Why Do Christians Love Hell?

Why Do Christians Love Hell? October 21, 2019

One of the hardest things to do is to convince a Christian that the version of Hell they’ve been taught isn’t actually in the Bible.

This is challenging because:

A) They have never been told anything else

B) They’re convinced the Bible supports their view

C) They’ve been taught that fear is necessary for conversion

D) Evangelism as they know it won’t work without an eternal Hell to escape from

E) Some of them wouldn’t remain a Christian if the threat of Hell was removed

F) A few of them really love the idea that they’re “special” and everyone else is on the outside

Last night at a dinner party I had a conversation that pretty much went through every single one of these arguments and validated nearly all of these assumptions.

What’s fascinating is that Jesus had to deal with this same disconnect during his earthly ministry. Especially option “F” listed above.

When Jesus went to his home town and read from the scroll of Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…” [Luke 4:18]

Their reaction when he said, “These words are fulfilled in your hearing”, was [at first], jubilant and joyful.

It was only when Jesus suggested that this “year of the Lord’s favor” was also for the Gentiles that they got angry enough to drive him out of town and try to push him over a cliff to kill him.

Sadly, some Christians have the same reaction when you suggest that God’s love and salvation aren’t only for Christians, but also for everyone who has ever lived. They just can’t handle the idea that they are not “special”, or that God would show this same mercy to “sinners” like those people who aren’t as “Christian” as they are.

Cue references to the older brother in the Prodigal Son parable for more examples of this attitude.

So, I guess I need to get used to having these sorts of conversations since I’ve just published a new book on this topic [Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment – releasing Nov. 9 on Amazon], but to be honest these discussions exhaust me.

My hope [in the book] is to show these same Christians that all of those assumptions listed above are incorrect and that there are two other “Biblical” and “Historical” Christian views of Hell that are based on better scriptural support and paint a much different – and more accurate – portrait of who God is and what God is like.

Now, I’m biased against two of those three views, but in the book I take each view and systematically look at each verse that supports that view to see if it actually says what we’ve been told it says about what happens to us after we die. [Or specifically, what happens to those who die without Christ].

My views on this topic have changed over the last 10 years. I’ve gone from supporting Eternal Torment, because that’s the only thing I was ever taught, to embracing Annihilationism, because that was the most logical step in the process, and then finally to accepting Patristic Universalism because of the overwhelming number of verses in the New Testament that support this view, and the fact that the majority of early Christians embraced that view for the first 500 years. [And the fact that the origins of the Eternal Torment view do not arise from Old Testament Scriptures but from the pagan influences on Judaism in the Intertestimental Period].

This weekend I’m scheduled to debate someone on this topic: Is Eternal Torment Taught In The Bible?

Now, as I’ve mentioned, I really hate having this sorts of conversations with Christians, mostly because the average Christian is unable to process anything outside their indoctrination narrative. But this is also exhausting because we can’t talk about the topic without unraveling the tangled mess of theology that involves everything from “Apocalyptic Hyperbole” to the End Times, to Revelation, to the definition of “Eternal” [Aeonius], to the Legal Paradigm of Salvation, the Gospel that Jesus preached [which is not the Gospel most Christians have heard], to Penal Substutionary Atonement Theory and, of course, the Holiness of God that prevents any relationship with “sinful” humans [which is never once taught by Scripture].

And that’s just for starters.

The “But What About…?” game is an endless loop that most of us never break out of due to the depths of our indoctrination into the iron-clad theology of Eternal Torment that has been reinforced for most of us for many decades.

Still I’m willing to have these sorts of conversations and debates because I think it’s very important to at least attempt to inform Christians who have only ever heard one view that there are other views worth considering.

In some ways, the conversation appears hopeless and pointless. However, my hope is that there are some who are already questioning this view of God that looks nothing like Jesus, and for those who are curious there are answers and those answers are not only “Biblical” and “Christian”, they are also more Christlike and reasonable, for those who have ears to hear.

“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” [Romans 5:19]

“For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many….” [Romans 5:17]

“For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” [1 Cor. 15:22]

“For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” [1 Tim. 4:10]

**

Keith’s next book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” releases Nov. 9, 2019 on Amazon and features a Foreword by author Brad Jersak.

Are you an aspiring author? Keith is leading an Author’s Academy starting Nov. 4. Learn how to become a full-time author and crack the code for building your platform and marketing your books online. Details HERE.
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife are returning to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure.
 Keith’s Podcast: Heretic Happy Hour Podcast is on iTunes and Podbean. 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • swbarnes2

    the average Christian is unable to process anything outside their indoctrination narrative.

