Evangelicals who believe in a literal hell are very keen to argue that rejecting hell means rejecting Scripture. But no amount of posturing can make that true.
There is solid scriptural support for the three radically differing traditional Christian models of hell known as Eternal Torment, Annihilationism, and Universalism. (See image above.*)
The theory of Eternal Torment posits that upon death Christians go to heaven, while all non-Christians to hell.
Annihilationism teaches that upon dying some Christians go to heaven, while everyone else is annihilated into nothingness.
Universalism teaches that after death literally everyone is eventually reconciled, redeemed, and ushered into heaven.
At different times in history each of these theories of hell has enjoyed prominence over the other two.
Today, of course, the theory of Eternal Damnation reigns supreme.
Isn’t it interesting that the theory of Eternal Damnation is the only theory among the three which lends itself to making money? Why? Because it’s the only one that engenders profound fear of the afterlife. If you want people to pay money to support your institution, you can’t beat making foundational to that institution the belief that not supporting it condemns one to eternal torture.To quote … well, me (from this post): Show me a Christian terrified of hell, and I’ll show you a Christian ready to pay good money for the assurance that he or she isn’t going there.
To put it another way: Guilt + fear + doctrine of hell = $$$$.
If you are a Christian who harbors the idea that a literal hell is grossly incompatible with an all-loving and all-powerful God, please rest assured that rejecting the notion of hell is not only morally and rationally right, it is supported by Scripture. You can also be assured that the day is quickly dawning when more Christians than not will feel the same way.
I’m the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question: