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Hell is a real place

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/26/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 635 times Debate No: 84297
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
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1.) No trolling!

2.) Have proper debate etiquette!

3.) Use reliable sources! (This means do not use fake sources, e.g. "The Onion" or "Empire News")







Hell - "a place regarded in various religions as a spiritual realm of evil and suffering. . . " (



Let the debate begin and good luck to my opponent! :-)


I would like to thank NewLifeChristian for challenging me to this debate, and am willing to meet his requirements.
Debate Round No. 1


Before I begin the debate, I would like to thank Kyle for accepting the challenge and wish him the best.

Also, let it be known that all of the verses listed will be from the King James Version of the Bible.

God bless and let the debate begin! :-)


Jesus talks about hell in Mark 9:43-48

Mark 9:43-48 reads, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched."

Jesus specifically says "having two feet to be cast into hell". This part of the verse here proves that hell is indeed an actual place. In addition to proving that hell is a real place, this verse also shows that despite what many people believe, Jesus was not always "meek and gentle". He was serious and stern at times such as this.

Hell is mentioned in Luke 16:23

Luke 16:23, reads, "And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom". This verse also mentions "in hell", indicating that hell is a real place.

A personal account

A man by the name of Bryan Melvin, claims to have gone to hell and back. Considering he was an athiest prior to his experience, this is pretty strong evidence. [1]




The Bible version quoted from and referred to in my argument will always be the King James Version.

The meaning and use of the Hebrew and Greek words for hell, as it is found in the Bible, are theologically contested and perpetually controversial. So, instead of employing original definitions which can easily be challenged from many different sources, I shall endeavor to apply logic and reason, using only the Bible as a reference in round two. However, I may employ other sources and definitions for the rebuttal in round three.

To say that hell is not a place is, admittedly, not entirely accurate. When one is suffering, whatever location that person is in while they suffer, could, in fact, be called hell. But for someone else in the same location, who is not suffering, hell would be an unlikely epithet. For this reason, it is safe to say that "hell" is a relative term. For instance, for an abused slave, a plantation would have been hell. But for the plantation owner, who made a great deal of money from unpaid labor, aside from paying foremen, and providing the essentials, it was very likely a heaven. So it is fair to say that the plantation itself was not hell, but the conditions suffered by the abused slaves was indeed hell. As such, in this instance, hell is a condition, not a place, even when the place might be called hell.

Continuing to apply that logic, no one would argue that war is hell, wherever that war might be raging. Torture is hell, wherever that torture may be inflicted. Regardless of the location, I believe it is safe to say that the victims of war and torture would say that they were in hell. In fact it is common knowledge that many victims of war and torture have been quoted as having "been in hell", or "already having done there time in hell."

Now that I have established that the word "hell", outside of the Bible, is not restricted to any particular place, or even recognized as a place, I will show that the same logic can be applied to the word "hell" as it is found in the Bible.

Looking at Jonah 2:2 which reads, "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice." The "belly of hell" Jonah speaks of is inside a fish. Just like all other instances of the word "hell" in the Old Testament, the word "hell" in this verse is the Hebrew sheol. The fact that another Hebrew word is not used to differentiate from all the other instances of sheol that are translated, "hell", offers a very convincing argument that the Hebrew sheol does not necessarily indicate a place, but can certainly mean a condition. Because it is undeniably obvious that the "belly of hell" Jonah speaks of is not one that has a lake of fire, or any other definition usually assigned to the Hebrew sheol. Jonah isn't very happy in the fish's belly. So we see that in this biblical passage, "hell" is a condition, not a place. Otherwise, we would have to be contradictory and say that "hell" is not a lake of fire, but the belly of a fish.

Since this instance of "hell" is clearly a condition, then it is not unreasonable to believe that other, or even all, instances of "hell" in the Bible are a condition, not a place.

We know from the Bible that not all suffering will be the same. In Matthew 23:14, Christ tells the scribes and Pharisees that they shall receive the "greater damnation". It stands to reason if there is a "greater damnation" or greater punishment, then there must be a lesser punishment. However, there can be no greater or lesser punishment if all the bad boys and girls are tossed into the same lake of fire, where they would all suffer the same punishment. Of course it can be argued that God can make this lake of fire worse than that lake of fire, but there is no biblical support of varying lakes of fire, so it would be an empty argument.