    This makes no sense. Seek and ye will find, knock and the door will be opened…how can all these Christians who are praying for divine guidance all the time be ignorant, let alone wrong, about anything?

    Just give a straight up answer…if someone sincerely prays for divine help in understanding hell, is it possible for them to come away with the wrong answer?

  • Summers-lad

    “… the Gospel that Jesus preached [which is not the Gospel most Christians have heard]…”

    A passage that has bugged me for some time is in Galatians 1:6ff. “6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed!”

    As I become ever more convinced that the gospel we are so familiar with through innumerable tracts and sermons is actually “a different gospel”, my question is: what does this passage mean for us in practical terms? Reading these verses through the lens of the familiar gospel tends to lead to saying of anyone who preaches a different gospel, “may he be condemned to hell” – which is exactly how the Good News Bible renders the end of v8. Although Paul’s words are severe, I’m sure he didn’t mean that!

    I may disagree with other Christians doctrinally but I refuse to deny their faith (which may be much greater than mine). Are we to repudiate those who believe the traditional doctrine? That doesn’t seem right to me.

    The church I used to belong to has as one line of its basis of faith, “The blessings of the saved and the punishment of the lost are alike eternal.” That doesn’t stop me from visiting the church occasionally, although it would make it impossible for me to rejoin as a member.

    I would be very interested in your thoughts.

    By the way, I totally support your last paragraph. Those who have ears to hear may be those who have already started to think this way, as well as those who haven’t, but are able to receive the first seed of this idea, which in time will grow.

  • Easy: They already assume they have all the answers so they are NOT seeking truth any longer.

  • Herm

    There are different degrees of “sincerely prays for divine help”. It took me 50 years before I could pray, “Father in heaven protect me from evil and doing evil to others. Let your will lead me only. Fill me with the Holy Spirit full time, even when I think I might be sinning”. I had lost everything that I thought I had earned; family, job and church. I had nothing to lose, even if God didn’t exist. If God didn’t exist, I had been in-depth fooled for at least 33 years of actively working to build a better and closer relationship with and for God. If God didn’t exist, the way I asked I didn’t have another supportive life line to lean on. I was ready to die.

    From that moment on, I began to live and learn more true than I thought was even possible. It still took another couple years before I realized that I was now a little child of God, born again in the Spirit as written. As a trained and ordained minister for over 20 years prior, sprinkled and immersed, I mistakenly had been convinced that through the church I had been fully baptized in the Spirit. I had come away with the wrong answers to my prayers, prior to 50 years old, because I still held on to the traditions, lessons, and faith that I had been given by my parents and wife, by my church fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers, and the fathers of my nation that I used to judge God against. I now realize this is exactly what all children of all families, religions, tribes, and nation’s of birth do and are first mistakenly convinced God/Allah is as they were taught by their local segment of mankind.

    It took those first couple years, as an infant child of God, before I could bear to fully accept the following scripture literally:

    Luke 14:25-27 NIV
    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: [26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. [27] And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

    The only regret I have for all those years, of my sincerity having been misled by my allegiance to traditional familial sincerity, is that I had to lose everything before I dared risk all I had left to trust God to teach me truth as I can bear.

    If we know in our heart and mind that God is real, and we each need God to live, enough so that we spend valuable time in our religious pursuits, why don’t we trust God to protect, nurture, provide for, and teach us directly, one on one, one in one?

    I can testify that in the last 25 years I have been given “straight up” answers to all my questions, by my one Teacher, when I can bear to accept each.

  • CO Fines

    While the original ideas of eternal conscious torment can be traced to pagan sources, this entered the church deliberately thru church leaders who viewed it as the most effective means of reaching the majority of people occupying the lower end on the scale of spiritual consciousness. For the most part they were probably right in their assessment. We have come a long way since then, our level of spiritual consciousness has slowly been raised over centuries and millennia, but the lower end still dwells in fear and ignorance. To pretend that we all have attained the same level is ridiculous. To look down upon those we might view as at a lower level would be an indication that we might not be as high on the scale as we assumed.

    With few exceptions, most people are doing the best they know how to do with the hand they were dealt, and it is presumptuous to think that we are obligated to bring everyone up to what we perceive as our advanced level whether they want to or not, whether they are capable of making the jump or not. Yes, we need to be ready to answer questions, but many folks are happy and comfortable right where they are at. I personally find that I have more than I can handle cleaning up my own back yard, never mind someone else, unless they are asking me for help. There is an element of wretched urgency looking for a home in these arguments that may be out of place as we move up in understanding. I believe God’s Holy Spirit is quite capable of dealing with us on all these levels at once and in turn, sort of like the old-fashioned one-room schoolhouse.

