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Is Anyone Hellbound?
Townhall ^ | 10/03/2012 | Michael Brown

Posted on 10/03/2012 10:14:57 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

The new documentary Hellbound? has reignited discussion about the perennial topic of hell as well as revealed some very bizarre perspectives.

Kevin Miller, the film’s director, who identifies as a Christian, stated in an interview that, regarding the traditional view of hell as a place of fiery torment, “I don’t see anything in the Bible that would lead me to believe that such a place exists.” Instead, according to Miller, when Jesus talked about hell, he was talking about the here and now.

Really? Jesus didn’t warn about a place of judgment to come? And Director Miller gets his denial of hell from the Bible? Perhaps he is reading into the Scriptures what he would like them to say? Warnings like this from Jesus, spoken with rhetorical urgency, are hard to dismiss: “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)

Frank Schaeffer, son of the late and revered evangelical leader, philosopher Francis Schaeffer, appeared in the movie and is more aggressive in his dismissal of hell. He writes in his column in the Huffington Post, “People ‘defending’ God have completely screwed up America and our politics. And their version of ‘God’ f----d up the first half of my life too.”

He claims that, “Hell is irrelevant because of course there isn’t one. The movie is important though because it exposes a real question: how can we survive the God-nuts who take this stuff seriously? Hellbound? is our chance to get to know the enemies of what’s left of our crumbling ‘civilization.’”

So, those who believe in a place of future judgment are “the enemies of what’s left of our crumbling ‘civilization,’” by which he explicitly means America.

Schaeffer continues, “Talking about hell in and of itself is a waste of time because if there is a ‘God’ no one knows anything about him/her or it and they never will, let alone about what he/she or it will ‘do’ about the ‘lost.’ But there are people, lots of them, who think hell is real because it fits their kill-your-neighbor-if-he-looks-at-you-funny vision of ‘life.’”

Well, I just learned something new: If I believe that God will bring about justice in the world to come and settle wrongs at the time of resurrection, I believe this because it fits my “kill-my-neighbor-if-he-looks-at-my-funny vision of ‘life.’” Seriously?

But there’s more. For Schaeffer, America’s hawkish tendencies and aggressive foreign policy directly relate to our fundamentalist reading of the Bible: “Thank you St. John (or whomever) loon was the author of the ‘book’/acid-trip of Revelation, for giving us a deluded roadmap so that the Americans who can’t find France on a map can get their foreign ‘policy’ marching orders direct from a ‘prophet’ huddling in a cave alone with his odd brain 2000 years ago.”

Aside from the fact that it is sad to see someone like Frank Schaffer, who once held to evangelical Christian beliefs, then Greek Orthodox beliefs, turn into such a Bible mocker, it is more than a stretch – shall we call it a leap of incredulity? – to claim that America fought (or is fighting) wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other places, because of a literal belief in hell and the Scriptures.

Interestingly, a study “appearing in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS ONE, found that criminal activity is lower in societies where people’s religious beliefs contain a strong punitive component than in places where religious beliefs are more benevolent. A country where many more people believe in heaven than in hell, for example, is likely to have a much higher crime rate than one where these beliefs are about equal. The finding surfaced from a comprehensive analysis of 26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.”

According to Azim F. Shariff, professor of psychology and director of the Culture and Morality Lab at the University of Oregon, “The key finding is that, controlling for each other, a nation’s rate of belief in hell predicts lower crime rates, but the nation’s rate of belief in heaven predicts higher crime rates, and these are strong effects. . . . The finding is consistent with controlled research we’ve done in the lab, but here shows a powerful ‘real world’ effect on something that really affects people -- crime.”

Here in America, belief in hell remains prevalent, and a 2003 poll by George Barna indicated that 71% of the population “said that there is such a thing as Hell.” At the same time, “just one-half of 1% expect to go to Hell upon their death.” So, hell is real, but none of us are going there!

