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Does Hell Exist - CNN Article

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#1    libstaK

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 05:52 AM

We have had this question before, in quite a few ways but I found this blog on CNN had an interesting take on the subject.

http://religion.blog...pt=hp_inthenews

Excerpts:

So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.
And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.
Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

....

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

....

Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"
“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

....

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.
As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

....

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

....

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?
We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

End excerpts.

So what do you think?  Can we practice faith as believers without considering hell and retribution for those who transgress?  How does focussing on what is "wrong" with ourselves and our fellow man evolve our spirit?  Could we practice empathy and tolerance towards our fellow man without concern of judgement and salvation?

What is of more value for the human spirit to have mastery of - a belief in heaven and hell or a belief in the potential of mankind (ourselves) to be harbingers of peace, tolerance and forgiveness?

Those are just some questions the article brought up for me, what are your thoughts?

Edited by libstaK, 25 September 2012 - 05:53 AM.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#2    Rlyeh

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:02 AM

Until "creationism" and the fall can be supported, there is no reason to consider the possibility of hell (result of the fall).


#3    Golly Buster

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 06:25 AM

Quote

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge.

Huh???????????????????


#4    and then

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:53 AM

Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the place so I have to believe it is real.  The concept of God taking some pleasure in tormenting anyone is something I fail to understand or accept.  If we are cut off, it is our own choice but I still do not believe it gives God any sense of joy.

  Imagination is the power in the turn of a phrase.

#5    libstaK

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:25 AM

View PostGolly Buster, on 25 September 2012 - 06:25 AM, said:

Huh???????????????????
I think he may be saying that by believing in hell and believing that a portion of humanity is going to go to hell is the same as saying "bad people deserve to suffer" aka: vengeance for bad deeds.

It is a common enough human saying when someone causes harm to exclaim in anger "I hope he rots in hell" for instance.  That is indicative of wishing vengeance for that persons harmful actions.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

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#6    Jackofalltrades

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 09:41 AM

The land of eternal suffering exists, it is called Earth..... (in my opinion)

Why else would there be so much hatred, starvation and suffering (and various other thing's I may have forgot to mention) by so many ?

I also believe that a hell does exist in the spiritual world, but obviously do not have any proof of such as it is just my belief

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#7    spud the mackem

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:03 AM

Hell exists only in the mind of people who want to believe in it.

(1) try your best, ............if that dont work.
(2) try your second best, ........if that dont work
(3) give up you aint gonna win

#8    Ever Learning

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:15 AM

you do realise its not only religious people who believe in revenge (dont agree with this as revenge isnt in christian theology, as jesus preaches forgiveness), how would you better the natural inclination to only care about ones self and loved ones at the expense of others?
P.s im not a believer in muslim theology but im pretty sure saying that 9/11 is a reason to stop believing in there theology is ignorant, im pretty sure every one knows that it was caused by an extremist fringe group who proberly misintepreted the Quran.

Edited by Ever Learning, 25 September 2012 - 10:18 AM.

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#9    Hasina

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:22 AM

That's the problem with many religions, it's interpreted differently by people and groups. You'll always have these 'fringe' groups who 'misinterpret' their religious text to help them defend their violent actions.

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#10    Ever Learning

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:25 AM

View PostHasina, on 25 September 2012 - 10:22 AM, said:

That's the problem with many religions, it's interpreted differently by people and groups. You'll always have these 'fringe' groups who 'misinterpret' their religious text to help them defend their violent actions.
Exactly, a theology that preaches altruism shouldnt be thought about with ill feelings just because angry people misuse it.

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#11    libstaK

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:25 AM

View PostEver Learning, on 25 September 2012 - 10:15 AM, said:

you do realise its not only religious people who believe in revenge (dont agree with this as revenge isnt in christian theology, as jesus preaches forgiveness), how would you better the natural inclination to only care about ones self and loved ones at the expense of others?
P.s im not a believer in muslim theology but im pretty sure saying that 9/11 is a reason to stop believing in there theology is ignorant, im pretty sure every one knows that it was caused by an extremist fringe group who proberly misintepreted the Quran.
Agreed, most people believe in revenge, also nobody is suggesting Muslims don't believe in their theology more that they could devote their highest aspirations to it along with the more militant christians.

Please remember this is an article - I don't particularly agree with 9/11 as the correct analogy for where we are today but I believe the authors sees it as the factor that highlighted some of the negative aspects of the faiths.

The question is: Do we need a hell?  Can we practice our respective faiths without referring to or invoking the "hell" aspect?  Does either theology actually definitively support the notion of hell as we have come to see it today?

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

Inscription - Temple of Delphi

#12    Idano

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 10:35 AM

If you don't have a hell, you can't have a heaven (ying/yang) to have bad you must have good.  Without one there is no other.

What could possibly go wrong?

#13    Bling

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 08:30 PM

Hell doesn't exist, it's just a made up place by the writers of the bible. Religion has embraced the whole heaven and hell story in order to keep people going to their churches and fearing god - (which also has helped in the past keep law and order). Religion is about having as many followers as they can get - either for money or prestige, so having a hell story to keep people fearful and obedient is helpful. If hell did exist then it must have been created by the god of the bible, who supposedly created everything, and god will use it to punish the wicked (basically anyone who doesn't do as he says) - how loving!
But don't worry hell doesn't exist, neither does heaven, purgatory, neither does Muddle Earth or Narnia. It just stories....convincing stories for some I admit, I believed them at one point, but not worth a second of your life on this earth to be worrying about.

This is just my opinion :)


#14    libstaK

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 09:29 AM

View PostBling, on 25 September 2012 - 08:30 PM, said:

Hell doesn't exist, it's just a made up place by the writers of the bible. Religion has embraced the whole heaven and hell story in order to keep people going to their churches and fearing god - (which also has helped in the past keep law and order). Religion is about having as many followers as they can get - either for money or prestige, so having a hell story to keep people fearful and obedient is helpful. If hell did exist then it must have been created by the god of the bible, who supposedly created everything, and god will use it to punish the wicked (basically anyone who doesn't do as he says) - how loving!
But don't worry hell doesn't exist, neither does heaven, purgatory, neither does Muddle Earth or Narnia. It just stories....convincing stories for some I admit, I believed them at one point, but not worth a second of your life on this earth to be worrying about.

This is just my opinion :)
While I disagree with all your beliefs about religion, you raise some very interesting points - which again point to the question for believers - do we need hell?  Now I don't know if it exists or not and I am not sure that is what is the most relevant aspect of the debate.

What I think could be considered is - does focussing attention on "hell and damnation" really achieve anything more than the fears in believers you have described, along with means of controlling them and their wallets if you wish.  Would it be better to let that alone and look to mastering the higher teachings of compassion, love, altruism etc?

As a believer it seems to me that I would rather devote time to getting the good things right if that's possible than focusing my attention on guilt, sin and possible judgement.

"I warn you, whoever you are, oh you who wish to probe the arcanes of nature, if you do not find within yourself that which you seek, neither shall you find it outside.
If you ignore the excellencies of your own house, how do you intend to find other excellencies?
In you is hidden the treasure of treasures, Oh man, know thyself and you shall know the Universe and the Gods."

Inscription - Temple of Delphi

#15    ambelamba

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 03:30 PM

I tried to covert to Buddhism but scratched that after learning about their version of Hell. Christian Hell got nothing on Buddhist Hell. I found it so disgusting and couldn't see Buddhism in a favorable view.

They came with a Bible and their religion. stole our land, crushed our spirit, and now they tell us we should be thankful to the Lord for being saved.

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