  • Amy

    Keith – this phrase in your article stuck out to me: …”the Holiness of God that prevents any relationship with “sinful” humans [which is never once taught by Scripture]” I agree and do you suggest any sources for countering that narrative, books, articles, etc.?

  • Herm

    John 16:12-15 NIV
    “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. [13] But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. [14] He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. [15] All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

  • Iain Lovejoy

    You want a “straight up answer” to what is not a “straight up” question, but a re-word of the childish “gotcha!” that gets repeated ad nauseum: “all you Christians must be wrong about everything because you disagree about stuff, and you are all stupid for not noticing this like I did”. Ask a sincere question and you will get a sincere answer.

  • Nimblewill

    Be not weary Keith.

  • Nimblewill

    Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves?

  • Nimblewill

    This is the conclusion that I have come to myself. I believe with all my heart that I am where I am due to the work of the Holy Spirit. I prayed that I wanted to know Him at all costs and I wound up here. I am a hopeful universalist at best/worse. I am ready to give an answer of what He is doing in me but I don’t say anything unless I’m asked. And then I’ve had a few that will no longer talk about spiritual matters.

  • swbarnes2

    “I had come away with the wrong answers to my prayers,”

    Good, a straightforward answer. God misled you. For 50 years. While you were leading a congregation of people who trusted you.

    The only regret I have for all those years, of my sincerity having been misled by my allegiance to traditional familial sincerity,

    No you said you got wrong answer to your prayers. When the prayer answerer knows how to answer clearly and chooses not to, that’s their responsibility.

    But I love how you have no regrets about misleading your congregation.

    why don’t we trust God to protect, nurture, provide for, and teach us directly, one on one, one in one?

    You asked and came away with wrong answers. Why is that trustworthy?

  • swbarnes2

    You really think that there was not a single person who sincerely prayed for discernment about the fitness of Mack Charles Andrews? Not even the people licensing him? Seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened, but what Christianity is really teaching them is that they have all the answers?

  • Herm

    Amy, I know what it seems like when someone answers a question, regarding modern authors, with 2,000 year old scripture. Intentionally, I’ve left John 16:12-15 stand on its own for a time.

    I have over a thousand authors available to me in my Kindle and in my hardcopy library. “Countering” “narratives” from carnal perspectives, relating to spirit truth, to be beneficial to your growth in spirit comprehension requires a guide who knows where you are at, knows where the narrator was when writing, and knows the destination you seek. The very same narratives I learned from when being led, and leading, under the influence of the Christian Church, and countering human authors, are understood much differently now when accepting the undivided council of the Spirit of truth.

    What I am trying to share, please, read, listen to, and discuss all of mankind’s testimonials that are available to you and time allows. Trust that your spirit, the image and likeness of God in you, heart and mind can be influenced by the Spirit of him/they who you seek to know. If you cannot share influence with God then what you seek, only substantiated by carnal religious instruction, may not be worth wasting your time learning from those who have not personally witnessed the destination you seek. I can only witness to you that what is written in red letters, in your Bible Gospels, is real and available to you to counter any of mankind’s self-centered (the Matthew 7:12 trespass against the Law of all relationships, carnal and spirit) influences leading you away from becoming holy in God, as an eternally well nurtured child of God today, on earth (physical/carnal), and in heaven (spirit as are all of God).

    The Bible narrative, under the sole tutelage of the Holy Spirit, counters the Bible narrative when under the sole tutelage of mankind’s spiritual leaders.

  • Herm

    Wow, you read, no different than those who split their trust between all who choose to teach them, only what supports your preconceptions, not the truth in what was written.

    God has not once misled me (tested!), in the last 25 years (I am 75 now), since the Spirit of truth has been my sole trustworthy teacher, no matter how much many sincere teachers of Man disagree. Caiaphas was sincerely disagreeable with the Son of God/Son of Man supported by his education from teachers of mankind. Caiaphas, as high priest, had divine authority to learn directly from the Spirit of truth, in the Holy of Holies, and did not. The curtain before the Holy of Holies has been torn open top to bottom. The Spirit of truth is now in the midst of all of mankind on earth, available to teach of God from God directly. All worship of God and our Father, on earth and in heaven, is in spirit and none in carnal.

