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Thread: Why do people believe in hell?

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    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Bluster is no substitute for a simple supporting citation.
    No matter how many citations are presented to you, you kid itself that there is wiggle room to deny them all. There is no point in presenting numerous citations from what seem to be the original and very early christian texts to you, because you insist on dodging the obvious, if to you unpalatable, facts, over and over and over again.

    I don't know how you even do it. It's actually a bit scary, in a way, that you even can. It's at least deeply irrational.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-14-2020 at 12:28 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  2. Top | #72
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Verse itself describes the nature of judgment and punishment in relation to God. Some argue for a non literal interpretation, allegory, metaphor....but allegory for what? How do you interpret verses that describe Judgment and damnation in a positive light?
    Exactly. So if we ever, as often happens, move on to the suggestion that this or that text (and there are lots of them) is or might be allegorical, it makes no substantive difference anyway.



    One valid way out would be to say that early christian writers may have misinterpreted what Jesus said or meant. That is valid, tenable and reasonable. Denying what those early writers themselves said and clearly meant is none of those. It's just silly, not least because of what was written down so many times by so many different early christian writers.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-14-2020 at 01:09 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  3. Top | #73
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    So, can we get back to talking about hell and stop the silly insults? Please.

    I was doing a little of my own exploration regarding how hell became part of the Christian ideology. While I am an atheist, it always bothered me that my mother was burdened with the belief that people like me were going to hell. And, apparently the author of the article is correct. Hell was added later to the Christian belief, and perhaps Poli will correct me if what I read was wrong, but some articles said it was a pagan concept, originally used, to "keep the rabble in line."

    I encourage the Christians here who take hell as a literal place where nonbelievers will spend eternity while feeling like they are on fire, to open their minds a little and do some DD on their own. Go visit a variety of sites, not the ones that support what you currently believe, and see what you can find.
    If we have already done that, been doing it for decades is it alright if we are singularly unimpressed and much prefer the Bible?
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    http://www.hellhadesafterlife.com/he...ristian-church


    Because adherents of eternal torment have a difficult time finding legitimate biblical support for their position they naturally resort to extra-biblical arguments based on religious tradition and Judeo-Christian history. This chapter is devoted to exploring Judeo-Christian history as it relates to the topic of human damnation to see if there is any validity to these contentions. Let’s start with…
    At the end of the previous chapter we discovered that the popular saying “you will spend eternity in either heaven or hell” does not match the biblical descriptions of eternal life and damnation. How did Christendom lose the exciting biblical picture of a tangible new earth and new universe and replace it with the unscriptural picture of an ethereal spirit realm where we’ll float around on clouds playing harps forever? How did the church come to officially adopt the unbiblical doctrines of the immortal soul (apart from Christ) and eternal torment? These unfortunate errors can be traced to one of the most influential theologians in Christian history: Augustine of Hippo, who lived from 354-430 AD. Augustine is hailed by many Christians today as “the father of orthodoxy.”
    I didn't read the entire chapter, but I will try later if I have the time. Apparently, there are many sources that give evidence to the claim that eternal hell was never an original part of Christianity. I said earlier that everyone cherry picks and what I meant was, even if one takes a certain Biblical translation literally, they've already cherry picked which translation to support. Plus, these days, it seems to me that White evangelical Christians are obsessed with the nastier parts of their Bible instead of the more humanistic ones. I wonder why?
    Don't go putting all 'white evangelical Christians'in the same pot as those of your acquaintance. We are a broad church.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    While Politesse was right when he said I over simplified how the KJV came about, I stand by my simple explanation, even though it doesn't include all of the details. Basically, a bunch of men got together and decided which books and scripts should be included in the KJV. Of course, it's more complicated than that, buy you get the idea.

