What Would Jesus Do...in Hell???

In 2000, a Texas police officer was shot and killed in the line of duty. He was a rookie. His name was Aubrey Hawkins (29) of the Irving Police Department. Hawkins was killed by the “Texas Seven,” the infamous group of men who had escaped from John Connally Prison the same year. Prison escapee George Rivas, the Texas Seven ringleader, had orchestrated robbing an Oshman’s Sporting Goods store in Irving. It was here that this convict and his cohorts, looking over their shoulders, running from the law in utter desperation, faced a fateful decision when encountering Officer Hawkins—kill him and escape or be captured and let him live? The decision was quickly and brutally made. Hawkins was shot and then run over. They knew how badly they wanted to escape their pursuers. Even when maintaining freedom meant killing a police officer, Rivas decided to go through with it. It was at this point that an ordinarily infamous gang became the officially deadliest mob in America.

How could these thugs have been called the deadliest men in America? Because under Texas law, anyone who takes the life of a peace officer gets either a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of parole, or the death sentence—no exceptions. Knowing this, Rivas and his pernicious posse could now kill anyone else they wanted and it would be a freebie. If you're already going down for life in prison or death, how can you be further penalized for any additional murders you commit?

When Rivas was finally caught, he asked for the death sentence and rightly received it. Hey, smart move on his part! Even a cretin of a human being shouldn't be kept around without a purpose. Lifetime incarcerations, much like the religious idea of eternal torture, sound justifiable to some, but they accomplish nothing. Why should a person lay around and be kept in a cage for 50 to 70 years? The purposelessness, the hopelessness, the pointlessness of it is cruel in its own rite. The waste, the consumption of resources in keeping useless human beings alive can’t be justified.

Having thought about this topic as it has to do with earthly matters, I soon began to wonder about it as it pertained to heavenly matters; namely, what would God have the unsaved do as we live out our eternity in Hell? Since Jesus doesn't want to rehabilitate us, what would he have us do in the devil's abode?

My mother used to say, "Go to your room and think about what you've done." Do you think maybe this is what Jesus is really saying to us by confining us to Hell? If this is true, it reflects wholly vapid reasoning because it implies rehabilitation, but the Bible says there isn't going to be any rehabilitation for the damned. (Luke 16:19-31)

Does God want us to suffer? If so, then he is a sadist, a monster who takes pleasure in the suffering of others, but the Bible says he doesn't take pleasure in such suffering. (Ezekiel 18:24) And if it is the case that God hates it when the wicked suffer, then why has he constructed it so that the wicked suffer eternally? It makes not a lick of sense.

So, I want to know: what does God want us to do in Hell, amidst those agonizing moments of regret and reflective thought? Amongst those endless feelings of everlasting contempt, what does God have to say to us then? When we can force back the pain of damnation long enough to think coherently, what does Jesus want us to think about? What should we do when there is no redemption, no hope, and not a drop of mercy to be found? What do we do when we’ve blown our last chance? Could a perfectly just God “run out” of mercy and have a “last chance”? If Jesus was in our lost condition, suffering eternal retribution, what would he do?

If there is some sort of hierarchy in Hell, some sort of satanic "pecking order," should we follow it to serve our master, Lucifer? What about the demons that are right under him? Can they command us too? Will demons sodomize us there as it happens in prisons here on earth? Are we supposed to obey if higher-ranking hell-spawns command us to sodomize Hell's new arrivals as sort of an initiation? Or, should we lead a salvation-less ministry in hell, in the bleak hope that perhaps the Catholics were right, and we are merely in a purgatory, and may get out if we are spiritually redeemable? Should we bathe in the hotter parts of hell to please God, hoping maybe he will see us suffering enough and change his mind? But how can we do these things, knowing full well that there is no relief, that there is no reward for us ever, and that God never changes his mind (Numbers 23:19)? When the misery is too much, does Jesus still sympathize? Does he hear us at all down there? Does he even care? Should we bother to pray, to count beads, to chant, to beg, to call upon the name of Christ?

In life, God doesn't like idleness. He likes for us to work and stay busy. But in death, he doesn't care about us anymore. He doesn't love us anymore, and apparently, doesn't even want to think about us anymore. We know this because the bible has no commandments or advice for the hellbound. By God not caring, he inadvertently encourages more evil in Hell. Because of God's neglect of us at that point, we might as well resolve to be more wicked than ever, just like the Texas Seven. We might as well wish and think bad thoughts, pleasing ourselves by looking lustfully at the "hot" curves of another cute little dancing demon on the equivalent of a table-top at a topless bar in Hell. We ought to steal from Hitler’s magma hole, and as much as is possible, add to the suffering our fellow sufferers are already being subjected to. If it’s possible, maybe I can assist Genghis Kahn in another torso-chopping raid? Maybe I'll get to bunk with Ivan the Terrible and play Chess?

God is a hypocrite. He tells us to always love those who hate us because if we love only those who love us, we are no better than sinners who do the same (Luke 6:38), but God doesn't practice what he preaches; his enduring love abides only to those who love him and will receive his invitation to come to the wedding feast of heaven. But once the rest of us (the unsaved) die, his love for us is extinguished, as is his mercy. He lets us exist only for the purpose of suffering, but with no hope of redemption, with nothing to look forward to ever again. He is a quitter who has given up on his wayward children. He has left them out on the street to be forgotten about. He is worse than a mother who leaves her children to starve, scampering for old food between the cushions of a couch. When they die, they are forgotten about, but when we die, we continue to live...to live and to suffer. No wonder the annihilationists find such Christ-like character and great comfort in their doctrine that a merciful God could never create any other hell except eternal sleep!

Christians spend a tremendous amount of time and energy getting us prepared to meet Jesus in the afterlife. For the saved, it's going to be one great big party/worship service in the New Jerusalem. But what about when the afterlife commences for the unsaved? What then? And why do we hear so little about it nowadays? Why do Christians avoid talking about it? Could it be that they are ashamed to talk about a God who plans to torture his own children?

