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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: So, what about Hell?
JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I will never find any cause for it other than the fact that it feels better.

Funny, I think the same thing of your world view: it appears to me to simply make you feel better because you don't want to take on the tough issues, like what your religious life would have been like had you been born in a remote rural Indian village. To me, my view makes more sense. If yours made any sense at all I would immediately declare myself saved from Hell by the blood of Jesus.

quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
Because, as you have aptly and very inoffensively stated, a religion that is not based on the Bible will never be a path I could choose.

There is no question in my mind, none, that you would reject the Bible and Christianity if you were born the Gritsdharma of my story. Do you find it impossible to even consider this? Again, are you sure that it is others and not you who take the easy way out with a form of "feel good" Christianity?
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Adeodatus
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Consider the idea that Hell is punishment by fire forever.

Hold your finger over a candle flame for a second.
It hurt, didn't it?
Now imagine that feeling all over your hand,
all over your arm,
all over your body.
Not for a second, but for an hour.
Not for an hour, but for a year.
Not for a year, but for a lifetime.
(I will go no further - none of us can really imagine more than a lifetime.)

If God sentences people to Hell because they haven't put their faith in him, then that's what they're in for.

So I'm going to Hell.

Not because I haven't put my faith in God, but because if there was one person, no matter how 'bad', suffering like that for ever, with no hope of release ....

then even Heaven would be Hell to me.

(Which all goes to show that this classical formulation of 'Hell' involves a massive failure of the imagination.)

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"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Your opinion reminds me of Ursula K. Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" although some may argue that the hapless child in "Omelas" is innocent while those who are condemned to Hell aren't. But in some ways it is similar- if you believe in a God who would torture a person through eternity, you've got your heaven at the price of setting aside your compassion and declaring that the eternal torture is all right since it is the will of the one who gives you heaven.

I don't know that heaven could be heaven for me in that case either, Adeodatus. [Frown]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Glenn Oldham
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# 47

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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
Consider the idea that Hell is punishment by fire forever.

Hold your finger over a candle flame for a second.
It hurt, didn't it?
Now imagine that feeling all over your hand,
all over your arm,
all over your body.
Not for a second, but for an hour.
Not for an hour, but for a year.
Not for a year, but for a lifetime.
(I will go no further - none of us can really imagine more than a lifetime.)

If God sentences people to Hell because they haven't put their faith in him, then that's what they're in for.

So I'm going to Hell.

Not because I haven't put my faith in God, but because if there was one person, no matter how 'bad', suffering like that for ever, with no hope of release ....

then even Heaven would be Hell to me.

(Which all goes to show that this classical formulation of 'Hell' involves a massive failure of the imagination.)

Extremely devastatingly well put, Adeodatus. I entirely agree. If God is a God who tortures individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers, then that God is the amongst the most evil beings imaginable.
G.

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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Adeodatus, Lyda and Glenn:

Do your opinions change if Hell does not involve such torture?

What if Hell is simply the abscence of God? Where those who chose to turn from God are stuck, in the full knowledge that they are now without God.

No torture - in fact they might have a reasonable time - but the absolute knowledge that they are sundered from God.

Would your opinion of God change if that were the nature of Hell?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Glenn Oldham
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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
... Do your opinions change if Hell does not involve such torture?

... No torture - in fact they might have a reasonable time - but the absolute knowledge that they are sundered from God.

Would your opinion of God change if that were the nature of Hell?

Yes, certainly, Marvin.

I am inclined to think that if there is a hell at all then it is a place of eventual oblivion and non-existence. That is partly because I can't make much sense of the idea that something can exist yet be wholly separated from God. What keeps it in esistence if not God?

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Nonpropheteer
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quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
If God is a God who tortures individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers, then that God is the amongst the most evil beings imaginable.
G.

I totally disagree. If God is good, God is love, God is all powerful and all knowing - if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period. Its God that makes the rules and knows all the details, and I have to trust that such a decision would not be made lightly. Note: Its not that I believe there is a fiery hell of eternal punishment, I'm just saying, if that part is real, then we have to believe that it is good and just.

Really, a lot of this can be traced back to the assumption that we have an immortal soul. If we have an immortal soul, then all punishment must be for an eternity, right? Frankly, I don't believe we do have an immortal soul. Wasn't that what the serpent said in the garden? "You will not surely die." We do die, fini - no more. The end. Perhaps there is a part of us that lingers around afterward for a while, but I firmly believe that part will eventually fade away/die if not sustained by God.

So my version of the final fate of carnal man would be the ultimate destruction of all that makes him what he is.

Adeodatus:
(I will go no further - none of us can really imagine more than a lifetime.)

How many people do you know that really imagine what it would be like to have their own body on fire for an hour? Nobody could, anyone who tells you they can grasp that is lying to at least two people -or they have actually had their body on fire before.

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
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quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
To me, my view makes more sense.

You know, Jim, I actually find very little about Christianity that makes sense. I guess that's not really the basis for my belief, because most of it would seem like a bunch of hooey if I started only believing the parts that "made sense".

And, of course, we know that's where our biggest issues are. You have to have proof, documentation, viable reason -- every human factor for belief possible -- for something to fit into your system. I just don't. And that's why I am labeled a robotic, blank-brained nimcompoop who can't possibly have any kind of cognizant thought about anything.

I know it is hard to understand being able to relinquish pride and human prejudices in the face of faith. That's OK, if that's how you want to do it. As to your "village girl" scenario -- what's the point? That seems totally irrelevant to me. Don't you find that making your way through your own life gives you plenty to keep you occupied? This is the life God has given me, and I think I am responsible for finding the purpose in it. I would love to say I am noble enough to want to a "world view", but I'm not. It's not about feeling better. It's just about knowing God and what He wants for me. I assume that's what your aim is, too, ultimately. We're just going about it in radically different ways.

My biggest concern is how quick so many have been to say they would totally dismiss the idea of a God who would allow an eternal place of torment. I'm still amazed there are some who want to call the shots about the nature of God, and I'm still waiting to find out where that concept comes from.

I am writing this under the influence of Claritin-D and very little sleep, so I'm afraid it's a little less gracious than I'd like for it to be. I know you know where I'm coming from, so it's not as detailed as it could be. I have appreciated all the posts and reading the different ideas and concerns. I have little concern for myself, as usual, but I do feel the need to present my beliefs in a respectable manner. I don't feel I have done that as well on this thread, perhaps because I realize that this is one of the touchiest areas in theology. I don't feel my beliefs are that radical -- they're just the beliefs that are so despised by the ones who have rejected this viewpoint because it doesn't fit their "loving God" code. I do understand that, and I understand the difficulties involved. Just don't be resentful or dismissive or insulted that it is not a "tough issue" for me.

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Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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While curling my hair just now I had a thought: The [Disappointed] aspects that have been expressed about dismissing a God who would allow hell is exactly the way I feel about the concept of a God who is not true to His Word. If I ever felt He was not consistent with the nature presented in the Bible I think I would be quick to trash the whole idea. The concept of a God who would allow an ongoing perpetration of lies to humanity would certainly strike me as [Disappointed] .

