Matthew

Anyone else that just doesn't know?

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But he didn't really sacrifice his son now did he? I mean, Jesus basically became a celebrity, was killed (Once). And then brought back to life to serve next to his father in heaven forever more. It wasn't a sacrifice so much as a task.

And what sins have I committed that make me deserve hell? I am human so I am imperfect, on that I can agree with you. However I don't think that I have done anything so bad that I deserve to burn for eternity when I die. Unless stealing 3 dollars from a fundraiser for my own benefit, 3 dollars which I and a friend used to buy bouncy balls and then each gave back 5 in apology counts.

Finally, he's not very loving anyways if he lets people burn because he was late in translating things for them. Or simply because he refuses to reveal himself again after having his people burn and pillage their way through the ancient Middle East, torching any and all who stood in their way. Is he ashamed of us? His own creations? And if so, then why would he appear so often in the past only to disappear now? Returning to my original point, if I'm some tribesman from some random island in the middle of nowhere. I would really hate to find out that because Christianity never came to the island, I am now doomed to burn in hell. Hell, if I was Lucifer I'd recruit all these people to my cause and use them to overthrow God for this injustice.

My thoughts exactly

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But he didn't really sacrifice his son now did he? I mean, Jesus basically became a celebrity, was killed (Once). And then brought back to life to serve next to his father in heaven forever more. It wasn't a sacrifice so much as a task.

 

Being tortured to death is still a pretty big sacrifice, even if you know you're going to be okay in the end. It's gotta hurt...

 

 

 

Returning to my original point, if I'm some tribesman from some random island in the middle of nowhere. I would really hate to find out that because Christianity never came to the island, I am now doomed to burn in hell. Hell, if I was Lucifer I'd recruit all these people to my cause and use them to overthrow God for this injustice.

 

Actually, that wouldn't mean you were going to Hell. The Catholic Church has always recognised that if you never had the opportunity to learn about God, then He's not going to blame you for it. You'd still go to Heaven if you lived a good life.

 

xxx

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Actually, that wouldn't mean you were going to Hell. The Catholic Church has always recognised that if you never had the opportunity to learn about God, then He's not going to blame you for it. You'd still go to Heaven if you lived a good life.

 

Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of evangelism? If never hearing the Gospel and living a good life guarantee entrance into Heaven wouldn't the most effective evangelistic strategy be silence? If there were a village full of people that had never heard of Jesus but were generally good people, I wouldn't want to share the Gospel with them and give them the chance to go to hell.

 

Mirage touched on several of the "heavy" things I talked about. I guess I might as well go ahead and post the reply I typed up but didn't post, at least temporarily.

 

@Vince- Yes, if the only other option is eternal Hell, I would rather he force me to believe in him...or rather that he reveal himself literally. I don't understand how unconditional love can send the object of that love to eternal suffering. Say Bob is an atheist. He has had very little reason if any in his lifetime to believe in the existence of any higher power, much less in the Christian God. He  lives a pretty decent life and dies and goes to Hell for eternity. This Hell was created by God. Bob was created by God. The very specific path of salvation was chosen arbitrarily by God. God in his omniscience knew Bob would never have any reason to believe in him and accept this path of salvation and yet he created him anyway, only for him to suffer endlessly. Where is the love in that? Jesus had to suffer for a day (whether or not he spent three days in Hell after dying is debated; it would make sense but still, it's just three days) to pay for every sin that's been committed by every person that's ever lived. That includes each case of the sin of unbelief (the one sin that is blamed for sending people to Hell). So why is it that if someone doesn't accept this sacrifice, in order to pay for their sin on their own they have to spend an eternity being sacrificed (but never actually being sacrificed since they never really die)?

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Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of evangelism? If never hearing the Gospel and living a good life guarantee entrance into Heaven wouldn't the most effective evangelistic strategy be silence? If there were a village full of people that had never heard of Jesus but were generally good people, I wouldn't want to share the Gospel with them and give them the chance to go to hell.

 

The primary purpose of our life is not just to 'not sin', so we don't offend God. The primary purpose of our life is to know and love God. Remember what Christ did for us. He chose to die for us to forgive our sins, and so that we might have eternal life with Him. That's how much God loves us. He loved us enough to suffer and die for us, so the least we can do is spread His message to the world, so that everyone will have the chance to know Him. Besides, every human person has a desire to know the truth about  the meaning of life, and where we came from, and we should share that knowledge.