Another instance of varying degrees of suffering is found in Matthew 11:22, where Christ says that it will be more tolerable for one type of sinner than for another. Clearly not all sinners will suffer the same punishment. Each person will receive a degree of punishment to match their degree of sin. This cannot be done if they are all tossed into the same eternal lake of fire from which they will never escape.

It is reasonable to believe that the lake of fire (and brimstone) is an allegory of the condition of suffering, or "hell" that sinners will be thrust into. A "hell" they will endure until they have paid the uttermost farthing. (Matthew 5:26)

Further evidence that "lake of fire" is allegorical can be seen in James 3:6, where the tongue is a fire. And yet, people do not commonly have fire on their tongue. "Lake of fire" is an allegory for the suffering of a life that defiles, just as "tongue is a fire" is an allegory for words that defile.

I have sufficiently shown that it is unreasonable to believe that God has created a lake of fire where sinners will burn eternally. Further logic shows that God would not create such a place. Again and again, the Bible tells of a "just God". Where is the justice of having people endure a lake of eternal fire forever for the sins of a short life time? Even David says that God will not leave his soul in hell. (Acts 2:27) He will suffer hell until he has paid the uttermost farthing, then he, like all other sinners, will receive a just judgment (Revelations 20:13-14), and will be placed in one of God's many mansions. (John 14:2)

There is, of course, the argument that the Bible clearly tells us that there will be no end to the sinner's suffering. In light of what I have presented, it should be clear that the sinners cannot end their suffering. For them, it seems to have no end. Only God can end their suffering, and even then, it will continue forever as regret, because they will receive a lesser eternal reward than the more righteous. Or, perhaps, no reward at all.

Finally, though this is admittedly superficial at best, it should be noted that "hell" is recognized as a pronoun in the Bible only once. Cities, like Jerusalem, are always capitalized, but not "hell". One might argue that "hell" should be capitalized, but erroneously was not in the King James Version, or that it need not be capitalized because it is not an established location. However, the "not an established location" excuse fails, because "Zion" and its transliterate "Sion" in the New Testament, is consistently capitalized despite not being an established location.

The word "hell" is found in the King James Version 54 times. 5 of those times it is capitalized. 4 times because it begins a sentence, and once because Hell is made an entity along with Death, riding on a pale horse. The other 49 times, it is written with the lower case "h". Why?

Could it be that the translators of the English Bible interpreted "hell" as not a place, but as a condition, and therefore made it a lower case noun, and not a capitalized pronoun? From what I have presented, I would have to say that it makes sense.

I believe by using only the Bible that I have shown sufficiently well that "hell" is a condition, and not a place.
Debate Round No. 2


Before I begin, I would like to thank my opponent for submitting his first argument.

I will attempt to address all of the arguments made by him.


Rebuttal: The Bible doesn't capitalize "Hell"; therefore, it's not a place

While this is admittedly a convincing argument, it still doesn't disprove the existence of Hell. The Bible specifically states that Hell is a "lake of fire and brimstone" (Rev. 21:8). When the Bible mentions "hell" in lowercase it is most likely, as my opponent states, a state of being. However, this doesn't prove that there is not a place called Hell where the unforgiven go.

Rebuttal: James 3:6 comparison

My opponent claims that because the tongue is compared to fire in James 3:6 that the "lake of fire" must be symbolic; however, this is simply not true. In other versions of the Bible, such as the New International Version (NIV) Revelation 21:8 is translated to include the "lake of burning sulphur". Now, where in the Bible does it symbolically compare something to burning sulphur?

Rebuttal: Varying degrees of suffering

I completely agree with my opponent on this one. This debate is not about whether or not certain people suffer more than others. As my opponent puts it, "there is no biblical support of varying lakes of fire". I completely agree with this, but there is a theory that can be applied to these circumstances. Perhaps God enables some to suffer more in the lake and others to suffer less.