Christians say so much about a God who has a plan and purpose for everything and everyone. But he clearly doesn’t, not for the godless. No, God keeps junk. Like an old, eccentric packrat with psychiatric issues, lounging in her bathrobe, staring out a window, sipping tea, before going into a wide-eyed tirade about the neighborhood kids, God shows purposelessness and extremely poor planning. God keeps junk. What a disappointing revelation!

(JH)

58 comments:

ismellarat said...

That was one Hell of a post, and you make a point that I seldom hear in Christian circles - they are ashamed of their own beliefs.

Where's their commitment, I ask? Why no "I want Anne Frank in Hell, and I'm damn proud of it" speeches?

That's why my sympathies lie with universal reconciliation advocates like those at Tentmaker:

http://www.tentmaker.org/

I like to pass this page around, highlighting the objects of their shame:

http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/hellquotes.htm

My favorite is the "dark to my soul" comment by theologian Albert Barnes, apparently made after having written a 20-volume or so Bible commentary.

Now, if Tentmaker would only deal with some other issues (stonings, etc.) that bother the Hell out of me (maybe it just ain't true, I like to hope), and if Loftus would stop writing those damn books using that damn logic and stuff and stop being so damn interesting, I might get my old enthusiasm back.

Hell, I do miss it sometimes.

ismellarat said...

BTW, what's the latest on that damned book at Amazon? They just asked me again if I still wanted it, and guessed they might have it in another month.

Are there other ways of getting it?

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered, why didn't jesus go to hell? I mean, getting beaten and whipped and cruxified would be a walk in the park for any all powerful being - especially when he already knows that he's going to paradise in a couple of days. But having to suffer eternal damnation to pay for our sins, now that's a sacrifice worthy of an all powerful being.

It seems to me that if even one person ends up in hell then satan wins because that proves that either god's not perfect or god is satan.

Joe E. Holman said...

tigg13 said...

"I have often wondered, why didn't jesus go to hell? I mean, getting beaten and whipped and cruxified would be a walk in the park for any all powerful being - especially when he already knows that he's going to paradise in a couple of days. But having to suffer eternal damnation to pay for our sins, now that's a sacrifice worthy of an all powerful being.

It seems to me that if even one person ends up in hell then satan wins because that proves that either god's not perfect or god is satan."

My reply...

Well put.

Putting on a charade of suffering on a cross to die in a mere physical body is a joke, especially when he could just anestatize himself from any pain.

But even if, as some suggest, he did actually go to hell, that was still only for two days. Real justice means he should have been there forever, suffering for us, much like Atlas who is forced to hold the world up forever.

Such silliness!

(JH)

zilch said...

I know what I'm going to do in Hell- play cards with my friends and drink beer. I just hope the beer is well cooled...

Rotten Arsenal said...

And then of course there's the whole problem of Hell being a Christian creation... the Jews don't have a Christian Hell (they have Gehenna which is more of a "time out" for the soul to be purified of it's mean streak... and this is more Jewish mysticism tradition and not so much OT).

So if the Jews didn't have the Devil and the fire and eternal torment, that would mean that God/Jesus/Holy Spirit put that one together later. God loved the world so much that he sent himself down in the guise of his own solitary offspring (again, why is it so important that God only had one son? Is he LIMITED to one son?) to teach weird stuff to people who didn't completely get it and then allowed himself to be tortured and killed to "pay" for our sins... and also set up eternal torment for anybody who refused this wonderful gift.

Harry McCall said...

If going to Heaven means having to sit around and sing praises to God to bust his ego throughout eternity, then PLEASE SEND ME TO HELL!

At lest I could say I used my “Free Will” to enjoy my life here and now and not have lived it for some divine egotistical maniac!

Anonymous said...

ismellarat that damned book is coming soon...I hope. Stay with me on this...worth the wait.

Lvka said...

Would this answer Your question? :-(

Evan said...

Wow Lvka, your source sounds like Harry and Lee!

This paganistic conception of God's justice which demands infinite sacrifices in order to be appeased clearly makes God our real enemy and the cause of all our misfortunes. Moreover, it is a justice which is not at all just since it punishes and demands satisfaction from persons which were not at all responsible for the sin of their forefathers.4 In other words, what Westerners call justice ought rather to be called resentment and vengeance of the worst kind. Even Christ's love and sacrifice loses its significance and logic in this schizoid notion of a God who kills God in order to satisfy the so-called justice of God.

Too bad the rest is a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. He seems to get the nub of the problem pretty effectively, he just has no solution except to say that God is light or somesuch nonsense.

Awoody said...

Hell wasn't created by God as a place of torture...rather, Hell is simply separation from God. We were created to be with God (consider the evangelical emphasis on a 'relationship with God'), and to be distant from God is torturous. To not want to have anything to do with God is to want Hell...although most people obviously don't see it that way.

Robert_B said...

Good post Joe.

What if there aren't any gods? Would not mythology then be configurable to suit one's own taste? What would be the implication regarding the character of those who advocate the doctrine of hell? Is it likely that those who adore hell know there is no difference between their beliefs and imaginations about the gods? If so, then are they using the doctrine of hell in an attempt to fill the pews? Or do they actually have compassion for humanity? If the later, then what of the doctrine that the saved will enjoy the tortures of the damned while lacking free-will to choose to not enjoy? Would such a state not be akin to damnation? Imagine spending a very long time observing one's beloved family members suffering and enjoying it, giving thanks for it, worshiping the being responsible for establishing such an order. Would it be better to be among the damned as they would at least have their free will to comfort them.? Being a comfortable zombie without essential humanity would be just as regrettable (if it were possible to feel regret in such a state) as being pain. The Christian afterlife is a no-win situation.