 

Also remember that God commanded us to spread the Good News. He wants us to know Him.

 

xxx

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@Vince- Yes, if the only other option is eternal Hell, I would rather he force me to believe in him...or rather that he reveal himself literally.

 

I know you are talking about this part with Vince but I have some thoughts on the subject :)

 

I don't understand how unconditional love can send the object of that love to eternal suffering. 

 

God never intended hell to be for human beings. He made it for the devil and his followers (other demons). Man, in his free will, is the one that makes the decision where he is going. God has done everything possible to save us from that place. He doesn't want ANYONE to go to hell. So, actually, it’s you and I who decide where we’re going. If a person chooses to reject God and not follow His rules, how can he be allowed in Heaven? When you have your own home you have rules that people who come in must follow. Would you allow someone inside your home who rejects you, rebels against everything you've said, and disregards and disrespects your rules? Would you allow a thief or someone of questionable behavior to come in? I’m pretty sure you’d not let these people into your home or near your family. Similar thing with God.

 

God in his omniscience knew Bob would never have any reason to believe in him and accept this path of salvation and yet he created him anyway, only for him to suffer endlessly. Where is the love in that? Jesus had to suffer for a day (whether or not he spent three days in Hell after dying is debated; it would make sense but still, it's just three days) to pay for every sin that's been committed by every person that's ever lived.

 

Everyone has a purpose in life, even those who may never accept God. Many such people have made great advancements in science, medicine, etc. and many have helped a lot of people. God has given gifts to everyone because all of us are created in His image. He allows everyone to be born so they can decide what path they want to take.

 

Here is more on the subject from http://carm.org/questions/about-doctrine/

 

“First of all, when God made Adam, He made him good.  Adam had the freedom to choose to obey or disobey God.  Adam is the one who rebelled.  God did not make him rebel and God is not responsible for Adam's rebellion.  It would be like a parent having a child knowing that the child would eventually disobey the parent.  Does this mean that the parent is responsible for the child's rebellion when it occurs because the parent knew it would happen?  Of course not.  Furthermore, if the parent has more children, does he/she not know that some children may very well turn out good and others bad?  Should the parents then not have children because some of them might turn out bad? 

 

The skeptic might say, "But God knows for a fact who will be bad and good.  Why allow the people going to hell to be born in the first place?"  But, if this is the case and if God arranged it that no "bad" people were born, then we would all go to hell.  You see, Jesus is the only way to be forgiven of our sins.  His sacrifice on the cross was necessary in order to make it possible for us to be saved because everyone, "good" and "bad" has sinned.  If there were no "bad" people born, then there wouldn't be any "bad" people around who would have sent Jesus to the cross.  If that never happened, then we wouldn't be saved from our sins because Jesus would never have been unjustly condemned and His sacrifice would never have happened.

 

Second, if someone says that it is wrong for God to allow someone to be born and who will go to hell, then would he rather have God remove our freedom to rebel against Him so that no one can be blamed for sin?  If the critic says he only wants those people born who go to heaven, then how are they truly free and how would that fulfill the ultimate plan of God to sacrifice His Son for the redemption of mankind?†

 

That includes each case of the sin of unbelief (the one sin that is blamed for sending people to Hell). 

 

Not sure what you meant? 

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The primary purpose of our life is not just to 'not sin', so we don't offend God. The primary purpose of our life is to know and love God. Remember what Christ did for us. He chose to die for us to forgive our sins, and so that we might have eternal life with Him. That's how much God loves us. He loved us enough to suffer and die for us, so the least we can do is spread His message to the world, so that everyone will have the chance to know Him. Besides, every human person has a desire to know the truth about  the meaning of life, and where we came from, and we should share that knowledge.

 

Also remember that God commanded us to spread the Good News. He wants us to know Him.

 

xxx

 

But if they're going to know him/love him/praise him in for an eternity anyway, what do a few years on earth matter?