Putting aside our religious differences, perhaps the questions we need to ask ourselves are these: 1) Are there lasting consequences to our actions? 2) Will there be an ultimate judgment and final justice? 3) If so, how should we live today?

_____________________________

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire, and his latest book is The Real Kosher Jesus.


TOPICS: Theology
KEYWORDS: brown; heaven; hell; michaelbrown
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1 posted on 10/03/2012 10:15:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind
Dan 12:2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
2 posted on 10/03/2012 10:18:49 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: SeekAndFind
"Hell is hot. That's never been disputed." Photobucket
3 posted on 10/03/2012 10:19:48 AM PDT by RitchieAprile (my French needs no pardoning..)
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To: SeekAndFind

There is a Hell and it is for the unbelievers, but it isn’t an eternal torment. Revelation talks about the Great White Throne Judgement in chapter 20 and there you find the dead are taken from Hell judged according to their works and them and Hell are cast into the Lake of Fire and destroyed. The Second Death is the death or destruction of the soul.

Here is a good read on this:
http://www.jeremyandchristine.com/articles/eternal.php


4 posted on 10/03/2012 10:25:26 AM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: SeekAndFind
it is sad to see someone like Frank Schaffer, who once held to evangelical Christian beliefs, then Greek Orthodox beliefs, turn into such a Bible mocker

Judas is one of the most difficult persons to understand in the New Testament. I often wrestle with understanding his apparent transformation and sometimes doubt that a person that meets Jesus, lives with Jesus, spends three years with Jesus could ever be an enemy of Jesus.

Frank Schaffer exemplifies for me a modern day Judas. He apparently was exposed to scripture, Christian teachers and others who love the Lord. Yet, he rejects Jesus.

5 posted on 10/03/2012 10:30:08 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: SeekAndFind

Without at least the possibility of Hell and damnation, how can there be any ultimate justice?


6 posted on 10/03/2012 10:31:37 AM PDT by Argus
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To: SeekAndFind

This is all the more reason people need to hear the truth, not drivel and wishes like this guy is peddling.


7 posted on 10/03/2012 10:32:42 AM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I can neither confirm or deny that; even if I could, I couldn't - it's classified.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Hell in the scriptures
8 posted on 10/03/2012 10:34:27 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: SeekAndFind
So Hitler is in heaven with God?
9 posted on 10/03/2012 10:35:31 AM PDT by fungoking (Tis a pleasure to live in the Ozarks)
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To: SeekAndFind

There are actually a string of questions wrapped up in this.

To start with, Hell, or Heaven for that matter, are not seriously at issue as physical places, because spiritual beings without physical form do not need physical places, except when living vicariously through others who are still physical.

But Hell or Heaven can most certainly be spiritual places, with spiritual rules. One theological description of the difference being based on the presence or absence of God.

That is, Hell for a spirit is a place where they would be without a spiritual connection to God.

And this can also work as a definition of life on Earth, when it is either hellish or heavenly, because it can be a subjective state of being for a man. That is, two people could share circumstances, that for one of them is hellish, as they have no connection with God, yet for another it is heavenly, despite pain and torment, because their connection with God is more important than their Earthly discomforts.

There is no great dispute in this with a physical conception of Heaven or Hell, because the physical world is just a small subset of the spiritual world.


10 posted on 10/03/2012 10:39:10 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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To: SeekAndFind

“26 years of data involving 143,197 people in 67 countries.” That’s only a couple thousand people per country over 26 yrs...is that a very good number to use? Doesn’t sound like much to base this on.


11 posted on 10/03/2012 10:46:12 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: Argus

Perhaps there isn’t any ultimate justice. Would that really matter?


12 posted on 10/03/2012 10:48:07 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: SeekAndFind
I have been told on occasion that I am Hellbound, being that I'm not a Christian.

This would have more of an impact if I believed such a place existed, of course.