    Why would I have regrets for what I did sincerely out of love for those in my congregation? I did the best I knew to do. I now hate allegiance to family, tribe, nation and church that is destructive to any and all of mankind, who I love. I do not begrudge any who, led sincerely with all the knowledge they had, tried to their best to support others as they would have others support them, even when in their ignorance they were destructive, children do that. I do separate from others who do to others before others do to them. Love (empathy, compassion, and forgiveness as I love myself) of all others of mankind, as I am allowed, bonds me to all of Man. The same love with and in (natural in spirit relationship, impossible in carnal relationship) all of God bonds all of God as one spirit of heart, soul, strength, mind.

    I believe you are sincere in your attempts at “gotcha” judgment but, relative to spirit, you know not of what you speak.

  • Tina Harris-Pressley

    Could Earth’s mantle be considered what one would think to be the “lake of fire”?

  • Desperate Ambrose

    The older I get, the more I am inclined to believe that salvation is not something to be won, but is ours to lose or surrender if we so choose.

  • Sarah Spencer

    Does man have more power than God? Jesus said “Every knee would bow and every tongue shall confess….” and one cannot confess Jesus is Lord without first submitting to Him. 1 Cor. 15:22 “Even so in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. vs 27: . For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.” KJV

  • CO Fines

    I think of this as those who are drawn to the flow of the Holy Spirit moving into the 21st century, and those who are not. Very important not to denigrate those uninterested or incapable of making the jump. but at the same time very important not to miss the flow, if you are indeed in search of truth. And to my perspective it is not just a jump from one century to another, tho it is that, and not just a jump from one millennium to another, tho it is that, but a jump from one age to another, just as happened last when Messiah was amongst us as one of us.

  • CO Fines

    Amy, it is good to ask for sources as you are, but it is also good, if I may distill Herm’s reply, to rely on God acting as Holy Spirit to guide you toward the particular lessons that you need to pay attention to. No way can you digest the whole mass of information available today. If you learn to trust and depend on the subtle direction of God and your angels, out of the too much, certain forks in the road will appear on your path, with one of those forks somewhat emphasized in a way apparent to you. Yes, fireworks can happen, don’t depend on that, more likely something catching your attention or somehow standing out from the rest. This gets better with practice and mistakes are not fatal. To answer your question from one particular perspective, Pete Enns, Nadia Holtz Weber, Richard Rohr. You know how to work a computer. Follow your own path. It’s there. One teacher leads to another.

    One more observation. Whatever else you read, I believe that along with that a serious follower of Jesus would do well to at least one time read every last little word in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, including the shopping lists and genealogies and other boring stuff. Once at least, more is better. Every last word. This feeds your spirit and it helps defend you from all the flim-flam artists who say, “The Bible says . . . .” Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t. If you haven’t read it, you are at their mercy. One of my most valuable early lessons was from a radio preacher who would quote the Bible and give the source and say, “Read it for yourself!” I bought a three dollar Bible and did just that. What I found out was that, yes, what he said was in the Bible, but if I read above and below his quote, I often got quite a different story.

  • CO Fines

    Hi Ambrose~ I find it helpful to think of salvation as healing in the here and now, think about the word “salve”, and not as some kind of pie in the sky by and by. Healing, not necessarily some kind of physical perfection, but certainly a spiritual growth, fast or slow, toward being made whole and well, possibly affecting our physical body as well. You are so right, it is our choice to accept and receive with gratitude or not, the results to be measured in God’s eyes.

  • CO Fines

    Why not?

  • CO Fines

    …if someone sincerely prays for divine help in understanding hell, is it possible for them to come away with the wrong answer?

    Sure, why not? We make up a conglomeration of many different people with many different abilities and levels of spiritual consciousness. Each person in the school of life gets a different curriculum depending on their past achievements and present needs for growth and advancement. Not everyone is interested in advancing. It is quite possible to be sincere about something while fooling yourself about your level of sincerity. To think that there is only one right answer to a question is childish. All depends on who you are and where you are heading. God knows our hearts better than we do ourselves, and some people choose to take the long way home, which is honored.

  • billwald

    Hell is the sales pitch. Hard to get rich preaching Atheism.

  • Amy

    I’ve been listening to these answers, and I think responders misunderstood what my original comment was getting at. Myself, I don’t have any personal doubts or difficulties with the idea I was saying. It’s not about me. It’s about other people I come in contact with, the type who engage in verse-to-verse or theological combat.

    Suggesting that I turn to the Bible or rely on the Spirit’s guidance alone is, quite honestly, not all that helpful. Not because I don’t see those resources as reliable. But when you’re meeting people who already fully believe that their views are backed up by the Bible or whatever they think spirit is leading them to, countering them with the same things they use to support their own points is ineffective. Even speaking as someone who knows the Bible from concentrating in it for my master’s.

