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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. Darwin

    I am sure if I leave scrap metal in the open desert for 4.9 Zillion years, I will find it evolve into an iphone, or even better a human child. Because as we all know the first living particle at some point was gas and smoke without a brain. I must be a genius to think like this.

    September 25, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Huebert

      Just because you don't understand the theory of evolution does not mean that it is wrong.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • MDAT

      So many people think evolution is just we came straight from apes.They are dead wrong.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Horus

      Yo, D, the clockmaker argument has been disected many times. Evolution is a process with evidence to support it. Do scientists have all the answers? No. But at least, rather than saying gee..."god" did it, they keep searching.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • MDAT

      So many people think evolution is just we came straight from apes.They are dead wrong.It is complicated.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Free Man

      Just ain't because the Atheists do not know, does not mean that God does not cease to not-exists. Who cares about what Atheists think. They live in the early part of the century when microscopes didn't exist. Atheists are unaware that living cells are as complex as an aircraft built in 2012.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • bananaspy

      Oh, hurray, another uneducated fool running his mouth about evolution. I can knock down a strawman too, but I'd prefer you actually read a book on evolution so you can come debate at the big boys' table.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • MDAT

      Saying god did it without evidence is just a blind sighted.Cells are complex and we know.We have seen evolution.But not creationism.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Horus

      @Freeman – yes but the aircraft has an idenifiable, verifiable designer(s) – who can be held accountable when components on that craft fail. Can you hold your god accountable when his design fails?

      Cells are IMO more complicated in many ways than an aircraft, but they can also be more flawed. Complexity does not prove a designer. And if we were designed, someone did a very poor job.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Darwin

      Just because we don't know? Read a book? Keep searching? God is not the option?

      Sounds like a plan to me. Keep searching till my soul is pulled out and I lose the chance to live in Paradise forever. I am sure my Atheist friends are trying hard, and not enjoying life, watching movies, playing video games, watching the NFL, wasting time on facebook like a 13-year old girl. 400 years of industrial and technological progress so that we can play solitaire in our leisure time. Sounds like we are on track.

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

      You mean stop believing in a obsolete theory?It would be better for you.Creationism is a step backwards.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Horus

      @Darwin – gross generalization on your part. I live a pretty darn fulfilling life. My children rarely watch television, or play video games. Nice assumption though.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  2. MDAT

    Jack,Continue to use the atheists want us to "live in darkness"Argument but you are still being a bigot By basically saying the Christianity allows you to have a good afterlife and we will go to hell.Hell is just fear used by you to say Christianity is better,If you are not Christian you will go to a non-existent hell.

    September 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  3. RUSS-124

    Yes, HELL IS REAL!! Besides the Bible that says so, we have a number of people who have gone through a NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE and spent some time there.They all verify exactly what's said about it in the Bible. And the bottom line is still the same: YOU DO NOT WANT TO GO THERE. Frankly, I think the use of the term "torment" in the Bible is politically-correct sugar-coating. I think they should have used the word "TORTURE" instead.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Horus

      It's called power of suggestion. It's the same reason people that claim to have been abducted by aliens give similar accounts.

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

      Why would anyone deserve eternal torture?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • bananaspy

      There is no real evidence to suggest hell exists. What these people experienced inside their heads during a time of great stress to their mental capacities is as likely to real as the time I traveled through the universe on a spaceship mattress when I tripped out on DXM. It sure felt and looked real, but that doesn't make it so.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Just a John

      @RUSS
      Listen pal, why not get a head start and do a little self-flagelation, not the good kind, but with real whips that draw blood. Have fun now you hear!!!!

      September 25, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • sam stone

      Gosh, Russ......your god is a petty pr1ck

      September 25, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  4. Scott

    HELL EXISTS! I know this for sure because I spent my childhood there, suffering all the abuses and damage a “good Christian family” ™ can inflict on a child. I have seen the rotten, black heart of Christianity and don’t give me that BS about “they weren’t real Christians”

    September 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Yep. "Spare the rod, spoil the child."

      September 25, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Just a John

      @Scott
      Fundies are the most dangerous parents of all, no matter what the religion. The worst being a girl in Taliban territory.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  5. Horus

    Should "we" abandon the idea of hell? Well, first of all some of us already did. More importantly, perhaps we should abandon the idea that explanations dreamed up by man thoughout history have any divine value. Let's go a step further and recognize that ALL religions were born of human conjecture.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  6. Robert Brown

    Should we abandon idea of hell? Better yet, let’s just abandon hell. For God so loved the world….

    September 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Athy

      Even better yet, let's just abandon religion and be done with it.

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

      For God so loved the world......what? what did he do? Oh right....he randomly murdered innocent people according to your book. He even murdered the entire human and animal population, save Noah and crew, then had to use a rainbow to remind himself not to do that again. But then there's disease, famine, war, cancer, I can go on but I think the point is clear.....

      September 25, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Oh wait Horus...that stuff is all the work of Satan. You know that angel guy that god created knowing full well that he would fuck up his plan. Just how is it that he gets away with this I wonder? How come God can't smite this fool?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Horus

      AtheistSteve – actually there are any number of stories in the bible where god himself slaughters people. The first born of every non-Jew in Egypt; did children really deserve to die simply for being the first born to parents who believed in a different god? If the flood myth were true, and god did this because he was angry with his creation (man), why did all the animals have to die as well? The Christian god is nothing more than a representation of the primitive, barbaric, and vain nature of man.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Flip

      For God so loved the world...he gave his only begotten son? No he didn't .According to the bible he didn't die.According to the bible hes in Heaven with God now. Sacrifice? I don't think so.For God so loved the world...he wants me to burn in Hell cause I need some proof,any proof that he exists?He loves me?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Actually, there are three enemies of which satan is one. Another is the world. For the third go look in the mirror. I don’t mean that as a personal attack, because when I look in the mirror I see the third one also. It is termed the flesh in the bible.