13 posted on 10/03/2012 10:52:27 AM PDT by Joseph Harrolds
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To: fungoking

RE: So Hitler is in heaven with God?

Those who don’t believe in Hell would claim that Hitler has been annihilated. HE NO LONGER EXISTS.


14 posted on 10/03/2012 10:53:23 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: stuartcr

An ecological fallacy (or ecological inference fallacy, also referred to as the fallacy of division[1][2][3][4][5]) is a logical fallacy in the interpretation of statistical data in an ecological study, whereby inferences about the nature of individuals are based solely upon aggregate statistics collected for the group to which those individuals belong. In epidemiology, the ecological fallacy is committed when a correlation observed at the population level is assumed to apply at the individual level.[6] This fallacy assumes that individual members of a group have the average characteristics of the group at large. However, statistics that accurately describe group characteristics do not necessarily apply to individuals within that group. For a mathematical explanation of this see how variability of individuals is much greater than the variability of their mean.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_fallacy


15 posted on 10/03/2012 10:54:46 AM PDT by Raycpa
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To: ScubieNuc

The lake of fire is where unbelievers will be, and yes, it is eternal.

“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire,” (Matt. 18:8).

“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46).

•”And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (2 Thess. 1:9).

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever,” (Rev. 20:10).


16 posted on 10/03/2012 10:56:17 AM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: SeekAndFind

I don’t believe in hell, but I think after we die, God isn’t really concerned with what we did here on earth for our 70 or 80 so years.


17 posted on 10/03/2012 11:29:21 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: stuartcr

If there’s no ultimate justice, what’s the argument against just doing whatever you can get away with in this life? You won’t need to answer for it to anybody.


18 posted on 10/03/2012 11:37:30 AM PDT by Argus
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To: Argus

Don’t people already do that? I think it has more to do with the person and how God created him, than the potential for punishment.

Would you go out and commit murder and rape if it wasn’t illegal?


19 posted on 10/03/2012 11:48:19 AM PDT by stuartcr ("When silence speaks, it speaks only to those that have already decided what they want to hear.")
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

I have felt for a long time that heaven was eternity in God’s presence and that hell was eternity separated from God. Descriptions of heaven and hell are by people who had no real frame of reference - as none of us would have - to put into words the wonder, or horror, of what God had revealed to them. They did their best using images from their experiences most closely related to their “revelations”. I believe that someday we will find out that they were true, as far as they went - heaven will be much better than described and hell will be much worse.

As for who goes to hell...I would say that those who actively separated themselves from God’s love in their life should expect to be likewise separated in the afterlife.


20 posted on 10/03/2012 11:51:30 AM PDT by Crusher138 ("Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just")
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy

Hell is the Detroit of the afterlife.


21 posted on 10/03/2012 11:53:23 AM PDT by Larry Lucido (Romney/Ryan 2012)
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To: SeekAndFind

I ain’t hell bound (it’s two words, I think), I’m already there!


22 posted on 10/03/2012 11:53:57 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Larry Lucido
Hell is the Detroit of the afterlife.

Actually it's about 50 miles west. And when a group of drunk fraternity boys arrived there to liberate the signs, we found they were securely arc welded on, LOL.

23 posted on 10/03/2012 11:58:20 AM PDT by nascarnation (Defeat Baraq 2012. Deport Baraq 2013)
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To: SeekAndFind

I knew, that, Dr Godwin or not, “Hitler” would come up.
Not Pol Pot, not Leon Trotsky, not Walter Ulbricht,
not Saint Patrice Lumuba, but the cliched monster Hitler.
Always Hitler! You’d think we worship him.


24 posted on 10/03/2012 11:59:19 AM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Argus

The argument for not doing just whatever you want and can get away with is that it is irrational. If you want to live the life proper to a human being then you don’t follow every whim and irrational goal that pops into your head or gives you momentary pleasure. You have to use reason to guide your actions and think long term. A rational person doesn’t need to be threatened with hell and damnation to do the right thing. Of course rationality is a choice and many do choose to be irrational. Religion in my opinion is one of the root causes of this because it preaches that man is evil by nature and his mind in not capable of a rational morality. The reason there is so much evil in the world is that people are not taught to think but to “feel” and no one can deny that subjectivism in all its forms is the ruling philosophy today.


