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  1. #1

    Default Reality Check he's in hell?

    I listened lately to a promo for a book/audiobook called Love Wins by a pastor Rob Bell, I think he's an American, he wrote it apparently in response to an incident during a church art presentation in which someone had created a piece of art which had a quote from Ghandi on it, at the end of the event they found that someone had attached a post it note stating "reality check, he's in hell". This is clearly something which the good pastor really did not approve of and is out of step with his (and my own) understand of God, he considers it quite contradictory and has on the inlay card of the audiobook a quote which I think is designed to make the point:

    ' "God loves us,
    God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part.
    Unless you do not respond the right way.
    Then God will torture you forever.
    In Hell."
    Huh?'

    (Italics in original) I was wondering if anyone would like to talk about this topic, Christian or non-Christian and hopefully Christians of all denominations because I see this view of God and eternity as rooted in misunderstandings, overlaid by time and turmoil but rooted in the schisms and bitterness of the reformation debates about justification and salvation.

    When I was at technical college I remember debating these points with protestant friends who laboured under the belief that I would one day convert to protestantism, through a process of being "saved" which they could not explain in all but the vaguest terms and appeared to me to be merely being confirmed within their unique cultural heritage, or burn in hell for all eternity.

    They werent bad people, in fact I really believe that one of them was tormented with the concern that their efforts to convert and evangelise would be insufficient and God could be angry with them as a consequence. They stated that Ghandi and others like him who were good people but failed to convert were indeed in hell.

    They affirmed that God was loving in so far that he would spare the "saved", a elect, possibly determined before birth, whose actions had no baring on their fate, and whom believers could only hope to be a member of and fear that they were not. There were a lot of people who were damned and some who would become that way by failing to convert or abandoning their faith (no such thing as being a lapsed member of the congregation in those circles).

    It made me investigate the various forms of baptism and salvation in my own faith, based upon sacramentalism, tradition and, until lately, acts deemed pleasing to God or Good Deeds, as indicated in scripture and tradition (the RCC has issued clarification that they actually concur with Lutheran teaching about grace rather than good works determining salvation since then). However I personally didnt believe that failing to conform to this pattern would condemn someone to hell, not for a moment.

    It seemed like my friend had taken a step beyond even this, which I found absurd for a loving God, the God I read about in bible stories or who Jesus was supposed to represent or was incarnate.

    Laterly I discovered more convincing writings by Jesuits who suggested that hell was not God's dungeon but a state of seperateness from God, resulting in misery, which could be this worldly or otherworldly/in an afterlife, the important thing being that it was self-inflicted through a failure to reciprocate love.

    I tend to believe this and am more confirmed in it all the time, I know that there are people who will tell me, and they often do, that this is wishful and reductive thinking, that I make an idol which fits my own inclination and human, all to human insights. I dont mind them though. Their mental prison isnt for me. That's my view and you might not share it but what do you think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sanctus Iacobus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    ' "God loves us,
    God offers us everlasting life by grace, freely, through no merit on our part.
    Unless you do not respond the right way.
    Then God will torture you forever.
    In Hell."
    Huh?'
    It seems unfair because the gravity of emotion is centered on us. The reality is that God is the center, so I'll rewrite it:

    We are created by God, made for God, and loved by God
    God is totally faithful to us, yet we are unfaithful to God
    Therefore, eternal destruction is our fair destiny
    However, we are loved by God still and God doesn't desire our destruction.
    Therefore, God runs after us like a father runs after a child running out into busy traffic.
    God allows Himself to be destroyed instead. But God is greater than our eternal destruction, and cancels it out.
    We are created by God, made for God, and loved by God, it is only fitting that we worship Him out of a free spirit (we are not forced).

    Therefore, we can either choose to receive the cancellation of our destruction or reject it. We choose which path we walk on. Most walk on the path of destruction. Pray that you may walk with Jesus Christ on the narrow path and He will guide you. There is no conceivable reason not to... life and death are set before each one of us, therefore choose life.


    Oh, and Ghandi is in hell. So is Buddha, Krishna and Muhammad. As great as each was, they did not have a relationship with Jesus which is the true gravitational center of existence. Would Saturn say to Jupiter, "considering your size, and my rings, surely we're the center of the solar system. we'll revolve around ourselves, and the other planets around us". That wouldn't make sense, we all know the sun is the center of the solar system. So it is with all of existence and Jesus Christ. Yes, that fact is hard on the ego but it is the truth, and the only reality that exists.

    Buddhist monk has Near-death experience and sees Buddha burning in hell

    The truth is also that if we understand this reality, where the gravity of life is towards life Himself, Jesus Christ, and not on ourselves, we find all the cares and burdens of our life lifted off of us, as we are not designed to carry these things. We are each like a planet in the solar system where we have a gravity on ourselves much greater than our mass. This is why life is inherently so hard. But, if we understand and believe Jesus as God, as the "sun", our mass can revolve around Him and we experience freedom and joy of life just as it was meant to be.