    The translation wasn't even done until 1611, but one of the Christian posters here said that he preferred the older translations. The older Biblical translations or scriptures were around in the 2nd and 3rd Century, so why would anyone consider a translation that was manufactured in 1611, an early translation? That's closer to modern times than it is to the 1st Century AC. Even if I was still a Christian, I'd be highly skeptical of a translation that was put together over 1600 years following what Christians refer to as the nativity. Please give that some thought.
    Since my Latin is scratchy, my Greek exceptionally poor and my Aramaic non-existent I do find the scriptures much easier to read in English.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    So, if any Christians or former Christians would like o reply, please tell me why do you put so much faith in the KJV? I was simply told as a young child that it was the most accurate translation. I was a child who rarely questioned what adults told me, but I would hope that thinking adults would be more skeptical than that.
    One of the reasons I 'prefer' the KJV (actually the 1877 version is a favourite of mine) is that it is not 'infected' with isms i.e. humanism, feminism, modernism etc. The translators show transalted the scriptures into English. We can always quibble about the quality and new archaeological discoveries need to be considered.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I'm not in the least concerned about spending eternity in hell as I have no beliefs in an afterlife, and if I did, I could only belief in a god who was less cruel than the one that many Christians support. There certainly are other options.
    Your confidence is obvious.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Y'all might think it's crazy for me to say this, but I feel bad for good Christians who are burdened with the belief that some of their friends or family will be sent to an eternal place of torture. Keep your Christian beliefs if they satisfy you and help you be a better person, but consider that some of the things that you've been taught had nothing to do with the original teachings of the Jesus that you claim to love.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

  4. Top | #74
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I'm not the one shilling for literalism here. But I wish those who did were more conscious of how much of themselves they read into the text. You're going to have to do better than "it's obvious" in cases where true consensus does not in fact exist.
    No, I don't have to do better than obvious, because it's obvious, and you are just being a silly twit.

    I am trying to feel the atheist/agnostic love but you are making it very hard.
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  5. Top | #75
    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    I know many Christians who don't believe in a literal hell, or they don't think that hell is for unbelievers. It's for people like Hitler and Trump. So, obviously, not all Christians are capable of holding onto such dreadful beliefs. The replies so far have been interesting, but the conservative Christians who have responded, seem to be saying, "it's in the Bible so it has to be true". I do appreciate their willingness to reply, but I really was hoping for something a little more than that.
    What more do you want from conservative Christians who have responded?

    PS Could you point out Trump's death camps and gas chambers for me? - Godwin's Law has appeared already.
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  6. Top | #76
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    I am trying to feel the atheist/agnostic love but you are making it very hard.
    Like Jesus, I am (or in his case was) only human, and as such, I am prone to getting frustrated by silliness.

    In my defence, at least I am not going to condemn poli to eternal suffering just for making an honest mistake. That's not how I roll. Imo, your god, if he exists, could learn a lot from people like me. Just sayin'.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 01-14-2020 at 03:19 PM.
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  7. Top | #77
    Veteran Member funinspace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    I am trying to feel the atheist/agnostic love but you are making it very hard.
    Like Jesus, I am (or in his case was) only human, and as such, I am prone to getting frustrated by silliness.

    In my defence, at least I am not going to condemn poli to eternal suffering just for making an honest mistake. That's not how I roll. Imo, your god, if he exists, could learn a lot from people like me. Just sayin'.
    I generally found this thread interesting, but not feeling the need to add anything; but for your (lack of) contributions to the exchange...being rather churlish.

  8. Top | #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    I know many Christians who don't believe in a literal hell, or they don't think that hell is for unbelievers. It's for people like Hitler and Trump. So, obviously, not all Christians are capable of holding onto such dreadful beliefs. The replies so far have been interesting, but the conservative Christians who have responded, seem to be saying, "it's in the Bible so it has to be true". I do appreciate their willingness to reply, but I really was hoping for something a little more than that.
    What more do you want from conservative Christians who have responded?