25 posted on 10/03/2012 12:06:10 PM PDT by albionin
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To: albionin

Sorry, no.

You can talk to people who have done some of the worst atrocities in history and they will tell you that they thought they were doing “good”. Human rationality is subjective.


26 posted on 10/03/2012 12:13:24 PM PDT by Crusher138 ("Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just")
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To: Revolting cat!

Walter Ulbricht

Theres a name we haven’t heard in a while. I thought those
glasses he wore made him look sinister x 2.


27 posted on 10/03/2012 12:13:24 PM PDT by RitchieAprile (Bipolar and loving/hating it..)
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To: RitchieAprile

Retired comfortably in South America, if i remember correctly.


28 posted on 10/03/2012 12:14:08 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: SeekAndFind
The ‘hell’ that destroys the ‘soul’ has yet to be ‘created’. All souls the good and the bad return to the Maker that sent them. Only that first rebel and a numbered of his ‘prophets’ also called the fallen angels or sons of God have been judged to be destroyed from within. Who ends up choosing that trip to being destroyed forever is between them and the Creator. (liberals are ‘pro’choice) No I am not judging liberals to hell but hell is a choice made freely with full knowledge.

The parable of the ‘rich’ man, who became ‘rich’ with lying, cheating, and any and all other nefarious methodologies waits across the gulf from Lazarus in Abraham's bosom.

29 posted on 10/03/2012 12:15:04 PM PDT by Just mythoughts (Please help Todd Akin defeat Claire and the GOP-e send money!!!!!)
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To: Revolting cat!

That was his successor the late Erich Honecker..

Ulbricht joke:

In 1939, a man is arrested in Berlin for shouting “Hitler is a fool”. He is sentenced to one year in prison. In 1949, the same man is arrested for shouting “Ulbricht is a fool”. He is sentenced to ten years. He says: “Under Hitler, I only got one year. It’s not fair.” The Stasi officer answers: “Well, you only got one year for insulting Ulbricht. The other nine are for talking about a state secret in public.”


30 posted on 10/03/2012 12:20:18 PM PDT by RitchieAprile (Bipolar and loving/hating it..)
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To: RitchieAprile

Good one. Sorry about the misinformation. Ulbricht croaked much earlier.


31 posted on 10/03/2012 12:22:45 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Crusher138

An interesting take on things is found in the Jewish Kabbalah, and their take on the creation myth (in the good sense of the word.)

They believe that God created the universe to discover if there was anything “not God”. To do so, God contracted from a vast, empty space, into which He injected a single particle, which was to endlessly replicate itself, becoming the physical universe. Once completed, the universe would reflect the image of God like a mirror, so God could see if there was anything “not God”. Having done so, the universe would cease to exist and again become part of God.

But inherent in this idea is that the universe exists within this contraction, this “absence of God”, so adding this to what I posted before would make physical reality, the universe, Hell. But this Hell is still inside the spiritual realm of God, and God may reach inside it to touch man, and man may beckon God to do so.

If man does not, he is in Hell. And if man beckons God, and God responds, then only man’s physicality is trapped in Hell. His spirit and soul may transcend the limitations of the flesh.


32 posted on 10/03/2012 12:24:29 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
RE: They believe that God created the universe to discover if there was anything “not God”.

So, the Jewish Kabbalah apparently believes in a God whose knowledge is LIMITED. In other words -- NOT OMNISCIENT.
33 posted on 10/03/2012 12:33:21 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: SeekAndFind
G.K. Chesterton on Hell

Hell is God's great compliment to the reality of human freedom and the dignity of human choice.

This so short but deep thoughts.

34 posted on 10/03/2012 12:35:21 PM PDT by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: Revolting cat!

no one ever throws the milkman or local grocer into that group either


35 posted on 10/03/2012 12:45:49 PM PDT by InvisibleChurch (the mature Christian is almost impossible to offend)
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To: SeekAndFind

My personal belief about hell, is that if you go to hell you get to be your own god.

In your little hell, you’re the god of your own kingdom. Whatever you knew on earth, are the limits of all the knowledge exists in your kingdom. Anything you found pleasure in on earth, are the limits of the possible pleasure that can exist in your kingdom. You also carry with you any thing that ever caused you pain.

Because you saw yourself as your own god, God gives you exactly what you want, the place where you can be your own god. Everyday is the same, everyday your pleasures are the same, everyday your pain is the same.

You can create a sunset in your kingdom, but there’s no one to turn to and say “what a beautiful sunset”. You may have a beautiful wife, but she herself has decided whether her heaven is with the God of all, or, if she has decided to be her own goddess, God grants her wish, she has her own little kingdom all on her own. Two “gods” can’t share a reality and still be gods, one would have to give in, and you can’t change a vote you already cast for all of the eternity. And sooner or later, being alone with yourself and the limitations of yourself, becomes Hell.

Hell was really never a punishment. It’s simply ask, and you shall receive. Once the person in “hell” recognizes that, there is a judgement, but it is they who judge themselves, now knowing that they have cut themselves off, and that this was an eternal decision, the same power that they had as a “god” to experience pleasure in their little kingdom, through conviction no longer produces pleasure, but pain... being a “god”, the power to create the kingdom you wish, through conviction of your own guilt, produces the hell you fear. And then, the flames begin.

If God judges, we really have nothing to fear, if we know we have our advocate in Jesus Christ. Rather, be fearful of becoming your own god, and being your own judge, because all the mercy and love that we know is what God gave us, and without God we will have no mercy on ourselves.

Just me, my humble O.


36 posted on 10/03/2012 12:47:13 PM PDT by Tuanedge (Warriors victorious in a hundred battles, flee when a tiger enters their tent.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Hell is other people - Sartre.


37 posted on 10/03/2012 12:48:22 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: Revolting cat!

RE: Hell is other people - Sartre.

In which case, the Christian heaven would be hell to Sartre.


38 posted on 10/03/2012 12:53:23 PM PDT by SeekAndFind (bOTRT)
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To: DannyTN

“and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.”

I read a book/article that said EVERYONE would be in the presence of God. It was very serious, and lots of verses, etc. He talked about how God is omnipresent, etc. But that those who do not believe, etc. would not like being in the presence of God. (See the Old Test. on looking at God and being destroyed, consumed or whatever).

With God’s energy being the everlasting fire, etc. Interesting take on it. If Hell for a Christian is separation from God, then Hell for a non-Christian would be having to spend eternity with God. And not being forgiven, having all of those old wounds, past sins, etc. exposed to yourself and gnawing at you every minute forever and ever. “everlasting shame and contempt”.


39 posted on 10/03/2012 12:55:44 PM PDT by 21twelve (So I [God] gave them over to their stubborn hearts to follow their own devices. Psalm 81:12)
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To: SeekAndFind

The descriptions of hell that I read, here and elsewhere, are always descriptions of life here in paradise, that only the luckiest among us have been able to avoid. Maybe it is they who write these descriptions, while others live them.

On the other hand heaven sounds, can’t avoid saying, dull and boring, and unspecific. What really happens there? What kind of hierarchy is there. If some human requests are granted and verifiable miracles happen on earth (as Catholics believe, and the Church experts verify or not), then how are decisions made up there what requests to grant what to reject, and what powers decide these things. I am interested in very practical details not some fairy tales.


40 posted on 10/03/2012 1:02:03 PM PDT by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong!)
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To: CatherineofAragon
“And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire,” (Matt. 18:8).