And, JimT, I didn't mean to dismiss your point about the village girl. It was a good analogy. This is just a personal quirk with me. I simply find no joy nor benefit in "What ifs"; I am all about "What is".

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Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda Rose of Sharon:
Yeah, I really have an attitude on this subject. I do, however, want to hear why this doesn't trip up others the way it trips up me.

Ok, so it might be a little late to be quoting the OP on this thread, but I just read it this morning.

It seems to me that, while the OP says she wants to hear why others believe in a "literal" hell, it appears that the thread has changed its nature to "Why Grits should not believe in hell". Interesting.


quote:
Originally posted by Zeke:
Well, if God doesn't like being called unfair, then he should send down a bolt or two right now, because that interpretation of God's nature does make him extremely unfair.

Be careful what you ask for - remember Noah? How about the plagues of Egypt in Exodus? How about Elijah vs the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:16-40)? God is powerful. He shows His power - sometimes in devestating ways.

quote:
Originally posted by nonprepheteer:
If God is good, God is love, God is all powerful and all knowing - if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period. Its God that makes the rules and knows all the details, and I have to trust that such a decision would not be made lightly. Note: ...* I'm just saying, if that part is real, then we have to believe that it is good and just.

My point exactly. *edited out the only phrase I did not agree with - I don't think it alters the nature of the point.

Read Job 38-42 for some examples here of why we should trust and not question God. Selected verses:
quote:


Job 38

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:

2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

at Job 40:8 God continues with:

"Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?"

and Job 42:

1 Then Job replied to the LORD :

...

3 "You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know."

and as Grits said:

quote:
I'm still amazed there are some who want to call the shots about the nature of God, and I'm still waiting to find out where that concept comes from.

Perhaps someone can answers that challenge without resorting to arguments like "I cannot believe that a God of love would ..."

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Liam
Shipmate
# 4961

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
To me, my view makes more sense.

You know, Jim, I actually find very little about Christianity that makes sense. I guess that's not really the basis for my belief, because most of it would seem like a bunch of hooey if I started only believing the parts that "made sense".

And, of course, we know that's where our biggest issues are. You have to have proof, documentation, viable reason -- every human factor for belief possible -- for something to fit into your system. I just don't. And that's why I am labeled a robotic, blank-brained nimcompoop who can't possibly have any kind of cognizant thought about anything.

I don't think it's fair to accuse non-fundamentalists of demanding proof and certainty in all things. As far as I casn see, it's actually the fundamentalist who needs everything to be literal, exact and factual. You may say that you don't demand proof of everything - but as I see it, you do insist that something must be literally true to have any worthwhile meaning. This is what religious and scientific fundamentalists agree on.

On the other hand, a more open approach to scripture and belief actually involves accepting that all our statements about the divine are provisional, that absolute statements are simply missing the point. That we're on a journey, not at a destination yet. That we can't ever be sure about these things, and that's part of the magic of being alive.

Faith isn't somehow better because it's a faith in an absolutist and literal interpretation of something. Liberal believers can have faith just as strong as a fundamentalist's, but they're able to change and adapt it in the light of new information.

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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quote:
Originally posted by space monkey:
Faith isn't somehow better because it's a faith in an absolutist and literal interpretation of something. Liberal believers can have faith just as strong as a fundamentalist's, but they're able to change and adapt it in the light of new information.

Yes, I was quickly informed of this just a few seconds after I first started here. I understand the concept; I guess I just usually have issues with "new information".

I understand your traditional view of fundamentalism, although I don't validate it. I do see how people come to those conclusions, however.

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Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Big Steve

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So Grits, why do you believe in a literal heaven and hell?
Or maybe putting it completely differently - how has your faith developed? You seem to believe in the concepts of heaven and hell by faith - not relying on a burden of proof. But where did that faith come from? Is it simply a gut thing? Did people teach it to you? Does God tell you stuff? Did you read it for yourself?

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
quote:
Originally posted by space monkey:
Faith isn't somehow better because it's a faith in an absolutist and literal interpretation of something. Liberal believers can have faith just as strong as a fundamentalist's, but they're able to change and adapt it in the light of new information.

Yes, I was quickly informed of this just a few seconds after I first started here. I understand the concept; I guess I just usually have issues with "new information".

I understand your traditional view of fundamentalism, although I don't validate it. I do see how people come to those conclusions, however.

Some liberal believers are also more easily led astray. Except they don't see it that way - they become accepting of things that are blatantly sinful in the bible. I'm not talking about forgiving someone and accepting them with compassion as a fellow human, but actually rationalizing in their brain that something the bible says is a sin really isn't sinful. No, I wont go into details - I don't want to derail this very interesting thread.

Don't let 'em worry ya' Grits - You continue to believe as God leads you and don't let any person change your mind for you. It was afterall, doubt instilled by a third party that got us in this mess to begin with.

Np

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Liam
Shipmate
# 4961

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:

I understand your traditional view of fundamentalism, although I don't validate it. I do see how people come to those conclusions, however.

I note that you didn't quote the start of my post, where I explained my criticism more clearly... [Biased]

My point was that it's the fundamentalist viewpoint, not the 'liberal' one (as you seemed to be implying), that demands literal truth as the only, or principal, measure of value. I believe I've seen you myself on these boards saying words to the effect that unless the whole Bible is absolutely true, you don't see the point of it.

That's fair enough, those are your beliefs. But can you explain how you 'don't validate' my assessment of the fundamentalist worldview? You haven't said anything to show how my understanding is wrong.

And if my view of fundamentalism is the 'traditional' one, what's the 'progressive' one, please?

Genuinely interested, not meaning to be rude.

[ 01. December 2003, 14:48: Message edited by: Space Monkey ]

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Josephine

Orthodox Belle
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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
If God is good, God is love, God is all powerful and all knowing - if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period.

Nonpropheteer, I'm a mom. I have four children. When I punish them, it's so that they can learn what they did wrong and amend their behavior. If it's impossible for them to learn what they did wrong, and it's impossible for them to amend their behavior, then grounding, spanking, removing privileges, whatever I'm doing for punishment isn't punishment. It is cruelty.

God the eternal father, the lover of mankind, is not cruel. He will not punish people for eternity. He may allow them to suffer for eternity, if that's what they choose. But never to appease some external sense of justice. Never for any reason other than love.

I know I've posted the link to The River of Fire before -- my apologies to those who've read it already and may be tired of hearing it! But it's the best answer, from the Orthodox POV, to the question, "so, what about hell?"

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I've written a book! Catherine's Pascha: A celebration of Easter in the Orthodox Church. It's a lovely book for children. Take a look!

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Big Steve

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But the Orthodox position seems to have it's own difficulties too. The Father of mankind would let His children suffer for eternity if they choose to? Is that any better than eternal punishment? Is that not simply punishment for a sin called Pride, but all other sins can be forgiven?

