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Thread: Why do people believe in hell?

  1. Top | #301
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    There is probably some degree of satisfaction to had from believing in hell, which is only for others, those deemed worthy of endless torment, never oneself or one's own.....which would be horrifying.

  2. Top | #302
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    Biblical themes as allegory and metaphor for human existence, what a strage idea...allgory being extended metaphor.

    allegory

    NOUN
    a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inferno_(Dante)

    inferno (pronounced [iɱˈfɛrno]; Italian for "Hell") is the first part of Italian writer Dante Alighieri's 14th-century epic poem Divine Comedy. It is followed by Purgatorio and Paradiso. The Inferno tells the journey of Dante through Hell, guided by the ancient Roman poet Virgil. In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the "realm ... of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen".[1] As an allegory, the Divine Comedy represents the journey of the soul toward God, with the Inferno describing the recognition and rejection of sin.[2]

    Nine circles of Hell[edit]
    Overview[edit]
    Canto IV
    Virgil proceeds to guide Dante through the nine circles of Hell. The circles are concentric, representing a gradual increase in wickedness, and culminating at the centre of the earth, where Satan is held in bondage. The sinners of each circle are punished for eternity in a fashion fitting their crimes: each punishment is a contrapasso, a symbolic instance of poetic justice. For example, later in the poem, Dante and Virgil encounter fortune-tellers who must walk forward with their heads on backward, unable to see what is ahead, because they tried to see the future through forbidden means. Such a contrapasso "functions not merely as a form of divine revenge, but rather as the fulfilment of a destiny freely chosen by each soul during his or her life".[21] People who sinned, but prayed for forgiveness before their deaths are found not in Hell but in Purgatory, where they labour to become free of their sins. Those in Hell are people who tried to justify their sins and are unrepentant.
    Dante's Hell is structurally based on the ideas of Aristotle, but with "certain Christian symbolisms, exceptions, and misconstructions of Aristotle's text".[22] Dante's three major categories of sin, as symbolized by the three beasts that Dante encounters in Canto I, are Incontinence, Violence and Bestiality, and Fraud and Malice[clarification needed].[22][23] Sinners punished for incontinence (also known as wantonness)  –  the lustful, the gluttonous, the hoarders and wasters, and the wrathful and sullen  –  all demonstrated weakness in controlling their appetites, desires, and natural urges; according to Aristotle's Ethics, incontinence is less condemnable than malice or bestiality, and therefore these sinners are located in four circles of Upper Hell (Circles 2–5). These sinners endure lesser torments than do those consigned to Lower Hell, located within the walls of the City of Dis, for committing acts of violence and fraud  –  the latter of which involves, as Dorothy L. Sayers writes, "abuse of the specifically human faculty of reason".[23] The deeper levels are organized into one circle for violence (Circle 7) and two circles for fraud (Circles 8 and 9). As a Christian, Dante adds Circle 1 (Limbo) to Upper Hell and Circle 6 (Heresy) to Lower Hell, making 9 Circles in total; incorporating the Vestibule of the Futile, this leads to Hell containing 10 main divisions.[23] This "9+1=10" structure is also found within the Purgatorio and Paradiso. Lower Hell is further subdivided: Circle 7 (Violence) is divided into three rings, Circle 8 (Fraud) is divided into ten bolge, and Circle 9 (Treachery) is divided into four regions. Thus, Hell contains, in total, 24 divisions.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allego...he_Middle_Ages


    Allegory in the Middle Ages was a vital element in the synthesis of biblical and classical traditions into what would become recognizable as medieval culture. People of the Middle Ages consciously drew from the cultural legacies of the ancient world in shaping their institutions and ideas, and so allegory in medieval literature and medieval art was a prime mover for the synthesis and transformational continuity between the ancient world and the "new" Christian world.[1]
    People of the Middle Ages did not see the same break between themselves and their classical predecessors that modern observers see; rather, they saw continuity with themselves and the ancient world, using allegory as a synthesizing agent that brings together a whole image.[1]