The fire burns eternally. It doesn't say that you will be tortured by fire eternally.

“And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matt. 25:46).

The second death or the cessation of your soul will last forever. Notice, again, the punishment has eternal consequences, but it doesn't say that the person will be in eternal torment. There is a difference.

”And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” (2 Thess. 1:9).

This verse very clearly says eternal destruction. That just confirms that the destruction of the unbelievers soul will be destroyed forever. Hense the second death.

“And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever,” (Rev. 20:10).

Context and order are important in understanding this verse. First the context is that the devil, the anti-christ and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire before the dead are judged. The context of this verse does say that those specific three entities will be tormented forever, but it says nothing about the dead unbelievers in Hell. That is covered in the proceding verses.

Why are these three tormented forever and no one else? I don't know. I just read what is written and believe what is clearly stated and I don't see clear evidence that unbelievers will be tormented forever.

Here are the main things that got me to thinking deeper on this subject. One, the mention of the second death. Think about what death is. It's the end of existance at some level. The first death being the end of our physical body. The Second death being the end of our spirit or our soul.

Next, juxtapose that against what the reward for believers is...eternal life. For a person to get eternal life they have to "put on Christ's" righteousness. In other words, we aren't born with imortality or the ability to live forever.

1Cor. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality.

If a person is to be tortured forever, they would have to be alive in some form forever. As the above verse confirms we are mortal to begin with and therefore can not in any way on our own live forever. The ONLY way to immortality is through faith in Jesus.
41 posted on 10/03/2012 1:14:09 PM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: SeekAndFind

**Is Anyone Hellbound?**

Yes


42 posted on 10/03/2012 1:14:50 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: ScubieNuc

Look, I’m sorry, but the Scriptures are as plain as can be, yet you’re denying what they say. Eternal torment isn’t a pleasant thing to contemplate, that’s true, but it’s a fact, no matter how you try to twist and turn to get round it. We can be thankful it isn’t God’s will for us, and that He provided a way to salvation in Jesus Christ.

With all due respect, I’m not going to argue Scriptural fact with you when you clearly don’t want to accept it. God bless.


43 posted on 10/03/2012 1:24:23 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: SeekAndFind
 
Jesus Speaks About Hell
Pastor’s Column
26th Sunday Ordinary Time
September 30, 2012
 
“Better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.”
                                                            From Mark 9:38-48
 
          This Sunday’s gospel features one of Jesus’ many teachings about hell. It’s hard to duck this issue when Jesus brings it up so often, though I don’t like to talk or write about it! Suffice it to say that for most Christians, the doctrine of Hell is among the least popular subjects, isn’t it? So let’s face it head on and look into this a bit.
 
          Jesus actually speaks quite frequently about hell, and often uses the metaphor of “Gehenna” when describing it, but since we are far removed from his time we need a little help to understand this image. Gehenna was a real valley near the Temple Mount. Here went all the leftovers from the innumerable animal sacrifices of the Jewish temple. The Jews had built an elaborate pipe system that dumped the left-over blood and guts to the Valley of Gehenna to be burned. This was an ugly place of foul odors and continuous fires… a location one would strive to avoid at all costs. This is the image Jesus uses in conveying what hell is like.
 
          The gist of Jesus’ teaching is that nothing is more important than getting to heaven. Better to lose an eye or a foot or a hand, or anything else, so long as we don’t lose heaven! Why do we believe in hell? Because Jesus taught it over and over! In fact, he speaks about hell more than heaven (I once had jet lag on a trip and counted all the citations in the gospels because I couldn’t sleep). If we believe in heaven, we must believe in hell! But what is hell, anyway?
 
          Hell is the absence of God. A soul that habitually lives in mortal sin or that consistently chooses to exclude and hate God from its life has already begun to live in hell. Of course, many situations on earth are more like hell than heaven (think Sept 11), but hell is not just eternal suffering: it is the eternal loss of God. People sometimes will say that a good God could not send anyone to hell—and he doesn’t! The amazing thing is that people can send themselves there when they reject God at the end of their lives.
 