    Constructing my views comes more from commentators such as Patheos bloggers or authors. I just find it more helpful to have content that is biblically supported yet also engages with relevant anecdotes and personal revelatory writing. Sure, I know how to google, but I was wondering if there were any suggestions on specific articles or books I could read because I have yet to come across this specific topic addressed or really, how to even search for it. In my own experience, I have received relatively little inspiration from raw Bible reading and more from the confluence of the wider world, personal insights, and direct encounters with peoples and places, and scripture shaping those things.

  • Herm

    “Desperate Immortal”, according to all the mechanics relative to salvation found in the four Gospels of the Christian Bible we each, of mankind, were saved to converse with God directly. Upon Jesus death, the curtain, barring the general public, before the Holy of Holies was torn open top to bottom. Prior to that moment, only the high priest, sitting on the Moses Seat of authority, could enter to converse with God via the Holy Spirit.

    The older I get, as a child of Man, I realize the fragility of my carnal mortality that is certain to cease. Having been graced, as has all of mankind, an awareness of God via their image of immortal spirit, along with an instinct to survive, I have sought to escape, be saved, the physical sentence of death.

    I can today testify, beyond a shadow of a doubt, being reborn in the Spirit a child of God is possible for all who choose to surrender their carnal ego and vanity to God’s tutelage and nurture, found only in relationship with and in God’s Spirit of truth forever. The only possible salvation for each of mankind is to die to valuing continued relationship in the physical and seek to live aware and influential solely in the eternal Spirit. Mankind can bear to understand this today under the direction of the Spirit of truth. They could not have 2,000 years ago.

    Children, of Man and/or God, can’t earn life when left to their own devices. Life is offered each by grace alone. Children live only when they are able to surrender to the nurture and will of their species’ adults. Many children lose life when they chose to follow destructive authority, rather than accepting the loving authority offered them. The Holy Spirit, no longer only found in the Holy of Holies, is now in the midst of each of Man offering life with and in God, who is spirit, not carnal.

  • Herm

    “The Bible narrative, under the sole tutelage of the Holy Spirit, counters the Bible narrative when under the sole tutelage of mankind’s spiritual leaders.”

    Amy, you are a source of inspiration and insight for all who you question or who read your feelings and thoughts. How do you rate your authority to do so? How do you rate my authority to do so?

    What makes you seek, who you accept as your “master” (an illiterate carpenter???), through the advice of another authority of mankind? Caiaphas was the accepted high authority on the facts of God. Would Jesus have known to begin his three year ministry in the wilderness without the “dove” who remained on (in) him?

  • Doug James

    nice write up!

    so are you posting the debate. i’m sure i’m not the only one that would like to see it.

  • Desperate Ambrose

    I agree, but I would take it one step further, to wit: The healing involved is not just of ourselves but of our relationship with God. Not real sure why it took the nickel so long to drop for me, but a lot of things seemed clearer when I realized that forgiveness is not the same thing as reconciliation. Forgiveness requires only one party, in this case God. Reconciliation, however, requires both of us.

  • Desperate Ambrose

    While I appreciate that you took the time to reply, I’m not sure I understand your point. To the extent that we have free will, yes, we do have a certain amount of power in our relationship with God. Read “The Grand Inquisitor” chapter of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Love cannot be compelled; so, if God wishes to have a loving relationship with us, He really has no choice but to allow Himself to be powerless before our freely-made choice.

  • Herm

    Oh, come on Keith, what is wrong and/or not in the Spirit of Jesus Christ in my reply to Sarah, that is “Pending” your approval? What is it that you censored as an untruth or more than mankind can in love bear to discuss?

  • Nimblewill

    I wanted to know and prayed for the truth regardless of the cost. I didn’t know what I was asking for. Giving up the traditional view of hell could cost you everything. So I keep it to myself mostly and haven’t taken the full jump because I might be asked to leave my church of almost 30 years. A lot of people wont’ talk to me any longer. I bet there are others in the pews like me but are also afraid of the cost.

  • Herm, I have to disagree on the ‘illiterate carpenter’ thing. He wasn’t illiterate 🙂

  • Herm

    Well, Tony, you will be denied my verbose reply, trapped in “Pending”. I hope my concluding paragraph will suffice.

    “Thanks for challenging me! In truth, it will not change a thing whether Jesus the Christ was literate or not on earth. He knows what he is talking about, much better than I.”

    Love you!

