Why the “God Is a Father and Must Punish His Children” Defense of Hell Makes No Sense to Me

It occurs to me that the Christian idea of hell is tied up in ideas about parenting and punishment that are becoming less widespread. I recently told a relative that I don't believe hell exists and was met with complete consternation. But the reality is that I simply cannot make the very concept of hell make sense, even if I try. I mean don't get me wrong, I remember what I used to believe as an evangelical and why. But today, my approach to parenting makes hell---and the evangelical perception … [Read more...]


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A Letter from Hell, and Self-Reinforcing Beliefs

I recently read a piece titled "A Young Man's Letter from Hell." It goes like this: Dear Zack,I died today. It’s a lot different than I expected. You see, I always thought that dying would bring me to a world that is foggy and hazy. But this place is crystal clear… It’s even more real than my life on Earth.I can think. I can talk. I can even feel.Right after the wreck I could feel my spirit leaving my body. It was the weirdest thing, Zack. I thought I heard you screaming out to me, m … [Read more...]


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A Reader Asks: How Can I Free My Daughter from Fundamentalist Fears?

I recently received a question from a reader, and I thought I would put it to all of you to help answer it: What resources are there for me to share with my thirteen year old daughter about coming out of the darkness of the culture you write about? I grew up in an independent fundamentalist baptist church.  My parents were completely into it.  I didn't want to be, but got sucked into it.  The whole "you're going to hell" stuff, and "God will punish you" is so powerful psychologically.  Long stor … [Read more...]


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Literal Hell + Age of Accountability = What?!?

[The text in the facebook status copied above reads: About 20 children are receiving the BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER....the presence of our God and our Lord Jesus Christ!]I remember when Andrea Yates drowned her five small children in a bathtub. I was a conservative evangelical at the time, and still in high school, and when I heard about the story I had a problem. I knew I found what Yates had done morally reprehensible, but, well, I couldn't find a way to criticize her reasoning for doing … [Read more...]


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