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

      Christianity destroys human worth, personal responsibility, and personal integrity. Take a look at Roberts posts, very good examples of that.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Robert

      According to your mythology, Satan, the world, and the flesh, by which I as.sume you mean physical body, were all created by God. Why would god create his own enemies?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      It is true that God hates pride, because no flesh should glory or take credit for what God has done. Humility doesn’t match up well with the modern self-esteem idea.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Huebert,
      Why? Is a real good question, I think part of the answer is free will. Satan is an angel who rebelled against God. We are humans who rebelled against God. The “we” includes both the flesh and the world, because the world just means all nonbelievers, collectively.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      ....that he had his son whacked just for the hell of it.....?

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

      @Robert

      What I said had nothing to do with pride.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Huebert

      Robert

      So god created his enemies, then he created hell to torture them? According to this logic, god created some creatures for no purpose other than torturing them. Because he would know, before the creature was created, which creatures would rebel. That line of thinking may be the best argument for satanism I've ever herd. Thank goodness god isn't real.

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

      hawaiiguest
      “Christianity destroys human worth, personal responsibility, and personal integrity.”
      =>How does a person of reason come up with such statements?
      Christianity is all about following the ways of Christ. You could say there are many Christians that do not follow their faith which leads to misconceptions as you have expressed above. Not one statement or guideline Christians follow would lead to anything other than a person of integrity, responsibility and great human worth. If everyone actually followed Christ there would be peace that transcends all understanding.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert...this "god hates pride" thing...does that include those who purport to speak for him?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Huebert

      @fred

      Luke 14:26
      "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.

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

      @fred

      Easy, I don't believe in that crap as a default so I actually see what it's saying instead of what I want it to say, but it's not like you're going to care what I say, because you have your set tangents already don't you?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Huebert,
      God created beings with a free will. Does he know which ones will reject him ultimately?
      By the way, I have a very good friend who used to ask me stuff like this, I couldn’t answer him either. The good news is he is a Christian now.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Sam,
      No, they get a free pass, as long as, they are spreading the good news.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Huh?

      "God created beings with a free will. Does he know which ones will reject him ultimately?"

      Then your god is not omniscient.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Robert

      If god is omniscient then, yes, he would know who is going to rebel before that creature is created. Omniscient means all knowledge therefor god would be incapable of not knowing. So are you comfortable worshiping a deity that would create creatures for the sole purpose of torturing them.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • fred

      Hubert
      Luke 14:26 passage relates to the cost of being a Disciple. The word hate is “love less”. In other words one must love God more than his own family. This same word hate is used in John 12: 25 where we are to hate our lives in this world (means we are not to love the world rather love God). This passage is also the same as the Matthew 10:37 “anyone who loves his mother or father more than me is not worthy”

      September 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Huh?

      fred nice tap dancing but you're not answering Huebert.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Huebert

      Fred

      If god wanted to say "love less" he should have used those words. The word in the bible is "hate". To hate is to actively desire harm or ill fortune on another person. So god is either one of the worst communicators ever, or he is actively encouraging hate.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Huebert,
      I have heard it said that God is Omni….everything and there are several examples in the bible where he knew what was going to happen before it happened and then you get into the whole predestination free will debate. I will give you my own experience. Thinking back on when God was dealing with my heart I honestly believe that I could not resist him. Could someone else?

      September 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Huebert

      Robert

      You completely evaded my question, so I'll repeat it for you. Are you comfortable worshiping a god who creates creatures for no purpose other than torturing them?

      September 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • fred

      Jesus was making an exaggerated comparison which was common for that day. Those he spoke to understood. Those who read the Bible understand and I think you also understand exactly what was meant. When I first saw this I was stumped because it did not fit with the way of Jesus. It did not fit the love your brother and love your enemy. It served its purpose as written. I had to dig a bit and the truth was clear and there is no doubt there is a cost involved in following Christ. In those days you had to reject your family to follow Jesus.
      Do you actually believe this was not clear 2000 years ago and not clear today for anyone that is really interested in following Christ?

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

      September 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • save the world and slap TBT

      September 25, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @save the world

      What the fuck is your problem troll?

      @fred

      Nothing more to say? No tangents to throw out? No useless biblical crap to spew? You surprise me.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • fred

      That is the dilemma for the godless. Without God you are left with explaining your own version of why you exist. Evolution leaves you empty as its dog eat dog where only the best organic mix survives and it is all by accident. Ignore the fact such an accident as man is impossible by random chance. Ignore the fact no other intelligent sign of life has been found.
      You embrace evolution which depicts a struggle of life and death yet reject God who gives you the choice of life or death. What kind of smoke screen did you put in your own eyes to conclude that God will torture you? Your choice is clear and you prefer to live the godless life which has at its foundation that you are but an animal. You have only the physical struggle for life as would a deer running from a lion or a polar bear starving on melting ice. The godless must continue the delusion of being only animal into physical death by dying just as the deer or polar bear. The meaning and purpose of life was only to feed and care for the next generation of like species so that life and death without purpose can continue without purpose and to no end other than death.
      What does the Creator say? As the spirit of God hovered over the dark formless mass God said “let there be light” and it was very good. “let us create man in our image” and it was very good. You may choose life eternal with your creator or reject that life. In the image of God you were made to see and understand beauty, love, goodness, patience, kindness. You were uniquely designed with spirit and abstract thought with conscious awareness that has no boundaries in space or time. This perfect design allows you to have a relationship with God that no other created animal has. Your physical surroundings are temporary as everything is working to the good of those who believe in Christ and have chosen to spend eternity united with their Creator. The plan is simple man was created to experience this eternal wonder.
      Why would anyone choose the empty death and darkness of an animal knowing they were gifted for wonder?

      September 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "When I first saw this I was stumped because it did not fit with the way of Jesus." "I had to dig a bit and the truth was clear "

      This is how every Christians deal with the realities of their own book, they read something that doesn't fit, then get out the shovel, dig a bit deeper metaphoricaly, and throw whatever scripture they had a problem with in a hole and cover it up with a few pats of "God is a mystery and he must not have meant what he said".

      September 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Henry

      Evolution leaves you empty as its dog eat dog where only the best organic mix survives.

      No it doesn’t that is a lie, you don’t need a god to be morally good.

      “You embrace evolution which depicts a struggle of life and death yet reject God who gives you the choice of life or death.

      Yet people still struggle and die regardless of your God, you have no proof of life after death.

      “What kind of smoke screen did you put in your own eyes to conclude that God will torture you?”

