Thomas Merton on “blood-drinking gods”

Strong hate, the hate that takes joy in hating, is strong because it does not believe itself to be unworthy and alone. It feels the support of a justifying God, of an idol of war, an avenging and destroying spirit. From such blood-drinking gods the human race was once liberated, with great toil and terrible [Read More…]

Guest post: Why Hitler will (not) be in heaven

Today we have a guest post by Rev. Heath Bradley, who is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. He is also the author of Flames of Love: Hell and Universal Salvation. Heath blogs at the Sunday drive home. “Our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:29 I hold to a hopeful conviction [Read More…]

Storming the four fortresses of hell – part 3

First it was freedom. Then truth. Now justice. In each case I’m looking at the connection between how we define these terms and our eschatology. In a previous post, I described six purposes of the justice system: 1. Retribution 2. Public Protection 3. Deterrence 4. Restitution 5. Rehabilitation 6. Reconciliation On a meta-level, you could [Read More…]

Storming the four fortresses of hell – part 2

Last week I began my assault on what I’m calling the four fortresses of hell, beginning with “truth.” By “fortress,” I mean a concept on which people tend to plant their flag when it comes to developing a theology of post-mortem rewards and punishments. I narrowed it down to four: truth, freedom, justice and love. [Read More…]

Storming the four fortresses of hell – part 1

Last week I closed my cheat sheet on hell by listing three “fortresses” on which people tend to plant their flag when it comes to developing a theology of post-mortem rewards and punishments. To review, they are: 1. Freedom 2. Justice 3. Love However, as I was reflecting on the post yesterday, I realized a [Read More…]

A cheat sheet on hell

Lately I’ve had to do a number of interviews and Q&A sessions relating to Hellbound?, so I thought it prudent to write up a little cheat sheet to remind me of a few key points I’d like to cover. Here’s a sneak peak. PURPOSES OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM This list goes back to my days [Read More…]

Watch “What the hell?” on Huff Post Live

I just finished a segment on Huff Post Live called “What the Hell?” where I served on a panel alongside two Christian pastors, a rabbi and an imam. Fascinating discussion. You can watch it here. [Read more…]

Do you have faith, or merely fear?

If our faith is primarily a mantra to drive away punishment, our faith isn’t really a faith, it is a fear. We feign faith in order to keep from being punished. We believe in an uncertain way only from fear of hell, and so our “faith” is without love and self-serving, a mere survival instinct. [Read More…]

Hell: The ultimate reality distortion field

Over the past two years, I’ve traveled across North America and beyond filming and promoting Hellbound?, a feature-length documentary that takes a critical look at the traditional Christian doctrine of hell. During that time, I’ve spoken to literally thousands of people about hell. And while I have encountered a precious few who are willing not [Read More…]

Hell is far from an abstract theological discussion

A couple of years ago you would have had a hard time convincing me to head out to the theater to watch a documentary featuring a number of Muslim leaders debating the finer points of Islamic theology. It’s not that I don’t care about Islam or that I wouldn’t find it interesting. It’s just that [Read More…]