    We each seek for the life we're meant to have, but it won't be found until we see Jesus is the center and we set our lives in orbit around Him.

  3. #3
    Anew Leaf
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    I listen to an awesome church via podcast with an ENTP head pastor. (The church is only 40 miles from me soo... I am kinda lazy.)

    He had a sermon on hell one day that was very interesting. I will paraphrase because I don't remember the exact details. The concept was basically that when we die and are judged, God will refine us like you do with gold. The gold purity stays behind, and the impurities get burned up. So if someone is 99.9% evil, there is still a 0.01% bit of them that gets saved. If someone is 20.7% evil, then the rest gets saved, etc. His theory is then that hell is not necessarily a "real" place in that souls are left to suffer there for eternity... Hell is simply the final separation from God and it lasts for a second, and then that person is no more.

    I kind of like that view.

    I also have come up with my own viewpoint where we get a final chance to choose God after we die. I don't believe that someone who grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and didn't hear about Jesus, is automatically going to hell. I also don't believe that someone who has had the opportunity to know Jesus and God in America, but went to a church that wasn't really preaching God's word... and therefore turns their back on the idea of Christianity... is automatically going to hell.

    I know my own limited capacity for forgiveness and mercy... and even I would not condemn these people to suffering. And I believe and know that God is infinitely more merciful and loving than me on my best day riding on a unicorn could ever be.

    So... that's my thought on this.

    -Fi out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sanctus Iacobus's Avatar
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    Default the doctrine of Hell

    http://blog.marshillchurch.org/2011/...stion-of-hell/

    answers things like:

    “A loving God would not send billions of people to a horrible hell.”
    “A loving God would be more tolerant.”
    “Hell is mean.”
    “Eternal torment in hell is an unjust punishment for people who sin for a few decades.”
    Do people who have never heard about Jesus go to hell?

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    Where's the proof that all that stuff is the word of God? How do you know some rich dude didn't make the whole story up?

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    Senior Member Snoopy22's Avatar
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    There is no hell, there is only a separation from God, most writings of the horrors of hell are only man’s attempt to explain something that no one living is capable of explaining. And God doesn’t send us there.

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    I think the concept of hell is one of the primary things that drove me away from Christianity. I undertand several theological aspect of it. But when push comes to shove we're talking about judging someone for an eternety based on a finite time, this does not make sense at all to me. With an omnipotent, omnipresent God, there is no real difference between God judging, or us pushing away. Anyway, it's not something I'm on the fence about, or I feel I have to resolve. There is no hell as the Christians describe it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Qlippoth View Post
    I think the concept of hell is one of the primary things that drove me away from Christianity. I undertand several theological aspect of it. But when push comes to shove we're talking about judging someone for an eternety based on a finite time, this does not make sense at all to me. With an omnipotent, omnipresent God, there is no real difference between God judging, or us pushing away. Anyway, it's not something I'm on the fence about, or I feel I have to resolve. There is no hell as the Christians describe it.
    That would depend on the Christians I would suggest, the reality is that you can have as much heaven or hell as you want, in this life or any other life. It isnt really horrible that God has decided that his love for those who choose to live in heaven should mean that those who refuse are excluded from spoiling it for those that do. It is at the very most that is simply natural and logical consequences.

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    Post Human Post Qlip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    That would depend on the Christians I would suggest, the reality is that you can have as much heaven or hell as you want, in this life or any other life. It isnt really horrible that God has decided that his love for those who choose to live in heaven should mean that those who refuse are excluded from spoiling it for those that do. It is at the very most that is simply natural and logical consequences.
    For a God who setup the system, it is horrible. Reasoning:

    1. Hell sucks.
    2. God is all powerful and all seeing and is ultimately responsible for everything.
    3. God is responsible for the existence of hell.
    4. God sucks.
    5. God cannot suck.
    6. Creator of Hell is not God or There is no God or There is no Hell

    I know Christians will have issue with number 2. But I intend to hold our creator responsible as I should be held responsible for what I have power over.

  10. #10
    Senior Member SRT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Laterly I discovered more convincing writings by Jesuits who suggested that hell was not God's dungeon but a state of seperateness from God, resulting in misery, which could be this worldly or otherworldly/in an afterlife, the important thing being that it was self-inflicted through a failure to reciprocate love.
    That's certainly an interesting way to look at it. I guess that goes with my view that God reincarnates everyone across multiple lifespans until we've all succeeded in correctly overcoming every obstacle/sin that we come across. At that point we can be allowed to enter Heaven. Think of it like progressing through school. At the end of each year (life), if you've learned what you needed to learn you can then move on to the next year, which will have different challenges for you to pass. If not, you repeat until you learn what it was that you needed to learn.

    So I don't think that Hell exists as a location, but rather a metaphor for the troubles that exist in your life that didn't need to be. Which sounds alot like your viewpoint as well.
    Everything that I express is simply an opinion with varying levels of support

    If I seem like a different type to you, I hereby give you permission to type me however you want.

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