      Your religious book states that.

      “Your choice is clear and you prefer to live the godless life which has at its foundation that you are but an animal.”

      We are an animal.

      “ The meaning and purpose of life was only to feed and care for the next generation of like species so that life and death without purpose can continue without purpose and to no end other than death.”

      That is exactly what even religious fanatics like you do to survive every day because that is the only purpose to life but while you are here you have to make the best of it and enjoy it.

      “You were uniquely designed with spirit and abstract thought with conscious awareness that has no boundaries in space or time.”

      Nah, it’s called creativity and imagination but it still means you’re just an animal which will die into non-existence.

      “This perfect design allows you to have a relationship with God that no other created animal has.”

      How do you know? You don’t by the way monkeys and chimps can learn to communicate so if your god was as powerful and you claim it would know how to have a relationship with animals.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Assuming we were "created" with a purpose isn't a justified assertion. You're starting with an unjustified premise and building a case on that.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      I find it amazing that you can go on tangent after tangent, commit multiple logical fallacies, be completely dishonest, and still think you're making some kind of awesome post that proves your point. You're reaching the point where you would be the embodiment of self-delusion.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • fred

      Henry
      “ that is a lie, you don’t need a god to be morally good.”
      =>without God there are no standards of what const-itutes “morally good for today”. Never forget Hitler and the Greeks had some strange ideas of what was morally good.

      “Yet people still struggle and die regardless of your God,”
      =>yes, each has a journey of physical struggle and death. The presence of God is with those who are called.

      “you have no proof of life after death.”
      =>If you toss out the writings related to Jesus and disregard the fact there is power in the name of Jesus today then we have no proof.

      “ God will torture you…Your religious book states that.”
      =>If you are speaking about the Bible those who reject God are receiving what they elected for themselves and nothing more. The Bible is clear on one thing; good and evil will be eternally separated. We really do not know exactly that will look like. Darkness away from God is a good description as is living in the light of God.

      “We are an animal.”
      =>yes, but we have the capacity to worship beginning with Neanderthal.

      “your god was as powerful and you claim it would know how to have a relationship with animals.”
      =>correct, that is why we are here. Believers do have a real personal relationship with God beginning the moment they ask Christ into their lives. That relationship continues eternally and is the purpose of creation.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      A perfect demonstration of my last post fred. Thank you for proving my point so nicely.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      “Assuming we were "created" with a purpose isn't a justified assertion. You're starting with an unjustified premise and building a case on that.”
      =>What alternatives reason is there that man has the ability to worship? If that was an accident your model of evolution would allow that trait to fade away.
      =>You start with an unjustified premise when you say there is no meaning or purpose in life. Mankind has been searching for why we exist since recorded history. You cannot discount that fact unless you want to say we are searching for reason we know does not exist.
      =>Even atheists that claim there is no God come up with a purpose for existence. You probably claim there is a purpose for your existence. The purpose is either akin to that of a dolphin or has its roots in something deeper than a fish. What is it and is it justified?

      September 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Purpose is assigned by the person, and is a by-product of self-awareness.

      "What alternatives reason is there that man has the ability to worship? If that was an accident your model of evolution would allow that trait to fade away."
      This is so incredibly moronic that I was laughing for a good minute. You've shown that you have no logical thought process, you'll grasp at any straw you think you can, and you have no fucking idea what you're talking about when it comes to evolution.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Purpose assigned by the person? The earth is not in the perfect position for your purposes. Earth is in the position it is in because either God did it or by accident. Last we talked we agree on this point because the odds of either approach zero from your perspective. That position is unreasonable as is the thought we exist for your purpose.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So now you revert to switching the scope of the argument. We were talking about purpose in our existence, and you switch it to the universe. Your dishonesty is getting worse Chad, i mean fred. Sorry, but that level of dishonesty is usually used by Chad.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      No, the purpose of existence for the human race is the same regardless of what your individual purpose is thought to be. You are not unique just one of many. Life on earth, if by accident, is without purpose as there cannot be a reason for existence if there is no purpose in spontaneous creation. Just as you know there is first cause as to the beginning of the universe in a physical sense you also know there is first cause in the origin of purpose.
      You actually hang you atheist hat on the premise that there is purpose for the human race that exists outside of space and time as we know it. Then you assert that reason for existence has nothing to do with the very premise you rely upon.
      Life by accident is not a possibility in the presence of purpose for existence.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      What a lovely misrepresentation of my position.

      September 25, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • redzoa

      fred will argue the necessity of a god for some moral absolute while ignoring that his preferred deity has demonstrated clear conflicting moral demands. Thou shalt not kill and kill the various children of other tribes. fred would then argue all manner of justifications, ultimately based in the presupposition that God is always good. But in so arguing, fred adopts that arm of Euthyphro's dilemma which makes morality relative to God's contradictory whims. Furthermore, in the two-way abdication of responsibility (god to man; man to god), the practice implementing this morality again becomes relative to the respective players.

      September 26, 2012 at 2:18 am |
    • fred

      redzoa
      “fred will argue the necessity of a god for some moral absolute while ignoring that his preferred deity has demonstrated clear conflicting moral demands”
      =>You cannot reject the authority and divinity of the Bible then use it support your case of conflicting demands.

      “Thou shalt not kill and kill the various children of other tribes.”
      =>again you assume these accounts were correct and take them literally as written rather than reflective of lame excuses God fearing leaders used to rally troops or justify their own actions. Either way you are still guilty of using a source you discredit to support your case.

      “ argue all manner of justifications, ultimately based in the presupposition that God is always good.”
      =>Given that you believe the Bible authoritative then it is fact that all things work to the good of those who are in Christ. You can add to that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
      Now, you have the facts before you and if you want to use the Bible then take note those killings you mention never happened. It does not matter if you are right or wrong on this because regardless of what happened or did not happen thousands of years ago it was always good (i,e. killings are erased from time or they bring about good).

      “But in so arguing, fred adopts that arm of Euthyphro's dilemma”
      =>no, it is much simpler than that and does not require Plato to confuse truth. Why would you rely on a bunch of Greeks that erected a monument to the Unknown God? Does that not speak to emptiness of Plato’s dialogue on gods?