  • james warren

    The bitter irony is that most atheists are actually hard at work helping Jesus’ Kingdom of God be realized here on earth.

    The existence of hell is echoed in the physical punishment of Christian children.

  • Gary

    If there is no Hell, then it does not matter what anyone believes, or what anyone does. Then will leftists stop complaining about what others do or don’t do that leftists disagree with? No, they won’t.

  • Herm

    Gary, it matters that in everything we do to others as we would have others do to us.

  • Gary

    I want you to stay away from me, as I want to stay away from you.

  • Herm

    You show this “want” by coming, and commenting, to us? It is not what we say that matters, it is what we do. If you want us to stay away from you, then, by the Law and the Prophets, you must stay away from us.

  • Gary

    My intent was to show that, if there is no accountability for sin, then it makes no difference what one does. Or what one believes. One can be a murderer, a rapist, a Buddhist, an atheist, etc. with no eternal consequences. If there is no Hell.

  • Herm

    Gary, the accountability for sin is the natural result from transgressing the Law and Prophets.

    Can you empathize with our perfect Father in heaven, who loves his enemies? Can you then believe any of God sentencing others to eternal torture as they would have others suffer them to eternal torture? Can you empathize with (love) your enemy?

    According to Jesus, our Father’s will is that for others to live eternally they must in everything do (first) to (all) others as they would have (all) others do to them, in his example and our Father’s example. The opposite of to live (exist aware and influential with others) is to die (no longer aware or influential with others). Carnal earth is a living hell because of those of temporal mankind (graced the image of God) who cannot abide to live by the Law and the Prophets that God lives eternally by. Heaven is spirit, not carnal, and would be an eternal living hell if our Father allowed those who cannot abide by the Law and the Prophets to influence the awareness of all of God without end. The merciful solution is to allow those, not born again in the Spirit of truth, to die of natural carnal causes.

    John 3:5-15 (NIV2011)
    5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

    9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

    10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

    In reality, capital punishment is not a punishment, it is a permanent solution to finally end a destructive influence to mankind by death meted out by mankind.

  • Herm

    Tony, I have tried once more to explain. Keith clearly is not able to bear my vulnerable response to you. To those of Nazareth was Jesus perceived as literate as Caiaphas?

  • Gary

    John 3:16-18, 36. God will punish the wicked in a way that he considers to be fair. You and i are not the judge of what fair is. Universalism is not Biblical.

  • Herm

    Do you see “Universalism” in what I am sharing or what Jesus said?

    I am saying that the opposite of eternal life is merciful (because there is never again the burden of awareness or influence to be responsible for) final death, as judged by our Father and he with all authority on earth and in heaven. All that Jesus will judge by is found in the Gospels quoting the Christ.

    Eternal torture is never spoken of by the Messiah.

  • Herm

    Tony, as a long time friend, I ask you to share with me, here or in private, how you know that Jesus, the practiced carpenter turned Rabbi, was not illiterate as compared to Caiaphas, the high Sadducee priest, was considered literate? I’m sure that both of us know that Jesus is perfectly literate within our hearts and minds of spirit, as Caiaphas and his disciples were/are illiterate.

  • Gary

    The Bible does not confirm that the opposite of eternal life is “merciful final death”. That isn’t what damnation is.

  • Herm

    Oh, what is damnation? Where is damnation confirmed in the Bible as the opposite of eternal life?

    Here it seems to confirm that death (the dead) is the opposite of life (the living). It is true this is before Christ offered eternal life for all born again of the Spirit.

    Ecclesiastes 9:4-6 (NIV2011)
    4 Anyone who is among the living has hope—even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!
    5 For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. 6 Their love, their hate and their jealousy have long since vanished; never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun.

    Where, in the Bible, does Christ instruct his disciples about “damnation” or any form of eternal torture for the “condemned”?

  • DDRLSGC

    Oh Hell, who says that we Christians love hell. We were taught to fear it.

  • Herm

    Maybe, there’s a reason that to be a student of the Messiah, we must hate being a student (disciple) of any family of Man, very much including the the Judeo Christian family teaching the vengeance, wrath and hell of God, you think?

    Luke 14:25-27 NIV
    Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them he said: [26] “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. [27] And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

  • DDRLSGC

    And the point of your statement and the the passage from Luke?

  • Gary

    Luke 16.: 19-31.

  • Herm

    And who were you taught by to fear the vengeance, wrath and hell? Surely not the one Teacher serving the students of the Messiah, the one Instructor.

    Matthew 23:1-12 (NIV2011)
    1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.

