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September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”

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So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.

Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

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Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"

“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.

As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.

But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”

The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?

We need “hell” like a hole in the head. It’s time for the alternative of empathetic merciful religion to be understood.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out

Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.

When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.

What happens when we die?

Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.

But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.

Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.

The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.

Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What does Jesus say about hell?

Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.

The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.

A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1]  reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:

. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.

At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.

Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

Is there a second chance after death?

The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.

How long does the punishment last?

Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.

Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.

Am I going to hell?

The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.

He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.

The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.

My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.

Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?

If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • My Faith • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. Ibrahim

    Hell is real for sure. Just because we are scared of it, does not mean it should not exist. The worse punishment anyone can ever face is the mental and physical torture in hell once accountability is done and the gates of hell are closed on the person. The pain of this world is negligible compared to the pain in the afterlife becaue here we know the pain will go away after a while. So, who will be in hell? The answer is very simple – disbelievers in the One True Creator. These include people who take idols, humans, trees, spaghetti-mosters, money, power, prophets, elephant-gods, snake-gods etc. as their creator. So, salvation of human beings is to believe, worship and follow the commands of the One True Merciful Creator. He loves us, but do we really love him? The blessings of eyes, taste, ears, hands, legs, children, families, friends, comforts of this world, good brain, good other parts of the body, peace of mind and so on cannot be repayed even if you offer the person 100 trillion dollars in return. So, who gave these blessings to us? Our parents? Not our imaginary monkey ancestors for sure. Imagine if we enjoy the day with these blessings and go back and bow our heads in front of a piece of stone thanking it? Or even worse we deny the existence of a Creator? And just so everyone undestands, the eternal punishment is because the disbelievers have that firm intention to disbeleive. So, even if they had to live for eternity, they would deny their Creator. Accountability for our actions will be based on intentions.

    September 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • PAUL

      The WORLD is our HELL!

      September 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The god you believe in is an immoral monster. The idea people deserve to be punished unless they accept the "gift" of Jesus is absurd and morally bankrupt.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • rookie

      would love to see your evidence there is a hell that isn't a book written by man. this does not count as evidence.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  2. birch please

    Everyone is going to someone else's h3ll

    September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  3. SurelyUjest

    This whole matter of heaven and hell are the main reasons NOT to buy in to the Bible, Torah or Koran. The idea that "God" created man in his image then blessed us eternally. Then got mad because a snake talked Eve in to eating the apple which he himself MUST have allowed Satan to place. Then after seeing that behavior or possibly before in his omnipotent understanding of man, gave mankind "freewill". He created a place of punishment and a place of reward for those that excersise the very gift given to man? This whole scenero contradicts any "Loving god of peace" that may exist in ANY verses of the Bible because it is so anti Loving period. It may be hard for some to see or understand that all these holy writ's are merely historical accounts placed together by certain groups of people who wished to control and bond their own peoples. The thread of Heaven or the curse of Hell are inventions of Man to control man period. This concept pre-empts any rational concept of a loving godly father figure. I will never share these beliefs, nor should anyone who is rational. I may believe in a higher power but the one I believe in wouldnt threaten, harange, reward any one for doing exactly as we are programmed to do. This concept is silly and so removed from any type of Divine understanding or Divine behavior I can think of.

    September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • BobbyG

      Right I belive in a higher being. Not necessarly call God. God didn't write HELL or HEAVEN they are synonyms for good and bad places. You are either going to be liked by the supreme being or disliked by the supreme being. The creator wants to know you were looking out for his creation or were you trying to destroy his creation. The bible is human created anology that humans have been told by high powered humans to take literally. For an agenda?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  4. Lex

    Hahaha, Mark Driscoll is the epitome of ridiculous. "But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin." Seriously? So what sin did bears commit to deserve death? How about dogs? That's just the start of that nutjob's ramblings. Why are people giving this guy an article?

    September 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Why indeed? My best guess: fair warning.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  5. mm

    Its not about "religion" its about "relationship" !!!