    Four types of interpretation or allēgoria[edit]
    For most medieval thinkers there were four categories of interpretation (or meaning) used in the Middle Ages, which had originated with the Bible commentators of the early Christian era.[2]
    The first is simply the literal interpretation of the events of the story for historical purposes with no underlying meaning.
    The second is called typological: it connects the events of the Old Testament with the New Testament; in particular drawing allegorical connections between the events of Christ's life with the stories of the Old Testament.
    The third is moral (or tropological), which is how one should act in the present, the "moral of the story".
    The fourth type of interpretation is anagogical, dealing with the future events of Christian history, heaven, hell, the last judgment; it deals with prophecies.
    Thus the four types of interpretation (or meaning) deal with past events (literal), the connection of past events with the present (typology), present events (moral), and the future (anagogical).[2]
    Dante describes interpreting through a "four-fold method" (or "allegory of the theologians") in his epistle to Can Grande della Scala. He says the "senses" of his work are not simple, but:

    Rather, it may be called "polysemous", that is, of many senses. A first sense derives from the letters themselves, and a second from the things signified by the letters. We call the first sense "literal" sense, the second the "allegorical", or "moral" or "anagogical". To clarify this method of treatment, consider this verse: When Israel went out of Egypt, the house of Jacob from a barbarous people: Judea was made his sanctuary, Israel his dominion (Psalm 113). Now if we examine the letters alone, the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt in the time of Moses is signified; in the allegory, our redemption accomplished through Christ; in the moral sense, the conversion of the soul from the grief and misery of sin to the state of grace; in the anagogical sense, the exodus of the holy soul from slavery of this corruption to the freedom of eternal glory.. they can all be called allegorical.

    Old and New Testaments[edit]
    Medieval allegory began as a Christian method for synthesizing the discrepancies between the Old Testament and the New Testament.[1] While both testaments were studied and seen as equally divinely inspired by God, the Old Testament contained discontinuities for Christians—for example the Jewish kosher laws.[1] The Old Testament was therefore seen in relation to how it would predict the events of the New Testament, in particular how the events of the Old Testament related to the events of Christ's life. The events of the Old Testament were seen as part of the story, with the events of Christ's life bringing these stories to a full conclusion. The technical name for seeing the New Testament in the Old is called typology.


    Christ rises from the tomb, alongside Jonah spit onto the beach, a typological allegory.
    One example of typology is the story of Jonah and the whale from the Old Testament.[1] Medieval allegorical interpretation of this story is that it prefigures Christ's burial, with the stomach of the whale as Christ's tomb. Jonah was eventually freed from the whale after three days, so did Christ rise from his tomb after three days. Thus, whenever one finds an allusion to Jonah in Medieval art or literature, it is usually an allegory for the burial and resurrection of Christ.
    Another common typological allegory is with the four major Old testament prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. These four prophets prefigure the four Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There was no end to the number of analogies that commentators could find between stories of the Old Testament and the New.
    There also existed a tradition in the Middle Ages of mythography—the allegorical interpretation of pagan myths.[2] Virgil's Aeneid and Ovid's Metamorphoses were standard textbooks throughout the Middle Ages, and each had a long tradition of allegorical interpretation.
    "An illustrative example can be found in Siena in a painting of Christ on the cross (Sano di Pietro's Crucifix, 15th c). At the top of the cross can be seen a bird pecking its own breast, blood pouring forth from the wound and feeding its waiting chicks below. This is the pelican whose "story" was told by the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder. Thus by analogy to a "pagan" source, Christ feeds his own children with his own blood."
    Mediaeval philosophers also saw allegory in the natural world, interpreting animals, plants, and even non-living things in books called bestiaries as symbols of Biblical figures and morals.[2] For example, one bestiary compares stags with people devoted to the Church, because (according to medieval zoology) they leave their pastures for other (heavenly) pastures, and when they come to broad rivers (sin) they form in line and each rests its head on the haunches of the next (supporting each other by example and good works), speeding across the waters together.[3]

  3. Top | #303
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Hell, particularly hell as eternal punishment, is only a feature of some religions. So I guess we could ask, why did it become the usual idea in a particular one, and not all of them?