Rotten Arsenal said...

awoody:
Hell wasn't created by God as a place of torture...rather, Hell is simply separation from God. We were created to be with God (consider the evangelical emphasis on a 'relationship with God'), and to be distant from God is torturous. To not want to have anything to do with God is to want Hell...although most people obviously don't see it that way.

If we were created to be with God, then God failed pretty badly with the product design and execution of his creation. Practically from Day 1, mankind did all the things that would push God away.

And I'm pretty distant from God now (what with the not acknowledging his existence and all) and I feel pretty good. For me to feel tortured while seperated from God, there would have to be some sort of physical torture added that was directly tied to punishment from not believing in God. There is no part of me that has any relationship with God currently.

Joe E. Holman said...

Awoody said...

"Hell wasn't created by God as a place of torture...rather, Hell is simply separation from God. We were created to be with God (consider the evangelical emphasis on a 'relationship with God'), and to be distant from God is torturous. To not want to have anything to do with God is to want Hell...although most people obviously don't see it that way."

My reply...

It doesn't matter. The fact is, God made souls to exist so as to cause those who rejected him to suffer for eternity. That's just as if he had actually built a place of suffering for that purpose. Distinction without a difference on your part.

But you haven't answered the question: what are we supposed to do when we are "separated from God"? What then? Please answer.

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

Lvka said...

"Would this answer Your question? :-("

My reply...

Ahh, yes! More preachy orthodox crap! *rolls eyes*

(JH)

Chris said...

Your post underscores a fundamental problem with the whole hellfire teaching, namely it is not a bible based teaching.

The ideas and imagery are more fully developed in popular literature (ie Dante et al)and unfortunately by misinformed Christian preachers and teachers. But the bible is very clear on what happens to us when we die.

Psalms 146:4 says, "His spirit departs, he returns to his earth;In that very day his plans perish."

In Ecclesiastes 9 vs 5 we read, "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten." and verse 10 reads, "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

The teaching of an eternal hell is nothing more than an eternity spent in death, outside of God's presence. Sheol, Hell, Gehenna are all terms refering to the grave and as the scriptures above indicate, when you're dead, you're dead.

Lvka said...

I guess that's a "no", then. :-)

Jason said...

Have you ever considered that the punishment of the wicked is eternal destruction, not eternal suffering? (2 Thes 2:9)

Although I suppose this might make your argument against Christianity a little less...dramatic.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Eternal destruction? As in, you cease to exist? As in, you have no thoughts, feelings, sensory perception, experiences, or other awareness of anything?

How is that bad? You won't know there is anything to fear or enjoy. You just cease to be. No worries, no thoughts no nothing. You won't care about any of this because there isn't anything left of you to care with. You won't be fearful, depressed, afraid, angry, tired, hungry, cold, distressed, or upset because there won't be any consciousness to process such things.

My mother used to try and make me feel bad when I was teasing her or telling her when she needed to quit acting ridiculous. She'd say "If I hadn't given birth to you, you wouldn't be here" to which I would reply "If you hadn't given birth to me, I wouldn't know the difference."

If oblivion is what happens to those who reject God, then I'm all for it. I won't feel anything and I won't have any idea that I'm not feeling anything.

Not a convincing argument for religion.

Anonymous said...

Awoody said, "Hell wasn't created by God as a place of torture...rather, Hell is simply separation from God. We were created to be with God (consider the evangelical emphasis on a 'relationship with God'), and to be distant from God is torturous. To not want to have anything to do with God is to want Hell...although most people obviously don't see it that way."

So god is like an addictive drug?

I'm with Rotten Arsenal on this one. If being distant from god is supposed to be a bad thing then why do I feel so much better now than when I was a christian?

Harry McCall said...

WWJD..in Hell? According to 1 Peter 3: 18 - 19, he preached to the spirits in prison (Hell) making instant Christians out of dead righteous Jews.

As I’ve stated before: If Hell is good enough for Jesus to go to, it’s good enough for me! Amen brother?!

BahramtheRed said...

Here's the crux of the issue for me:

The bible is insane.

If I die as a virtous non beleiver, I go to purgatory forever. Not good, not bad.

I die as an athesit: I seize to exist (evidence problem with this, that I might debate with anyone who cares)

I die according to the bible; I seize to exist (evidence problem with this).

Either I reject a book that I can't stand, don't beilve in, and consider only worthy of a joke and live my life without it and firmly beleive life is all there is with it's agreement, or I embrace the danger of demons with pitchforks and an existence of torment.

Non existence all the way. Get god on standby with the eraser, I just didn't count.

zilch said...

My favorite description of Hell is in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I recommend the whole book highly. Here's a sample for your delectation, from chapter three.


"Every sense of the flesh is tortured and every faculty of the soul therewith: the eyes with impenetrable utter darkness, the nose with noisome odours, the ears with yells and howls and execrations, the taste with foul matter, leprous corruption, nameless suffocating filth, the touch with redhot goads and spikes, with cruel tongues of flame. And through the several torments of the senses the immortal soul is tortured eternally in its very essence amid the leagues upon leagues of glowing fires kindled in the abyss by the offended majesty of the Omnipotent God and fanned into everlasting and ever-increasing fury by the breath of the anger of the God-head."

You can almost taste it, can't you?

Joe E. Holman said...

Harry McCall said...

"WWJD..in Hell? According to 1 Peter 3: 18 - 19, he preached to the spirits in prison (Hell) making instant Christians out of dead righteous Jews."

My reply...

Actually, Harry, that's referring to Noah who, back in his day, preached to the "spirits which are now in prison (Hades)", as the KJV has it. The tense and the context seem to bear this out.

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

For those of you who keep insisting that Hell is just annihilation, please read Luke 12:4-5 and get back to me, especially this part...

