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Thread: Why do people believe in hell?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigers! View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    So, when I read an article recently that asked why people believe in hell, I found it intriguing and disturbing. I'd like to know the thoughts of others, especially any Christian conservatives that dare to explain why they believe in hell.
    I take the Bible seriously, even the parts that horrify, baffle, confound me.
    That means that cherry picking is not really acceptable.
    That means that hell is pack of the package, notwithstanding whatever I may feel about it.The Bible treats it seriously so I must too.
    My attitude is the opposite. If something doesn't resound with you or speak to you, than it doesn't. If you like e.g. the Jesus stories but not hell, there's nothing to prevent you from accepting one and rejecting the other. An idea or rule that you have to do it one way or another to be "true" or "faithful", that's just someone's construction.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Why would I willingly accept something I find both horrific and implausible? Fidelity is only a virtue when it is both earned and mutual.

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Why is eternal torment even in the new testament? Especially given its own descriptions of a God of Love...which creates a contradiction.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Why is eternal torment even in the new testament? Especially given its own descriptions of a God of Love...which creates a contradiction.
    The New Testament, if you restrict yourself to its pages and not later interpretations thereof, talks quite a bit about suffering but does not credit God as its source.

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    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    So, when I read an article recently that asked why people believe in hell, I found it intriguing and disturbing. I'd like to know the thoughts of others, especially any Christian conservatives that dare to explain why they believe in hell.

    I appreciate your reply Tigers, I really do, but you haven't really explained how you can accept the evil parts of the Bible. Have you ever considered that the current translations may not reflect the original intentions of Christianity?
    That's why I tend to favour older translations rather than the newer ones.
    Nested quotes are such hard yakka.

    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Have you ever explored other, less dogmatic, less horrific versions of Christianity? Everyone does a little cherry picking, whether they realize it or not.
    That is undoubtedly true. I am aware of it and do try to minimise or eliminate it.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    After all, what you read in English is a translation from whatever original scriptures were available a couple of thousand years ago.

    Plus, my limited understanding as one who was raised to believe in a very literalist version of Christianity, is that basically a bunch of men ( no women, just men ) decided what to put into the Bible. I'm sure they did plenty of cherry picking. I"m going by memory here, so feel free to correct me, but I was taught that these men were ordained by god to pick and choose what to put into the origin KJV Bible. That's nuts!
    The translators of the KJV just translated what they had. They did not add nor subtract.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    Doesn't it ever bother you to believe that some of your friends could end up being tortured forever.
    Yes it does bother me. It can be gut wrenching at times. In 2016 the man I had known since kindergarten (>50 years) died rather suddenly. For decades he and I had discussed good, evil, does God exist?, heaven, hell etc. Ir grieves me greatly that he may be in hell. I do not know his spiritual state at death so I am loathe to speculate where he is. I pray he is in heaven.
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post

    I will say this. It must have bothered my own fundamentalist Christian mother, because about 10 years ago, my husband asked her if she thought I was going to hell, despite my being an atheist. My mother thought for a minute and then told my husband there was no way she could believe that I was going to hell. So, apparently, she had her own doubts, late in life, about the concept of eternal hell. Doesn't it ever bother you?
    As Atheos noted in another post my opinion on hell does not change hell's reality.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Veteran Member Tigers!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Why would I willingly accept something I find both horrific and implausible? Fidelity is only a virtue when it is both earned and mutual.
    Something being horrific and implausible might be true.
    NOTE: No trees were killed in the sending of this message, but a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Why is eternal torment even in the new testament? Especially given its own descriptions of a God of Love...which creates a contradiction.
    The New Testament, if you restrict yourself to its pages and not later interpretations thereof, talks quite a bit about suffering but does not credit God as its source.
    Eternal torment is attributed to God.

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    Senior Member excreationist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Why is eternal torment even in the new testament? Especially given its own descriptions of a God of Love...which creates a contradiction.
    The New Testament, if you restrict yourself to its pages and not later interpretations thereof, talks quite a bit about suffering but does not credit God as its source.
    Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels."

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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've had a fun time reading the bible lately, and my reading of it leads me to believe that Christian theology isn't an external construction independent of human nature, but rather a reflection of human nature itself. Any reasonable person wouldn't write what they believed to be the word of God, and so Christian theology amounts to a kind of psychological projection of the people writing it.

    With that in mind the concept of hell likely made it's way into Christian theology primarily because the people who introduced it liked the idea of sinners being punished. Ironically it was Jesus who said 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'.

    Why Christians believe in it? Because they want the package (Christianity), and are willing to accept that part of the package to get the whole. Doubting hell leaves room to doubt their beliefs in there entirety. Easier to accept hell is real than live with the cognitive dissonance of their beliefs being inconsistent.
    I like your response because it reminds me of my own cognitive dissonance as a child. When I was 18, after becoming an agnostic while attending a fundamentalist Christian college, I couldn't wait to tell my church friends that we had been duped. Young and naive, I felt they would listen to me with an open mind. Some of them didn't say a word, but I will never forget what one girl said. I think he name is Donna. Donna looked at me and said, "Oh don't think too much. You're thinking too much about it". That was such an eye opener. I guess that many conservative Christians don't think too much about some of there beliefs or they would lose them. They would also lose a lot of their friends, community and what many think is their purpose in life.

    Of course, it's still very difficult for me to understand how so many intelligent, well meaning people can maintain these beliefs. And, I got the impression from the author of the article that I linked, that despite writing many books that were critical of certain aspects of Christianity, he was shocked that the most criticism he ever received was when he tried to deconstruct the concept of hell.

    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.

    I used to ask my father why god would send all my Catholic friends to hell, as well as all the people in foreign lands who never even heard of Christianity, and all he could ever say was, "God will explain it to us when we die." That might work on a 7 year old, but it doesn't do much for an adult who wants a better understanding of why that a loving god is also a nasty, revengeful god who. has such a big ego, that if you don't believe and ask forgiveness, he will doom you to burn in hell.

  10. Top | #30
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    The New Testament, if you restrict yourself to its pages and not later interpretations thereof, talks quite a bit about suffering but does not credit God as its source.
    Eternal torment is attributed to God.

    Sometimes, one can only marvel at the way some theists actually doublethink.

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