      “ which makes morality relative to God's contradictory whims.”
      =>no it is only contradictory in your imagination as the Bible is not contradictory as to killings. You have proven the Divine nature of the Bible in your own argument. No matter what you do or say concerning Gods goodness you are cut off at the pass before you or the Greeks even came up with the thought.

      “Furthermore, in the two-way abdication of responsibility (god to man; man to god), the practice implementing this morality again becomes relative to the respective players.”
      =>correct God can do all that God does and man has demonstrated morality is relative to mans view of God.

      September 26, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Nancy

      fred, hate to clue you in but that's rather a lot of mental tail chasing that you're doin there. Post after post, the bible says that the bible says that the bible says that. What's yer little goddie gonna do when we leave books behind entirely and where's his website/blog anyway?

      September 26, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Standard fred tactics. Dishonesty, special pleading, assertions without support.

      September 26, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      Nancy
      Redzoa was using reference from the Bible to support a position which was his choice not mine. No tail chasing going on simple fact that you cannot use writing that you claim is invalid to make your own position valid. That would hold with any source.
      Now if you want to claim the Bible speaks the truth when God told Moses to kill the Amalekites and Moabites on what basis do you claim that to be fact when you also claim there is no God and there is no Moses? The more I listen to atheists the more I realize their desperation to remain godless.
      You guys are worse than Adam and Eve that thought they could hide from Gop behind some fig leaves. Your nakedness is exposed as the Bible likes to say. Interesting how accurate that Bible is when it comes to showing the character of man.

      September 26, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      The point is that even using your own bible, it can be shown that the biblical concept of god is neither loving nor just.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      God is loving. Let us assume that instructions to Moses and others to kill Amalekites and Moabites were given by God. Those who are killed that receive an eternal joy with God will not be complaining (if you need me to tell you why let me know). Those who will not be eternally with God may be in a bad place, a neutral place or blotted out of existence never to have existed in the first place. Worst case let us assume some bad place. The Bible is clear there will a judgment based on what the person did with what they were given (i.e. only accountable for what they had actual accountability for). Again worst case is eternal torment and even that could be anything from simple separation from God to something worse (we do not know what that is but fire is often used to describe it or gnashing of teeth). Satan and his demons are destined for the worst place but this is the soul that they are. If you want to argue that is wrong then you argue that any form of evil should not have been allowed in the first place. Now you are creating a god that predetermines all and removes free will and calling it better based on your belief system…………..i.e. you want to be a god but you do not have the capacity for that.
      In short no one has ever presented a better plan than the one we have which gives eternal souls the opportunity to enjoy eternal unity with God or elect separation from God.

      September 27, 2012 at 1:50 am |
    • Veritas

      Fred. There is no god, No heaven. No hell. But just for the sake of discussion – what if you pray to your god and when you die you find it is a different god who's not too happy with you not worshipping him and you go to hell. Your god and jesus wouldn't have done you much good – in fact they would have done the opposite.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • redzoa

      "You cannot reject the authority and divinity of the Bible then use it support your case of conflicting demands.
      Yes, I can. The conflicting demands are internal, I didn't place them there. They are quite clear in any plain language reading of the text. One needn't wholly accept or wholly reject a thesis in order to identify contradictions in its construction.
      "again you assume these accounts were correct and take them literally as written rather than reflective of lame excuses God fearing leaders used to rally troops or justify their own actions. Either way you are still guilty of using a source you discredit to support your case."
      Regardless of their veracity, the stories are incorporated. You can impose any motive you desire (divine or mortal) for the actions depicted, but they remain incorporated depictions available to be viewed within the context of the whole. If you argue their incorporation is error, it is you who are attempting to discredit this source.
      "Given that you believe the Bible authoritative then it is fact that all things work to the good of those who are in Christ. You can add to that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
      Now, you have the facts before you and if you want to use the Bible then take note those killings you mention never happened. It does not matter if you are right or wrong on this because regardless of what happened or did not happen thousands of years ago it was always good (i,e. killings are erased from time or they bring about good)."
      This is pure word jumble culminating in an argument by fiat. Whether or not the killings happened, the depictions clearly indicate a divine order to kill. The depictions are incorporated into a text which itself claims divine-inspiration, thereby, the inclusion of the depictions is too under this same alleged divine authority. That is, unless you argue only some parts of the bible are legitimate which again would make you the one questioning its credibility.
      Here, you also attempt to dismiss slaughter of children by simply saying, well it happened a long time ago. Furthermore, you have no scriptural authority in declaring the killings never happened and are in effect, declaring the written word as at worst, in error, or at best, deceitfully misleading.
      "no, it is much simpler than that and does not require Plato to confuse truth. Why would you rely on a bunch of Greeks that erected a monument to the Unknown God? Does that not speak to emptiness of Plato’s dialogue on gods"
      You do not and cannot know the "emptiness" of any god or gods as you would certainly invoke this simple truism in the face of some other's accusation of the "emptiness" of your own. Euthyphro's dilemma provides two mutually exclusive positions. You chose the pre-suppositionalist arm declaring anything God does is good. God says slaughter = good. God says don't slaughter = good. "Good" becomes relative to God. If the "law" can change, an edict at a given time/place can never be by definition absolute. Furthermore, your response here is an ad hominem attacking the piety of the Greeks, not the substance of the argument.
      "no it is only contradictory in your imagination as the Bible is not contradictory as to killings. You have proven the Divine nature of the Bible in your own argument. No matter what you do or say concerning Gods goodness you are cut off at the pass before you or the Greeks even came up with the thought."
      Again, more word jumble. The relevant texts in their plain language provide contradiction. You simply reject contradiction (without offering a substantive rebuttal). You are abdicating both moral and intellectual responsibility.
      All of this is beside the point. That point being, you would defend the bible no matter what atrocities were contained within. Not on moral grounds, because as you've clearly indicated, you believe whatever is contained must be good. The issue is not the stories veracity, or even their moral implications, it is your clearly indicated abdication of any personal moral or intellectual culpability in defending them by whatever means. You are engaging in a Nuremberg Defense, here with a complete denial of the events in question.