    8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.
    11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

    When the greatest among (with and in) you is the Spirit of truth …

    John 14:15-17 (NIV2011)
    15 “If you love me, keep my commands. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

    … you will be led into all truth as you can bear …

    John 16:12-14 (NIV2011)
    12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.

    … such as …

    John 5:39-44 (NIV2011)
    39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

    … accepting glory from one another while not learning to be perfect in the example of the Father of all children of God …

    Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV2011)
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?
    48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    … but if you knew the Father in Jesus and Jesus in you, and you in Jesus, there is no fear …

    1 John 4:16-18 (NIV2011)
    16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

    Empathize with the Father of all of God while knowing that no perfectly loving parent would will to sacrifice their only begotten child for others, who out of wrath and vengeance they would watch suffer forever. Can you really conceive of such a divine parent condemning any ignorant other, on this earth, to a penalty of never ending torment? Would you do that to a dog or cat who bit you? Why would you expect God to do that to others of familial Man who were nurtured, intimidated and taught by Judaeo Christian teachers of the law and Pharisees, usurping authority in the name of Christ, to crusade against the enemies of the heavenly Father? Really, God is bigger than that. Those who are not living with and in the Spirit cannot exist forever living in their physical body. When their carnal body can no longer sustain their awareness and influence of others they are dead, knowing nothing, naturally condemned.

    Who is your teacher?

  • DDRLSGC

    Wrong, a lot of us were taught to fear Hell and that came from the religious leaders.

    “Empathize with the Father of all of God while knowing that no perfectly loving parent would will to sacrifice their only begotten child for others, who out of wrath and vengeance they would watch suffer forever. Can you really conceive of such a divine parent condemning any ignorant other, on this earth, to a penalty of never ending torment? Would you do that to a dog or cat who bit you? Why would you expect God to do that to others of familial Man who were nurtured, intimidated and taught by Judaeo Christian teachers of the law and Pharisees, usurping authority in the name of Christ, to crusade against the enemies of the heavenly Father? Really, God is bigger than that. Those who are not living with and in the Spirit cannot exist forever living in their physical body. When their carnal body can no longer sustain their awareness and influence of others they are dead, knowing nothing, naturally condemned.”

    You are not making any sense

    George Carlin thinks doesn’t care about the human race: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r-e2NDSTuE

  • Herm

    Gary, I have tried for the 100th + time to definitively share a brief reply on why the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man cannot be Jesus’ literal description, or even a glimpse, of any form of eternal torture for the “condemned”. I just am not up to the task. It might help you to know that those who “do not listen to Moses and the Prophets” (the Old Testament scriptures) are gentiles. If you are serious, an article at https://tentmaker.org/articles/Lazarus-byHuie.htm should make clear that Jesus was not speaking of a literal hell but a parable. In the parable the rich man did nothing more evil than accepting the good life he was born into. Lazarus did nothing good more than survive at the gate on what fell from the rich man’s plate. If either was condemned to trade conditions at death, it was certainly not done because either did to the other as they would have the other do to them, the sum of the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament scripture).

    No, Luke 16:19-31, except when taught from a Christian pulpit to a casual disciple, is not Christ instructing his disciples about “damnation” or any form of eternal torture for the “condemned”. Ask the Spirit of truth to teach your heart and mind of spirit to understand what I am sharing, or to definitively guide you to know why I am wrong. Without his leading solely according to the will of our heavenly Father you will not know the truth as you can bear. No institution of religion on earth, Christian or not, can substitute for learning or worship for Jesus church available only in the Spirit today.

    John 4:23, 24

  • JD

    Are you taught to fear hell for if you dont you’ll end up in hell?

  • JD

    If hell exists then the love of God fails.

  • DDRLSGC

    You have many wealthy Christians who believe that their sins will be forgiven no matter how terrible their crimes were against humanity. They don’t think that they will end up in hell at all. They have this belief that they were God chosen people.

  • Herm

    Keith, are you kidding?

  • Elephile

    Yes, and that applies to any variety of “hell”, whether eternal or temporary.
    Jesus never tortured anyone, he healed people without causing them any suffering or pain, and when we look at him, we see what God does.

  • DDRLSGC

    Nope, not kidding.

  • Elephile

    Making all alive is the ultimate healing, and until we are fully healed we are not free. When someone who was dead is given life, vitality, a sound mind, a healthy pain-free body, an empathic connection with others, taken out of a slime pit, given a warm bath, clean comfortable clothes, good food, and every other imaginable kindness, why would they choose to go back to the slime pit?