    PS Could you point out Trump's death camps and gas chambers for me? - Godwin's Law has appeared already.
    I was thinking more of his putting children in cages, constantly lying, hiring undocumented immigrants and then paying them less than the minimum wage, cheating on his wives, sexually assaulting quite a large number of women, referring to people in the other party as supporters of terrorism, ( that's a new one ), refusing to pay some of his employees, etc. If you grew up in the NY metro area, like I did, you would be very familiar with his long history of evil doings. . I forgot to mention his racism. Anyway, we can talk about those things in the political forum. One thing is certain, he's done a great job of manipulating white evangelicals, who seem to believe he's the new savior. He's more like the anti-Christ if the truth be known. Ok. I'll stop. This discussion belongs in the political forum. Sorry.

    Of course not all white evangelicals aren't alike. My mother despised people like Trump and she always preferred the Christian values of helping the poor,
    welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry etc. I know, as a white evangelical, it was very hard for her to come to terms with the concept of hell, as well as the behavior of many of her church peers.

    Thanks for your reply. I get it. For whatever reason, you've decided that you like the KJV Bible, even if it doesn't reflect the early Christian teachings, which to be honest, we don't know as much about as we seem to think. That goes for both atheists and Christians.

  9. Top | #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    I object to all these personal insults and jibes, Ruby. If you have a substantive point to make, make it.
    Christianity, at a very early stage, demonstrably came up with the idea, as repeatedly evidenced in numerous early christian texts where the idea is presented, that unbelievers would face a punishment of eternal suffering after they die, and it was clearly god that the early christian writers saw as ultimately sanctioning this and enacting it, directly or indirectly.

    You are living in denial in cloud cuckoo land if you have managed to convince yourself otherwise and it is truly embarrassing, astounding and indeed disconcerting to watch you try to obfuscate rather than just admit what is obviously a fact.
    The issue is a lot more complicated than that, and I find it very strange the way certain kinds of atheists close ranks with uneducated American conservative Protestants on questions of "orthodoxy". This website is supposedly based on the principle of free thought. Insisting (in effect) on the rightness of your parents' or grandparent's views even in the face of tangible evidence is an antithetical habit. Ditto trading childish insults instead of just presenting evidence to support your views. Bluster is no substitute for a simple supporting citation.
    It's not closing ranks with them, it's accepting that their beliefs are WAY more representative of Christian thought on the subject than yours are. Hell is clearly a major aspect of the Christian faith and your outlier position on it does not speak for the Christian point of view on the matter. It's like someone saying that Superman can't fly by pointing to early issues of the Superman comic where he was limited to leaping over tall buildings while ignoring the many decades of comics and movies where he had that power.

    There's not much value in debating a "Christian" POV on a matter if that POV doesn't particularly speak to Christian points of view.

  10. Top | #80
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Sawyer View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    The issue is a lot more complicated than that, and I find it very strange the way certain kinds of atheists close ranks with uneducated American conservative Protestants on questions of "orthodoxy". This website is supposedly based on the principle of free thought. Insisting (in effect) on the rightness of your parents' or grandparent's views even in the face of tangible evidence is an antithetical habit. Ditto trading childish insults instead of just presenting evidence to support your views. Bluster is no substitute for a simple supporting citation.
    It's not closing ranks with them, it's accepting that their beliefs are WAY more representative of Christian thought on the subject than yours are. Hell is clearly a major aspect of the Christian faith and your outlier position on it does not speak for the Christian point of view on the matter. It's like someone saying that Superman can't fly by pointing to early issues of the Superman comic where he was limited to leaping over tall buildings while ignoring the many decades of comics and movies where he had that power.

    There's not much value in debating a "Christian" POV on a matter if that POV doesn't particularly speak to Christian points of view.
    No one in the discussion has in any sense claimed that belief in Hell does not exist. The question Sohy posed had to do with when and why it originated. A question, IMO, better answered by evidence than with tired repitition of doctrine. If you read through the past trying to find or justify your own present-day way of thinking about things, you can often do so. But it's putting cart before the horse, and it's a poor excuse for historical study.

    And on a personal note, I certainly do not accept that fundamentalists have some inherent right to speak for the whole faith. Just because you're loud and violent doesn't mean you get to be the ambassador for your class.

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