      "again you assume these accounts were correct and take them literally as written rather than reflective of lame excuses God fearing leaders used to rally troops or justify their own actions. Either way you are still guilty of using a source you discredit to support your case."

      Again, you erroneously conflate a given perception of veracity as opposed to the independent internal inconsistency. Whether or not the accounts were true or misappropriations by evil leaders, they are incorporated into the text. If you argue this incorporation is flawed, then it you who is questioning the veracity of the bible as presented, not I.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:02 am |
    • fred

      Veritas
      Assuming such a god I would not know what that hell is. At this point hell is the absence of God (Hebrew God and or Christ) where all sorts of negative dark thoughts, actions and feelings reside because of the absence of Gods presence. The theme of the Hebrew God is one separation of darkness because God said let there be light in a physical and spiritual eternal construct. The entire march of our universe and existence is the bringing together of all that is of God and like God without any trace of darkness. The story of Adam and Eve goes to the problem of separation of good and evil (light and dark) without destroying the capacity of a soul to express and experience limitless awe and wonder.
      If the god you have constructed is of this same nature then the result will be the same. If the god you have constructed is not then there exists some eternal blending of light and dark. Those two forces are always in conflict and thus your god is unstable and conflicted which is hell. This would make your god Satan in disguise.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yay for more of the fred standard apologetic bullshit.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • fred

      Redzoa
      If the Bible as a whole is the Divine Word of God goodness stands as absolute even in the face of killing children. Is there a conflict between direction to kill children in the Old Testament and Jesus statement that if anyone harm these little ones it would better he was never born? In both accounts it was God addressing man and there is no conflict in the requirement that man obey (obedience is good). The Bible deals with the eternal soul that spends an instant of time in physical form. The eternal soul of the child is known to God in the present sense (i.e. God is present in the past and future without reference or constraint relative to our space and time dimension). If the child could be seen to live a life resulting in darkness that soul is blessed by an early death. If the child could be seen to live a life that fills the soul with light that soul is blessed by an early death as well. Both will experience eternal joy as given and determined by God without reference to time past or future as a new heaven and earth is the destination. All things will be made new includes space and time.
      There is only conflict when man acts outside of the will of God as was the case for Adam and Eve. This conflict is with man as to good and bad not God. Action or inaction within the will of God can never be contrary to that will or conflict with that will. Can the will of God be anything but good? I cannot find anything in the Bible that would lead one to believe Gods will for mankind is anything but to bring about eternal unity in the light with God.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • redzoa

      @fred – "In both accounts it was God addressing man and there is no conflict in the requirement that man obey (obedience is good)." Again, there can be no absolute morality if the edicts demand contradictory outcomes at the whim of the source of the edicts in question. Morality remains a relative construct. Your argument is now also a conceded Nuremberg Defense deserving of all the scorn it received in its first attempted application and every attempted application since. You abdicate any and all intellectual and moral responsibility.

      How then, do you evaluate the morality of any human behavior? To do so, you must necessarily endow mortals with the capacity to infallibly interpret a genuine act of obedience from a purely fabricated claim from a sincerely but erroneously acted upon claim. In addition to the aforementioned abdication of any and all personal responsibility, you are effectively arguing that all morality hinges on the correctness of a given actor's subjective interpretation of a given divine edict and then further still, a correct 3rd party interpretation of the actor's original interpretation.

      Imagine two individuals. The first sincerely believes he is commanded by God to kill a child. The second sincerely believes he is commanded by God to save the child and kill the first. Both are attempting to effect the "good" of obedience. You are requested by both to assist where both claim God has demanded your obedience in accomplishing the objective. What do you do?

      Your reasoning requires not just one act of infallible discernment, but two: first, in a given actor and second, in yourself. Suffice it to say there is good reason to reject a single instance of hearsay evidence, let alone an attempted admission of double hearsay. But again, not only is this reasoning logically and practically flawed, it is itself morally abhorrent in its abdication of any personal responsibility...

      September 28, 2012 at 1:49 am |
  7. Eric Cartman

    Who's we, you got a turd in your pocket?

    September 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Martin Cartman

      No, you ate my last one.

      September 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
  8. Darwin

    Lifeless gaseous matter converted by chance into complex living cell. I don't how and why, but I think it sounds good to me. We will collect some skulls and assume that they were our ancestors becuae you know monkeys do look like humans. We can party all we want now.

    September 25, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Huebert

      I am always amazed at how proud believers are of their own ignorance.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Horus

      Never mind genetic coding and all that science stuff...who needs that, right? btw, please show where in the modern theory of evolution it claims monkeys are our ancestors.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Biff

      I am here thinking about how I got here, so there must be some kind of critter out there that created me. I don't know how, but it sounds good to me. I create other stuff, stories, clay pots, and other things, so it has to be true that I was created by something. So this is our licence to do bad things, because we can ask for forgiveness from whatever that critter is.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • John

      I'm just surprised he didn't point out that there are still monkeys around or that he's never seen a fish change into a man.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Athy

      Yeah, that's the usual fundie argument. I'm sure he'll come back with it later.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Yeah plus the idea that an all powerful intelligent being that has always existed makes so much more sense.
      Funny how they haven't got a credible explanation for that one.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • fred

      In Genesis God did say he created the each after their own kind. As far back as we can look we do not see then or now dogs becoming birds etc. Everywhere you look there are no dogs with fins unless we imagine a time millions of years ago then fill in the gaps between the fin and tail with time and natural selection.
      It takes just as much faith to fill the gaps in macroevolution as it does to fill the gaps in why we exist and the origin of life.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      You talking about science is like me talkingabout advanced quantum theory. Not worth shit because you don't know what you're talking about. You showed that through your use of the word "macro-evolution".

      September 25, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Athy

      Explaining evolution to fred would be like trying to describe the color red to a blind. How could you even start?