    And this is what will be done for the entire cosmos, from start to finish and in every place. That is the ALL that will be made alive in Christ.

  • Herm

    Not you I’m speaking to, unless you’re Keith Giles.

    I tried to reply in affirmation but my 2 hour effort was not allowed.

  • Elephile

    If you take the Bible seriously, you will find that there is plenty of evidence that Jesus was fully literate. For example, he read from the scroll of Isaiah in his local synagogue, he wrote on the ground, and his detractors said, “How come this man can read, having never learned?”

  • Elephile

    Just because a prophet said that while he was puzzling about God’s behavior, doesn’t mean that it’s true. It’s just a record of how he was feeling and how he was trying to work out what was going on.

  • Herm

    My relatively short referenced reply to you has gone to the “Pending” pile. Why? I don’t know. I take the Bible very seriously, but more so the Spirit of truth.

  • DDRLSGC

    The right wingers will always complain about what others do or don’t do that the right wingers disagree with and they will never stop.

  • Nimblewill

    We share sentiments. Thanks for clarifying that for us.

  • Kyllein MacKellerann “

    “Hell” is properly the abode of Hela, the Norse goddess of death. Christian Hell is the bludgeon used by the IBIP (Immature boys in power) to frighten people in to obedience. It’s a careful construct of every pain-producing sensation the IBIP can fantasize about. It also dares to negate the Christian God’s ability to reform and salvage. Ultimately, “Hell” is a blasphemy as it denies the supremacy of God and transfers it to a group of IMIP Priests and their cronies.

  • Elephile

    I understand you wanting to keep a low profile, but I suffered for years because no one told me that hell was a lie. In fact, for many years I was afraid to go to sleep at night in case I died and went to hell having not repented properly. If only someone would’ve told me early on the truth of the gospel, I would’ve been spared a lot of suffering, I would have been able to enjoy my youth, and I probably would have made different decisions for my life.

    There must be people like that out there, and that is why I will often post comments even when I don’t feel much like it because it seems futile.

    When I finally came to an understanding that the gospel truly was good news, and good news for all the cosmos, I spoke about it in the church that I had known for decades, and afterwards people I have known all those years came to me and said, “we agree with you, but we don’t say anything because we don’t want to be thrown out. How could you be so brave?” And yet, there was no negative reaction to what I said.

    However, when I went to a new church and joined a house group there, they did throw me out, and I felt isolated, but when I thought about it, I realized that if their acceptance depended on my concealing the very reason I had gone there in the first place, then it wasn’t with much. However, they were not my family, nor were they people that I had known for a long time.

  • Newton Finn

    THAT is perhaps the strongest argument FOR the existence of hell. But I remain unconvinced, even though I know that Jesus taught there were EXTREMELY serious consequences in store for those who lived their lives focused on greed and power.

  • DDRLSGC

    Many of these wealthy people probably don’t believe in hell anyway; otherwise, they wouldn’t be committing all these terrible crimes against humanity.

  • fractal

    A God who doesn’t smite?
    What fun is that?

  • fractal

    Which is why the Hindus think reincarnation is the answer.
    Takes time to evolve spiritually—more than one lifetime.

  • AntithiChrist

    It would have been nice if “God’s Word” were written in such a way that it wasn’t so open to so many different interpretations.

    That is, written clearly. Something we mostly all strive to do as humans, and something that an actual god should be able to accomplish. One would think.

    But we accept the biblical interpretations that resonate the most. Sometimes we even add in bits or ignore bits in order to reconcile the more whacky or malevolent aspects of our faith to reality. Or to basic human goodness.

    My mom, raised strict old-school Bible Belt Evangelical, eventually wound up denying hell, likely as a mental self-preservation strategy, after raising 3 great kids and 4 ok ones, when all but 1 turned out to be hell-bound non-believers. Go figure.

    So I get it. Lots of fan-fic needs to be dialed in sometimes, to make it all work.

    But boy, if only an omniscient and infinitely caring god could write its rules and wisdom down just a bit more clearly. Then we wouldn’t all be going around secretly thinking “OMG, what if my interpretation of Christianity is…wrong?

  • Newton Finn

    If any of them purport to believe in Jesus at all, it’s only as a ticket puncher who, in response to a mouthing of gratitude for the forgiveness of sins via his death, fixes it so that they will be in heaven in the future, as they are in the money now. Has there ever been a blasphemy more obscenely contrary to all that Jesus stood for than the so-called prosperity gospel?

  • DDRLSGC

    Remember the Calvinist religious belief that if you work hard and you were pre-determinate to be in God’s favor, you will be bless with being wealthy?