My problem with a fundamentalist version of hell is more that people without that same fundamentalist faith are essentially doomed - which is very harsh considering the world population we currently have. I prefer the Orthodox way of seeing things - but it still allows for eternal suffering for those who don't like God.

Or is that wrong?

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:

My problem with a fundamentalist version of hell is more that people without that same fundamentalist faith are essentially doomed - which is very harsh considering the world population we currently have.

Have you got some proof of that being the fundamentalist position? Or did you infer it yourself?

I believe there will be many liberals in heaven - in fact all of the Christian ones.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I know it is hard to understand being able to relinquish pride and human prejudices in the face of faith. That's OK, if that's how you want to do it.

This is a first for me ever on The Ship. I want a Host ruling. This is a stereotypical, personal attack on me that presumes pride and prejudice for not holding the same views as the author. I have heard quite enough of Grits' stereotypical characterization of the non-fundamentalist mind and this is the last straw.
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Big Steve

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# 3274

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:

My problem with a fundamentalist version of hell is more that people without that same fundamentalist faith are essentially doomed - which is very harsh considering the world population we currently have.

Have you got some proof of that being the fundamentalist position? Or did you infer it yourself?

I believe there will be many liberals in heaven - in fact all of the Christian ones.

I'm quite possibly wrong in that inference. My understanding of fundamentalism is the attitude of "we're right and everyone who disagrees is damned", whereas conservative may be defined as "we're right, but everyone can have their say".

Actually, in that sense, I doubt that Grits is fundamentalist. Conservative is a more apt description and would be in line with most of what Grits says - otherwise you wouldn't be interacting on the ship!

Hmm, but then you could argue that I'm just being provocative. Passionate Fundamentalist? Naah. Passionate OK, but fundamentalist, no sir.

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
My understanding of fundamentalism is the attitude of "we're right and everyone who disagrees is damned", whereas conservative may be defined as "we're right, but everyone can have their say".

Fundamentalist (Miriam Webster on-line):
quote:
1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles


So, we are sola scriptura, inerentist, literalists. I don't see this saying anything about what the fundamentalist thinks about other people, but perhaps it is me who is not reading it correctly.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by josephine:
Nonpropheteer, I'm a mom. I have four children. When I punish them, it's so that they can learn what they did wrong and amend their behavior. If it's impossible for them to learn what they did wrong, and it's impossible for them to amend their behavior, then grounding, spanking, removing privileges, whatever I'm doing for punishment isn't punishment. It is cruelty.

God the eternal father, the lover of mankind, is not cruel. He will not punish people for eternity. He may allow them to suffer for eternity, if that's what they choose. But never to appease some external sense of justice. Never for any reason other than love.

I know I've posted the link to The River of Fire before -- my apologies to those who've read it already and may be tired of hearing it! But it's the best answer, from the Orthodox POV, to the question, "so, what about hell?"

Please don't misunderstand - I do not believe in Hell as a place of eternal punishment for ungodly people. Except possibly in the sense that they'll be thrown in, consumed, destroyed, etc. That is a punishment, and the second death is forever, so far as I understand.

I was afraid someone would read only that particular post and think it properly illustrates my view of Hell. If you read Revelations it plainly says that Hell will be thrown into the lake of fire. If Hell is the lake of fire, that passage makes no sense whatsoever. The post you reference is more of a hypothetical situation (hence if).

The thing you have to consider is that the God of the old testament was cruel - assuming you believe the OT. There are countless times he ordered the wholesale slaughter of people we would consider today to be innocents, forced parents to stone their unruly children to death, and in the NT, through Peter, struck dead some parishners that lied about how much they put in the offering plate.
And to top it all off, he promises much worse violence in the future. His willingness to inflict violence on those he deems deserving is well documented, even moreso than his desire to see no one perish.
So please, don't sugar coat God. He is either completely your God or he's not. And he doesn't answer to our personal definition of what is good or wise or loving. Heck, he allowed his own son to be murdered by a bunch of pagans. But that was ultimately part of his plan for us to be able to draw closer to him, wasn't it?

Perhaps the punishment at the end of our lives is less cruel than letting us go on without him? Maybe it is the lesser of two evils. Is that such a hard concept to swallow?

I'm not a fundementalist -in fact I would classify myself at best a weak Christian. I do believe God reveals to each of us what he wants us to know, when we are ready for it. His will, his wisdom, is not just available in scripture. He created the universe and set it in motion. Everything from black holes to DNA contains his fingerprints.
Are there not things we consider evil that happen to animals and other life forms all the time? Don't the stars themselves eventually consume the planets to which they gave birth? Don't you sometimes have to use dark colors to create a work of art?
Imagine a world without cruely, death, and emotional trauma. Would there be any greatness? Would there be any heroes? Great poets, musicians, thinkers, movers and shakers all get more impetus from the trials in thier lives than the easy times.

God has a plan, and I can only believe its a good plan. The bad things that happen to me are easier to bear because of my faith that anything God allows to afflict me is there to teach myself, or someone else, a lesson.

hmmm. Was that too preachy?


Np

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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quote:
Originally posted by JimT:
quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
I know it is hard to understand being able to relinquish pride and human prejudices in the face of faith. That's OK, if that's how you want to do it.

This is a first for me ever on The Ship. I want a Host ruling. This is a stereotypical, personal attack on me that presumes pride and prejudice for not holding the same views as the author. I have heard quite enough of Grits' stereotypical characterization of the non-fundamentalist mind and this is the last straw.
[Waterworks]

Oh puhlease. Like you didn't stereotype her position. Besides, it is extremely difficult to relinquish pride and human prejudice.
She has a view she believes is more correct than yours, you have a view that you believe is more correct than hers. Both of you feel like you have an understanding of God - and the kicker is that each of you may be just as right as the other, or completely wrong, or only have bits and pieces of your views right.

All of us believe what we believe and are biased against others - not to say we wont allow others their own beliefs, but when it gets down to brass tacks, we all think the view we have adopted is closer to the truth than someone else's. If we don't, then we really don't have a view point - only bits of stuff we've learned that we don't understand.

I commend Grits for sticking to her guns. We should only let what God reveals to us to be our compass.


[edited because Grits was sticking to her Gnus. Should wash those beasts more often]

Np

[ 01. December 2003, 18:13: Message edited by: nonpropheteer ]

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyda Rose of Sharon:
Yeah, I really have an attitude on this subject. I do, however, want to hear why this doesn't trip up others the way it trips up me.

Ok, so it might be a little late to be quoting the OP on this thread, but I just read it this morning.

It seems to me that, while the OP says she wants to hear why others believe in a "literal" hell, it appears that the thread has changed its nature to "Why Grits should not believe in hell". Interesting.


quote:
Originally posted by Zeke:
Well, if God doesn't like being called unfair, then he should send down a bolt or two right now, because that interpretation of God's nature does make him extremely unfair.