    September 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The entire myth of Jesus IS religion, the relationship part is delusion.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, a relationship....with a being you have never met.

      i have a relationship with heidi klum, but i have never met her. don't tell my girlfriend

      September 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  6. BobbyG

    Do you think Hell is roads Coals and Flame spitting dragons on each corner building? Or could it be something so complex we don't understand. Do you think your ghost will be walking down roads you can touch orwill it be a soul floating. Does hell have to be something we understand or can it be as simple as an eternity of no love.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • snowboarder

      or something entirely imaginary.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  7. jimdog33

    no it isn't.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  8. snowboarder

    any religion that requires an adoration of god under threat of eternal torment is undeniably false.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • mudfoot

      Well....with THAT intellectual argument, I guess you will have to wait until you die to be sure!

      September 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • fn0rdz

      mudfoot: The same could be said for you.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  9. Peter

    The truthy is that during the first four centuries, the majority of christians did NOT consider hell to be a permanent punishment. Only after the faulty translations of St jerome, has the notion that hell is permanent become dominant.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • fn0rdz

      That's not saying a whole lot. During the first few centuries, xtians couldn't agree on much of anything about their religion.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  10. citizenUSA

    Nice god. Hey, worship and believe in me or get, "thrown into the lake of fire". If you believe there is a hell and believe you deserve to be there, you probably will end up there. But I guess St. Peter will know for sure. What a kick, thinking you belong in heaven only to find out, because you stole a Snickers bar when you were 10, you'll be treading fire. If you believe in hell, and whether you believe you belong there or not, won't you be relieved when you're dead to find out none of it is true?

    September 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  11. MUNWAR

    YES

    September 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  12. ceejay08

    Hell is one thing you really can't afford to be wrong about.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the cowards reason for belief is always interesting.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      And how do you know that you are not wrong about it?

      September 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  13. Marine57

    Your home is not an idea ... your home is an actual PLACE.
    New York city is not an idea ... New York city is an actual PLACE.
    Illinois is not an idea ... Illinois is an actual PLACE.
    America is not an idea ... America is an actual PLACE.
    Europe is not an idea ... Europe is an actual PLACE.
    So it is that Hell is not an idea ... Hell is an actual PLACE.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah. It's in Michigan, near Ann Arbor. Population about 250.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Marine57

      Hell is an actual PLACE – That place is in the center of the earth.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • MDAT

      No.The center of the earth is A solid iron core.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      I been to Hell, MI, jarhead....nice place, friendly people. Had a sandwich at the Dam Site Inn

      September 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • snowboarder

      there is no reason to actually believe that hell is a real place.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      Center of the earth? Based on what, jarhead?

      September 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Marine57

      God said it, and He is not as man that He should lie.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • MDAT

      No.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      No way, marine – you have to be a troll – it is simply impossible for me to believe that anyone – ANYONE – believes that there is a hell located at the centre of the earth

      September 24, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • MDAT

      Well we know it is an Iron core.There is seismic waves that reflect from its boundary that were detected by sensitive seismographs.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      We can agree through proof and evidence those other placse exist. Now provide the same for hell...

      September 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      Marine57: Iron Age sheep mounters said it. You attribute their translated, edited blatherings to "god"

      September 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Marine57

      The iron core is of the physical realm – the Hell in the iron core is of the spiritual realm, and is occupied by the SOULS of those who have rejected the perfect and righteous Son of God who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light..

      September 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Lex

      Your logic is so horribly flawed it's embarrassing. You can't make the same assumptions for fictional places as you can for places we have genuine proof that they exist. Marine or not, you're a crackpot.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • MDAT

      The iron core does not contain hell.It is a solid ball of iron.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Marine,

      You are making claims, not offering proof.

