,” to use your term–John’s definition of God to such an extent that it no longer remains recognizable to those of us who make it the starting point of our theologies.
    As I said, this is not about whether or not we believe the Bible but about how we interpret it and, ultimately, about what part of it we choose as the guiding theme in light of which all other themes are understood.

  • GodsCountry

    “…God will defeat evil, not just torture those who have been corrupted by evil.”
    What do you suppose “defeat” means? A nice warm glass of milk before a long, long sleep?
    If you meant “God will defeat evil AND not just torture those who have been corrupted by evil”, then you are absolutely correct.
    I am astonished at your theological erudition.
    You are a person of faith? You love god and your neighbor? This is good.
    Critical thought will help you dispose of doubt. Carefully avoid letting it lead to doubt! The Word is written in your heart, a wicked and deceitful place, so be careful. Trust only the Spirit to lead you to understanding.
    Your Love hermeneutic is wonderful! A perfect light shining in all this darkness.

  • GodsCountry

    “What in heaven’s name do the literal physical torments of hell have to do with a God who is love?”
    Those who deny God have no place and desire no place with God. They don’t love God with all they have. Heaven is not the place for those who have made up their mind to be rid of God.

  • cknuck

    Nate quote, “my Bible’s bigger than your Bible!”
    Okay that has got to a classic line. You seem to be so intent in controlling both sides of the conversation that you are injecting facts not in evidence. I never said where I believe heaven or hell is. If you had asked I would have told you that I do believe there is more unseen than seen and quite frankly I haven’t a clue as to where heaven is and I don’t think that the bible gives any more clearer description as to exactly where heaven or hell is.. The bible does say something about depths and describe ladders coming down and Christ ascending but it never indicates that all can see or these activities are visible to all but just a few. So Nate although your bible may very well be bigger than mine it seems to me you are limiting God to your intellectual level, no different than a common agnostic.

  • Nate W

    And you’re not “limiting God to your intellectual level” when you apply your own standards of retributive justice to the way God runs the universe?

  • Nate W

    “Those who deny God have no place and desire no place with God. They don’t love God with all they have. Heaven is not the place for those who have made up their mind to be rid of God.”
    So let me get this straight, GodsCountry. You’re suggesting that God’s love is conditional, that it depends on our loving God first–that God loves us because we first loved Him? Because that’s certainly what it sounds like. It sounds like you’re saying that if we don’t love God, then God not only won’t love us, but He’ll raise us from the dead for the sole purpose of torturing us for eternity in hell. That’s strange, because I always thought the core of the Gospel that was that God loved us even when we hated Him, so much that He came to earth and let Himself be murdered by us in order to draw us back to Himself. I didn’t realize that God would stop loving us just because we haven’t chosen to love Him.
    Yes, I agree that heaven is for those who love God. That’s exactly what I’ve said all along–no one who doesn’t love God is going to enjoy the benefits of God’s love. But that’s our own doing, not vengeance on God’s part. We can’t come to enjoy God’s love unless we open ourselves to loving God back, but that doesn’t mean that God punishes us eternally for not loving Him. God would simply not be lovable were He to do such a thing, and to live eternally in heaven in the presence of such a God would be worse than any other hell the human mind can imagine. God bless every righteous atheist who refuses to believe in a such a twisted projection of the human psyche.

  • jestrfyl

    Think about it G.C. – what greater retribution than for an assertive atheist to find themselves in Heaven!?
    God’s love has no condition, no limits, and no exclusions. Those are all ours to impose on ourselves – and others. Jesus did not check id’s before he helped someone or spoke to someone. Testament to that is when he spoke with or lifted as examples Samaritans – the “idiot back country cousins” of the Jews.
    Heaven is not a place – no passports, visas, or innoculations (sacraments?) required. It is from where God reaches out, not some hidden realm for which we must seek.

  • Henrietta22

    John 14:2 “In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you”.
    I Corinthians 2:9 “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered in the mind of humans the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.”
    I John 2:25 “This is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life”
    There is a place, and a condition.

