The Harrowing of Hell House

The Harrowing of Hell House October 12, 2014

Fred Clark has come up with a response to the phenomenon of conservative Christian “hell houses” for Halloween. His post literally made me laugh out loud. Here’s how it starts:

Hell Houses are an irredeemably bad idea — a combination of the very worst forms of evangelism with the very worst forms of community theater. The only thing worse than their warped soteriology and eschatology is their stunted, politicized, culturally shaped notion of what constitutes human sin. Or maybe the writing and acting.

They’re so very awful — and, ultimately, cruel — that some might be tempted to respond by, perhaps, Creating a Scene.

Disclaimer: I do not, of course, advocate interrupting, disrupting or otherwise interfering with any actual Hell House production. That would be uncivil and even, potentially, a misdemeanor. So the following suggestions are just a joke. No one should actually do any of these. Certainly, definitely, absolutely, probably not.

Option No. 1: If not for you meddling kids.

Cast size: 4

Props required: purple dress, bulky rust-colored turtleneck, large-framed eyeglasses, chartreuse V-neck, cravat. (Optional: Groovy van, Great Dane).

Attend Hell House event dressed as Velma Dinkley, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, Fred Jones, and Daphne Blake.

When the first demonic characters appear, Velma loses her glasses and stumbles, blindly into the performance space. After she blunders into the “demons,” Fred and Daphne step forward to unmask them, after which Shaggy says, “Zoinks! It’s the youth pastor!”

Click through to read his other suggestions. And don’t stop before you reach the bit of “Jesus as the Terminator” suggested dialogue.

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  • Jonathan Bernier

    Certain evangelical antics border on psychological abuse. Hell houses are a prime example.

  • I just discovered hell houses through this post. I’m truly horrified by their wretched theology.

    These Conservative Evangelicals worship an evil demon they call God.

    He CURSED people with a sinful nature in the first place and will eternally torture them for misdeeds they were BOUND to commit.

    Never mind the fact that the concept of sinful nature can’t be found within the Bible

    concept of sinful nature can’t be found within the Bible

    Never mind that the concept of everlasting torment is at odds with or unsupported by almost all Biblical texts

    Any human acting like the Conservative Evangelical god would be seen as a psychopathic monster.

    I am also appalled by their focusing on sexual immorality and drugs while ignoring sins related to social justice and lack of charity.

    Let’s consider one of their favorite passage for arguing for endless torments:

    “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he
    will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered
    before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a
    shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are
    blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for
    you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me
    something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I
    was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you
    clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you
    came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord,
    when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you
    something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
    or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in
    prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you
    did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry
    or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and
    did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    In other words, NON-believers practicing charity are worthy of heaven whereas BELIEVERS failing to do it are worthy of hell, meaning irremediable destruction:

    This passage does NOT teach that all people dying as non-believers will be eternally tortured. Quite the contrary. It teaches salvation by work , a doctrine Conservative Protestants passionately detest.

    I am extremely confident that many loving and humble people DYING AS
    ATHEISTS will be in heaven where they will gladly accept to worship the
    good God they did not believe in after having repented for their trespasses.
    It would not shock me if many religious self-righteous bigots won’t inherit eternal life and will end up being no more i.e. returning to dust.