          How does a soul get to hell? Does God send them there? No, the soul decides this by the choices it makes and the life it leads. Faith, as expressed by our life and acts of repentance, leads to heaven while a life in which a person habitually says “no” to God can lead to that final “no” at the end that excludes God forever. This is not what the Lord wants! He died for us that all might live with him forever! But he also made us free beings: as long as we are on earth, we have the free will to choose or reject God. Otherwise, we would be like a plant or a lower animal—with no real moral choice or conscience. He wants all to be saved but we do have a choice in the matter. Such is the essence of life: we are here to choose heaven or hell, and also our rank in heaven! Remember how Jesus also encourages us in this Sunday’s gospel that anyone who gives even a small cup of water to one of his little ones will not be without a reward! 
 
          It is hard to grasp why anyone would choose hell instead of heaven at the end of their lives, but if we remember that heaven is moving in with God, moving completely into the light, choosing only goodness, then it may make more sense that a person who has lived their life in darkness and evil may find such a destiny repulsive and turn away.
 
          Therefore, if a person spent their life in a cave, living in darkness (which means a life of habitual mortal sin, which cuts us off from God), then at death, how painful it would be to move into God’s presence, who is all light! One can imagine the person moving further and further away from the light until their eyes could get adjusted to the brightness of the real world of goodness. If they move back only so far, this would be purgatory, a scripturally-based place where we allow our spiritual eyes to get used to the light of heaven. But some people find God’s light (which illuminates all the unrepentant sins a person has) so painful that they keep on moving away from the light until they reach hell. In other words, they want to be as far away from God (and his goodness and light) as possible, and this is the terrible risk of living in darkness, that we might choose this instead of heaven at the last moment of our lives!
 
          Who is in hell? The church gives us few details about this: she has never ruled that anyone in particular is there, although we know certainly that the devil and his angels are there: it is their home, which they themselves created through their absolute rejection of God. Many mystics, such as the children of Fatima and St. Faustina, have seen heaven and hell and have testified to its existence, but we are also not called to dwell on numbers or particulars. Instead, we are called to live lives of hope and confidence in God who longs to save us!
 
          How do we avoid hell? It is very easy: we are to believe in the name of Jesus and to repent of anything that can come between us and him. This is a life-long process. Our faith is renewed day by day and so is our need to repent. Our weaknesses and sins are no obstacle for Jesus, who is attracted to them, so long as we wish to keep trying and to repent (and go to confession as needed) on a regular basis.
 
          In order to have a real choice as to whether or not to enter heaven, we have to be free to say “no” to God as well. This is not God’s will for us, of course, but the whole point of life is to give us a chance to make a free-choice of faith for God by our words and deeds. Every moment in life is deep with meaning.

44 posted on 10/03/2012 1:34:57 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Revolting cat!
"On the other hand heaven sounds, can’t avoid saying, dull and boring, and unspecific. What really happens there?"

There's a book called Heaven by Randy Alcorn. The author says that heaven really doesn't sound exciting when you think that it consists of sitting around on clouds playing harps. He believes pastors/priests should teach about heaven as much as hell so that people could actually be excited about what's to come.

He makes the point that where we go when we die isn't where we will spend eternity. Yes, we'll be with God forever, but as described in Revelation, His presence will dwell in the New Jerusalem, which will be on the new earth, remade after Christ's return to be even more perfect and beautiful than Eden. That's where we'll be.....home, only unimaginably better. It's a fantastic read.

45 posted on 10/03/2012 1:36:58 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: SeekAndFind

Any so-called Christian, who does not believe in hell, may as well look into the eyes of Jesus and call him a fool. That is why, IMHO, these faux Cristians are no such thing.