      Please provide some evidence and reason why I should believe the iron Core of the earth is full of souls.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • @Marine57

      Cities exist in physical reality. Hell does not. I can't get my friends together and visit hell and the tell you all about my experience there. That makes hell, by definition, an idea.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • sam stone

      Oh.....it's the spiritual realm, but it's an ACTUAL place.....thanks for clearing that up.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Athy

      How did a nut job like you ever get into the Marine Corps?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      Marine: Does putting your drivel in caps make it better for you?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Marine57

      A man, by faith, should believe anything God says.
      However, a man blinded by doubt has no eyes to see either truth or proof.
      A blind man cannot be convinced that one apple is red and another is yellow.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I can't get my friends together and visit hell"

      No friends, eh? Perhaps if you weren't such a d-bag...

      September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • MDAT

      Well I have proof that you are wrong in the comments above.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      A man, by faith, can be convinced that people speak for god..

      This is what makes them chumps

      September 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "A man, by faith, should believe anything God says."

      Marine,

      Your logic is circular and unsound. Faith is pretending to know things yu don't know.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Marine57

      There are people who speak for gods and there are people (Prophets, messengers, servants, and even one ass) who speak for God at His instruction.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • MDAT

      But don't speak for geology.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Marine

      "However, a man blinded by doubt has no eyes to see either truth or proof."

      LOL Hey let me know when you get dizzy from all those circles, I'll bring the bucket.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Marine57

      "What goes around, comes around." Mmmmmm ... where have I heard that?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • sam stone

      "There are people who speak for gods and there are people (Prophets, messengers, servants, and even one ass) who speak for God at His instruction."

      This is what makes you a chump

      September 24, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  14. A Traveler

    Readers Beware - AvdBerg has posted 10,874 words of garbage. Several times. Some readers may find this exceeds their download budget for the month.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  15. Hm

    Is religion necessary?

    September 24, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Madtown

      Great question. My feeling is no, we do not.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Chad

      "Religion" isnt, but Jesus Christ is..

      September 24, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • MDAT

      Well,religion does not have much of a point in my eyes.But thats me.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • snowboarder

      chad – your distinction is laughable.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • sam stone

      Jesus Christ IS religion, Chud

      September 24, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • jesus christ

      Chud where do you think the whole idea that jesus christ (me) is magic came from? It came from religion.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Ned

      sammy, actual He is a person. derp

      September 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Ned: Prove it. Derp

      September 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      I should say, that the "formalized or inst itutionalized expression of such belief: the Christian religion is not necessary (one doesnt have to belong to a particular church, or any church at all for that matter..), just a personal relationship with Jesus.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Madtown

      just a personal relationship with Jesus.
      ------
      What if a human being is born into a portion of the world where christianity doesn't really exist, and isn't practiced at all? How on earth can they have a relationship with Jesus when they've never heard of him?

      September 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  16. RichardSRussell

    USA! USA! USA!

    The world's tallest building may be in Dubai, the most robust economy in Germany, the fastest computers in Nippon. China has 10 times more engineering PhDs then we do and will soon have a bigger economy. All of Scandinavia has a higher standard of living, almost all of Europe a lower crime rate, 28 other nations whip our fannies in science and math scores, and 40 of them have longer life expectancies. Toyota outsells General Motors. PanAm is dead; American Airlines is bankrupt.

    But, thanks to Mark Driscoll and his fellow evangelists, we are now — and will be for at least the coming century — the world's #1 manufacturer and distributor of top-quality, government-inspected, blue-ribbon, Grade AA horse manure, bar none.

    Furthermore, we have enuf willing — nay, eager — consumers for it right here on the CNN message boards to resurrect the entire economy if Mark & Co. could just figure out a clever way of monetizing your bottomless appet¡tes. Maybe if you guys just showed up in person every week and dropped a little voluntary love offering into a plate, they could keep churning out new product in addition to their heroic and ground-breaking efforts at recycling the old stuff in ALL your favorite flavors. Eat hearty, kids! We'll make more.

    USA! USA! USA! WE'RE #1!

    September 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Jose

      What are you babbling about? I can't tell if you're drunk or stupid, or both.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Ladies and Gentlemen: Example # 1 proving Richard's premise with exquisite irony – Jose!