"Fear him whom, AFTER HE HATH KILLED, hath power to cast in Hell. Yeh, I say unto you, fear him!"

(JH)

AndreLinoge said...

I marvel that Christians can call their religion "good news" when its central teaching is hell (or escape from hell).

To call it "good news" is Orwellian!

ismellarat said...

Your name is legion.

Frightening, how you guys seem to be under every rock in these last days, just waiting for the signal to jump out and get me. ;-)

Awoody said...

Rotten Arsenal-
As to God's 'failure,' this comes back to the old issue of free will: God didn't care to create mindless robots, so we necessarily possess the ability to reject him.
As to your current contentment, we can't truly know how anyone else feels, but I think you would be pleasantly surprised by the deeper joy of a relationship with God (I can see everyone gagging at my 'religious language,' but 'debunking Christianity' involves talking the talk). I myself have countless times been plenty 'happy' while not really paying attention to God, only to be caught off guard by the fuller joy of paying attention to him. And you may feel like you have absolutely no relationship with God, but you can't truly be cut off from if you're still alive.

Joe E. H.-God didn't create souls to cause suffering, he created souls and a necessary side effect was suffering (no suffering would require no free will, which would mean an automaton, which would have no soul).
As far as 'what are we supposed to do when we're "separated from God"?' I don't know...philosophize? be bored? scheduling events for Hell wasn't part of God's job description. But just because Hell doesn't fit the traditional image doesn't mean it will be enjoyable in any sense (so maybe philosophizing isn't allowed...).

Rotten Arsenal said...

awoody:

As to God's 'failure,' this comes back to the old issue of free will: God didn't care to create mindless robots, so we necessarily possess the ability to reject him.

I'm not starting the whole free will argument again. Free Will means God isn't omniscient which seems to be important to God's standing as God or something. Whatever, who cares, I reject the existence of God of my own free will and if god does exist then he doesn't know if I'll ever decide to believe in him again.

Apply this:
As to your current contentment, we can't truly know how anyone else feels

To This:
And you may feel like you have absolutely no relationship with God, but you can't truly be cut off from if you're still alive.

If there is any way to feel more cut off from something that I don't believe in or find any use for, then it's going to be a very interesting experience.

Do not tell me what I feel. From the time I was a boy, being forced to go to Sunday School, I can remember listening to these stories and Christians sing their praises to God and thinking that was about as foreign a concept to me as I could come up with. Whatever it is you feel that gives you the belief that you are connected to God is something I guess I lack. I know what connected feels like... and when I think of God, I might as well be thinking about Odin, Horus, or Zeus.

RR said...

Good post... Thanks.

Just found your site -- I'll have to visit more often!

Steve said...

God is just. and God is love. God cannot allow everybody into eternal life in heaven because we have all sinned and that would not be just. When Jesus died for us, that gave us a sort of passageway to heaven, in which all we have to do is accept this gift he gave us. He has made eternal life in heaven as easy as He possibly could without being a hypocrite. hell is a result of rejecting this opportunity set before you. hell is not fully described because christianity is a religion of faith. you must trust what cannot be physically proven. and that is why i think some of these arguments are mute points.

Anonymous said...

Steve, how is it just to judge us by whether or not we have faith in something that hasn't been clearly set out and described?

And please don't suggest that the bible is god's way of telling us what we need to know. If that were the case there wouldn't be thousands of different interpretations of it.

"God cannot allow everybody into eternal life in heaven because we have all sinned and that would not be just."

Steve, please think about what you are saying here. If sinning keeps you out of heaven and we all have sinned then no one, that's NO ONE should be allowed into heaven. If god is capable of forgiving some sin then he is capable of forgiving ALL sin (including the sin of disobedience).

This is nothing more than cosmic segregation. If god was making this choice based on skin color or sexuel orientation alone his bigotry would be obvious. But because it is based on faith you can applaud his discrimination and call it justice.

"When Jesus died for us, that gave us a sort of passageway to heaven, in which all we have to do is accept this gift he gave us."

And how exactly do we accept this gift? Do we need to go to church? (which one?) Do we need to read the bible? (which one?) Do we just say thanks or does it require works? And what if god decides not to bestow his grace upon us?

According to the Catholics the Protestants aren't eligible and according to the Protestants the Catholics aren't eligible.

Everybody has a different set of stipulations as to what you need to do/say/believe in order to accept jesus's gift thus making it impossible to know whether or not you've got a future to look forward to. And this you call justice?

"hell is a result of rejecting this opportunity set before you."

What about all the people who think that they are good christians but are following a false doctrine? And couldn't atheism/agnosticism be considered a false doctrine? (Most christians seem to think so.)

I'm sorry Steve, but you're just as likely as I am of winding up in hell and we've both got a better chance of winning back to back lotteries than we do of getting into a biblical heaven.

I see no love or justice in any of this.

Steve said...

It is just to judge what cannot be seen because it takes faith. God is judging on our faith. it is not discrimination because we all have a choice. It is very clearly described, just not physically seen, and that is why it is a faith that challenges. No half hearted man will trust what cannot be seen and Christianity requires your whole self and a whole commitment.

God IS capable of forgiving all sin, but that would leave us no choice, no thinking, no deciding, no faith, and no free will. He made it so easy. Think of it this way: You and 5 friends get caught stealing and each get a fine. Someone offers to pay the fine for every one of you. Now, you can accept this grace, or you can reject this gift and pay it yourself. Some will accept this gift, and some may reject it. Just because some people reject Gods forgiveness, doesnt mean he is not CAPABLE of forgiving everyone. Just like the man offering to pay your fine is CAPABLE of paying everyones, He is very capable, but he cannot force you and take away your free will.

MaineMom said...

awoody:
"I myself have countless times been plenty 'happy' while not really paying attention to God, only to be caught off guard by the fuller joy of paying attention to him."

Replace the word "God" with "Life" and I think you'll find the same joy.