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

      @Athy

      I'm waiting for one of two things at this point from fred.
      1) A completely irrelevant tangent.
      2) He'll ignore my post, resond to a few others, then run like a little bitch to another article or thread with the same arguments.
      That's been freds pattern for the past 4-6 months now.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • fred

      hawaiiguest
      The Bible says God created them after their own kind. This takes faith not science to understand. Science cannot prove or disprove what God has said.
      Macroevolution relates to a geologic time span rather than a shorter time span. If you want to establish a different definition or assumption of time period that contrasts micro and macroevolution that is fine. Let’s skip the word since its meaning has changed and can be problematic. It takes faith in human theory to believe in the gradual evolution (change or development) of living beings.
      Both require faith. I understand you do not have “faith” that the sun will rise tomorrow and you prefer to say you have a reasonable expectation that the sun will rise. In that case I have a reasonable expectation that what you exhibit is faith.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Henry

      "Both require faith. I understand you do not have “faith” that the sun will rise tomorrow and you prefer to say you have a reasonable expectation that the sun will rise. In that case I have a reasonable expectation that what you exhibit is faith."

      fred your logic is flawed, the rising of the sun can be tested and seen. In 2000 years there has been no real proof of your god other than the writings of a few deluded men thousands of years ago.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      No faith needed, just the scientific method, which you only accept when it suits you. Evolution, is a fact. Common descent, is a confirmed fact. I'd rather trust my own studies and the studies of scientists that make a living studying and applying the knowledge we gain rather than you, an armchair evolution denier with absolutely no expertise in the area, and nohing but vague useless equivocation fallacies about "faith".

      September 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Fred

      Faith is defined as belief without evidence. Evolution is a scientific theory, and thus is based upon a great deal of evidence, so it does not take any faith to believe that evolution is an accurate explanation for the diversification of life on earth. In contrast their is no evidence for a designer, ergo, believing Intelligent design does require faith. Thus Intelligent design cannot be considered a scientific theory.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      Here's another thing that I constantly tell you and you refuse to listen.

      I don't give a flying backward fuck what the bible says.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • fred

      Henry
      Ok, I see your point since the faith I am speaking about is faith in what cannot be seen or subject to scientific testing. Now, believers do have thousands of years of seeing that which cannot be seen and based on that have a reasonable expectation that God created creatures after their own kind. Regardless if God does or does not exist a believer has faith or reasonable expectation and the non believer has reasonable expectation or faith (depending on definition) .

      September 25, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • MDAT

      Fred you continue to ignore what they say.Creationism is a farce.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • fred

      Hubert
      Thanks, I will restrict my use of faith to that which cannot be seen. Makes sense.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • save the world and slap truth be told

      "believers do have thousands of years of seeing . . ."

      bullsh it.

      September 25, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Henry

      "Now, believers do have thousands of years of seeing that which cannot be seen and based on that have a reasonable expectation that God created creatures after their own kind"

      Thanks for showing your really poor logic. Whoa people I've got a big one on the line.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Robert

      "Now, believers do have thousands of years of seeing that which cannot be seen"

      Well that settles it everyone Santa and the Easter Bunny are real! Are you on the naught or nice list?

      September 25, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • fred

      MDAT
      I agree that some creationism ideas make no sense at all. I understand the evidence for evolution but then God does not say what method he used that appears to show common descent. I understand that there are many ideas floating about as to the origin of life yet all have holes in them and none are conclusive or proven. Science does not know how complex life began or why we exist.
      If you believe we are just a random accident then your life will reflect that belief. I believe that the wonder, awe, creativity, consciousness and subconscious awareness is not an accident. The only possible reason for these attributes is they allow man to have a relationship with the Creator. If there is no creator there is no need for these attributes to have evolved. There is no need for beauty or the comprehension of what is beautiful and what is not. There is no need to know what is goodness. Those attributes were designed with intention as they have no evolutionary value. Exactly what value is there in the ability to freely worship the creator if life was an accident?

      September 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @fred

      So god of the gaps, and you want to feel all special. Got it.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Robert

      fred seriously graduate from high school first you make absolutely no sense and it is very apparent you don't understand science.

      September 25, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • redzoa

      " If there is no creator there is no need for these attributes to have evolved. There is no need for beauty or the comprehension of what is beautiful and what is not."

      There are clear selective advantages for these, not least of which is in yielding an effective social order (goodness). As for beauty, this is clearly in the eye of the beholder, yet there are strong pre-dispositions which reflect both biological and cultural origins, particularly so in music and other arts. It's the ultimate non sequitur to conclude their only purpose is to support a pre-conceived, wholly anthropocentric, and otherwise wholly unsupported by any empirical evidence, notion of a mortal/god "relationship."

      September 26, 2012 at 2:24 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HEY DARLOSER: You're an idiot. Take a science class, azzwipe. Try to make sure it's one that involves more than making Jello.

      September 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  9. Flip

    OK-The world population is 6.8 billion.Christians are 33% of the world population.Thats 2 billion.Half of those are Catholics and every body knows they aint going to heaven cause they do what the pope says not Jesus That leaves 1 billion.Most of those aint going to heaven cause they are morman or something other than Baptist.That leaves about 100,000 God fearing,Jesus following Christians that are going to Heaven, while 6.7 billion sinners are going to Hell.My question is,why did he bother to create them just so he could burn em up?

    September 25, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • John

      He needs lots of bodies to stoke the flames and keep the furnace burning so he sets up 99% of the Earth's population to fail. What's a loving, just god supposed to do?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • CADMAN1

      Or why torture us for all eternity. Maybe just stick us on a planet way out away from Heavens neighborhood. Im sure he has a few empty ones out there he could stick us sinners on.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  10. John

    If anyone is deserving of hell it's the psychotic, brutal, genocidal, murderous, blood thirsty Christian god.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      God is loving, merciful, and patient. All very true, but when you say he is also a God of judgment, oh no, we can’t have that.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Madtown

      God is loving, merciful
      --–
      So, why then eternal condemnation, for the finite "sin" of simply using the gifts(mind, intellect) that God provided?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      robert.....your god is a punk

      September 25, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  11. John

    Should we abandon idea of hell? Who is this question directed to, Christians? This question doesn't apply to sane rational people. That's like asking should we abandon the idea of ghosts. I would think anyone who actually believes in a mythical place called hell are creationists and also believe the Earth is only 6000 years old and flat.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Logical -Philosopher Conjectureisthmus slayer