  • cknuck

    There s always two sides and to celebrate one side without warning of the other is totally unkind much more unkind than when the fate is delivered and according to Jesus both fates will be realized both “sheep and goats” It’s kind of like those evangelist who have people say or read the sinner’s prayer from Roman’s 10 and then declare to them that they are saved. Jesus said if we don’t get it right He will say “I never knew you!” Don’t tickle ears to have people believe the road is broad when Jesus clearly said that the road is narrow.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Yes, indeed, Jesus is quoted as saying that the true path is narrow–one of the quotes I think is probably accurate. What are we to make of that? Christianity is the world’s largest religion–huge armies marching triumphantly, Bibles in hand.
    How does a huge army fit on that narrow path? Are we to believe that the narrow path represents the absolutely precisely accurate interpretation of Christian doctrine? That getting doctrine correct is the standard by which humanity will be judged, and very few will be found acceptable for salvation? Does ANYONE sincerely believe that about God?
    But if it is not about the one true interpretation of doctrine, then what is that narrow path all about? I have my own answer, but Christians should ask themselves that question.

  • cknuck

    H4C your whole musing about the passage and about who or what is a follower of Christ is soo way off the mark that you probably should just keep your thoughts. Every time you expound on scripture it is so much more about you then the actual scripture, if God speaks through scripture for you He can’t get a word in edgewise. If there is an army of Christians they in no way resemble your metaphors. Your doctrine is every bit as angry and weird as those opposite of you.

  • GodsCountry

    God will not populate heaven with those who deny God any more than you would invite to dinner anyone with a twisted human psyche.
    Those who deny God are those who deny the only way to gain heaven – the Blood of the Christ, which cleanses us from all sin.
    The cleansed enjoy grace. Grace and eternal life with God, which is described as heaven.
    The un-cleansed are subject to justice, and they reject the bail.
    Death is the punishment for sin. Eternal death, which is described as punishment.
    It is pure hopelessness that darkens hell because hope was abandoned when denial was proclaimed. Fear and dread permeate the realm, joy no longer possible because the Spirit, having been denied, is no longer available to strengthen the heart, the mind and the soul. A lifetime of sin stains, with no precious Blood to cleanse it away.
    It is pure love, untainted by sin, doubt and denial, which radiates through heaven
    Nothing absurd, unless you are perishing.
    Then it is all foolishness.
    You know the truth.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    cknuck,
    Or you might try allowing that my question is legitimate. Never mind what you think my questions say about me–I am a heretic. But if Christians like you won’t even THINK about the question I asked here, then what does THAT say about THEM? That their faith is about reciting Bible passages unthinkingly?

  • pagansister

    “You know the truth”.
    Everyone has their own ideas of “truth”. ‘Tis good.

  • GodsCountry

    God made people for a loving relationship with Himself. Existence being both spiritual and material, a perfect God had to have material beings to complete God’s love (because God is love).
    The relationship was and continues to be broken by the sins of man. Sin being those things that are unloving and hurtful to God and the relationship. God has revealed what those things are. No one has any excuse here.
    God offers us a way to renew that relationship by paying the penalty demanded by our ruinous behavior, that behavior which broke up the relationship in the first place.
    Everyone is given the exact same chance to repair the relationship by merely accepting the fact that the Blood of the Savior Jesus Christ paid for the sins that broke up our intended relationship with God. We owe a big debt, but someone else paid it, and paid in Blood. God is righteous and therefore demands pure justice.
    Deny this, however, and there is no recourse. You are on your own with a debt of sin you cannot possibly pay for. Keeping you from relationship with the God who made you, sin is absolutely unacceptable. Commission of sin carries the ultimate price – eternal separation from God. Sin is the opposite of trivial.
    Do not miss the chance to accept the payment and the loving God who paid it with Blood, the only thing that can cover such a huge penalty.
    God made this available to everyone, no matter how wicked, worthless or conservative. Everyone.
    But it is our choice to make, the ball is definitely in our court.
    With sin, without God. Hell.
    Forever.
    Without sin, with God. Heaven.
    Forever.

  • GodsCountry

    This is truth. This is not an idea.
    Attack it all you want, but it will remain unchanged.
    Those who accept it will be changed forever.
    Fantastic ideas change nothing.
    This is a guarantee.
    The audacity to say otherwise.