Be careful what you ask for - remember Noah? How about the plagues of Egypt in Exodus? How about Elijah vs the prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:16-40)? God is powerful. He shows His power - sometimes in devestating ways.

quote:
Originally posted by nonprepheteer:
If God is good, God is love, God is all powerful and all knowing - if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period. Its God that makes the rules and knows all the details, and I have to trust that such a decision would not be made lightly. Note: ...* I'm just saying, if that part is real, then we have to believe that it is good and just.

My point exactly. *edited out the only phrase I did not agree with - I don't think it alters the nature of the point.

Read Job 38-42 for some examples here of why we should trust and not question God. Selected verses:
quote:


Job 38

1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:

2 "Who is this that darkens my counsel
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.

4 "Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.

at Job 40:8 God continues with:

"Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?"

and Job 42:

1 Then Job replied to the LORD :

...

3 "You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?'
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know."

and as Grits said:

quote:
I'm still amazed there are some who want to call the shots about the nature of God, and I'm still waiting to find out where that concept comes from.

Perhaps someone can answers that challenge without resorting to arguments like "I cannot believe that a God of love would ..."

Welcome to the discussion, Sharkshooter. I'm glad we have another person representing the traditional viewpoint. Note I didn't say "fundamentalist viewpoint". Don't want to stereotype. Now we won't just pick on her. [Biased]

I'm not calling the shots as to what God is; I don't know exactly what God is. Neither do you. Neither did the writers of the Bible. We all feel just part of the elephant. The ancient Hebrew storytellers who passed down the story of Abraham and Moses wouldn't have recognized the Lover of The Song of Solomon or the Suffering Servant of Isaiah or the loving Father of Jesus. I don't understand the story on a God who is vengeful and vindictive; to me God has to be better than humanity not just more: more generous, more powerful, more wrarhful, more jealous of his perogatives. Otherwise we might as well go back to worshipping Odin or Zeus.

All I know is that I cannot love God if he is a vindictive deity who plays at games with Satan with a man's life, or is the God who "hardened the heart" of the Pharoah to wring the last bit of sadistic plague-making out on the Egyptian people. I can't. But I want to love God and the direct experience I've had of him is not that cruel God. I'm grateful to God for giving us this world because he's bounteously generous and full of mercy, not because we caught him on a good day. If I believed that God was this disfunctional parent who enforced his will on his children like a Joan Crawford, I'd fear him, yes, reluctably serve him, but not love him. Might makes right™. Might could enforce my servitude but not my thoughts and certainly not my love.

If you can love the God of Job, more power to you. If you can see eternal damnation as a good and proper thing 'cause God says so, or so you believe, fine. A lot of us can't. As I said, all I can do is believe what I can believe and love the God of that belief. If I'm wrong and God says Bzzz! Wrong answer! [Tear] I'm no worse off than if I didn't honor the God of love I had in my imagination because I wouldn't have served him at all otherwise.

As I said in my limited-duration-of-Hell post I could understand punishment/purification that would lead to salvation. I don't have that much of a fluffy bunny approach to God where I think suffering is not an option with God for getting us where we need to go in our development. But as josephine rightly pointed out eternal damnation does nothing toward correcting the damned; it's just cruel and a waste. The either/or idea of salvation makes the unsaved look like dead men walking, a waste of space.

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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sharkshooter

Not your average shark
# 1589

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda Rose of Sharon:
quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
and as Grits said:

quote:
I'm still amazed there are some who want to call the shots about the nature of God, and I'm still waiting to find out where that concept comes from.

Perhaps someone can answers that challenge without resorting to arguments like "I cannot believe that a God of love would ..."
...I'm not calling the shots as to what God is; I don't know exactly what God is. Neither do you. ...
All I know is that I cannot love God if ...

Thanks for the welcome to the discussion.

You said you were not calling the shots on what God is, then proceeded to say you could not love God if ...

This is contradictory in that you exclude from the possible characteristics/acts of God the ones you cannot accept.

I was hoping to take the discussion in another direction. For example, I gave a few examples from the Bible of God acting in powerful ways - some of which resulted in many human deaths. How do you argue that you cannot accept a God who is able and willing to inflict these things on people, some of whom were, undoubtedly, in your opinion, innocent? Do you dismiss all of the Biblical passages which make you uncomfortable (just as some do with passages relating to a hell and eternal torment)?

I admit, God makes me uncomfortable. The Hebrews believed that seeing God would result in death. Disobeying Him often did - see the part about the Ark of the Covenent in 2 Samuel 6:

quote:
The Ark Brought to Jerusalem

1 David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2 He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the LORD Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. 3 They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4 with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5 David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the LORD , with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.
6 When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7 The LORD's anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
8 Then David was angry because the LORD's wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. [5]
9 David was afraid of the LORD that day and said, "How can the ark of the LORD ever come to me?"

Was God fair and loving to Uzzah? All Uzzah did was try to keep the Ark from falling off the cart when the oxen stumbled - and God killed him on the spot for it. Does that offend our sensibilities? Personally, I think it gives us an indication of the fact that God's ideas may be different from our own. Uzzah may have thought that to allow the Ark to fall would have been an insult to God. God felt that disobeying (by touching the Ark) was the insult.

King David feared God, as did many other key people in the Bible. It is not a bad thing to have a certain amount of fear.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Robert Armin

All licens'd fool
# 182

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I believe there was a French theologian who said that he had to believe in the existence of Hell because it was in the Bible. Because of what the Bible said about the love and mercy of God, however, he could only conclude that Hell was empty. Any one any idea who this chap was?

(I think I asked this the last time we discussed Hell, but I can't remember if any one answered.)

--------------------
Keeping fit was an obsession with Fr Moity .... He did chin ups in the vestry, calisthenics in the pulpit, and had developed a series of Tai-Chi exercises to correspond with ritual movements of the Mass. The Antipope Robert Rankin

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by The Wanderer:
I believe there was a French theologian who said that he had to believe in the existence of Hell because it was in the Bible. Because of what the Bible said about the love and mercy of God, however, he could only conclude that Hell was empty. Any one any idea who this chap was?

I can't remember.

Though the idea goes way back to Origen surely?

But I've known more than one minister or preacher who has said that that is their hope, and their private belief, but that they couldn't claim it as the teaching of the Church.

--------------------
Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Okay, Sharkshooter, you've chosen to believe that the Bible is literal possibly because you can't imagine that God would allow people to be people and be fallible when writing the scriptural record. Your choice may have a certain simplicity and consistancy compared to mine but it is still a choice. The people who wrote the Bible had a choice in what they put down and how they viewed it, unless you think that God used them like a spirit uses a medium, without volition on the writer's part.

God is God. I don't call the shots on him, but I do call them on me. I try to be honest with God and with myself. I know that bad things happen but I think they are because creation is as it is. Plagues happen; famines happen; to both the good and the bad blessings happen and sh*t happens. If God uses them to bring people to their whole nature in him, I can deal with it. But if they are deliberate, empty cruelty I can't. I'd rather take the chance that my view and experience is right and continue to love and serve him as best I can, even if I'm in error and acting in pride. But right now, if I believed that God gives up on even one of his own, I would walk away. [Frown]

"I believe. Help my unbelief." Go ahead and pray that I'll be on the right path. And I'll pray the same for you. [Votive] Prayer is always a good thing even if we're touching a different part of the elephant. [Angel]

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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I don't think I have time for as complete a post as I would like (neighbor child needs to use the computer), but I do want to offer an apology to JimT. My response was obviously addressed to you, and that, in and of itself, made it personal.

