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I Question Hell's Existence

ChristianPunk
Posts: 1,710
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10/28/2014 10:04:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
I have taken up a universalist philosophy over the questions of what has really been determined of the afterlife we call Hell and the idea of a loving and just God. Two videos caught my attention on this subject while I was on my quest. My first was a video by a non denominational group called "World's Last Chance." They basically believe Hell isn't eternal or real, but believe heavily that an Armageddon will come. Then Rob Bell, the controversial pastor who wrote the book "Love Wins." Before this, I was still a universalist because o what I got from the bible, but I want to know what some of you think about this idea and these videos. Does any of these two videos have an insight about the God of the Judeo-Christian world to be one of forgiveness or hypocrisy?
Beastt
Posts: 5,135
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10/28/2014 10:31:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It's not uncommon or inappropriate to stick a toe outside of the box before venturing out into the light.
"If we believe absurdities we shall commit atrocities." -- Voltaire
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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10/28/2014 10:36:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
And I definitely would agree that Eternal Punishment makes no sense whatsoever with MY notions of what a Good God (aka Benevolent god) would do.

The idea is absurd.
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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10/29/2014 9:55:28 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/28/2014 10:33:19 PM, mortsdor wrote:
from what I know popculturepooka also denies the existence of hell

No, I don't. I just don't think it's eternal.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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10/29/2014 11:15:58 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 9:55:28 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 10/28/2014 10:33:19 PM, mortsdor wrote:
from what I know popculturepooka also denies the existence of hell

No, I don't. I just don't think it's eternal.

Ah, it's a furnace, complete and utter annihilation correct?
Not that after some period of suffering they get subsumed back into god's graces right.. ?

Is there any time spent, or experience of, suffering in Hell?
b/c if so, there's still the issue that a delay of annihilation for such purposes can hardly be anything but gratuitous evil and a marker of a petty, sadistic, god.
mortsdor
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10/29/2014 11:25:29 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
and if annihilation takes no time, it's kind of odd that there would need to be a location, of any sort, to carry this out... one would think it could just occur immediately through god's will, and not require a named place in which it occurs.

Places are where people spend time... so the idea of a location would be necessary (or at least helpful in a descriptive fashion) for the idea that people would suffer over time.

But if sinners just face immediate and complete annihilation, it's tough to understand why God would make a place for that to occur.
popculturepooka
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10/29/2014 11:31:19 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 11:15:58 AM, mortsdor wrote:
At 10/29/2014 9:55:28 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 10/28/2014 10:33:19 PM, mortsdor wrote:
from what I know popculturepooka also denies the existence of hell

No, I don't. I just don't think it's eternal.

Ah, it's a furnace, complete and utter annihilation correct?
Not that after some period of suffering they get subsumed back into god's graces right.. ?

Is there any time spent, or experience of, suffering in Hell?
b/c if so, there's still the issue that a delay of annihilation for such purposes can hardly be anything but gratuitous evil and a marker of a petty, sadistic, god.

I'm a universalist who believes in hell.

So somewhat like your second option though not that simple.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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10/29/2014 11:43:44 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 11:35:51 AM, XLAV wrote:
Seems like Hitler and Stalin are going to heaven.

yes and no.

"Our God is a consuming fire." - Hebrews 12:29

I hold to a hopeful conviction that ultimately everyone will be united with God through the grace of Christ. As I visit with people about this conviction (known as "Christian universalism"), inevitably folks will respond by saying, "Oh, so you think everyone goes to heaven." In some sense, yes, I do believe that "everyone goes to heaven," but I am not entirely happy with describing my belief in universal salvation in that way. Because of the popular idea of heaven that many entertain, it can be very misleading for me to say it like that.

I don't think going to heaven means that we are transported to an ethereal Disneyland beyond the clouds. Heaven, in the Christian theological tradition, is held primarily to be a state of perfect intimacy and full union with God, and I believe that can be experienced here and now, and in the world to come. I don't pretend to understand the metaphysics of an afterlife existence, but I believe that when we die we live on in the realm of God's immediate presence, and that the words "heaven" and "hell" denote two opposite ways of experiencing the presence of God's holy love.

If our lives and hearts are full of love for God and neighbor, the fires of God's holy love will be experienced as warmth and light.

If our lives and hearts are full of apathy and hatred towards others, then I believe the flames of God's holy love will be experienced for a time as painful and, in some ways, a source of great torture.