To be a Christian one must beleive that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he died for our sins so that the gates of heaven would be opened for us. That is why he is called the Savior or the Redeemer.

So Christians who do not believe in hell are calling Jesus a fool, and my opinion is that they are the foolish ones.


46 posted on 10/03/2012 1:43:41 PM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: CatherineofAragon

Yes the Scriptures are plain and the plain explanation is Hell is not eternal and unbelievers aren’t tormented forever. Now that’s not saying that there isn’t any torment in Hell right now for the unbelievers. Of course there is. But as Scripture in Revelation 20 shows us, there is an end to death and Hell and unbelievers. If you have any Scriptural fact to deconstruct my points, I’d love to see them, but to date, I have not seen any, even from my own Pastor.

(By the way, as a Christian, it is your responcibility to present to me, a fellow Christian, Biblical facts that back up your disagreement. If I was a non-believer rejecting Scripture, then yes, wipe your sandals and leave, but that’s not the case.)

I realize this is a hard thing for some people to honestly analyze because good Christian churches and good Christian pastors have been simply passing on what they were told and refuse to look at this doctrine fully and honestly. I think one of the things that prevent pastors from preaching the truth of this is that so many Christians are uneducated on the whole of the Bible and would flee any church that preached this. Hense many pastors just don’t talk about Hell very much or in any detail.

I don’t expect you to admit to me on line that you agree with me, but I highly encourage you to go to the link I posted and read it all the way through. It does a very good and honest job of looking at the topic of Hell.


47 posted on 10/03/2012 1:51:11 PM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: ScubieNuc
"By the way, as a Christian, it is your responcibility to present to me, a fellow Christian, Biblical facts that back up your disagreement. If I was a non-believer rejecting Scripture, then yes, wipe your sandals and leave, but that’s not the case.)"

I presented Scripture to you. Plain, undeniable Scripture. If that isn't Biblical fact to you, what would be? And I'm not really wiping my sandals; I don't hold any animosity or ill will toward you at all. But there's no point in arguing what's in black and white. All we can do is go around and around...yes it is, no it isn't.

"I don’t expect you to admit to me on line that you agree with me, but I highly encourage you to go to the link I posted and read it all the way through. It does a very good and honest job of looking at the topic of Hell."

With all due respect, your link doesn't trump the Bible, which tells us clearly, and repeatedly, that the torment of the damned is eternal. We should put our faith in the word of God, not the mental gymnastics of fallible human beings.

48 posted on 10/03/2012 2:17:25 PM PDT by CatherineofAragon (Don't be afraid to see what you see. (Ronald Reagan))
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To: CatherineofAragon

First, I don’t think you are holding any animosity toward me.

Second, I responded to every verse you posted, with accurate analysis of each verse. If you disagree with the analysis, I would be happy to see it, but the verses you posted showed that facts support destruction of the soul and not an eternal torment of the soul.

Third, I never said my link trumps the Bible. If you read the link it studies what the Bible says about Hell and eternity. I agree with you that we should study the Bible and put our faith in what is clearly stated, but as I have been saying, what is clearly stated doesn’t fit the idea of an eternal torment. That doctrine does require mental gymnastics, specifically in the area of immortality.


49 posted on 10/03/2012 2:29:32 PM PDT by ScubieNuc (When there is no justice in the laws, justice is left to the outlaws.)
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To: SeekAndFind

That’s a false paradox, like “Can God create an object so large that God cannot move it.”

In this case, God is a true singularity. There is nothing else to compare God to in any way. This is why God has no name. Names exist only in relation to other things with names. So when asked for His name, His reply is “I am”.

So also, God cannot tell what is God and what is not God without the help of a “mirror”, as it were. The mirror, our universe, exists as a construct outside of, but within God by design.


50 posted on 10/03/2012 2:56:45 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy (DIY Bumper Sticker: "THREE TIMES,/ DEMOCRATS/ REJECTED GOD")
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