I get into it from time to time with my Christian sister in law. She was an atheist when I met her and was “saved” about five years ago. I asked her how, after we are dead, she can be in “Heaven” knowing I’m in “Hell.” Pretty much ended the conversation.

And I sense quite a bit of back peddling on this site by the Christians – Hell’s not so bad anymore!

Steve said...

MaineMom: hell's not so bad anymore? you guys are all starting to talk about hell like its just a bar with a furnace that is maybe set a little to high. I think your losing sight at what hell is. People use the term so casually nowadays in everyday life, it loses its meaning. Be it physical pain, spiritual pain, seperation from God, or any/all of the above: Hell is Hell. It sucks. There is no being in hell and not regreting it. You cannot "cope with being in hell." You dont get used to it, you dont feel any pleasure, there is no cards and beer. If you could ever fully comprehend hell, it would never be "not that bad anymore"

Anonymous said...

Ok, Steve, this analogy of yours would work if my benefactor actually met me face to face and handed me cash to pay my fine. But your god doesn't work like that.

I don't get to meet him, I get to meet his agents and they give differing and often contadictory accounts as to what strings may or not be attached and what hoops I may or may not have to jump threw in order to obtain this gift.

And in the end, I have no way of knowing whether the fine will actually be paid until after I've been sentenced.

And here's the kicker, I never actually stole anything - I've only been accused of being an accomplice. (I never chose to be born into sin)

You say, "God is judging on our faith. it is not discrimination because we all have a choice. It is very clearly described, just not physically seen, and that is why it is a faith that challenges."

If it were "clearly described" then why do we have thousands of christian denonmiations? Does salvation require works or faith, or does it come by grace alone? Has god already decided who will be saved and we have no say at all? Do we need to be baptised and, if so, what, if any, are the proper rituals nessecary? Do we need to pray? Does it matter who we pray to? Don't bother to answer any of these questions because no matter what you believe to be true I could fill a room with card carrying christians who would disagree with you and quote you chapter and verse as to why you are wrong.

If the bible were the word of god, then I would expect that everyone who read it would come away with the exact same interpretation of it. There would be one bible, one church, one denonmination and no question as to what to do to receive salvation.

As it is, your supposed gift is nothing more than an empty promise to save from a punishment I don't know I will receive for a crime I never actually committed.

Joe E. Holman said...

Awoody said...

"Joe E. H.-God didn't create souls to cause suffering, he created souls and a necessary side effect was suffering (no suffering would require no free will, which would mean an automaton, which would have no soul)."

My reply...

Still, the fact that your deity loved us so little that he would ever allow suffering is what makes him miserable. You wouldn't give your child a toy that could kill them and then put the blame on them when they got killed for handling it, even if you told them not to touch it. You'd take action beforehand to prevent it, but your sky-spook didn't.


Awoody said...

"As far as 'what are we supposed to do when we're "separated from God"?' I don't know...philosophize? be bored? scheduling events for Hell wasn't part of God's job description. But just because Hell doesn't fit the traditional image doesn't mean it will be enjoyable in any sense (so maybe philosophizing isn't allowed...)."

My reply...

The point is, cheese doodle, that you can't have an all-knowing and purposeful deity of perfection creating or allowing pockets of imperfection. Nothing can exist without a constructive purpose. Keeping souls around only to torture them is sick and hideous, just like your theology and worldview.

(JH)

Steve said...

i believe that salvation comes with acceptance and FULL belief of Jesus your Savior. AND with this comes a want and desire to do good works, and to share your belief, and to build a relationship with God, and to live out your faith. No strings, no necessary rituals, none of that.

Once you become saved, it changes your thoughts from "what do i have to do and what can i get away with" to "what can i do to further increase my relationship with God." Once you are really in God, you never go back. Religion, i believe, is very personal and a matter of the heart, not what you do or what church you attend.

You are correct that you can find beliefs about almost anything and could argue forever. But i think that if 100 people sat down and read the Bible with an open non-bias mind, most, if not all, of them would come to the same conclusion.

Richard said...

Steve, You hold to the popular view of Arminianism. "All [YOU] have to [DO] is accept the gift? God made a passage way into heaven? So, in your oppinion Christ made heaven possible but it really depends on the individual to save himself?

This is totally unbiblical, Sorry. God saves all that HE CHOSES to save and that number does not or will not change. We do not redeem ourselves, God does the redeeming according to he Bible.

MaineMom said...

Steve, you are totally guessing on what "Hell" is.

Let us recall the recent Big Foot hoax. Two men "claimed" to have found Big Foot. Just like Christians "claim" to have found God. But when proof is asked for, what we are shown is a big, rubber gorilla suit filled with baloney.

Amen.

Steve said...

MaineMom: I may not know exactly what the specifics of hell may be. The Bible is fuzzy on the description on purpose to keep the focus on the true meaning of the Book. The Bible describes it as "complete separation from God" and says many many times there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." I have my own thoughts about Hell, but the Bible itself isnt very clear and i dont want to say anything that i cannot fully back up with sources.

As for the big foot comment: There is no undeniable physical proof pointing toward ANY religion or lack there of. That is why people believe so many different things and people will continue to debate and argue. Just because full proof doest exist, doesnt mean it is wrong. Hence, faith. Believing in what cannot be proven or seen. Everyone has faith in something, that cannot be argued. What can be argued is what you chose to put your faith in...

Marc said...

Stephen Law has a good overview of the various ways the word faith is used at http://www.humanism.org.uk/site/cms/contentViewArticle.asp?article=1475

Anonymous said...

Steve said, "i believe that salvation comes with acceptance and FULL belief of Jesus your Savior. AND with this comes a want and desire to do good works, and to share your belief, and to build a relationship with God, and to live out your faith. No strings, no necessary rituals, none of that."