I also don't pretend to know exactly what God's judgment will be like. To some degree, we must all use our biblically-shaped imaginations in a speculative way when thinking about this difficult topic. Bishop Will Willimon describes the wrath of God as the ultimate encounter with the painful truth about ourselves. He writes, "Perhaps the wrath, the just judgment of God upon us is a kind of slaying, a kind of baptismal death to our illusions and lies, that pain that happens when we are given time to stare into the mirror of truth, the pain that is harsh but is also due to love?"[1]

This makes a lot of sense to me. God's judgment is when all the lights are turned on and we must come to terms with the truth. It is the horrible experience of fully realizing the pain we have caused others and that we have caused God through our self-centered ways of living. It is a pain that can be experienced now or then, and it is a pain that can cut deeper than any other pain.

It is also the kind of pain that leads to repentance and reconciliation. This is why Origen, an early Christian universalist, said that even if we could escape God's judgment, we shouldn't want to. God's judgment is like the tough diagnosis that is needed for the right kind of healing to take place. It might hurt like hell, but its purpose is to heal and make things right.

With this is mind, let's consider one of the most frequent objections to my position, which goes along lines like this: "You don't really think that Mother Teresa and Hitler are going to end up in the same place, do you?"

My response is a clear "no" and "yes."

If by "Hitler" you mean a moral monster filled with prejudice and hatred, then no, that Hitler will not be in heaven. You cannot be perfectly united with God and enjoy the intimacy of his self-giving and other-centered love and be filled with anti-God ways of being. Heaven would be hell to someone whose heart is set against God.

But consider this thought experiment about what divine judgment might look like for Hitler. What if God were to punish Hitler in the world to come by transforming and softening Hitler's heart to make him capable of truly feeling all the pain of his victims? Nothing could be more painful, and yet, at the same time, nothing could be more hopeful. This would be torturous to experience, yet it would also set him on the road to repentance.

Ultimate justice would be for God to bring Hitler to repentance by burning away all his self-protective delusions, giving him a long look into the mirror of truth, and enabling him to experience the pain of his crimes. But God's justice that can make all things right would not stop there. God could also enable Hitler to participate with God in bringing healing and wholeness to his victims in the world to come, and God could enable his victims to extend God's forgiveness to Hitler.

The scenario I have constructed for what divine judgment for Hitler might be like is speculation, to be sure, as all such reflection on this topic ultimately is. However, so much speculation about hell has been rooted in the myth that mere retribution achieves genuine justice, as if an eternity of pain for Hilter would somehow balance the scales of justice and make things up to his victims. But when it comes to real justice, scales do not need to be balanced; heart needs to be healed and lives need to restored. So, while this is speculation, at least this is speculation rooted in Jesus' clear rejection of mere retribution (Matt. 5:43-48), and in God's clearly revealed purpose, achieved in Christ, to reconcile to himself all things. (Col. 1:20)."

http://thesundaydrivehome.blogspot.com...
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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10/29/2014 11:51:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 11:31:19 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
I'm a universalist who believes in hell.

Satan becomes reconciled as well?

- - -

And of course what kind of atheist would I be if I didn't provide you with my perspective on this scenario:

So basically, I guess, Hell is the place where God stomps the individuality out of everyone who didn't give up the pursuit of their own natural, spontaneous, will in life??

Even eventually stomping the resistance out of the, clear seeing, Angel of Light himself.

Eventually forcing these beaten and defeated souls to submit to his own will, because they're too tired to hold to their own any longer.
popculturepooka
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10/29/2014 11:52:21 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Anyhow, I think the view of hell as eternal, conscious (either of the "self-imposed free will" or "God-imposed" kind) is utterly indefensible.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,926
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10/29/2014 12:02:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 11:51:11 AM, mortsdor wrote:
At 10/29/2014 11:31:19 AM, popculturepooka wrote:
I'm a universalist who believes in hell.

Satan becomes reconciled as well?


Sure.

- - -

And of course what kind of atheist would I be if I didn't provide you with my perspective on this scenario:

So basically, I guess, Hell is the place where God stomps the individuality out of everyone who didn't give up the pursuit of their own natural, spontaneous, will in life??


No. Some lifestyles are simply bad ideas. Letting someone feel the consequences and see that that lifestyle is a bad idea and that other lifestyles are good ideas isn't stomping out their individuality.

Getting your friend to join a gambling help program after they've lost everything due to gambling (their wife, house, car, friendships, etc) isn't the same as "stomping out ther individuality".

