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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. Johnny 5

    Hell is where the elderly escape the cold of the north. It's the Boca Raton of the afterlife if you will.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  2. David N

    Should we abandon the idea of hell? It depends why. It may surprise people that the bible teaches anihilationism for the disobedient. There are a few verses in the New Testament that suggest otherwise, but they are taken out of context. The Old Testament teaches that death is a sleep better than the New AND the Old Testament also makes it very clear that the wicked shall be as ashes under the feet of the righteous or burn as stubble, etc. Since when did stubble or ashes scream in horror for all eternity? Well, they don't. Sodom and Gammorah were burned with eternal fire. Are they still burning? Of course not! And I am a conservative christian, bet you would not have guessed that. Some want to give up the idea of hell because they have no real faith in the accuracy in the bible. They give it up at their own danger. It can still burn them if they are so willfully ignore God, it just won't burn them forever. New Ager wanna be christians would probably like the idea to go away. But, they probably think they already are gods, so they won't give it any thought at anyways.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      How are wanting to be god and purporting to speak for god different?

      September 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  3. Anybody know how to read?

    What i get tired of hearing is all the sales talk from the self-proclaimed experts in the market. These peddlers of lake front lots surrounding the Lake of Fire are always claiming the level won't rise. They don't know that and have no proof.

    September 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      come hell or high water?

      September 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  4. NickZadick

    Not only should you abandon hell...you should abandon all the ridiculous fairy tales that come with it!!

    September 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Don

    Two comments.

    First, I see Driscoll making a lot of assertions, but I don't see him offering a shred of evidence or even reasoning for the existence of hell. I'm willing to hear opinions that don't match my own, but an argument that rests on a set of starting assumptions that I don't hold (such as the bible being a divinely-inspired work or a factual record of history) just won't gain any traction.

    Second, I'm seeing a lot of snark from my fellow atheists here. Knock it off; you're making us look bad. You can make reasoned arguments against religion, and you can even be quite bold about it, without coming off as a jerk. It takes some talent though.

    September 28, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • sam stone

      don: how can you reason someone out of something that they did not reason themselves into in the first place?

      f

      September 28, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bleh...

      You do have a point Don. However, in this case I think Driscoll's piece deserves nothing but ridicule considering how utterly devoid it is of any semblance of logic. There are certainly some smart people who also happen to be religious. Mark Driscoll, on the other hand, is one of the nutcases.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  6. isaacbennett

    I love the Lord. Praise His name forever. He saved my life from destruction, anger and bitterness. I believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the Lord. His way is the power to salvation. He didn't cause suffering and torment, He allowed people to choose it because of His kindness. Praise the name of Jesus forever!

    September 28, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • NickZadick

      spoken like a nice brainwashed sheep !! good luck with your delusions !!

      September 28, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  7. Rachel

    If death is not natural and is our punishment for sin why do children get sick and die? What could a child have done that was so bad it deserved to die?

    September 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • isaacbennett

      Every person is born under the law of sin. I was guilty because of blood, because I was a human, not because I did something specific; everyone is guilty of sin (lying, unrighteous anger, etc). But the good news is that Jesus Christ has made a way to be free from the law of sin, to receive the grace of God and the righteousness of God. We can have peace with God through Jesus! God is so worth knowing, I would give anything to be with Him forever!

      September 28, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • sam stone

      "Every person is born under the law of sin"

      Without the myth of universal guilt, and the threat of eternal punishment, Christianity is dead in the water.

      September 28, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • JW

      @Rachel
      God told Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and bad (Gen 2:17). That original sin leads to eventual death of each person as offspring of Adam and Eve and inheritors of their sin, not as a result of individual actions. The effects of sin will be removed through faith in Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, and the effects of death will be reversed by means of the resurrection. Children who have died will be resurrected and given a chance to serve God and show faith in the ransom sacrifice of Jesus.

      September 28, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      JW: Punishing someone for something someone else did not the sign of justice, it is the sign of a petty, vindictive schmuck

      September 28, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • JW

      samstone, God is not the cause of the inherited sin or our suffering. He told Adam and Eve what would happen and they chose to disobey–he warned them out of love. They are the ones at fault and the cause of our sufferering as is Satan who challenged God's right to rule. Satan has been given a chance to prove in front of all angels and mankind that his rule is better and he has failed miserably. Out of loving kindness, God is very soon going to put an end to that once and for all time. If he had destroyed Satan and Adam and Eve right away and started over as some wonder, what lesson would have been learned? It is now without question that God's rule is right. All his commandments and principles are to make us happy and have a joyful life. Not a one is burdensome unless out of rebelliousness we think we know better and don't want to listen. Always this path leads to misery.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      nonsense: if god is omniscient, he knew from the beginning this was going to happen. what then is the point of punishment when he knew what was going to happen? i stand by my initial assertion....your god is a petty, vindictive punk. and, those who worship him are snivelling sycophants

      September 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • JW

      samstone, you sound a bit angry, although I can't imagine you caring so much unless you believe in God. God doesn't control us–he gave us free will. While all things are possible in Him, He may choose to use foreknowledge or not. The very idea that He would create man while knowing all the evil that would come about as a result is unthinkable and is completely contrary to His personality. Just because someone can do something, it doesn't mean he always does. So is true of God. He exercises restraint in many ways. However, He will not allow his original purpose it not to be twarted and the earth will be restored to a paradise with righteous people living in peace upon it forever. Psalm 37:10, 29.