  • pagansister

    “The audacity to say to say otherwise” GC
    As always, your opinion. Your opinions do not trump anyone elses, GC. That is why it is called “a discussion”,not a sermon.

  • cknuck

    H4C you haven’t taken in account that I have out grown questioned faith, my faith is full grown no need for questions, You expect me to turn back because of your doubt.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    cknuck,
    I don’t have any expectations about other people’s faith. Long ago, when I went to churches, I realized that much of the doctrine I heard and read was factually false, self-contradictory, and sometimes blasphemous–and yet almost everyone I met serenely accepted these doctrines as self-evident truth. “You don’t understand, because you don’t have the Holy Spirit within you,” they assured me. But if someone shows me 2 pieces of string of unequal length, and tells me one of them is simultaneously longer and shorter than the other, I reject that claim as absurd because it is self-contradictory–what kind of “spirit” within me could make such an absurd claim seem logical?
    In fact, I very strongly do feel the spirit of God within me–and as rationality is one of the cardinal characteristics of God’s spiritual presence, I have always subjected man-made religious doctrine to rational analysis and have not hesitated to reject that which is factually false or self-contradictory; I also reject that which I find blasphemous (portraying God in ways that we would rightly detest if seen in a human monarch). That is my 3-part “sniff test”–I instantly reject falsehoods, self-contradiction, and blasphemy. Rational analysis doesn’t mean demanding proof that God exists–there is no objective proof, but I do have a subjective sense of God’s presence. But I can apply rationality to the claims that have been made ABOUT God and ABOUT the Bible, and I reject those that flunk any part of my sniff test.
    Eventually, I realized that the serenity of faith that most people seem to experience is heavily rooted in routine and dogma–a comfort in old assumptions, often instilled in childhood, and an unwillingness to question dogma and doctrine lest the answers upset their serenity. Most devout people of any of the major religions place their faith in their sacred scriptures; I place my faith in the gifts of God’s spiritual presence, and one of those gifts is rationality. And rationality goes hand-in-hand with questioning.
    Peace.

  • GodsCountry

    Friendly fire takes another victim:
    “”As always, your opinion. Your opinions do not trump anyone elses, H4C. That is why it is called “a discussion”,not a sermon.””
    Better watch where you guys point those things…

  • GodsCountry

    The “I”‘s have it!
    16 “I”‘s (24 usages of either “I” or “me” or “my”) in a story about what’s wrong with God and God’s faithful and truth itself.
    Who’s in charge here?

  • cknuck

    H4C after reading your sermon I do understand you a little better and I feel sorry for what you have experienced. There’s a saying which goes like this; “you could create a universe with what you don’t know” I like to add with what you can’t see also. But I’m sure you can’t see that.

  • pagansister

    “As always,your opinion. Your opinions don’t trump anyone elses, GC. That is why it’s called a discussion, not a sermon.”
    GodsCountry…the quote above was mine (pagansister) and addressed to you.. NOT H4C. Just thought I’d clear that up.
    Exactly, who IS in charge here??????? GodsCountry?

  • GodsCountry

    …nothing is clearer than the comment I made.
    I used redirection, a common rhetorical foil. You know about redirection, don’t you?
    I know you do.

  • GodsCountry

    …you see…
    a liberal (liberal “A”) tells me I’m nuts, or something typically inane, for comments made. In this case, made in what was judged to be a particular fashion or style.
    A fellow liberal (liberal “B”) makes some odd statement, in a similar fashion and in context with my own comments.
    I turn liberal “A”‘s inanity against liberal “B” because it works just as well there in obfuscating and/or derogating what was said.
    So sorry I had to explain this.
    Especially to demonstrated experts.
    And…by the way; Hell exists.
    You say no.
    I say yes.
    God says yes.

  • pagansister

    And…by the way; Hell exists.” GC Well of course it does. :o) Some have more vivid imaginations than others.
    “You say no. I say yes. God says yes.” GC Totally diagree with God and you, for that matter. No surprise there, huh?
    Redirection? Aren’t you a clever Dude? It’s called a typing error. You have a high opinion of your posts.