      September 24, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  17. Bob

    Hell exists. The existence of Satan and Hell is one of the easiest things in religion to believe in because it is evident all over the earth in the form of demonic possession. If ANYONE can explain to me how someone who has been assessed as possessed can be able to speak languages they have never heard as verified by indpendent, academmically credentialed witnesses, then maybe I could find a way to not believe in Hell, but the fact is, this happens, and when people in such a state recoil in agony in response to prayer and Christian symbols, there's not much to debate.

    As for who goes there, Hell is the result of people punishing themselves, not God punishing people. None of us know if we are going to make it to Heaven or not, and it does really bug me when other Christians seem to "gloat" about all the atheists and others going to hell. I know there are times when it's frustrating to have people be mean and sacreligious in reference to God, but we all have to try to be kind and inspire others toward God with love and compassion, or else we are not working with the right spirit.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You are arguing from ignorance.

      "I can't explain it, therefore hell exists" Compare that to,

      "I can't explain lightning therefore Zues is throwing lightning bolts".

      September 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Bob, it's called mental illness.

      There is no hell, or heaven.

      You're welcome

      September 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  18. derp

    If god made man in his image, how come man isn't perfect?

    Is god imperfect?

    Or did he made man in someone else image?

    September 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If someone made an image of you, would it be just like you?

      Are you really trying to ask a question or just snickering like a school boy?

      September 24, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bill

      But wouldn't god, a supposed perfect being, be able to make a perfect image? There are only two options in your doctrine. Either your god made man imperfect on purpose, or your god isn't perfect.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Bill. Does god have a navel?

      September 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • derp

      "Are you really trying to ask a question or just snickering like a school boy?"

      No, I'm flat out laughing at the absurdness of you jesustards.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Just a John

      @derp.....Bill likes making himself look like a fool, in the image of the vicar of christ on earth. He dresses up in the robes and silly hats and shears the sheepies to earn his daily bread.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  19. jackhudson

    @hawaiiguest

    Non sequitor much?

    September 24, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Wah wah wah, ever hear of hyperbole? Or are you just trying anything to move the focus from your dishonesty? Is that why the reply button is somehow non-existent for you now?

      September 24, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Or is that rhetoric? I can't remember, oh well.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      When you figure out the difference between non-sequitor, hyperbole, and rhetoric get back to me.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • .

      non-sequitor, hyperbole, and rhetoric = jackhudson

      September 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      And exactly what premise did I take, and what was the conclusion that qualified it as a non-sequitur? I've merely been screwing around in this discussion because I don't really feel it's worth taking seriously. If you insist on being a jackass hough, then don't expect me to overlook your own glaring stupidity.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @ hawaiiguest

      And now an ad hominem. Obviously you never met a fallacy you didn't like. I guess this means you have no actual points to make.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • .

      pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Tom

      Sure, jackhudson sucks sh!t, but that doesn't mean that he is wrong.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • jackhudson

      Exactly Tom ;)

      September 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jackhudson

      And apparently you haven't met a post that you will actually respond to. Tell me, why do you insist so much on not addressing posts?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      What are you talking about? I have been rrsponding to everything – you are the one saying that you are "screwing around "

      September 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Oh you may be pushing that reply button and writing things, but you are not addressing what is in the posts except for a tiny little part you feel you can use to deflect from the meat of posts. You latched onto the Lutheran thing, labeled it a non-sequitur, did not actually demonstrate how it was a non-sequitur, and ran with another perceived fallacy when it doesn't necessarily apply.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      You haven't said a single thing of substance yet, I would be more than happy to respond to such a comment when you make it.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Sure, and just continue to ignore and brush off the fact that you were wrong when you said there is only one concept of hell. Sorry, but until you address your completely incorrect statement, you're just proving my point over and over.

      September 24, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      Now you are just making things up – I never said there was just one concept of hell. Are you even paying attention to your own posts?

      September 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      And what am I making up? Are you saying that you did not claim that there is only one concept of hell?