      Well first off there John, Its real dismissive to say that someone who believes in the bible is not a rational thinker or a sane person. Logic tells me, that no matter how much knowledge, time, and material resource we have, somethings will never be explained. Some things just cannot be explained threw objective reasoning and scientific theory. Its time scientists and philosophers starts admitting to their own humanistic limitations. People always try and compare the bible to a fairy tale "talking snakes, man eating fish's, virgin births, hell and heaven" , just to name a few examples. The same "rational" thinkers never look at their own theories the same way. He and H somehow produced the periodic table we have now, life stemmed from non life, with 70×10^21 stars it would take 6.5 million made every minute for 33 billion years to get to that many stars, yet we have not seen a single one form. We have an incomplete fossil record, the half life of DNA is not long enough to prove how old something is past a X number of years, There is no hard scientific evidence supporting Macro-evolution theory. The most likely candidate Bacteria, It has done nothing more then "adapt" the same way a person would get a tan if they spent time in the sun. Look at both sides of the fence and you will certainly see that there is evidence for both evolution and creation/intelligent design. There are plenty of well educated, well established scientists who believe creation more logic then the common World View that atheists love to cling to. If there is a God who is outside of both space and time, then all the claims of the bible are not so obscure, and impossible. Think of an ant, it cannot explain or even comprehend a television, yet the television exists despite the ants perceptional reality. My point is simple, just because someone believes in a higher power does not make him or her less intelligent or logical then you. Stop being a hateful bigot John.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Logical

      You say their is evidence for intelligent design. I must ask, in which journal did you find this evidence? Or if you did your own experiments, in which journal do you plan to publish?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • bananaspy

      I would also like to see this evidence for intelligent design. Even upon inspecting the Young Earth Creationists research site, the best I could find was an attack on the fossil record. It's insulting to call our fossil record incomplete, when we are extremely lucky to have what we do. What would one define as a "complete" fossil record anyway? It would be the same as saying the periodic table is incomplete because we have not yet discovered all the elements. It doesn't deem the rest of the table's information null.

      It is also wrong to assume we don't hold current scientific theories to the same standards as faith. If new evidence arises to suggest evolution is anything but its current form, then the theory of evolution will be revised. The same would apply to cell theory and the theory of gravity. Science works by observation, hypothesis, tests, tests, tests, tests, peer review, and eventually acceptance once the evidence is too overwhelming to ignore without redefining how the world works. There are no peer-reviewable studies of intelligent design floating around the scientific community, and if there are I would be interested in seeing it.

      There is no hard evidence supporting macro evolution because there is no such thing as micro and macro evolution. There is simply evolution. You won't see a duck come out of an alligator. But you may see a duck with a different shaped bill come out of a duck. Eventually the duck with the different shaped bill may come out as a duck with different shaped wings and bill. Eventually that duck with different shaped wings and bill may come out with larger eyes. I'm talking about millions of years here, but surely you have to understand where I'm going with this. Eventually you will have a creature that resembles nothing of the original duck and is unable to breed with the original duck. This is evolution. There is no micro and macro occurring here.

      Lastly, we could toss out the fossil record and still have mounds of evidence to support evolution. Google it. Or take a Biology course. Purchase a Biology book. All I see you doing is attacking something you don't understand without presenting any new ideas to the discussion. This will get us nowhere.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Papa Nichols

      Huebert...Where is your evidence for there not being intelligent design?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Papa Nichols

      That's a shifting of the burden of proof, and very dishonest to boot.

      Where is your evidence that aliens didn't come down 2 million years ago with a slave race that they left here because they were to much trouble?
      Your question and mine have the same validity, absolutely none.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      My point is simple, and the opposite of this person below. Just because a person believes in a god, a creator, a hell, DOES in fact mean that they are a less intelligent person. John is not being a hateful bigot, just telling the truth.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • MDAT

      Because it is just creationism if you look at it.Evolution has proof and also intelligent design does not explain Natural selection and Genes.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Papa

      Despite the fact that you are attempting to shift the burden of proof, which is a logical fallacy, I can answer that. Just five me a moment though, it'll take me a second to find the evidence. I keep it between the evidence for Santa's nonexistence and the Flying Spaghetti Monster's nonexistence.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  12. Biff

    What the hell is hell!? I love how not a single religious believer will show up to take a stance on this. All they can spew out is that hell is real. BUT WHAT IS IT?! Tell me that and you stand a chance of being taken seriously. Otherwise this is 115 pages of comment comedy. Bunch of metaphors and stories of what they think it could be. Best response so far is that it is a bunch of coal lined up into a lake that is so hot even angels have to use tongs. Thanks barbecue guy.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Tie Mie Shu

      Hell is a place where the least punishment will be that two flames will be lit under the feet of the sinner, which will make his brains boil. Also, sinners will be given boiling pus and blood of the people of hell to drink when they would get thirsty. These punishments are the sins that were comitted by the sinner. So, people will get in return what they earned.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • ip

      God's grace still abounds to us today as we live on earth.
      When we are separated from our bodies, our soul will either reunite with its creator or not depending on if sin gets in the way as one who is sinful can no longer be united with the creator who is holy.
      Hell is a condition being apart from God, it is not created or sustained. Absence of God creates all the descriptions of hell which we read and hear today.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • MK

      @TMS...that's seriously twisted. Who thought of that??

      September 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Biff

      IP – so if you are happy living apart from god in life, why would hell not be a happy place? What is your basis of this thought? Did you read it somewhere? Did you come up with the idea on your own? Was it preached to you?

      September 25, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Tie

      Do you have a torture fetish?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Biff

      TMS – are you saying that hell is a place? Is it in this physical world? In this universe? Will it end when the universe ends? Does it follow the universal laws of physics? You say that fire exists in this world. Fire that burns your feet. Do we get to keep our bodies in hell, after we die? Most say we are separated, but you seem to believe we get to keep them. That is nice of god and the devil to allow us to keep our bodies. Do we have feet in hell? Boiling brains? So we have bodies? Do we use the brains in hell? If our brains are boiling, would we be capable of caring? If a paralyzed guy went to hell, would he mind that his feet were burning? He may get pleasure out of knowing that torture was not working! Does the fire require oxygen? Do we breathe the oxygen in hell? If the punishments are the sins of the tortured, does that mean that you have to light fires under others' feet before you qualify for torture in hell? Sounds like a pretty high threshold. Would that mean that the nice guys who don't burn others' feet get into heaven? Even if you don't believe? Please clarify.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • bananaspy

      Well there you have it, straight from Tie Mie Shu. Hell is the worst imaginable place for people who probably aren't even that bad. If the Christian concept of god is truth, I am certainly doomed to hell. I'm fine with this. I don't feel like being a law-abiding citizen that gives to charity and treats others kindly is worthy of this kind of punishment, but hey, what do I know, I'm just an ignorant atheist. God knows best, right? Better to boil my eyeballs out than explain away his stupidly harsh punishment for me not believing he told a few men in the desert 2,000 years ago how things really are.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  13. Abberly

    If there is a hell, we are in it.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Biff

      So what about the people with good lives, success, happy children and love in their life? If this is hell, bring it!