  • GodsCountry

    …I have a much higher opinion of God.
    God makes no mistakes.
    Perfection in every way.
    And that includes allowing some to choose Hell.
    Because Hell exists.
    Heaven, being also available, is by far the better choice and I urge all to choose Heaven.

  • pagansister

    So glad you have a higer opinion of God, GC. I’d certainly be surprised if you didn’t. Personally, my life has shown me that that divine being of yours has made some really lousy decisions. My opinion? It must do better.
    Hell is created by human beings, and they do it to themselves. Wars (many in the name of GOD!!) have killed too many humans. Where is that god of yours then? Oh yes, “god is always on the side of the winner!” I forgot. :o) (not)

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    God is perfect? God makes no mistakes?
    Well, if so, then the Bible got it VERY wrong at Genesis 6:6.

  • GodsCountry

    By definition, heresy get’s Scripture wrong.
    No one who is a nominal Christian, heretic, secularist, pagan, denier of God and atheist has any legitimacy when speaking with the word’s of the One they deny.
    Absurdity upon absurdity. Deny the truth but speak it as if it is the truth.
    Truth awaits, calling out, shining light into the darkness, desiring to transform brokenness into wholeness, even holiness.
    Turn to the light. Accept the grace of God.
    You’ll soon rejoice that you did.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    GC,
    I don’t deny God, but even those who do have a perfectly legitimate right to question your assertions, and to question the notion that the Bible is the word of God. If the Bible can only be interpreted “correctly” by bibliolaters, then it is, by definition, utterly futile for you and other True Believers to preach to non-believers–certainly futile if your goal is to spread your idolatrous faith in the Bible. In essence, you are saying to non-believers, “Here is a book that you cannot understand, and I want you to believe that every word in it is true.”
    Don’t you think you’d have a more convincing case if you demonstrated that the Bible is true in every word? Like maybe starting with the question before you–If God is perfect and makes no errors, why does Genesis 6:6 depict God as feeling bad and regretting what he had done?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • cknuck

    H4C quote, “God is perfect? God makes no mistakes?
    Well, if so, then the Bible got it VERY wrong at Genesis 6:6.”
    That was man’s mistake not God! If you look for fault in the gospel you will find only fault in yourself over and over, If you look for truth in the gospel you will find it and it will set you free.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    WHAT was man’s mistake? The passage says that God was grieved and regretful over what he had created. If you want to argue that God was grieved BECAUSE humanity had turned out to be a sorry excuse for a species and that is WHY God was grieved, okay–but if God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then he takes full responsibility for what he did, which is what the passage connotes.
    I raised this point solely because GodsCountry peddles messages of God’s perfection and seems to imply a belief in scriptural literalism and inerrancy–so I asked how it could be that a perfect God who makes no errors nevertheless was grieved and regretful over something he had done, according to the Bible, which I am repeatedly assured is equally perfect and contains no error. So if God makes no error, then he cannot be regretful over something he has done, which means that the Bible is wrong; and if the Bible contains no error, then God really was regretful, which means he did make a mistake.
    Hey, this is YOUR theology, not mine–I’m just asking someone to explain this apparent self-contradiction. How do you expect to fulfill what you think is the “great commission” if people ask you questions like this and all you do is blame the questioner with lines like “If you find fault with the gospel you will only find fault in yourself”? No, when I hear intrinsic self-contradiction in church doctrine and I ask about it, I have found fault in that doctrine, not in myself–in myself, what I find is that the rationality that is one of the cardinal manifestations of God’s spiritual presence is functioning quite well, helping me to separate truth from falsehood–it is a gift I cherish and use ceaselessly.
    Please understand–as I have NEVER considered the Bible to be anything but the words of men, this question isn’t an issue for me. I just wanted to find out how friend GC would respond. So far, there is no response.

  • GodsCountry

    “…a perfectly legitimate right…”
    So-called “rights” are not at all at issue.
    There is no “right” to sin.
    No right to accommodate, encourage, or promote.
    But this is all you do.
    Life is too precious to spend it walking in the darkness.
    Come into the light, and see.
    There is no other way.