--------------------
Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Tortuf
Ship's fisherman
# 3784

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JimT, you wanted a hostly ruling. Here it is. First, there was nothing in Grits' post that violated the 10 commandments. Second, it was not personal and you need to quit personalizing things, especially on a board where vigorous debate is encouraged. Third, as you are aware, the hosts read every single post on their boards and take action as they deem necessary. We are not in need of calls for a hostly ruling.

Tortuf
Purgatory Host

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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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I appreciate the apology, accept it, and know that it is sincere.

quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
All of us believe what we believe and are biased against others - not to say we wont allow others their own beliefs, but when it gets down to brass tacks, we all think the view we have adopted is closer to the truth than someone else's.

Hey thanks, I needed that little bit of perspective. [Roll Eyes]

nonprotheteer, I was going after one thing and one thing alone: the stereotypical response I have heard from Grits and others that the reason why those on the other side of an argument reject their view is "pride and prejudice." This is not respectful, hard-hitting debate, which is what I think I was engaged in.

quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
Do you dismiss all of the Biblical passages which make you uncomfortable (just as some do with passages relating to a hell and eternal torment)?
<snip>
Story of Uzzah

You've picked an excellent story, sharkshooter. In fact, it was used to introduce me to the willingness of God to torment in Hell. Yes, I rejected it out of hand when I heard it because it was so obviously a primitive picture of God; one that goes with ancient Israel's picture of a God who required blood sacrifice for sins. To me, this story tells us about the evolving revelation of God that begins as a fearsome supercreature demanding obedience under pain of death and culminates with God as Love and Truth. I don't think it makes sense to attempt to fuse the God of the Gospel of John with the God who struck Uzzah dead for trying to be helpful nor the God who cursed Eve with childbearing in Genesis. The Bible says that they are one in the same, yesterday today and forever, but to me it is painfully [Biased] obvious that they are not.
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JimT

Ship'th Mythtic
# 142

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Crosspost.

quote:
Originally posted by Tortuf:
JimT, you wanted a hostly ruling. Here it is. First, there was nothing in Grits' post that violated the 10 commandments. Second, it was not personal and you need to quit personalizing things, especially on a board where vigorous debate is encouraged. Third, as you are aware, the hosts read every single post on their boards and take action as they deem necessary. We are not in need of calls for a hostly ruling.

Tortuf
Purgatory Host

Well I stand corrected and apologize for personalizing too much. I will say that I have heard people call for rulings before without reprimand, but that was a few months ago. I certainly did not mean to imply that hosts need prompting to do their jobs; it was my impression that sometimes people asked for clarification on borderline issues.
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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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[Warning: Annoyingly long and wordy post to follow:]

OK, I’m ready to respond now, but let me begin by saying I had been avoiding this thread (as well as the one on the crucifixion) like the plague. Not because I have any qualms with it, but because I knew there would be those watching and waiting to jump out and do an “Ah, ha! The fundamentalist b***h finally admits to believing in hell and damnation! And she was trying to make us think she was different.” That’s OK – I’ve just been assuming that was a given. [Big Grin]

It is interesting to see what has been posted, as I had a discussion about this at lunch today. I posed the question, and the answer I received was, "Well, if I believe in an all-loving, all-good God..." I stopped him right there. Where does that picture of God come from? Sure, I believe God is good and loving, but that is certainly not ALL I think He is. Surely you recognize that God has a vengeful side, a jealous side, and, yes, even a murderous side. But you know what? I am OK with that. Why? BECAUSE HE'S GOD, and He can be whatever and everything He wants to be, without any approval from me. You completely ignore a huge aspect of His character if you whittle Him down to only "good" and "loving". And I guess I believe that's a dangerous aspect to ignore.

I also asked the question, "Well, if you believe He loves you too much to send you to hell, then why does He let bad things happen to us here?" Lyda has addressed that somewhat in her last post. I don't know if I believe God "uses" bad stuff to reveal Himself -- I certainly believe He can do that. But if you believe that, and yet those affected are not turned to God as a result, you're saying that He then accepts that rejection and offers them heaven anyway? I'll have to think about that one.

I appreciate the comments made by sharkshooter and nonpropheteer, both basically saying who are we to question what God does and why.

Big Steve, you ask a lot of questions! “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I think that answers most of them. I just get it from the Bible (and maybe my “gut”.) I really don’t believe faith can be “taught”. Principals can be taught, ideas can be presented, but I think faith has to come from within. And God hasn’t told me anything... lately. [Biased]

Space Monkey, I don’t think you rude at all. Sometimes it’s hard to ask questions without sounding a little snippy, I know. I guess I believe truth is a good “measure of value”, but only as far as religion is concerned. I certainly don’t believe every true thing in this world is valuable. My problem is, and has always been, letting men tell me what to believe, or what the Bible really means, or which parts of it really happened, etc. There isn’t a human being on the face of the earth I would trust to do that for me. Who are they to make these decisions? How can you take one part as truth and not take it all? What if you’re taking the wrong part? I would not be able to have faith in something that I could never “be sure about”.

I don’t “insist” that the Bible be the literal truth; I just believe that it is. But you know what? It won’t blow me away if it isn’t. I’ll be just fine if I find out, “What? Whadaya mean, no flood?” , or “Why did you say six days if it really took you 300 years?” , or “You mean Wednesday nights didn’t count?” [Big Grin] Do you see my point? Anything less than what I believe will be OK with me. Now, can you say the same thing about your beliefs – that if you find out it all really did happen, just like it says in the Bible – that will be fine with you? If you can, then I don’t think there’s really much to argue about, do you? (And maybe that’s a taste of “progressive” fundamentalism.)

Everyone (well, almost everyone) has been very polite to one another – such a nice change from Hell. I was glad to see sharkshooter’s definition of fundamentalist, and I guess I fit it to a “t”, but I have to admit I kind of like Big Steve’s conservative turn – “we’re right, but everyone else can have their say.” It's funny, but I hope I don’t really come across like that!

quote:
God has a plan, and I can only believe its a good plan. The bad things that happen to me are easier to bear because of my faith that anything God allows to afflict me is there to teach myself, or someone else, a lesson.
Did I write that? That was a really good post, nonpropheteer. Wish I had written it. I am glad to see the side of God you expressed so well represented. However, when I first read your funny edit, I could have sworn it said, “Should wash those breasts more often.”

Lyda, my dear, you can pick on me anytime. You have a wonderful, open, inquisitive nature that appeals greatly to me. And remember I’m saying that even with the awareness that you opened this hellish can of worms! I think I understand most of your positions and where they are coming from. It’s just that final event we seem differ on, and I hope you know that I don’t believe God gives up on anyone for one minute, unless they choose to take that last step without Him.