Rebuttal: The "just God" argument

My opponent argues that a just and righteous God would not enable a person to suffer eternily. However, this is his opinion and only his. Many others believe it is fair for certain people to suffer eternily. Those who commit heinous acts such as murderers and rapists do deserve punishment. My opponent also argues that God will not leave a soul in hell. Acts 2:27 was taken out of context by my opponent.
Acts 2:27 refers to Jesus's forgiveness so we can have eternal life, not that He pardons all from punishment.


I would like to thank my opponent for the civility demonstrated thus far in this debate.

Mark 9:43-48 must be read allegorically, else we must believe that there will be many people in heaven who will be crippled for all eternity. In which case, it could hardly be called heaven. To cut off a hand or a foot, or to pluck out an eye actually means to separate oneself from that which might morally weaken them. Christ is not telling us to literally maim ourselves, because removing an appendage or eye would not solve the offensive problem, because the appendages and the eye are controlled by the conscience, heart, and mind. To effectively remove the offense from ourselves by removing body parts would require removing our brain or heart and taking our own lives.

In 2 Peter 2:14 we read: Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:

Here we see that it is not the "eyes" that are the problem, but the "heart" that is the problem. And what good would it do to just pluck out one eye, when it is both eyes that are full of the offense. Again, Christ is not telling us to literally pluck out our eye. This is further supported in Matthew 15:19 where we are told that evil thoughts come from the heart. So why were we not told to pluck out our heart instead of our eyes?

The obvious answer is that Christ has chosen a graphic allegory to warn us to separate ourselves from even that which we hold dear to avoid hell. A scripture that supports that fact is Matthew 10:37, where we are told to be more dedicated to Christ than our own family.

Now that I have shown that the passages should be read allegorically, it logically follows that "hell" in these passages is also allegorical for suffering, and not a real place.

The original Greek word for "hell" in these passages is Gehenna, which is the Valley of Hinnom, located outside Jerusalem, where fires were kept burning perpetually for trash and the carcasses of animals, and even criminals. Christ was using a dismal place familiar to the people to give them an idea of the agony they might suffer. He wasn't speaking of an actual "hell fire".

A passage that supports this logic can be found at the very end of the Book of Isaiah, where it speaks of the unquenchable fire, and the undying worm. Not in hell, but on the carcasses of the wicked, as they are seen here on Earth, not in hell.

Luke 16:23 explains itself: " hell ... being in torments..." The man is suffering the agony of hell, not in a place called hell. The man "lifted" his eyes, because even allegorically, no one looks "down" from hell. The man also sees Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. If we were to take the entire passage literally, then all souls that have been saved can expect to be in Abraham's bosom. That'll be a bit rough on poor Abraham.

Elaborating a bit further. "In hell" does not have to literally mean in an actual hell anymore than being "down in the dumps" would literally mean being in a dump somewhere. "In hell" simply means "in agony."

As for the video. At first I wasn't going to watch it, but I did anyway. The link only took me to the first part, so I found the entire video here:

I found the man's story to be completely fictitious for the following reasons:

1:45 into the video, the man speaks of a "black, dark void". Then 2:19 into the video, he's suddenly transported to "this light". At no point does he does he tell us when he noticed the light, it just suddenly finds place in his narrative, where it becomes a light in the darkness. Of course, such details can be overlooked in the retelling, but I have a hard time believing that would be the case here, considering how detailed the rest of his narrative is for such an alleged traumatic event.

13:46 into the video, he mentions little reptilian demons who delight in torturing a man. No such entity is described anywhere in the Bible, but can instead be found in many horror stories. The other problem with the little demons is that they delight in doing what Christ often describes as evil. So, in a sense, what is hell for everyone else, is heaven for them. This means that God is rewarding evil doers, which would mean that He is not the same yesterday, today, and forever, which in turn means he is not God, which in turn means there is no heaven or hell. The man's little demons contradict religious belief.

14:13 into the video, the man mentions a temple prostitute who died in 69 A.D. How does he know that? Well, 15:05 into the video, he states that he "just knows", despite having to be told everything telepathically earlier.

17:11 into the video, the man sees who he knows for a fact is Hitler. He describes a man whose flesh is constantly rotting and burning. So, how was he able to recognize a face that is always marred by burning, rotting flesh? Oh, that's right, he just knows.