 

@Sarita- I see your points, but from a perspective of doubt/unbelief that plan (God's plan) just seems too imperfect, unnecessary and even cruel to be the plan of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God. I might understand someone going to hell if God were proven to exist, the Bible were proven to be true, and he/she were convinced of this and still rejected it. But still, hell for eternity? Also, why is there no evil in Heaven? What changes? Is free will gone? Was sin somehow connected to the physical world or the devil? Or is it simply because everyone there has chosen to be there and God has somehow removed the  ability to sin?

 

Not sure what you meant? 

 

Well that's what the denomination I was raised in believes. Since the only way to Heaven is to accept Christ as Savior, the only way not to go to Heaven is to not accept him. So the "sin of unbelief" is essentially the only reason people go to Hell.

 

Anyway, sorry for continuing a debate that's gone on for centuries. I should probably just shut up and go do more research/study, but hopefully you guys enjoy a debate :)

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There are just so many forms of religion all over the world. With slightly different rules and views, etc. But at their core they are all pretty much the same. So how can we ever know what the line is? Lets say for instance someone lives a good life and is generally a good person, and even believes in God and Jesus. Yet, about 10% of their brain questions whether it's all real. Then what happens? They have clearly tried to choose the right path and believe fully. Maybe they have even prayed about it. What happens when they die?

 

I don't believe someone like that, who had some doubts, would go to Hell. I don't even know if I believe anyone goes to Hell. Maybe if there truly is "evil" and a human's spirit actually encompasses "evil." Maybe that spirit will go to Hell. But that is for God to decide. It's not for me to try and figure that out here on earth. And I don't think God needs us to figure that out either. Maybe that makes me not a fully practicing/believing Catholic, I don't know.

 

I do believe that there are some things us as humans will never completely understand. And I guess you could say I have faith that at the end of the world, most everyone will have learned what they needed to during their lives and will be okay and go back to a Heaven of some kind. Whether everyone is going to the same place, I don't know. But I believe God and/or whatever created everything is benevolent, good and forgiving. There are so many stories about forgiveness in the Bible, I can't see making a mistake on a few details of belief being something to be condemned for. Maybe that is a naive or an overly positive view, but that's what I believe.

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But if they're going to know him/love him/praise him in for an eternity anyway, what do a few years on earth matter?

 

Well, obviously it matters to God, or He wouldn't have wanted us to spread the Good News. Knowing God is also going to make your life a lot happier, too. We were made by God and for God, and I believe that every single person has a longing for God in their heart. For me at least, I can't imagine my life without God being in it.

 

xxx

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@Sarita- I see your points, but from a perspective of doubt/unbelief that plan (God's plan) just seems too imperfect, unnecessary and even cruel to be the plan of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God.

 

His original plan was not this. Because of man’s sin, his close communion with God was broken and so the plan changed. Also, some things we may never understand because we think differently from God.

 

I might understand someone going to hell if God were proven to exist, the Bible were proven to be true, and he/she were convinced of this and still rejected it. But still, hell for eternity? Also, why is there no evil in Heaven? What changes? Is free will gone? Was sin somehow connected to the physical world or the devil? Or is it simply because everyone there has chosen to be there and God has somehow removed the  ability to sin?

 

There is free will in Heaven. The devil was a beautiful angel there who allowed evil into his heart. That’s when he met his downfall.  Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, everyone in Heaven has a regenerated nature and they all abhor evil. No one is going to be tempted by it because it’s going to be undesirable for them. 

 

Anyw

ay, sorry for continuing a debate that's gone on for centuries. I should probably just shut up and go do more research/study, but hopefully you guys enjoy a debate :)

 

I do enjoy a friendly debate  :)

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@ Altan: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be making any ignorant claims that would be detrimental to people considering that line of faith, I was repeating what I've read without considering all sources I suppose.

 

@Everyone who thinks that God is bad because he puts people in hell: God doesn't "put" anybody in hell. Hell is a consequence of separation from God... the very definition of sin, separation from God's will. Satan descended from Heaven into the "abyss," a dark and bleak Tartarus not necessarily created where he was joined by his legions.

 

In other words, when you depart from God's will, it actually HURTS his feelings. He takes no joy in people's spiritual deaths because by definition it is their separation from him. That is why all humans are sinners... because our ancestors departed from his will and contaminated our species with the knowledge of good and evil. 