I appreciate sharkshooter’s comment, “God makes me uncomfortable.” That seems a very honest, vulnerable admission to make. I thought about it, though, and realized I feel the same way. I suppose those of us who do recognize God as a more “multi-faceted” deity than some do tend to squirm a little when people start “undeifying” Him. I just feel better leaving Him on the throne and telling it to Jesus.

Wanderer, I’m sure hell is there, and I surely do hope it is empty.

And, JimT, I believe that God Himself is the same today, tomorrow and forever. But it's not the entity God we're at odds with here, is it? It's His nature, His character, His actions and reactions, and how many faces of God we think there are. Food for thought...

I really have enjoyed this thread, guys. Thank you for letting me be a part of it. [Axe murder]

--------------------
Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Lyda*Rose

Ship's broken porthole
# 4544

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Arrrrgh! [Mad]

I wrote a long, insightful reply to Grits' post and the fricking server lost it. [Waterworks] Double [Mad] [Mad] !

Before I go off to sulk, thanks, Grits for the kind words [Hot and Hormonal] [Big Grin] .

[Overused] back at you, girlfriend!

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Grits
Compassionate fundamentalist
# 4169

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Don't sulk. If I had a dollar for every time that has happened to me, you and I could afford a trip to Hawaii.

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Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff, and shut it when I've said enough. Amen.

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Nonpropheteer
6 Syllable Master
# 5053

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Thank you for the kind words Grits. I feel like we have agreed to disagree. I've always suggested that to people before, but never really experienced it.

[Overused] [Votive]


Np

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Adeodatus
Shipmate
# 4992

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The 'hardline' (since we're not allowed to say 'fundamentalist!!!) teaching on Hell is quite simple. If you die with so much as one unrepented sin on your conscience, then the Divine Justice is so outraged that there is no other choice than that you suffer in fire for ever and ever.

One unrepented sin, no matter how small, how slight. No matter that no-one else was harmed, or that this sin took place only inside your mind. A single covetous or lustful thought, so fleeting and trivial that you forget it and consequently never repent of it - and you are in Hell for ever and ever.

This is necessarily the teaching on Hell. Because if God can ignore one such slight sin, why can't he ignore two and admit you to Heaven? If he can ignore two, why can't he ignore them all? Therefore the doctrine of Hell must necessarily apply to the smallest, slightest unrepented sin.

This presents a problem. The problem is that I am morally superior to a God who operates this system. I cannot imagine a sin so bad that I would impose everlasting punishment, let alone imposing it for a small sin. My moral sense is outraged by the very thought: how could I punish like this, when the punishment so obviously does not fit the crime?

If this is how God works, then God is the only Being who might just possibly be worthy of Hell, the only Being whose crime of near-infinite injustice might warrant such a punishment.

That's why I don't believe in this God, or in anything like this idea of Hell.

--------------------
"What is broken, repair with gold."

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Alaric the Goth
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# 511

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Posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
One unrepented sin, no matter how small, how slight. No matter that no-one else was harmed, or that this sin took place only inside your mind. A single covetous or lustful thought, so fleeting and trivial that you forget it and consequently never repent of it - and you are in Hell for ever and ever.

This is necessarily the teaching on Hell. Because if God can ignore one such slight sin, why can't he ignore two and admit you to Heaven? If he can ignore two, why can't he ignore them all? Therefore the doctrine of Hell must necessarily apply to the smallest, slightest unrepented sin.

I do not understand the 'necessarily the teaching on Hell' bit. I believe Hell does exist, and the people likely to be there (I don't believe it is 'empty' because of the 'Broad is the way that leads to destruction' bit that Jesus said) are the ones taht will stand before God still defiant, unwilling to say even then 'Please forgive me!' And I think this is possible: they will say 'I did this (such and suach a sin) because I was born poor/abused by my Uncle/friend had the things I stole and I needed them as well/my people have been victims throughout their history etc. etc. And they will blame their action/inaction on someone/something else (I am as prone to this as any in this life, but hopefully when before Almighty God I will realise that the last shred of it will 'not wash with Him', as it were. And I need to get repenting of 'making excuses'.)

It isn't 'one (or two) unrepented sins that will result in someone not being allowed into Heaven: it is an attitude of mind/spirit towards God and others that puts 'self' first: that effectively says that the will/wishes of God or the wants and needs of other human beings were of less importance than what 'I' wanted to do and think and say. That is what I think God will 'see'. And the point of what Christians believe is that we can 'plead Christ' for all the sins we have committed, specifically repented for or generally repneted for ('Forgive us our trespasses' is pretty general each day, is it not?). But even 'Christians', if the parable of the Sheep and the Goats is anything to go by, are 'at risk' if they have led uncharitable lives.

You would need a body with a nervous system to experience the pain of eternal Hellfire. I believe (resurrection) bodies are for the Saved, not the Damned. I do not believe in a God who would give us/leave us with the ability to experience the pain of fire for evermore and would then put us in an eternal one. The fire symbolises destruction: I do not believe a 'soul' can be destroyed and then still exist, so I do not see the suffering of those human souls in Hell as 'eternal' in the sense that Eternal Life is eternal. The Devil is a different matter: it seems clear (from Revelation particularly) that his punishment is eternal.

And I do believe in a God who may well surprise us with how merciful He is. But I cannot see how Heaven will be heavenly if the likes of Hitler and Torqemada and Amin are there. (Godwin's Law evoked here?).

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Big Steve

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quote:
Originally posted by sharkshooter:
Fundamentalist (Miriam Webster on-line):
quote:
1 a often capitalized : a movement in 20th century Protestantism emphasizing the literally interpreted Bible as fundamental to Christian life and teaching b : the beliefs of this movement c : adherence to such beliefs
2 : a movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles


So, we are sola scriptura, inerentist, literalists. I don't see this saying anything about what the fundamentalist thinks about other people, but perhaps it is me who is not reading it correctly.
I still don't think GRITS is a fundamentalist and you probably aren't either. For example, take the following passages :

quote:
Luke 12
5. "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
[snip, snip]
8. "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

The only possible literal interpretation I can get from this is that everyone on earth who professes any other faith than Christianity will be disowned before the angels of God.

Is there any other literal interpretation possible?
If not, and if you disagree with my literal interpretation of the text, then you are not a fundamentalist, according to the Miriam Webster definition.

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Liam
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quote:
Originally posted by Grits:
Space Monkey, I donÕt think you rude at all. Sometimes itÕs hard to ask questions without sounding a little snippy, I know. I guess I believe truth is a good Òmeasure of valueÓ, but only as far as religion is concerned. I certainly donÕt believe every true thing in this world is valuable. My problem is, and has always been, letting men tell me what to believe, or what the Bible really means, or which parts of it really happened, etc. There isnÕt a human being on the face of the earth I would trust to do that for me. Who are they to make these decisions? How can you take one part as truth and not take it all? What if youÕre taking the wrong part? I would not be able to have faith in something that I could never Òbe sure aboutÓ.