Stopping a friend from jumping off a cliff when they aren't in their right state of mind isn't stomping out their individuality.

Stopping a child from running across a busy intersection isn't stomping out their individuality.

Even eventually stomping the resistance out of the, clear seeing, Angel of Light himself.

Eventually forcing these beaten and defeated souls to submit to his own will, because they're too tired to hold to their own any longer.

There need not be any force involved whatsoever.
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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10/29/2014 12:07:40 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Ah, I see you're saying he just beats them down with the Truth...

However, that presumes in a sense, that we ALL would have the same will as God if we saw clearly....

which I don't think accurately describes people... or Reason and Truth either.

Seeing Clearly doesn't provide any reason to act, though how you see things can determine the best way of acting.

Intelligent insectoid aliens, devoid of empathy, would have no reason to worry about causing suffering to people, unless they would think it could cause harm to other things they care about.

Similarly people who are without empathy also have little reason to worry about causing suffering to others.

Though I think empathy is a very common and important emotion in most people's lives, I don't see any reason to think all people are necessarily so empathetic, or that what empathy they have always trumps other (more selfish) things that they care for.

I think it quite possible that people's empathetic reactions vary (look to brain damaged people's personalities changing in this regard) and that with differing levels of empathy come different preferred actions, even Given a similar understanding of the nature of the world.

So, even if God shows everyone the Truth... what they would wish to have happen, What they would Will would be dependent upon what they happen to care about.
mortsdor
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10/29/2014 12:09:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 12:07:40 PM, mortsdor wrote:
Seeing Clearly doesn't provide any reason to act, though how you see things can determine the best way of acting *given your particular cares.

*correction
mortsdor
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10/29/2014 1:28:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 10/29/2014 12:07:40 PM, mortsdor wrote:
I think it quite possible that people's empathetic reactions vary (look to brain damaged people's personalities changing in this regard)

For example the site here: http://brainblogger.com...

discusses a study which shows both that apparent empathetic reactions vary in populations of people, And that frontal-lobe brain damage often has significant effects on the level of empathy of those who've been injured

The brain damage trends demonstrate that the amount in which someone cares about what other people feel is dependent, at least in part, upon the physical state of their brain.

Although people probably, in large part, have similar natural capacities in this regard, I would think it possible/probable that there would be some natural variance in people's brains (either inherited, or as a result of how that brain developed in life) that would be relevant to the Extent in which they're empathetic.

I think it's sensible to assume that such (inherited or developed) Physical brain differences, at least in part, explain the fact that studies find that un-damaged people have different degrees of empathetic reactions.

and that with differing levels of empathy come different preferred actions, even Given a similar understanding of the nature of the world.

If someone just doesn't care about the feelings of others, their preferred course of action may be different than what someone who does care would will.

Similarly, if people are empathetic to different extents than their wills may differ accordingly, even given the same understanding of the situation.

Thus, I can't see how God showing people how things ARE can unify their wills with his own... since their wills are not just dependent upon their understanding of the nature of things, but are also just as much a function of what they naturally/spontaneously care about.

(natural/spontaneous cares which clearly differ to such a relevant extent in many brain damaged people, and likely naturally varying amongst 'healthy' people too)
mortsdor
Posts: 1,181
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10/29/2014 2:11:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Further, Presuming that a person's will is singularly a function of how one understands the nature/truth of reality (which I've clearly objected to calling it equally a function of natural/spontaneous cares)

The idea that God exposes people to this Truth of reality only After their life of struggle and error, Only exposing to them to this truth when learning of it would constitute horrible psychological torture worthy of the name Hell, One wonders why god wouldn't have shown this truth to the souls in the first place.. Avoiding all the unnecessary struggle in Life, and the unnecessary pain/torture of Hell, which you say is the process of Learning the truth, and reflecting on your errors in life.

If the answer for why god doesn't show this truth to people from the beginning is so as to provide people with free will (which kind of makes sense given that, as you seem to say: will is a singular function of understanding) then the function of Hell is unequivocally one of Stamping out free will.

However, even that hardly makes sense, since if Will is a function of understanding will's not really free in the first place...
HmblySkTrth
Posts: 26
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10/29/2014 4:16:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Back when I was a Christian Bible scholar, I did rigorous study on this subject and came to the conclusion that nonbelievers would suffer temporarily, then cease to exist. I even wrote a book on the subject:

www.wordonly.net

As expected, many gave me compliments and many others condemned me to hell for heresy.

After further study, I left Christianity. Long story!