  • GodsCountry

    “Hey, this is YOUR theology, not mine–”
    Truer words have you very rarely spoken.
    You have not the Spirit and you have not the capacity to interpret God’s words, which were and are spoken through the Spirit of God.
    If you advised nuclear scientist’s, would Three Mile Island have been the travesty it was?
    If you were an adviser to Ted Kennedy, would he have jumped in to save his date’s life?
    If you were to take a look at the Dead Sea Scrolls would you find errors there?
    The answer is obvious. You would have no capacity in any case to make any difference.
    Attempting to use the Bible against God’s follower’s, who are filled with the Spirit, the Spirit who guides them in truth, is absolutely…
    audacious.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Is it audacious to have a spiritual point of view different from yours? Dear me! When did God appear and name you to be his spokesperson?
    Is the Bible only for those who are already Christians? How did they get to be Christians if they can’t understand the Bible?
    Is commenting on unprovable theological notions really the same thing as commenting on hard science and engineering?
    You are SO full of yourself. And of it.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    PS. I notice you STILL haven’t answered the question about God making no mistakes but Genesis 6:6 depicting God as grieved and regretful about what he had done. Are you going to continue hiding behind your phony dismissal that I have no right to ask a question? ANSWER THE QUESTION, YOU FRAUD!

  • GodsCountry

    Heresy presupposes orthodoxy. Just as there are doctrines that are true and lead to Salvation, there are those novelties (heresy) that leads to damnation.
    Heretics do not correctly interpret the Word of God.
    Never have.
    Never will.
    The light has no fellowship with the dark.
    We will not debate scripture.
    The respective positions are clear enough.

  • GodsCountry

    “”…When did God appear and name you to be his spokesperson?…””
    Two thousand years ago and forty years ago, respectively.
    Thank you for asking. Testimony is good.

  • GodsCountry

    “”…Is the Bible only for those who are already Christians? How did they get to be Christians if they can’t understand the Bible?…””
    The Bible is God’s written revelation to all His creation.
    Salvation is by God’s grace, an open invitation to be free from bondage.
    If the prison gate is open, and it is, you may proceed through. Understanding follows rather rapidly.
    Why do you not proceed through?

  • GodsCountry

    “”…Is commenting on unprovable theological notions really the same thing as commenting on hard science and engineering?…””
    They are only provable or unprovable if you deny the source of evidence.
    Science was an illustration.
    Thus, we have no debate.

  • GodsCountry

    correction;
    “they are only unprovable if you deny the source of evidence.”

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    GC returns with a rapid-fire series of postings, all of which add up to: “I will not address your question because you are not qualified to ask any questions.”
    Well, if God was as regretful as he is depicted in Genesis 6:6 about having made man, then I have to wonder if he might now be feeling a tad regretful in appointing you to be his spokesperson 40 years ago, because you do a fairly lousy job of it. All you do is make sanctimonious pronouncements laced with invective against anyone who dares to challenge you. Not really the most effective way to win converts.

  • pagansister

    H4C, some folks have no way to admit that all they believe might have a few flaws in it.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    pagansister,
    Yes,,, and in this case, it is not just flaws in what they believe, but the real probability that they have no beliefs at all, which might explain why they shout “Lord! Lord! I believe!” so loudly, as if to convince themselves that they are not really as empty inside as they secretly fear they are.

  • GodsCountry

    Once again, dear readers, all that is necessary is found in the above comments.
    All that is necessary to enlighten, to lead in righteousness.
    Please, go back and read the comments, follow them closely and discern the truth.
    It will set you free.

  • pagansister

    I’m already “free” but thanks for the concern. The first 17 years of my life I was taught some of what you preach…by loving parents but came to my senses at 17…having always thought the things I was being told (about a god I couldn’t see or hear, but was suppose to be running things)were a little far fetched. That was more years ago than I want to remember right now…but have had no reason to change my outlook on that decision. Life has been good to me…and I see no reason to start pretending to believe in something unprovable. I like facts, not fiction.

  • Miss Anonymous

    Some people say God can send people to Hell because his morals are superior to those of humans and he cannot tolerate sin, so we have no right to question his judgment. However, as an adult, my morals are superior to a toddler’s. If my toddler did something wrong, as all children eventually do, and then I punished him by torturing him in the basement for the rest of his life because I “cannot tolerate sin,” I would be arrested for child abuse. The vast majority of people would think my idea of punishment is morally repugnant. Yet if a god sends a human to Hell for eternal torture or misery, somehow many people find that morally acceptable?