At the end of the video, the man is shown a cube, because cubes are the prison everyone in hell is kept in, save for a few tortured souls he saw on his tour of hell. Yes, a reptilian demon, larger than the others that were described, takes him on a pleasant tour of hell. I say pleasant, because despite standing near a man being ripped to pieces by little demons, he is left completely unharmed. Yeah, right.

Even if any of this man's story made sense, or failed to be contradictory to religious belief, it is entirely based on hearsay. As my opponent so correctly wrote, the man "claims" to have gone to hell and back. Sorry, but there's only one Audie Murphy.
Debate Round No. 3


NewLifeChristian forfeited this round.


For whatever reason, my opponent has forfeited the final round. I shall nevertheless fulfill the debate's requirements set by my opponent, and complete the final round.

I shall first endeavor to show I provided a better argument by defending it against my opponents rebuttal.

My opponent stated that my comparing the allegory of a "tongue of fire" to "lake of fire" to show that it is also allegory was trumped by the fact that Revelations mentions a lake of fire and brimstone (sulfur), for which there is no allegorical or symbolic comparison. I would like to show my opponent and the readers that such a comparison in fact exists in Isaiah 30:33, which reads in part, ...the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. I believe we can safely say that hell is not in the Lord's mouth, so that should answer the question: "Now, where in the Bible does it symbolically compare something to burning sulfur?"

I stated the lack of scriptural evidence and logic in "varying lakes of fire". My opponent agreed with the premise, but disagreed with the logic, stating: "but there is a theory that can be applied to these circumstances." But my opponent did not offer any kind of theory. Instead, he offered a personal guess with nothing to support it biblically. My opponent was unable to defeat the logic.

My opponent states that it is purely my opinion that God would not allow someone to burn and be eaten by worms for all eternity. First, I believe I have sufficiently shown that such a place does not exist. Second, Revelations 20:13 provides proof that it is not my opinion, but fact. All will be judged after they suffer hell, and then "assigned" to his or her appropriate place, where they will suffer only regret for not having attained a better place.

My opponent accused me of taking a passage out of context, but then failed to place that passage in context, instead providing only his own personal interpretation of said passage. On the other hand, my opponent used a number of passages out of context, and I provided additional passages to place many of them in context.

Aside from defending my argument against rebuttal, it would be vain to boast a better argument when that is ultimately for the readers and any potential voters to decide. Suffice it to say, I believe I have presented a logical, well supported argument against a "lake of fire", where dead sinners will suffer for ever and ever, being an actual place of existence.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
>Reported vote: NothingSpecial99// Mod action: Removed<

1 points to Pro. Reasons for voting decision: Con forfeited a round

[*Reason for removal*] This appears to be a case of mistaken identity " it was Pro that forfeited a round.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 9 months ago
@ whiteflame

I agree.
Posted by whiteflame 9 months ago
Type your comments here...*******************************************************************
>Reported vote: Cooldudebro// Mod action: Removed<

7 points to Con. Reasons for voting decision: F/F

[*Reason for removal*] While the forfeit may be sufficient reason to award conduct, it is insufficient in and of itself for awarding any of the other 6 points.
Posted by NewLifeChristian 9 months ago
I apologize to everyone for forfeiting my concluding argument. Unfortunately I had fallen ill and was unable to complete the debate. Again, I apologize for forfeiting the final round. Please vote Con. Thank you and have a nice day.
Posted by NewLifeChristian 9 months ago
@matt8800 Here are 10 reasons why the Bible is true: Hopefully this will answer your question. Regardless, this is a debate about interpreting the Bible. Whether the Bible be true or not (it is true, though) is irrelevant.
Posted by matt8800 9 months ago
On what grounds does the Bible have any established credibility? Are we to believe all books are true simply because they state they are true?
Posted by missmedic 10 months ago
by definition "a real place" exists in reality.
by definition "a spiritual realm" would exists in the supernatural realm and or your imagination.
We all share reality but we do not share your imagination.
Posted by Kyle_the_Heretic 10 months ago
No apology necessary. I will do my best to conduct myself courteously.
Posted by NewLifeChristian 10 months ago
Please do argue respectfully. I realize that both of us were not as kind in the comment section. I do apologize for my conduct.
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