What I think you're missing here is that your interpretation of the Bible is just as much a human creation as any other interpretation of the Bible. Unless God physically comes down and says, 'This is what I actually meant', you're applying your own interpretation, or that of another preacher or theologian or your church tradition, or a combination of those. You are letting men tell you what to believe, at least as much as anyone else. Unless you really feel God has literally spoken in your ear, you're making your decisions the same way I do - following your own instincts and the accumulated wisdom and ideas of other people.

The fact that we're having this debate at all is proof that there is no one clear truth that emerges unambiguously from the BIble for all its readers. The Bible speaks in metaphor, poem and parable - surely if literal truth was so important, God could have been a little clearer and avoided all this hassle? I really think you're missing the point, and missing out on a lot of freedoms and joys in the process.

My problem with fundamentalism in my experience is that it not only claims there is one simple truth (thereby discounting other people's views), it also fails to see its own nature as a human construct. At its worst, this means that people present their own prejudices as divine revelation.

As you say, this has been an interesting debate, but I think we've both heard it all before and are unlikely to change each other's minds. Thanks anyway for a polite repsonse.

Space Monkey

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AB
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Phew, I've waded my way through some interesting posts on the way, via a minor country lane through 'fundamentalists vs the liberals' country, but now I'm here - hurrah!

First off, just to summarise my position. Like you, Lyda - I struggle amazingly with concept of Hell. But then I struggle with Heaven too, so that's ok. I kinda like the Orthodox position, though would get launched by my evo church for saying so [Big Grin] but I do have some interesting ideas which have been milling around that I see haven't been mentioned yet... so here goes!

<AB steps up to the podium. //tap tap, is this on?//>

Let's start at the beginning. God creates the world - and creates it so that in His perfect order everyone will live in harmony. Our job therefore is three-fold. To live in harmony with God, to live in harmony with each other, and to live in harmony with creation.

The costliest snack in history™ later and Heaven, we have a problem. So then God's great redemption plan to sort the world out, involving a chosen nation, a messiah and some attitude re-aligning on our part e voilla, one new creation.

I'm kinda getting to my point now, so bear with me. The rebuilt creation is to be perfect, and free of the stuff that's got us into this mess in the first place. It is to be Eden all over again. Now in order for creation to be perfect then we all must be living in harmony with God, each other and creation. Anything less than this 100% harmony rating and we have a sub-perfect creation v2. Do you follow?

Now, here's the rub. Most of us don't want to live in harmony with those three things, because we don't want to share power with anyone else. [aside - living in harmony requires more actual power than living to serve oneself, but I digress] - yet by very definition of a re-perfected creation everyone there will have to be that way.

I'm a firm believer that not everyone in the world rejects God explicity. But it is clear when you look at the world that pretty much the majority are out there serving themselves, and thus in their current mindset, a quick poll of "do you want to relinquish your power?" simply isn't going to yield many positive answers.

So a 'Heaven' where everyone is serving everyone else rather than themselves isn't going to be a place they want to be, one might even say that 'Heaven' might be a 'Hell' to them, but hmmmm, I'm not sure that one has the legs to sustain it. A re-ordered creation won't be perfect if not every single member is willfully living in harmony with all.

So what do we do with the others who don't make it there? Can they also be redeemed? Or will they simply be apart from God's presence. Well let's be realistic here - God sustains life - to be where God is not, means to be where life is not.

So perhaps God, in his mercy, has created a place where selfish attitudes are no longer seen 'through a glass darkly' and where everyone can feel the full force of their selfish ambitions. The people there in that 'Hell' of a reformed creation would in effect be exiled from their land of milk and honey - sound familiar? And let's see, where was the 'Gehenna' that Jesus referred to in his parable about the Rich Ruler? Outside of Jerusalem, the Holy City - in effect, in exile. If Revelation 21 can talk of the reformed creation being the new Jerusalem, could not Gehenna be just outside the city walls too? Food for thought...

And could it be that when Jesus descended to the 'depths' that he popped his head in there to see whether there were any captives that fancied being free? And let's think about the possibility that Jesus was outside of our understanding of time at this point, so we really are talking about the eternal 'Hell' here.

That some may never be able to give up their self-serving I can fully accept - that was entirely the sin of Satan - but they can never have a place in the re-formed creation, surely? And to keep them hanging around in torment for an eternity does seem jolly unfair - so surely the merciful thing to do with them is to end them? And, look, what have we here? a lake of fire...

<thus ends my rambling thoughts>

A quick heads up to Grits [Biased] This is based on Biblical principles so it should be quite easy to pick apart with scattered proof texts - but I'd be genuinely interested in it being discussed with Biblical principles of redemption/mercy/harmony etc...

Apologies all, for making this page that little bit bigger.

[Smile]

AB

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"This is all that I've known for certain, that God is love. Even if I have been mistaken on this or that point: God is nevertheless love."
- Søren Kierkegaard

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:
I still don't think GRITS is a fundamentalist and you probably aren't either. For example, take the following passages :

quote:
Luke 12
5. "But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
[snip, snip]
8. "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.

The only possible literal interpretation I can get from this is that everyone on earth who professes any other faith than Christianity will be disowned before the angels of God.

Is there any other literal interpretation possible?
If not, and if you disagree with my literal interpretation of the text, then you are not a fundamentalist, according to the Miriam Webster definition.

I won't answer for Grits, but, in my mind, that is the only corrrect interpretation of that text.

quote:
The 'hardline' (since we're not allowed to say 'fundamentalist!!!) teaching on Hell is quite simple. If you die with so much as one unrepented sin on your conscience, then the Divine Justice is so outraged that there is no other choice than that you suffer in fire for ever and ever.
I do not believe that every sin must be repented of before death. Perhaps this is the Roman Catholic teaching (please enlighten me if I am wrong here) that places an emphasis on last rights.

The fundamentalist view (at least this fundamentalist's view) is that it is the personal relationship with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour that leads to Heaven - not whether or not we were able to repent of our last sin before death - but the Alaric the Goth responded much more fully on this point.

--------------------
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Talitha
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quote:
The only possible literal interpretation I can get from this is that everyone on earth who professes any other faith than Christianity will be disowned before the angels of God.

Is there any other literal interpretation possible?
If not, and if you disagree with my literal interpretation of the text, then you are not a fundamentalist, according to the Miriam Webster definition.

Big Steve, your methodology is excellent but you picked the wrong text for your fundamentalist-detector. As sharkshooter has just demonstrated, there are many fundamentalists who do believe that.

You need to pick something which nobody, or almost nobody, takes literally, and use that as your starting point to expose non-fundamentalism in fundamentalists.

A couple of examples:
  • The bit about gouging out your eye if it causes you to sin
  • The bit about hating your family if you want to be a follower of Jesus
  • The bit about women not braiding their hair and remaining silent in church
  • The bit that says only 144,000 will be saved
  • The unforgivable sin of speaking against the Holy Spirit

Etcetera.

sharkshooter, are these figurative?