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Well said, Miss Anonymous!

  • GodsCountry

    So, yeah, obviously, you are NOT God.
    But, the story can develop much differently.
    Your child would sin, intolerably, against you. The child would need to be of an age accountable for the wrong-doing, not an innocent
    toddlers accident and it would need to be a grave, horrible wrong.
    You would love this child so much that when an older sibling offers to pay whatever the cost of the sin, you say okay to that sacrificial gift and allow the younger child his freedom, your grace, forgiveness and love in a renewed relationship with you.
    However, if the younger child refuses the offer and continues in his own, destructive ways, then the basement begins to look like the only alternative. Really almost like the child has decided it has chosen the basement.
    This is a temporal, analogous story of the real story that involves God, Jesus Christ and mankind. The real questions are eternal, involving the ways of destruction and the way of grace and which way(s) you will choose. While alive, you have a choice to make. After death, it is too late.
    Choose the ways of destruction and evil, despite the sacrifice made to redeem you and you will not be saved from your fate.
    It is really as if you decided this fate.
    Because you did.

  • GodsCountry

    Those who deny God and make up their own, fanciful gods, are now using morality as an argument against Christian truth.
    No God, no morality.
    Morality exists as evidence of God, springs exclusively from God’s truth, the Bible. Morality is motivated by the love of God, propelled by the Spirit of God and is essential to life as we know it.
    If you believe morality came from elsewhere, then you are subject to the law of the jungle, where modern morality is a temporary blip in a cold and meaningless reality of animal-like evolution where only the strong survive.
    In a hopeless wasteland of religions and non-religions, atheism and nominalism, spiritism and spirituality, there is ONE hope.
    Jesus Christ is His name.
    Choose Heaven.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    Well, that was definitive, GC. So are you saying that Christians are the only people in the world we can be sure are morally upright, by definition? Or that atheists are the only people we can be sure are morally degenerate, by definition?
    Where, exactly, do you get the brass, gross nerve to pass judgment on humanity? No, the answer is NOT that it is God passing judgment, because all I see here are postings from YOU. And no, the answer is NOT that God has appointed you to pass judgment, because, by your own theology, that would be Jesus’ job, and I don’t see his name on your postings, either….
    Wait! Omigosh! Are you actually Jesus, GC? Come back to test the waters?

  • Your Name

    “”Where, exactly, do you get the brass, gross nerve to…””
    …bother to respond to your words, not mine.
    Reread and re-respond.
    I know you have no real good response to what I wrote. Truth is out of reach for one who struggles under the overwhelming burden of denying God.
    I’ll clue you in. Morality exists. Some people say it originates with God. I know it does, but there are others who think it evolved with the descent of man. Each view has consequences.
    Take your pick.

  • Your Name

    GodsCountry claims the above comment.

  • GodsCountry

    …finally…

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    GC, I don’t need to respond to what you say, because everything you say only demonstrates that you are an idolater abd blasphemer.

  • GodsCountry

    BUT…BUT…..YOU JUST RESPONDED!!!!
    Calling good, evil and calling evil, good, is a clear indication of the way people are predicted to act in the last days before the judgment.
    God wants you back, heretic.
    He wants you back.

  • Heretic_for_Christ

    True, GC, I did respond– it has been the unceasing foolishness of my life that I never give up trying to reach people’s innate rationality, no matter how much evidence they proudly present to show that they scorn this gift of God and prefer to act like brain-dead automata.
    As for calling good evil and evil good, that is your domain. I am not the one who blasphemes against God.

  • GodsCountry

    Unbelievable…
    Sad…
    You can run but you can’t hide, so the saying goes.
    God is gaining on you, heretic. You can barely contain anymore.
    He want’s you back.

  • pagansister

    I don’t think H4C has anything to worry about.

  • GodsCountry

    When truth shines in the darkness, those that dwell there are repulsed, squeeze their eyes shut and scurry for cover.
    It all is a chaotic reaction to truth crashing the party. The sarcasm, ad hominem, puerile language and logic, emptiness and hopelessness all portend the ultimate fall of those who deny God. These symptoms are obvious to any reader.
    Jesus Christ Himself told us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one may come to God but through Him.