 

Bottom line: "hell," or "walking through the valley of the shadow of death," or "sheol," or "hades," (all Biblical terms) are YOUR choice. You choose your faith and your destiny.

 

"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul"- Invictus, William Ernest Hemley

 

Of course, your faith will reflect in what you do. I believe that a pot on the stove is hot, therefore I will not touch a pot on the stove. I believe pre-marital sex is detrimental to my life experience, therefore I will not do it. I believe God desires that we follow the laws of our land so long as they do not contradict his will, therefore I do not drink (underaged).

 

Much in the same manner, if you believe that Jesus is the atonement for sin, you will live in a way that honors that. That is your way of not touching the hot pot on the stove. "For faith without action is dead." Now nobody expects you to be perfect, and upon death your sin will be cleansed.

 

 

And yes, to all who believe that Jesus made no sacrifice, he did. He was the only one in history, the ONLY one, who didn't deserve to die, but he suffered what may be the most agonizing death in recorded history. He was whipped beyond the legal limit of lashings, spit on, stabbed, made to carry his own cross, well you can watch The Passion of the Christ if you want the whole scene. Yes he rose from the dead, but it was so he could collect his flock and be there for our redemption. It was also symbolic of us dying to our sinful ways and being "reborn" or "resurrected" as a new creation in the name of Christ.

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@Everyone who thinks that God is bad because he puts people in hell: God doesn't "put" anybody in hell. Hell is a consequence of separation from God... the very definition of sin, separation from God's will. Satan descended from Heaven into the "abyss," a dark and bleak Tartarus not necessarily created where he was joined by his legions.

 

In other words, when you depart from God's will, it actually HURTS his feelings. He takes no joy in people's spiritual deaths because by definition it is their separation from him. That is why all humans are sinners... because our ancestors departed from his will and contaminated our species with the knowledge of good and evil. 

 

How is the only alternative to being with God in heaven being tormented unimaginably for all eternity? Why does separation =hell? I always hear it said that God doesn't send people to hell. He did, however, choose it as the final placement of those who do not believe; he personally designed every detail of hell, down to the immortal worms. He designed it, knowing the vast majority of his most precious creation would end up there. He could have made it his plan to annihilate Satan, demons and unbelievers. He chose instead to design hell. Does anyone find it ironic that the most base and discouraged human emotions and behaviors (jealousy, anger, vengeance, pride, etc.) are commonplace for God?

 

I know that sounds horrible, I know some will think I'm angry and bitter. I'm not angry though, I'm just presenting the logic behind my unbelief. 

 

 

Bottom line: "hell," or "walking through the valley of the shadow of death," or "sheol," or "hades," (all Biblical terms) are YOUR choice. You choose your faith and your destiny.

 

"I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul"- Invictus, William Ernest Hemley

 

I honestly don't believe so. My faith or lack thereof isn't a choice. I, like countless others presently and in history, am frantically trying to gather as much information as I can, hoping that something will jump out at me as being truth. As of yet, the Bible has not been that to me. I didn't choose for that to be the case.

 

And yes, Jesus' death was unimaginably horrible. Still, it pales in comparison to the never ending death of Hell.

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You mentioned an idea of God "being the only path," think of it rather than there are many paths to God. It's not "You will believe in God, you will worship him without question." However, different things can happen that change how you perceive God. For example, my distinguishing attribute has always been service. I live to serve others. Through volunteering, through advice, through friendship etc. All of which are good things, and in a way reflect the actions of Jesus Christ. While I don't actively practice a religion any more, I still acknowledge that my acts of service are predicated upon a principle that Jesus described and taught.

Finally, if you live your life so deliberative, so right that it keeps you from making choices, then you haven't really lived, you have been a sheep. Don't think of religion and God as "the only way out," think of them as councillors that can offer perspective as you go through life. The biggest issue with religion is that it maintains a very traditional perspective, and the world today is very liberal. Because of this, social realities today (MTV in particular) stress the constant need to cast off traditional values and do what you feel like. While these may seem ideal to just do what you want, when you want, it leaves a sour taste in our mouths. Follow your heart, listen to your mind, and live your life for you.