I'm glad that you pointed out that this is YOUR BELIEF. Now, could you explain why anyone, but you, should have faith in it. What makes you the new enlightened profit of our age?

Steve continued, "Once you become saved, it changes your thoughts from "what do i have to do and what can i get away with" to "what can i do to further increase my relationship with God."

I am very familiar with this experience. It is called "brain-washing".

Steve: "Once you are really in God, you never go back. Religion, i believe, is very personal and a matter of the heart, not what you do or what church you attend."

Again, you are stating your own opinion. There are lots of people I have encountered who honestly thought that they had a personal relationship with god who are now atheists. Its just your word against theirs.

Steve: "You are correct that you can find beliefs about almost anything and could argue forever. But i think that if 100 people sat down and read the Bible with an open non-bias mind, most, if not all, of them would come to the same conclusion."

Try it Steve. I dare you! (Not that you could find 100 people who didn't already have an opinion about the bible, but, what the hell, give it a shot.) Personally, I doubt that they could get thru the first chapter of Genesis without getting into an argument. But, what do I know - go for it!

Steve: "I may not know exactly what the specifics of hell may be. The Bible is fuzzy on the description on purpose to keep the focus on the true meaning of the Book."

Oh, so that's the reason. I always wondered about that.

The Bible describes it as "complete separation from God" and says many many times there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth." I have my own thoughts about Hell, but the Bible itself isnt very clear and i dont want to say anything that i cannot fully back up with sources.

Uhh, gee Steve, you've been pretty good so far at making assertions without backing anything up.

Steve: "As for the big foot comment: There is no undeniable physical proof pointing toward ANY religion or lack there of. That is why people believe so many different things and people will continue to debate and argue."

Is this the same Steve who thought that 100 random people would all reach the same conclusions about the bible?

Steve: "Just because full proof doest exist, doesnt mean it is wrong. Hence, faith. Believing in what cannot be proven or seen. Everyone has faith in something, that cannot be argued. What can be argued is what you chose to put your faith in..."

That's exacly why this site is here, to argue against putting your faith in a 2000 year old cult.

But, lets look again at what you have faith in -

A belief in the need for salvation with no strings attached.

With this comes:
An acceptance and FULL belief of Jesus as your Savior.
A want and desire to do good works.
An obligation to share your belief.
An obligation to build a relationship with God.
An obligation to live out your faith.
And an understanding that, without salvation, one would suffer some rather vague consequenses which, although they are not clearly defined, are still really, really bad.

No strings Steve?

Suppose I meet all of the criteria except that I don't want to share my beliefs? Does that mean I'm not a "true christian" and be denied salvation?

Or are you talking about some sort of existential metamorphosis where by I will be changed into some grinning robot programmed to "want and desire" all that is expected of me?

Either way, you are not talking about faith in the unseen but faith in the untenable.

Joe E. Holman said...

Steve said...

"But i think that if 100 people sat down and read the Bible with an open non-bias mind, most, if not all, of them would come to the same conclusion."

My reply...

I wish you could see just how much this makes you even more of a dumb-ass bible buffoon, and not just a crazy, preachy crackpot.

The existence of over 3,000 denominations alone proves that this contention is not true.

(JH)

Joe E. Holman said...

Richard said...

"This is totally unbiblical, Sorry. God saves all that HE CHOSES to save and that number does not or will not change. We do not redeem ourselves, God does the redeeming according to he Bible."

My reply...

So am I to understand that you proudly believe that the God of the Bible intentionally leaves many to be damned in depravity and ignorance except for those whom he chooses to save, including babies and all others afflicted with "total depravity"?

(JH)

lostfaithtoo said...

Steve,
I believed in that so called word of god for 40 years.I gave up my life for it and now in my older age am paying the consequences for "trusting Christ".I'm no scholar,but I was a very in depth student of the bible.Like you said,everthing had to be taken by faith,because common sense tells you something is amiss.And as far as the hell thing goes,that's a man made word for four different ancient words two of which were nothing more than the grave we all go to.The old testament speaks nothing of any eternal heaven or hell.Of course you may quote David saying his son could not come to him,but he would go to his son.Hogwash!! He was speaking merely of dying,just like we all will.Anyway,after being a minister and teacher of that mess for all those years,I finally came to my senses.You might say I ate of the tree of knowledge and my eyes have been opened.

Alphonsus said...

The easy Christian response is that God DOES love all of His children, even those who end up going to Hell. In fact, He loves them so much that He allows everyone the freedom to FREELY choose God, or to FREELY reject God, despite the fact that this may mean that some will STILL choose Hell, over God. God cannot force anyone to love Him, because that wouldn’t really be love. Love, it is said, must be given freely. God no doubt experiences anguish when ANYONE chooses to live opposed to Him, but He still loves them so much, that He still does not force them either way. Because love cannot be forced.
For those who reject God’s love, His joy, His pleasure, His compassion, and His eternity, life after death will seem very much like an eternal ‘gnashing of teeth’. Without God, there is no love, no joy, no pleasure, and no compassion. Consequently, life for those who have rejected God will be Hell; that is, life after death for those who have rejected God will be void of He who is all things wonderful.

Now, perhaps you can think of wonderful things, things that bring you joy and pleasure, that don’t seem to have anything to do with God at all. However, perhaps you should reconsider just for the sake of argument. What is fun about drinking a beer if you have no good friends to do it with? What is fun about eating out, or gambling, or watching movies, or ANYTHING, if you have no one there to experience it all with? And then no one there to reminisce later about those shared experiences? Such times of joy with friends and family, it could be argued, are reflections of the Joy that comes when you experience the fullness of companionship and the fullness of friendship that only God can offer. Without these reflections of the joy that originate from God, life is void.