      September 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • jackhudson

      Of course there's more than one concept of he'll.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Oh gee yet another concept of hell that just popped up from nowhere to absolve a god concept from the immorality of the hell concept.. Congratulations have a fucking cookie.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |

      jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      It's not 'another concept' it is the only concept – and atheists believe all men are fated to the hopelessness of it.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |

      Congrats, you have just admitted you lied earlier.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest
      Nice try – the only concept being considered here, the one Christans proffer and atheists acknowledge. Not the only concept that ever existed. Obviously all sorts of religions consider various concepts of God and he'll. And my point, which you have avoided, still stands – atheists believe all men are separated from life, love, joy and meaning at death – Christians believe God gives men a choice. That is the only concept being considered *here*.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      You did not make tha distinction, and why would it matter when it comes to the concepts of hell that only you are willing to discuss here. I really could give less of a shit what your particular concept is, because it's just one of thousands, and has the exac same evidence supporting it, zero.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
      • jackhudson

        And you still haven't even begun to contradict the point I made. My point still stands; atheists would essentially relegate all humanity to the hellishness of annihilation after death without hope.

        September 25, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Your objection is completely non-sensical. Your take on hell would hinge on consciousness of annihilation, which is a contradictory statement, and therefore invalid.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
      • jackhudson

        Now you are just copying me. But I understand your inability to contradict an obvious point.

        September 25, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      Well you are right about this one thing – Christrians do contend those in hell will be aware of the condition atheist claim all humans are fated to. Atheists of course go farther – they believe even consciousness is destroyed along with life, love, joy and meaning. And that men have no hope of avoiding this regardless of their choices on this earth.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      All evidence points to consciousness being an emergent property of a working brain, and if this is uncomfortable for you boo freaking hoo doesn't change it.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
      • jackhudson

        There is no evidence 'consciousness is an emergent property of the brain', that is in the words of Sam Harris, accepted as a brute fact without any sort of evidence to back it up.

        Glad you admitted your beliefs are based on blind faith though.

        September 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Really? That's all you can do? For one, I've never read anything from Sam Harris, so I have no idea what you're talking about there. Second, what makes us us, is reliant on the working brain, and this can be demonstrated through MRIs, and hemispherectimys. You know, actual science. And really just stating "Nuh uh you're wrong nuh uh" doesn't really demonstrate anything at all. Tell me jack, are you enjoying being a dishonest douche?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
      • jackhudson

        @hawaiiguest

        Do you enjoy showing off your ignorance by admitting you don't know who the atheist neuroscientist Sam Harris is? Obviously you aren't all tha familiar with he material on the subject, and are makng things up. The fact that brain activities occur while we are alive doesn't prove that consciousness is an emergent property of the brain anymore that the fact that you can hear your mom's voice on the phone when the battery is charged proves that your mom is an emergent property of the phone.

        Sorry, I may be getting way above you here – want to go back to your logical fallacies?

        September 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Did I say I didn't know who Sam Harris is? I just haven't read things specifically by him only because saying things like "well according to Sam Harris blah blah blah" is just and argument from authority, and I'd rather have many different areas of input to come to a conclusion. We know what happens when brain function ceases but the body is kept going. We know that identity, awareness, and complex thought all only occur while there is a functioning brain.

      I find it interesting that you claim I have no idea what I'm talking about, but you're giving absolutely no evidence, and no information to refute anything besides saying "nuh uh you're wrong nya nya nya nya".

      September 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
      • jackhudson

        Well again, your list of facts don't support your conclusion. We know you can access the internet when your computer is plugged in. That isn't evidence that the internet is an emergent property of the brain. Your argument is logically flawed, and you can't seem to understand why.

        And your argument is also irrelevant to the point – the idea that consciousness ends at death doesn't change my previous contention about atheists relegating humanity to annihilation at death without hope – in fact claiming consciousness ends at death only further verifies this contention.

        Why you don't understand these simple assertions is beyond me.