    Someone suggested that at some point mere death was possibly not enough of an undesirable thing. But that surely would have always been the case.

    I read that in Finnish mythology, the afterlife (in a place called Tuonela) was thought to be same for everyone, whether they were good or bad. Damn, that Scandinavian egalitarianism goes back a long way, apparently!

  4. Top | #304
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post

    Golems, dybbuks, succubi and lots of fantasy involved with religious delusion. It has no end.
    Perhap we'll wait a little more for 'science' to "sort it out" then we can put it to rest, once and for all. I could be an atheist-Christian if it came to it.


    There's nothing wrong with group identity or even a bit of vanity. Vanity keeps us healthy. But if a person starts to worship that identity as religious peoople do, and divides people along such lines, well, you have the problem that is religion.

    For all the weirdness that is religion it is this notion of worship that I find most perplexing. It has no purpose for a person that is intelligent, secure, confident, rational, observant, healthy, etc. Worship must be for a person that is afraid and needs help from a perceived protector. I can understand that need in barbaric settings.
    There's a whole mish-mash of believers but I accept that the under-lined could be true for some, and to some in barbartic settings, is quite understandable for those people to be needing some justice for the most atrocious to their demise.

    But it seems such a need would eventually dissipate as a person grows and matures.
    Some people become believers later on in life. I hope your quote doesn't account for everyone, because I like to think I am a little more mature than I was 10 years ago when I was agnostic.
    Last edited by Learner; 01-21-2020 at 03:03 AM.

  5. Top | #305
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    You have a point, but Its an everyday expression . I just thought to use that phrase and not to sound like a theist idiom idiot, rather than saying instead, "thank my lucky stars..." etc..

    Skeptism (atheistic) ... you can form arguments on every word or phrase in a post
    To be atheist is to be skeptical, therefore to be theist is not?

    Do atheist have a different kind of skepticism than all else or is skepticism just skepticism?
    Very strange, no response. I am skeptical of a response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    You have a point, but Its an everyday expression . I just thought to use that phrase and not to sound like a theist idiom idiot, rather than saying instead, "thank my lucky stars..." etc..

    Skeptism (atheistic) ... you can form arguments on every word or phrase in a post
    To be atheist is to be skeptical, therefore to be theist is not?

    Do atheist have a different kind of skepticism than all else or is skepticism just skepticism?
    Very strange, no response. I am skeptical of a response.
    Patience my friend.

    I made that response (being a tad sarky) in context, to having an underlined biased view while being sceptical at the same time. Obviously it happens on both sides.
    Last edited by Learner; 01-21-2020 at 03:49 AM. Reason: rephrasing

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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    Funny enough I sometimes used to sleep lesser than the 8 hours and I suppose .... I lacked the serotonin levels.

    I wasn't out of shape in my earlier days but I sort of let go for some time. I am much healthier now and have changed my diet. Thank God.
    I get it. You found something that you can identify with as well as something that you feel made you a better person. I don't have a problem with that specifically, but I do have a problem with some of the nastier parts of your beliefs.
    Hi Southern, I don't think its quite correct imo (as some posts think and seem to suggest), when someone "identifies" with the bible in this case, just to be a believer...to really believe. That discription "indentifies-with" imo, is more in-line with or suits best, those that like the "good" parts in religion that they can align with or be "attracted" to, as you previously mentioned - adopting some of the philosophical parts in religion into their lives, and being able still, to be agnostic or atheist - and certainly without ever worring about the hell parts.