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My 2 cents on this topic: I usually find it very offensive whenever someone tries to convert me. With that being said, I believe in a higher power, I just think they don’t care about what happens here. 

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You mentioned an idea of God "being the only path," think of it rather than there are many paths to God. It's not "You will believe in God, you will worship him without question." However, different things can happen that change how you perceive God. For example, my distinguishing attribute has always been service. I live to serve others. Through volunteering, through advice, through friendship etc. All of which are good things, and in a way reflect the actions of Jesus Christ. While I don't actively practice a religion any more, I still acknowledge that my acts of service are predicated upon a principle that Jesus described and taught.

 

A view like this requires a lot of picking, choosing, and ignoring of a lot of the Bible...in that case what's the point of believing/following any of it?

 

 

Finally, if you live your life so deliberative, so right that it keeps you from making choices, then you haven't really lived, you have been a sheep. Don't think of religion and God as "the only way out," think of them as councillors that can offer perspective as you go through life.

 

Ironically, the Bible refers to followers of God as sheep and his way as the only way throughout its entirety.

 

 

The biggest issue with religion is that it maintains a very traditional perspective, and the world today is very liberal. Because of this, social realities today (MTV in particular) stress the constant need to cast off traditional values and do what you feel like. While these may seem ideal to just do what you want, when you want, it leaves a sour taste in our mouths. Follow your heart, listen to your mind, and live your life for you.

 

I'm not quite sure what you're arguing here..

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My 2 cents on this topic: I usually find it very offensive whenever someone tries to convert me.

 

It just shows they care about you. If I believed a person would go to hell unless they believed what I believe, it would be very wrong not to try and convert them. What matters to me is the way they approach it, the reasoning they use, and the attitude they have.

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It just shows they care about you. If I believed a person would go to hell unless they believed what I believe, it would be very wrong not to try and convert them. What matters to me is the way they approach it, the reasoning they use, and the attitude they have.

When you say a person would go to hell unless they believe like you believe and that's why someone would want to convert the other, if they believe in a different religion or god, then what? Just wondering

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@matthew: I know the article I posted was a bit obtuse or perhaps dense (the best I could find at the time :P ). Perhaps (unless I'm misreading or have missed something entirely (please let me know), you could post a short list of the things that trouble you about religion in general and the Abrahamic tradition in particular and then I could attempt to address them. Thanks and all the best...

 

See ya on the flipside,

 

Altan

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When you say a person would go to hell unless they believe like you believe and that's why someone would want to convert the other, if they believe in a different religion or god, then what? Just wondering

 

Well if the person rejected what the person trying to do the converting was saying, then they would ease off and do more praying than trying to convert directly, I assume. 

 

@Altan- To be honest I'd forgotten about the article. Lol. I'll give it a go and see if I have any questions. Most of my biggest issues  have been addressed here, but if I have time I'll make a concise list I suppose

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You mentioned an idea of God "being the only path," think of it rather than there are many paths to God. It's not "You will believe in God, you will worship him without question." However, different things can happen that change how you perceive God. For example, my distinguishing attribute has always been service. I live to serve others. Through volunteering, through advice, through friendship etc. All of which are good things, and in a way reflect the actions of Jesus Christ. While I don't actively practice a religion any more, I still acknowledge that my acts of service are predicated upon a principle that Jesus described and taught.

 

Course I'm going to agree with you, you have my name after all! :P

Silliness aside I wanted to add a little bit to this. This is very true. You cannot place limits on a being that is unlimited. As humans we have to have some sort of perception for God, very difficult to be devoted to a impersonal God. The fact of the matter is that there are many paths to God, a nice conveniently ignored passage in the Bible is when Paul is talking to the Romans. In regards to those who do not follow Christianity that they will be judged by their own laws. He did not say "by the law of Christianity." Same with another passage in regards to Exodus of thou shalt have no other Gods before me. In every pantheon there is always a Supreme Father, in every pantheon you do not put other Gods before the Supreme Father. Odin for example in the Norse Mythology. Pay attention to polytheism, they always follow this and never put anyone else before the Father.

 

Often times this literal passage is taken as "Thou shalt not worship any Gods other than me." The people who wrote the Bible were not morons, if they clearly wanted to put that exact phrasing I just said, they would have. But they didn't.