        September 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      And yet all you can seem to do with this is "nya nya you're wrong because I say so hahahaha". You have nothing but false analogies and that's it, sorry, but that doesn't really fly.
      Also, you claim atheists are relegating everyone to hell, and yet you continue to ignore that
      1) That's just your particular concept.
      2) It is a very ill-defined concept.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
      • jackhudson

        Let's start simple, since you can't seem to follow normal logical processes. Does conciousness end with death?

        September 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      LOL so now you go with condescension instead of addressing the points brought up. First, what definition of consciousness are you using?

      September 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
      • jackhudson

        Oh for heaven sake stop dissembling, I am trying to get you to answer a simple question which you are avoiding. You claimed conscioucness was an emergent property of the brain – taking your understanding of consciousness, does it end with death?

        September 25, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
      • jackhudson

        @hawaiiguest

        I'm not a picky guy, which one is acceptable to you since you seem to have one in mind.

        September 25, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bob

      The more you two post the more you both look like the fools.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      With my understanding of what consciousness is, it ends when the brain ceases functioning.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
      • jackhudson

        So then experience, love, joy, and meaning would end for an individual at that point as well, correct?

        September 25, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Also, not trying to dodge any question, you're just asking a question that requires clarification.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      I know where you're going with this, which is why I said earlier that your concept of hell is merely yours, and is pretty damn useless in terms of specifics. For instance, in your concept of hell, is awarness of suffering a part of it?

      September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @save the word

      Having fun troll?

      September 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Sure, why not, those things stop when brain function stops. And if your concept of hell includes awareness of suffering, then atheists don't think everyone is going to be that way, and if it doesn't include awareness, then it's impossible to suffer if you are unaware of what will make you suffer.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      Certainly the Christian concept of hell includes awareness of hell. And such awareness would certainly be painful. However in either case the reality of the condition is the same. Atheists contend this condition is unavoidable while Christians contend it is totally unnneccesary. Why would anyone prefer the atheist position given alternatives?

      September 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      Preference has nothing to do with reality. Determining beliefs based on preference is useless if you care about whether what you believe is true. And the condition is not the same either way, and I find that statement to be incredibly dishonest.

      September 25, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      You are right – if atheism is true then all men are doomed to inevitable annihilation and it doesn't matter what Christians believe – but as a belief system, all things being equal, atheism is certainly far crueler than the choice Christianity presents.

      And you really have to get over the dishonesty thing, somene isn't 'dishonest' simply because they contradict your pet beliefs.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      Though it is also important to note that if atheism is true, it doesn't matter whether you believe what is true or not.

      September 25, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      I will not get over the dishonesty thing while I continue to see it. You say either way the two are equal, and that is completely false. Christianity teaches obey or suffer for eternity, atheism isn't necessarily the rejection of some kind of afterlife (Buddhism is consistent with atheism for example), but for what we're talking about, eternal suffering for not believing and when you're dead you're dead is not equal.
      There isn't just christianity and atheism in terms of an afterlife. You're buying into Pascal's Wager which is based on a false dichotomy, and ignoring the myriad of other afterlifes in other religions, as well as ignoring the different hells within denominations of christianity.
      As far as whether or not it matters what we believe, I really don't matter what people believe, until what we see happening in our political and judicial branches right now. People attempting to inject their religion everywhere, trying to codify their religious beliefs into law and force everyone to adhere to them. That's when the problem arises, and that's when I will fight tooth and nail for demonstrable truth, and against superstitions.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest

      I didn’t say they were ‘equal’ – I said they share the idea that humans will be separated from experience, love, joy and meaning. Obviously they aren’t equal, Christianity gives people a choice, atheism does not!

      And obviously there are various concepts of an afterlife (a curious universal human condition if there isn’t actually an afterlife), and the likelihood of such concepts can be tested for truth just like any other proposition.

      Everyone ‘injects’ their belief system into their political considerations. The abolitionists to MLK, religious (as well as other metaphysical) motivations have always, and always will inform political considerations – and the only time anyone has a problem with it is when those positions contradict their own.