  • pagansister

    “Jesus Christ Himself told us He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and no one may come to God but through Him”.
    And we should want to do this…Why?

  • GodsCountry

    …hmmm…another very good question. One might suspect you are searching for answers.
    We should do this because it is what the One who made us want’s for us.
    Father knows best.

  • pagansister

    “Father knows best.” GC
    Not necessarily. Moms are very smart people too.
    The questions are to find out if you have any other answers..so far they are all the same…

  • GodsCountry

    You are CORRECT!!
    Finally, YOU GET IT!
    There is only one way, one truth and one life.
    If you choose to deny the influence of evil and be washed clean of it.
    Hell awaits any alternative choice.

  • pagansister

    I get what? All answers from you are the same? The ones I don’t happen to find useful?
    Or is it that Mother Knows Best (as in Goddess?)

  • pagansister

    Oh, I forgot to mention above.
    “Hell awaits any alternative choice.” GC
    You really expect me to believe that? Already mentioned that, IMO that is a myth…a form of control over the masses who choose to believe it. Why would anyone want to pray to a Being that threatens to send them to a place of much heat to exact obedience? Sorry, my Beings don’t threaten their followers with such.

  • GodsCountry

    Delusion upon delusion…
    If you are not beyond the reach of truth, I don’t know who is.
    But, there is always hope in God.
    You must find it there and nowhere else.
    For now, you are terrifyingly wrong.
    Through your own word’s, I know you to be a blind guide. A dog that has returned to it’s own vomit. A sheer mist, driven by the wind.
    This is why I am here – to see you repent. Return to God. Live in His light. Feel His assurance.
    This is why I am here.
    God wants you back.

  • pagansister

    GC, where DO you get your rhetoric? Make it up all by yourself?
    “A dog that has returned to it’s own vomit”. GC
    Now I know that you aren’t the Christian you claim. Christians I know don’t call other people “dogs”.
    IF (and that is a really big IF) you had any chance (which you don’t) of trying to get me back to your version of god, that last statement would send me back to my own beliefs…those that you consider Pagan. Backfired, Dude. Not as good as you think you are. Hell sounds preferable to your rhetoric…except that it doesn’t exist, so it is not a worry.

  • GodsCountry

    Worshiping a “goddess” in your old age after knowing the truth in your youth, means the analogy is apt and it richly illustrates what has happened to you. Don’t blame God for your unbelief, but trust Him with your faith. Only God can retrieve you from the abyss.
    There is a clear choice.
    You have been swallowed up by the darkness of liberal “thought”. Now, you have become a blind guide, helping and hoping to lead others straight to Hell.
    As long as you continue deceiving, there will be someone to obliterate your lies.
    The audacity of FALSE hope.

  • pagansister

    The majority of my youth was in the deep south, with it’s conservative religious beliefs. I met a man in college (and married him) who wasn’t indoctrinated into the god or else routine..born and raised a UU..which made me realize that the doubts I’d had growing up were OK, and my doubt as to god’s existence were valid. Never looked back. My parents were wonderful…and brought me (and my sisters who have stayed Christians) up with love and kindness and their beliefs. They turned out not to be mine. Simple.
    BTW, my folks never threatened the hell bit. I’m not sure they even believed in it. We were not raised in fear of the god they taught.
    Sure, gotta watch that “darkness of liberal thought.” It’ll get ya if ya don’t watch out. I’m gratefull for it.
    Oh, you’re back on the blind guide thing. If convinced a person won’t allow us “guides” to shake their thought. If not,then they can explore other options. I don’t set out to do anything. Except on this site, I don’t discuss religion with folks. Frankly, I don’t care what someones beliefs are…as long as they don’t push them on me.

  • pagansister

    GC: Just thought…why would I blame a god I don’t believe in for not believing in him? That was a pointless statement.
    And I’m so not convinced your so Christian. The dog remark was uncalled for…but I have to consider the source.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment big ed

    I figure saying “God rewards” causes a lot less questioning among the flock than saying “God punishes”.

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