      September 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  14. Biff

    Anyone else notice that the fundies are only here to type one message while those who base their beliefs on reason and scientific method are the ones who are actually sticking around looking for a conversation? Atheists are being trolled here. It's all the same kid using google and his apologetics textbook from his baptist jr. high school. Good to know he's still in school, though. Chick Fil A has enough cooks.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  15. God is Perfect

    Which is why he created foreskin, so that it could be sliced off with a sharp knife.

    Which is why males have ni.p.p.les but don't need them.

    Why some humans have muscles that can move their ears but don't need them.

    Why we get goose bumps when surprised or scared.

    Why we still have a coccyx, which are fused vertebrae at the base of the spine.

    God never makes mistakes, but apparently he went through a few variations of human before he got it right. And then after all that, he decides to create a place to torment his creations, you know, just for shlts and giggles.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Abberly

      I am pretty sure God makes lots of mistakes, like pedophiles, rapists, murderers, wars, babies born so sick.... When I hear about all the atrocities in the world I know that if there were a God he is most definitley fallible.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Tie Mie Shu

      What are you a 5 year old?

      September 25, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      If god does not make mistakes, why are there so many interpretations of god's word? Is it that unclear?

      September 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @sam stone
      I’ve asked this same question many times. The response I usually get is that we lowly humans are too feeble to understand. This implies that ether God is to inept to create a human that can understand him, to inept to explain himself or just fvcking with you. Then again..maybe we made the entire thing up.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  16. gluonspring

    Hell is definitely the most odious of the many odious religious doctrines. Once one accepts the idea of a place of eternal punishment for those who don’t agree with you, all other reasonable moral reasoning goes out the window. There is no atrocity in the finite world we live in now that can not be seen as a justifiable means to the end of keeping people out of an eternal Hell.

    September 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Athy

      Darwin, you act as though stupidity were a virtue.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Athy

      Sorry, wrong place.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  17. Josh

    Christians thinks God smiles upon them when they kill their enemies where did you get that? Haven't heard of Christians that in the past 2,000 years (And I'm not talking about that religion called catholicism which combined paganism and christianity) oh I've heard of Foxe's Book of Martyrs but not that! What did Jesus say "hate your enemies, do evil that do evil to you" oh wait reverse that

    September 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Much evil was done in the name of Christ using Saint Augustine's doctrine of "Cognite intrare" as justification.
      In the modern world, violence is perpetuated by Christian groups like the Manmasi National Christian Army, the National Liberation Front of Tripura, The Aryan Nations, The Phineas Priesthood, The Covenant, The Swrod and the Arm of the Lord, etc.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      All varieties of christianity have the same roots in pagan and other beliefs. Yours is not special

      September 25, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  18. The Truth

    What is the point of heII? Why would anyone spend so much energy locking up eternal souls to torment them if there was no chance or hope of reform? Or is the eternal torment purely based on revenge? Or maybe your imagined deity derives some sort of pleasure from creating things then squeezing them to hear their screams, maybe those billions of voices create some sick cacophony that sends tingles up and down your God's spine. Either way, it's a horrid and disgusting thought and anyone who believes in it and promotes it are horrid and disgusting themselves. As if that would be prefferable to just not existing at all anymore when the electrical impulses in our brains stop firing.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Sadly, the electrical impulses have already stopped firing in many Christians I know...

      September 25, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Athy

      Some Christians do have feeble electrical discharges in their brains. But instead of using high-speed timing devices to measure them, you have to use a calendar.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • ip

      When we leave our bodies, our souls will either unite with our creator or not.
      Being apart from the creator is hell. Hell is not created or sustained by anything, it's a spiritual condition absent from God.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Athy

      Geez, ip, think of all the useful knowledge you could have gotten if you'd gone to a library instead of wasting your time in bible school.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  19. Evert

    I think that Pastor Mark Driscoll has done a good job in describing an "inconvenient truth" and has not sugarcoated the reality before us. Thank you Pastor Mark Driscoll.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Truth is not just "asserted".

      Please explain how anything he said on the subject was "true".

      September 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "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." Mark Driscoll

      What the "inconvenient truth" is, is that this statement of which all Christians base their firmly held religious beliefs, is utter bull shlt. There are mountains of evidence pointing to global warming and climate change being effected by mankind and yet the evangelicals look at that and say "Nah, we don't believe it" while simultaneously claiming "My God made you, and you have to do what we say or you will be burned and tomented for eternity for nothing more than not following my, er, God's, instructions... Oh, and by the way, we have absolutely ZERO evidence for our position."

      September 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Apparently, Evert, you confuse opinion with reality

      September 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Madtown

      How do you know that it's the reality before us?

      September 25, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  20. Smith111

    "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." - Albert Einstein.

    September 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • Huebert

      How is science without religion lame?

      September 25, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • ME II

      "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this." – Albert Einstein (as quoted at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/may/12/peopleinscience.religion)

      Not that his opinion on the subject is any more accurate than anyone else's.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Ben

      "Einstein, stop telling God what to do."
      – Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

      September 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Letter to Jost Winteler (1901), quoted in The Private Lives of Albert Einstein ..... There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Bill. Just because Einstein did not anticipate nuclear energy, that doesn't invalidate everything he ever said. Science and experimentation produced nuclear energy; middle eastern nomads produced the bible centuries ago and yet it is still believed by many as the best explanantion for unknowns and previously unknowns.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
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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.