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libstaK

Does Hell Exist - CNN Article

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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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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
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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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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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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?

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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.

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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 :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

18 levels of Hell, yeah that bites

http://wenhousecrafts.com/places/hell.htm

or facing Mara as your final test before enlightenment?

Oh well, at least there is always an opportunity to overcome the hells and Mara for oneself eh?

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Good find, lK. I wasn't expecting it to be that well written until I saw who wrote it. I thought it was a very good take on the so called war on religion. My thought is y'all (Abrahamic faiths) are making a war on your selves. We the world (the sane people) have much more important things going on besides which Sky Pilot is the best to obey. I could to a lot of typing on this, but Berry explains it so well.

[media=]

[/media]

I am so glad he updated that song.

forgot spellcheck.

Edited by Darkwind
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I'm not a theologian by any stretch of the imagination, but it is my understanding that "Hell" as we tend to view it today is not supported by Biblical writtings..

From what I understand (and i could be wrong) Hell was basically described as merely being outside of Gods Grace - basically abandoned for eternity, forced to 'live' a brutish and unloved existence... The 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' was because you had realized that you had 'blown it big time'...

The current 'version' of Hell was essentially created whole cloth by Dante Aligheri in the very early 14th century...

Edited by Taun
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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.

As with many religions, Buddhism has various groups within it that believe different things. Some talk about reincarnation and some don't, for instance. It's the same with their idea of Hell. Some groups teach that concept and some don't. Zen Buddhism appeals to me personally because of it's simplicity, and lack of most common religious trappings such as Heaven and Hell. Even Zen has sub-groups though.

Edited by MysticStrummer

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Good find, lK. I wasn't expecting it to be that well written until I saw who wrote it. I thought it was a very good take on the so called war on religion. My thought is y'all (Abrahamic faiths) are making a war on your selves. We the world (the sane people) have much more important things going on besides which Sky Pilot is the best to obey. I could to a lot of typing on this, but Berry explains it so well.

[media=]

[/media]

I am so glad he updated that song.

forgot spellcheck.

Thanks for that clip Darkwind, brought a tear to my ear and a choke or two, fantastic remake of a great song and I recommend anyone to watch that clip, - gets you where you live

Edited by libstaK
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Huh???????????????????

I think its a superficial understanding of hell written by a superficial writer. Here's what the article boils down to:

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.

In other words: you stupid redneck Christians are just as bad as Muslim extremists, mindlessly fighting wars over your 'religions'. Religion is the real enemy, be an enlightened moral relativist like me and realize that nobody is right or wrong, all we need is peace and love and understanding ( it's working great in Libya ).

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"Should we abandon the Idea of Hell?"

- Yes We Should .. Hell Is A State Of Being, Not A Place ..

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Does Hell exist? Yes I see it every day on the news, war, greed, hatred and then there are the bits the news editors don’t like to show the 8 MILLION children who die every year, from starvation and dirty water. HELL = dying from diarrhoea, can you imagine that? Yet there it is every day children die every few seconds, there 143 million orphans in the world, but we worry about the latest I Phone! what a mess the people of the modern world are in. Does the religious hell exist? the one used to frighten and control the flock, No! The concept is a total load of rubbish.

“Can we practice our respective faiths without referring to or invoking the "hell" aspect?” Well what most religions have evolved into, does seem to require it. Funny thing, many religions of the world contribute to this world being a hell, they teach separation, ”I am a (insert religion) they say. But they are not, they are Human Beings! How blind these people are they don’t know what they are. Through Inner focus we can know our true self we can see we are all one. Just because we like/love a particular teacher / master from the past should not mean we separate ourselves from the rest of humanity. As Anna Pereira says,” Spirituality is NOT a religion! Being spiritual just means you are in touch with your own Divine self.” When will we let go of these divisions and the hatred they produce? One People, One World and One Creator.

“Be the change”

“In the sky there is no distinction of east or west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true”. Buddha

Edited by sutemi
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Does Hell exist? Yes I see it every day on the news, war, greed, hatred and then there are the bits the news editors don’t like to show the 8 MILLION children who die every year, from starvation and dirty water. HELL = dying from diarrhoea, can you imagine that? Yet there it is every day children die every few seconds, there 143 million orphans in the world, but we worry about the latest I Phone! what a mess the people of the modern world are in. Does the religious hell exist? the one used to frighten and control the flock, No! The concept is a total load of rubbish.

“Can we practice our respective faiths without referring to or invoking the "hell" aspect?” Well what most religions have evolved into, does seem to require it. Funny thing, many religions of the world contribute to this world being a hell, they teach separation, ”I am a (insert religion) they say. But they are not, they are Human Beings! How blind these people are they don’t know what they are. Through Inner focus we can know our true self we can see we are all one. Just because we like/love a particular teacher / master from the past should not mean we separate ourselves from the rest of humanity. As Anna Pereira says,” Spirituality is NOT a religion! Being spiritual just means you are in touch with your own Divine self.” When will we let go of these divisions and the hatred they produce? One People, One World and One Creator.

“Be the change”

“In the sky there is no distinction of east or west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true”. Buddha

You put that so beautifully, I felt the movement in my soul. Thank you.

love that quote from Buddha too, how true.

edit to add: love that clip.

Edited by libstaK

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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?

One thing I've noticed over the years is that those who violate others rights live lives which are a disaster.

Whether its alienating people, losing their jobs, getting their heads kicked in or being locked up in a prison cell they cause their own suffering. I have seen many with a narcissistic-sociopthic mentality who suffer time and time again because they seem incapable of grasping what the implications of their behaviour will be.

My answer to your question is that hell is a state of mind not a place. Revenge is also a good thing as it provides appropiate feedback to the person who violated your rights. Not that most of them will learn from it.

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