    I also resent the implication that one needs to be a Christian or a theist to be a morally upright person. I've known plenty of Christians who were very immoral, who cheated on their spouses, who drank too much, who insulted other people, who were racists etc. I've known quite a few atheists that were good people. Some were happily married college professors. Some were nurses, social workers, and there was one who was a talented physician. Others lived simple, frugal lives with very little interest in acquiring material things. The point is that being a Christian or an atheist doesn't mean you are better than anyone else. There are good and bad Christians and good and bad atheists. I'm simplifying of course, but I think you get the point.
    I get your point and I agree with the above.

    So, getting back to the concept of eternal hell, it's difficult to understand why a good person is able to believe that other good people who simply don't share their beliefs, are condemned to eternal punishment by the supposedly all loving god who they worship. I only wish that those who find a need for religion, would choose one that is more humane. I'm not judging you Learner. I simply don't understand the attraction to your specific beliefs.
    Like the mistaken idea of identfying-with - which is not the method (for lack better words) for many believers to take the faith because of the "attraction of good parts" which can also apply to anyone ... but rather ... its the realization (as we come to see it), that the scriptures are true! Even parts we may not yet understand which can also trouble us as theists, and because we have no choice in the matter.
    Last edited by Learner; 01-21-2020 at 04:59 AM.

  8. Top | #308
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    Hi Southern, I don't think its quite correct imo (as some posts think and seem to suggest), when someone "identifies" with the bible in this case, just to be a believer...to really believe. That discription "indentifies-with" imo, is more in-line with or suits best, those that like the "good" parts in religion that they can align with or be "attracted" to, as you previously mentioned - adopting some of the philosophical parts in religion into their lives, and being able still, to be agnostic or atheist - and certainly without ever worring about the hell parts.

    I also resent the implication that one needs to be a Christian or a theist to be a morally upright person. I've known plenty of Christians who were very immoral, who cheated on their spouses, who drank too much, who insulted other people, who were racists etc. I've known quite a few atheists that were good people. Some were happily married college professors. Some were nurses, social workers, and there was one who was a talented physician. Others lived simple, frugal lives with very little interest in acquiring material things. The point is that being a Christian or an atheist doesn't mean you are better than anyone else. There are good and bad Christians and good and bad atheists. I'm simplifying of course, but I think you get the point.
    I get your point and I agree with the above.

    So, getting back to the concept of eternal hell, it's difficult to understand why a good person is able to believe that other good people who simply don't share their beliefs, are condemned to eternal punishment by the supposedly all loving god who they worship. I only wish that those who find a need for religion, would choose one that is more humane. I'm not judging you Learner. I simply don't understand the attraction to your specific beliefs.
    Like the mistaken idea of identfying-with - which is not the method (for lack better words) for many believers to take the faith because of the "attraction of good parts" which can also apply to anyone ... but rather ... its the realization (as we come to see it), that the scriptures are true! Even parts we may not yet understand which can also trouble us as theists, and because we have no choice in the matter.
    Imagine... accepting the good parts of a tradition but eschewing the bad things. Who would dream of doing such a sensible thing?

  9. Top | #309
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post

    You have a point, but Its an everyday expression . I just thought to use that phrase and not to sound like a theist idiom idiot, rather than saying instead, "thank my lucky stars..." etc..

    Skeptism (atheistic) ... you can form arguments on every word or phrase in a post
    My point followed up on the same overall theme of your exchange with skepticalbip about how becoming a theist had changed your life for the better. So, no, it wasn't a nitpick of the two stand-alone words.

    Skepticism (theistic) ... brain floating around in a haze, only connecting dots if they're attractive to the believer.
    It wasn't attractive so I didn't become a believer because of it (see post above).

    Touché (in bold)

  10. Top | #310
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Imagine... accepting the good parts of a tradition but eschewing the bad things. Who would dream of doing such a sensible thing?
    Bad things getting eschewed sounds sensible. You don't need to be religious as you know, to be that sensible. The theists bad-things is the not-to-do things e.g. Described by Jesus and the commandments.

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