If so, on what authority do you take the verse Big Steve quoted earlier as literal?

[ 02. December 2003, 12:17: Message edited by: Talitha ]

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sharkshooter

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I think we are getting a bit far from the topic of hell - this is partly my fault. Perhaps a discussion of particular texts could be moved to Kerygmania - with a thread on each. At least a separate thread on what is a fundamentalist here in purgatory.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Glenn Oldham
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quote:
Originally posted by nonpropheteer:
quote:
Originally posted by Glenn Oldham:
If God is a God who tortures individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers, then that God is the amongst the most evil beings imaginable.
G.

I totally disagree. If God is good, God is love, God is all powerful and all knowing - if our wisdom is foolishness to God, then who are we to judge God? If people are to be put in hell for all eternity, never dying -and will eternally be cognizant of their pain and suffering - then that would be a just and fitting punishment for them. Period. Its God that makes the rules and knows all the details, and I have to trust that such a decision would not be made lightly. Note: Its not that I believe there is a fiery hell of eternal punishment, I'm just saying, if that part is real, then we have to believe that it is good and just.
AND I COULD NOT DISAGREE MORE, NONPROPHETEER. "Who are we to judge God?" sounds very pious doesn't it? But when offered two different views of what God is like what are we to do? 'Choose this day whom you will serve!' We are morally responsible persons who have to make judgements and moral decisions. You judge God all the time! Why are you not a Hindu? Why are you not a Muslim? Because you have made decisions and have opinions about what God is like and have rejected some ideas and accepted others! Such judgement is INESCAPABLE. And since it is inescapable I am required to do the best I can in assessing what I should and should not believe.

As a result I simply CANNOT believe that an eternal hell full of the torture of individuals unrelentingly, constantly, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers is NOT evil. I can see no way that it would count as good. In what possible way could this scenario be called a just and fitting punishment? I have experienced chronic pain at times and have known others who have esperienced profound and chronic pain for years. If it were true that God is the kind of God that could inflict that kind of appalling pain on persons for eternity then the conclusion is that the universe and God and creation are truly evil. It is not made just and fitting just because God calls it such. A tyrant who calls his torture just punishment does not thereby make evil good.

And if I accept this extreme belief in such an evil concept of hell on faith then I can no longer have any trust in my moral sense or reason at all. If I can swallow this what is to stop me from swallowing anything? I have no options left other than to become a fanatic and a zombie.

But I choose not to go insane, but instead to reject the idea that such a hell exists. Whatever hell is it is NOT a place of torture unrelenting, constant, for eternity, with no end, forever, with no benefit arising from it for the sufferers.

Glenn

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Big Steve

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Talitha, the reason I chose the texts was because they related to the OP.

Anyway, sorry Sharkshooter, I had you down as a near-fundamentalist, not the real deal. I'm still curious as to GRITS position.

GRITS - does everyone on earth who is not a Christian go to hell? I always get the impression from you that you are happy enough that other people have different types of faith. You seem to have a "this is my faith, but you can choose whatever faith you want", which is some strange kind of postmodern fundamentalism. Am I right or wrong about this?

Hmm, as for you Sharkshooter, I've lived my life at times believing that many people I know and billion I don't are on the highway to hell. It's a hard world-view to have - you either spend your life evangelising or else stop caring. I can't live with either choice - partly because I believe God must have a better plan. I sure hope He does.

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sharkshooter

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quote:
Originally posted by Big Steve:

Anyway, sorry Sharkshooter, I had you down as a near-fundamentalist, not the real deal.


I've lived my life at times believing that many people I know and billion I don't are on the highway to hell. It's a hard world-view to have - you either spend your life evangelising or else stop caring. I can't live with either choice - partly because I believe God must have a better plan. I sure hope He does.

There was no need to apologize, Big Steve, but since you did, I certainly accept.

I choose the evangelizing option. I can live with that.

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Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalm 19:14]

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Lyda*Rose

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# 4544

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AB-
quote:
I'm kinda getting to my point now, so bear with me. The rebuilt creation is to be perfect, and free of the stuff that's got us into this mess in the first place. It is to be Eden all over again. Now in order for creation to be perfect then we all must be living in harmony with God, each other and creation. Anything less than this 100% harmony rating and we have a sub-perfect creation v2. Do you follow?

Now, here's the rub. Most of us don't want to live in harmony with those three things, because we don't want to share power with anyone else. [aside - living in harmony requires more actual power than living to serve oneself, but I digress] - yet by very definition of a re-perfected creation everyone there will have to be that way.

I'm a firm believer that not everyone in the world rejects God explicity. But it is clear when you look at the world that pretty much the majority are out there serving themselves, and thus in their current mindset, a quick poll of "do you want to relinquish your power?" simply isn't going to yield many positive answers.

So a 'Heaven' where everyone is serving everyone else rather than themselves isn't going to be a place they want to be, one might even say that 'Heaven' might be a 'Hell' to them, but hmmmm, I'm not sure that one has the legs to sustain it. A re-ordered creation won't be perfect if not every single member is willfully living in harmony with all.

Interesting ideas, AB. By the salvation you possit, Heaven would seem to be the empty part of eternity. I'd think that God would have trouble rounding up 144,000 of such paragons let alone most of Christianity. [Frown] I certainly wouldn't make the grade. I mean, just look at my language on this thread, it's full of pride, and we sure aren't getting along in perfect harmony although I'm pleased that we have all been pretty polite. (Now, Grits might well make the cut. [Biased] [Angel] ) I think what is missing in your theory is grace. All fall short of the glory of God. The only thing we could bring to the Throne that would point to the possibility of eternal harmony would be a humble willingness to learn and submit to being molded perfectly by God in that place where we don't "see through a glass darkly". [Votive]

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"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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Marvin the Martian

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quote:
Originally posted by Lyda Rose of Sharon:
The only thing we could bring to the Throne that would point to the possibility of eternal harmony would be a humble willingness to learn and submit to being molded perfectly by God in that place where we don't "see through a glass darkly". [Votive]
Emphasis mine

Woah there.

So the afterlife becomes a choice between Hell (torture, pain, nothingness? We haven't decided yet..) and Heaven, which involves a complete changing (or indeed removal) of one's nature in order to enter?

What if I still want to be me after I die (assuming the existence of an immortal 'soul', yadda yadda)? Remove all the imperfections and what's left won't be in any way recognisable as Marvin. Will it?

Hmmmm, maybe we need a thread about the nature of Heaven...

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Lyda*Rose

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I was working from AB's point of view that Heaven would be perfectly harmonious. I have my doubts about that, too, Marvin. [Biased]

Yeah, a thread on Heaven would be interesting. Wanna start one? [Angel]

--------------------
"Dear God, whose name I do not know - thank you for my life. I forgot how BIG... thank you. Thank you for my life." ~from Joe Vs the Volcano

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