The loneliness and nothingness that goes on for eternity would be an absolute Hell. There would be no friends, no fun, no joy, no laughs. The nothingness that is Hell is incomparable to any anguish that man could have experienced on Earth, because here we have company and we have friends and we have family. If Hell is as most Christians imagine—a world where your soul is completely alone, without even the company of your body and all the pleasure that pure physical excitement can bring—then Hell is a world where truly no joy can be experienced. Complete emptiness and loneliness will lead you, over the course of eternity, to complete anguish and sorrow. It would be as if you were burning in the fires of grief and torment for ALL ETERNITY!

Does God wish this on any of us? No! He offers His love to us freely. However, with your freedom to choose, you may choose to freely reject Him. In doing so, then you are also choosing to reject all sources of life and love. You would be rejecting all sources of joy and pleasure. Where there is a void of love and joy, there is only hate and anguish. This is Hell. This is the world where God is not. While He would like you to choose Him, He cannot FORCE you to LOVE Him, because that is a contradiction of terms. And so, the result is that, if you choose to reject Him, you are choosing, against His Will, to live eternity without Him. You are choosing an eternity of Anguish and Sorrow. You are choosing an eternity than none of us can possibly imagine! An eternity we call Hell only for lack of a better name. You are choosing a void of all things joy and love. You would live forever in complete loneliness and complete anguish. Nothing scares me more than living eternity like this! I pray you may reconsider.

MH said...

Oh noes, we're being pascal wagered to death!

So this infinitely smart god left the truth to the life, universe and everything in the hands of fallible vindictive evil humans. To be passed down in a cruel game of telephone and allowed to splinter into a thousands shards of almost-truth.

He is awesome indeed!

Even if the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob existed, he wouldnt be worthy of praise.

Toby said...

Alphonsus,

I, too, could pretend to speak on God's behalf, to have the inside scoop on what God thinks and does. In fact, my message, whatever I thought God to be telling me, would carry just as much weight and authority as yours. Indeed, both are just as likely to be false as well.

I'm humored at your response because it sounds similar to what I would have written when I was a Christian. I would rather you saved the flowery talk and went straight to the proof. That we could actually debate or discuss. This nonsense about your own version of hell and your own made up God is pointless in debating. How can I argue with something you made up in your own imagination? However, present some evidence for your hypotheses and that we can discuss.

Gary Charbonneau said...

"The easy Christian response is that God DOES love all of His children, even those who end up going to Hell. In fact, He loves them so much that He allows everyone the freedom to FREELY choose God, or to FREELY reject God, despite the fact that this may mean that some will STILL choose Hell, over God."

This is an obviously fallacious argument based on the demonstrably false premise that "everyone" who now lives, or has ever lived, or ever will lived, was, is, or will be in a position to "freely choose [the Christian] God" or "freely reject [the Christian] God." We know that this is plainly not the case,

How, one might for instance ask, could any of the pre-Columbian inhabitants of what we now call North and South America "choose" or "reject" the Christian God, of whom they had never heard? I submit that all of them neither "chose" nor "rejected" the Christian God. Where do these millions upon millions of people which your argument so painfully ignores fit into your theologcally scheme of things? Will they experience an eternity of anguish and sorrow because they did not "choose" God, or will they escape an eternity of anguish and sorrow because they did not "reject" him?

To save John Loftus the trouble of having to ask you the following question, allow me to do so. Do you agree with William Lane Craig that "it is possible that God has created a world having an optimal balance between saved and lost and that God has so providentially ordered the world that those who fail to hear the gospel and be saved would not have freely responded affirmatively to it even if they had heard it"? According to this argument, the pre-Columbian inhabitants of the Americas, each and every one of them, are going to go to hell, not for failing to respond affirmatively to the gospel, but for being the kind of people who would have failed to respond positively to it had they heard it -- which they obviously didn't.

Philip said...

Alphonsus,

Your threats fall on deaf ears. You lose.

Anonymous said...

Alphonsus, why would god reject us just because we reject him?

Saying that god demonstrates his love by allowing us to suffer is perverse. Especially when we are expected to make this choice based on faith and not knowledge.

God's love shouldn't just be about what's in it for god.

josh said...

I don't believe any of you have even slightly refuted alphonsus claims. As for those people who never heard of Christ, Paul says in Romans i believe that without the law there is no sin. Before we were given the law we could not have sinned against it. So if they really had no law then there in the clear. Unfortunately there was the law even then, God's law was always there and if you don't believe that then where do you think our law came from? As God created in his image everything we have that is not sin is just our petty version of his perfection. I saw a comment where someone said that if there is a God he is not worthy of praise. ONE... try reading the book of JOB... you are not all knowing... do the seasons and celestial laws depend on your comprehension of them? things are still destroyed or killed by both and our world still thrives...as for hell... the abandonment? you people outwardly reject him...what would you have him do with you? allow you to live among him and his people in constant rebellion?... he loves you... but you will not bring sin into his presence...

Philip said...

Josh,

If God cannot tolerate sin, doesn't that make Him kinds weak? He's all powerful and all great, but He just can't take a little sin? Too bad He knew He would create a universe that would fall into sin, isn't it?

And if you want to believe in a God that could do all that to Job just to show off to the Devil while still chastising Job for complaining,, be my guest. I'll have none.

Evan said...

Of course if God is actually omnipresent he tolerates sin on earth constantly.

Anonymous said...

Hi Josh.

Josh said, "without the law there is no sin."

Right. If you're never given any orders then there is nothing to obey.

Josh: "Before we were given the law we could not have sinned against it."

Are you saying that if Adam had eaten the apple before god told him not to then it would have been ok?

Josh: "So if they really had no law then there in the clear. Unfortunately there was the law even then, God's law was always there..."

Wait a minute, if god's law was always there then nobody could ever be "in the clear". Those people are going to suffer for something they had no control over.

Josh: "...and if you don't believe that then where do you think our law came from?"