Many people throughout the world see God in different ways, you think God is going to appear to a child raised in India as a white man? No that wouldn't make any sense and more importantly it wouldn't mean anything to the child. Many people have religious/spiritual experiences but it has to mean something to them. If I go up to Hindu and tell him to do the rosary prayers, nothing is going to happen, it doesn't mean anything to him. Throughout the world God has different names and appears to mankind in different ways.

God is all loving. If I was a father and my little 1 year old son called me dada, am I going to throw him into a fire pit because he didn't address me as Father? No, I would love my son! God is the same way, as to what lies beyond this world, heaven and hells, I believe there is truth to them.

Near death experiences vary across cultures, and it isn't just Christians that believe in hell, there are also the Buddhist hells if I remember correctly. But the path to hell universally is agreed upon that you have to be a terrible human being. Going to hell due to not seeing God as someone else is like me torturing a blind man simply because the blind man cannot see what I am seeing, cruel and God is a just God.

 

Jesus died for our sins as Christianity said, but in other religions there have been other savior figures, perhaps it is the same Diety willingly sacrificing himself time and time again because of his love for humanity. Which also says a lot about the nature of mankind's sin if God's son must be sacrificed time and time again.

I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to add my input into it. No one has to believe me or even listen to me, but I wanted to add my thoughts on what Justin said. :D

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There's so much I could say on this subject but I'm not going to (And I haven't read every post in this thread at all). Bottom line is whatever religion you subscribe to is based on faith, which is fine. And I have nothing against any religion. But it is faith based.

 

I will only say this: from my perspective when you suffer in this world it's always for your spiritual growth. It's for your benefit. Everything has a purpose. God in His/Her (God has no gender) infinite wisdom wouldn't do anything unless it actually had a purpose. It would be difficult to debate that point if you believe in a Higher Power which I do.

 

Eternal hell doesn't make sense, however. If you believe that punishment should always fit the crime then being tortured for eternity lacks logic because no crime could ever justify eternal torture. Even if a single human being committed all the sins that have ever been committed since time immemorial: Eternal torture would still not fit the crime and would be infinitely beyond what's justified.

 

Think about it this way:

 

If I steal, do I deserve the death penalty? Any society that would condone such treatment for stealing would never be looked at with respect. And they certainly wouldn't be considered merciful. 

 

The fact that God is perfect tells me His nature is merciful. But Christianity teaches that God can forgive all sins except being in a religion other than Christianity. You can word it however you wish... You can say that it's not that God cares if you're a Christian or not, He just cares if you have accepted his son, but ultimately, that's a semantics game because the Christian faith condemns all non-Christians to eternal hell. And by default if you believe in the tenets of Christianity you are a Christian. And if you don't believe in the tenets of Christianity you aren't Christian. 

 

Back to my belief that all of suffering has a purpose. Now, what purpose could there possibly be for eternal suffering that pales in comparison to even the worst suffering possible in this world? It would make infinitely more sense if God simply destroyed the souls of non-believers. But Christianity holds that God see's to it that anyone of a different faith is tortured for eternity.

 

Let's put this in perspective:

 

Imagine a POW of your country was captured by an enemy army. And he was tortured for 3 hours straight in the most heinous and unimaginably painful ways. Now imagine this happening endlessly for the rest of eternity (Something our minds can't even comprehend). Are you going to tell me there is a deeper purpose behind this? That this is merciful? That this is righteous? That this is good?

 

You can resort to: 'sometimes you just have to have faith. Some things are beyond our understanding and must be accepted on faith' argumentThe problem with that argument, however, is you could use this same argument to justify believing in any religion, but no Christian would ever condone such a thing.

 

I have a God given brain. And my brain says that eternal torture coming from the most merciful Being in the universe, far more merciful than any human being ever to live is simply untenable.

 

I'm not saying the above to attack anyone's religion. But I've seen people get depressed over the idea of an eternal hell and I believe that this belief should be challenged if it's causing anyone distress. It is, after all, a matter of faith and not evidence.

 

Ultimately I believe you should believe whatever inspires you and helps you to live a good, ethical life. This is why I don't try to persuade people to believe this or that. However, since I know some people get depressed over this teaching, I thought it worth sharing my 2 cents.

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