      September 26, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      They do not share anything. As I said in my last post, atheism isn't the automatic exclusion of an afterlife (Buddhism for example). And Christianity does not give a "choice", it makes a statement of "pick a denomination, follow it to the extent that this preacher says, or be condemned to eternal torture from the "loving" god". It's a mafia ultimatum.

      Prevalence of an idea means absolutely nothing to the truth of the claim, so the fact that there are many cultures with an afterlife idea is no more relevant than "The prevalence of pens among professional writers makes the use of pens a necessary thing to write professionally."

      September 26, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      As for the politcal thing, I specifically said "trying to codify their religious beliefs into laws". You can act in a manner consistent with your religion in the political sphere, yet allow others to hold seperate beliefs, and is in fact required by our constitution. Laws in this country are not based on a specific religions preferences, and any attempt to make it so is an affront to what our country was founded upon.

      September 26, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @hawaiiguest
      Buddhists don’t actually believe in an afterlife per se. And I would challenge whether Buddhism is atheistic in the ordinary sense of the word given the pantheon of gods or devas it includes in it’s cosmology.

      And the fact that one has to choose between a wonderful option and a horrible one doesn’t mean one doesn’t have a choice – if I say, “Hey if you drink this poison you’ll get sick”, and you drink it anyway, the fact that you got sick doesn’t mean you weren’t given a choice. The same is true of hell – God gives us the option to go there or not, it is a choice that is inherent in the nature of God, men and the universe. You still have a choice in the matter if the options are obvious.

      And I agree prevalence doesn’t inherently prove an idea, but the universal and historically cross-cultural notion of the spiritual would be odd if the only thing that exists is the material. A prevalence of pens would certainly indicate that writers exist. To think pens simply arise incidentally as a matter of course in the universe would be the strange belief.

      With regard to your take on politics, I am not sure who you think is trying to “codify religious beliefs”, short of a few Muslim radicals who might desire to impose sharia law. They don’t seem to have mad any serious inroads in the US.

      September 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @jack

      The traditional form of Buddhsm does not have any gods, only the newer form. Also, after the reincarnation thing, there is a state of Nirvana and a seperation from the cycle of reincarnation.

      As to choice, you're choice isn't equal to the one religion gives. A more accurate oe would be a mafia boss extorting a business owner for protection money. What happens if you don't comply? The mafia will break your legs, or burn your store down.

      As to pens, I was saying your statement was like saying that since pens are used by professional writers, it is necessary to have a pen to be a professional writer. I thought I made that pretty clear.
      The fact that there is almost universal cultural emergences of spirituality isn't at all curious, or interesting, or worth looking into at all, especially since certain ideas and concepts can be traced and seen to have been assimilated. Now, if they were all of the same opinion on the spiritual thing, then that would be worth looking into.

      Asfor politics, were you just asleep during the entire Republican primary?

      September 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  20. jackhudson

    @MDAT

    Right – and won't experience life, love, joy or meaning. Sounds like hell to me.

    September 24, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • MDAT

      Because they are dead.Things don't move when they die.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @MDAT

      What does movement have to do with it? Atheists believe people cease to experience life, love, joy and meaning when they die, Christians believe we have a choice to continue experiencing those to the fullest – or not.

      I would say atheism is the must more fearful position.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • MDAT

      No.You are basically saying that whoever is not a christian will go to hell.And we don't think there is hell.And again,Things do nothing when they die.

      September 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • jackhudson

      MDAT

      Hell is a place apart from life, love, joy and meaning – so is atheist idea of ceasing to exist. Christians have the hope of something different.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • MDAT

      Honestly you are saying the same thing.Basically we will go to hell and Christians wont.The same bigoted statement,just rephrased.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • jackhudson

      @MDAT

      No, I am saying Christianity gives people a choice – and hope of escaping hell. Atheists say eternal darkness is inevitable for all men.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • MDAT

      Where did we say that?Again,My comment above.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:50 am |
    • jackhudson

      @MDAT

      Are you now arguing that death is not the cessation of all experience and sensation?

      September 25, 2012 at 11:27 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.