When you say "our" law are you talking about God's law, Moses's law, the new covenant, Hamurabi's code, the Constitution or something else.

And how exactly did you come to the conclusion that the fact that there is a law must mean that it was always there?

Josh: "I saw a comment where someone said that if there is a God he is not worthy of praise... do the seasons and celestial laws depend on your comprehension of them?"

No, but wouldn't our choice to freely believe in god depend upon our comprehension of what his laws are?

Alphonsus claimed that god is justified in casting out unbelievers because they reject god. Now you're saying we should accept god even if we have no idea what he is or what he wants.

But how can you know if what you are accepting is really god? Its as if you are saying, "I don't care if god is an evil, sadistic monster, I still love and worship him!". Why would god want to be around a brown-noser like that?

Josh: "as for hell... the abandonment? you people outwardly reject him...what would you have him do with you? allow you to live among him and his people in constant rebellion?"

Sure, why not. He's all powerful, right? He can handle it.

Or how about reincarnation? He could let us go back to Earth and try again for salvation.

Or how about a "party" dimension where we could have fun and enjoy ourselves for all eternity.

Or maybe an existence of eternal slumber. No pain, no fear, no loss, just endless peace. Hey, we do it to dogs and cats - god can't be as humane to us as we are to our pets?

Even total non-existence is preferable to "abandonment".

Why would a god who could do anything at all choose the worst possible fate for those that don't believe. Who else but an evil sadistic monster would do such a thing?

Josh: "... he loves you... but you will not bring sin into his presence..."

Aren't you a sinner, Josh. God's going to allow you into his presense. If he can do that then he has the power to let us in too.

Or at least let us go someplace just as good.

But eternal damnation? That's just plain evil.

josh said...

As for part on the law... i couldnt tell you... maybe God saying not to eat the apple did in fact make the apple, THE APPLE... why would he do that you ask? Because its not free will without any alternative. I'm sure God knew the free will he gave us would eventually allow His creatures to fall. Why did He give us free will if we were only going to skrew it up, we could have lived in happiness forever. Well think of it like this... if you have a dog and love that dog and train him and feed him and have him for years, he will love you of course. Now if you have a child, you feed him you teach him you do all kinds of things with him. You disipline him and he doesnt always understand wtf the big deal is. That child has free will and if he chooses that, in the end, he loves you and wants to keep you in his life, that my friends is a love that no dog could ever compare to. God's love is infinite. Thats one of the things that the enemy loves to keep you hungup on. GOING TO HELL... THE GREAT ABANDONMENT...ETERNAL SUFFERING AND GNASHING OF TEETH F' HIM FOR EVER COMMING UP WITH SUCH AN EVIL IDEA TO DO TO PEOPLE. Even my closest friends have said that "i dont wanna talk about a religon that would probably send me to hell". But its not about hell. You think God doesn't love you then why do i even argue with you? I'll never see you and frankly with the ignorance in this blog i doubt i would have any reason to want to. But God's love is reason enough. He gave his only Son so that all you have to do is say your sorry. I don't think understanding his law is the hard part. It's understanding him you have a problem with. Understanding what He's all about and I understand completely. If we werent born with a natural curiosity we'd never have science or even be called rational creatures, but it is said God reveals himself to those who believe. If He made it so obvious and everything so great then yea we all would be saved and no one would deny Him, but thats not free will. Everything given to us must be a double edged sword...always room to doubt and argue. Now when i was growing my mother would remind me when i was claiming ownership of something after being disobediant that nothing was mine not even the clothes on my back because she bought everything and if i dont wanna listen to her then i dont have to use anything of hers. Well what about God who graciously has allowed us to live on this perfectly functional planet who created everything you see and then some? I owe a lot more to Him than my mom. Everything REALLY is His and he can do with it as he sees fit because without him we wouldnt even exist. Job learned this and was blessed with more than ever before. My friends who dont believe, this is your party universe your happy place and your time to live in his presence in rebellion but after this your decisions take effect. God is omnipresent in his spirit, the Holy Spirit, but he does not reside here obviously. Therefore you are capable of being "happy" here without him. After this tho those who choose to stay in rebellion will get what they wished for and there is no good without God because God is good. Hell might not be bad for all i know... but it wont be good. You guys dont want a loving God as you claim. A loving God like any good father will disipline and will let bad things happen to you in order to teach lessons or strengthen your faith, will constantly strive for perfection in His son or creation. An artist puts the canvas through hell before it becomes perfect erasing and redrawing and starting from scratch. Thats what you have...not less love...but more. What you guys want is a grandfather type god. Senile, benevolent, kind, thing that lets you run a muck so long as ur happy. God is justice. No sin goes unpunished. You say thats weakness?!?!? Not allowing sin in your presence?!?!?! What ruler on this earth has completely eradicated all crime in his domain? God has in his. Thats not weak, but more strength than we could comprehend. But he loves us so he made it so that all we have to do is say sorry, and be truly sorry, and accept the one who made this all possible, Jesus Christ. No universe with multiple free willed creatures can exist without pain and suffering. That doesnt prove God evil but Truthful in his claim of our free will. But he wants us to choose him. Choose to serve him. The thought of serving something you dont fully understand sounds completely irrational i know. Maybe thats His way of unwinding Adam's mistake, maybe. But of course why would we wanna serve anything other than ourselves. That is the exact sin that brought all this about, Pride. It made Satan what he is and it lives deep within us everyday. The funny thing is that without it, with humility, we feel lower than ever. When really the more humiliate we are, the less pride we have, the more we bind ourselves to Christ and choose to live in service to our Creator the more free and like ourselves, like the way he intended for us to be, we become. this is long enough send me ur arguements

Ernest said...

From all d comments I have read none of u have come out boldly to say God does not exist. So for this acknowledgement of God, why don't we all leave d discussion till when we all die to experience which is which. But in all this let God b true and all men liars!!!