      September 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Bleh...

      Blood guilt? Born in sin? Inherited punishment? Why anyone follows a religion with such revolting beliefs is beyond me...

      Here's a scenario: I put you in a room with two doors. Behind one door I put a tiger that will maul you and eat your face off if you open said door. Behind the othe door I'll be chilling with a piece of cake just for you. I'm not going to tell you which door to open, but I'll give you some clues. If you think I'm a pretty cool guy because there's a chance I'll give you cake, you're an id-iot! I'm actually an as-sho-le because I put a fu-cking tiger in a room and set it up so that there's a chance you might be eaten by it. That's pretty much how god works. He isn't a kind and loving deity becuse he made a paradise for some people. He's a di-ck that created hell for all the people who happened to choose the wrong door to open.

      September 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • JW

      The point is our loving Father gives us a choice. A choice to follow what will make us happy or a choice to self-destruct. The choices are clear and are not obscured by any door to go through. It is a road to follow. You can choose to fall off the narrow road and onto the wide road to destruction or you can choose to stay on the narrow path that lead to everlasting life. If you have been so embittered by this life, it is the cause of the one who rules this world–the wicked one, Satan (1 John 5:19). God is trying to save you from Satan's destructive influences. I'm sorry for your pain and that you don't have the joy of knowing the one True God, Jehovah.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Bleh...

      Oh, I know him. I read his whole convoluted biography! I just don't think he's someone worth admiring, much less worshipping.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • JW

      I am sorry you feel that way. He wants you to see past the lies you have been fed by this system of things.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • sam stone

      By what authority do claim to be privy to "his personality"?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • sam stone

      JW: By what authority do you claim to be privy to knowledge of his personality?

      What you have described is a being that is not omniscient. Do you believe that god is not omniscient?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • JW

      samstone, The Bible reveals Jehovah God's personality and no where in it is he anything but loyal, loving, just, caring, wise, holy, mighty, eternal, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, quick to forgive, and so many other beautiful qualities. His personality is also evident in the beauty of creation. How complex, awe-inspiring, and astounding are all his creations–the oceans, the mountains, the sky, the heavens, the human body, etc. Satan is walking about like a roaring lion seeking to devour as many of us as he can because he knows he has just a short time left. Satan would love for you to hate God and serve him. That is what he has been after from the beginning.
      To answer your other question–there is nothing Jehovah God cannot do or accomplish. If he chose to not look into the future of our existence, do you view that as a flaw? Sure if he had, we never would have existed and had the opportunity for everlasting life and to be pleasing to God. Jehovah is perfection and since we are not, we cannot define what perfection is. Our opinions and concepts are deeply flawed by our imperfection.

      September 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • rick

      "The Bible reveals Jehovah God's personality"

      Aren't you assuming the bible speaks for god? Seems like a pretty big leap

      September 29, 2012 at 8:08 am |
    • Damocles

      @JW

      Couple of things:

      1) You say that your deity is perfect, yet we can't understand what perfection is. How can you claim something is perfect without understanding perfection?
      2) A thing that you say is 'everything' can't just be good because it would then cease to be everything.
      3) This supposed good deity has, according to the bible, murdered the world at least once, possibly more if you attribute plagues, pestilence, famine and war to it.
      4) The human body, mountains, the planet etc etc are overly complicated. It would have been easier to just make us solid objects with no internal plumbing to foul up. Dead, empty worlds would denote flaws in your deity's ability to create life.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • JW

      @rick
      2 Tim 3:16
      @Damocles
      1. you're right. don't take my word for it. read his word the Bible and see for yourself
      2. don't know what you are saying
      3. not murdered. He rid the world of unrepentent sinners just as he will do in the near future. This is to give those who are righteous a world in which we no longer have to lock our doors or watch in horror as the world commits heinous crimes. Thank you Jehovah!
      4. If Adam and Eve hadn't sinned in the first place, all of our bodies would be perfect and never die. He will restore this in paradise for the meek and the righteous.

      September 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  8. Pete

    I'll bet the vast majority of people posting here wind up in hell, whether they believe it exists or not. Hows that for a startling truth

    September 28, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Huebert

      That's not a truth it's a myth. The Romans believed that everyone would end up in Hades's underworld, they weren't right either.

      September 28, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • sam stone

      i don't doubt that it is the truth that you believe it.

      people believe lots of things

      for example, i believe your god is a petty vindictive pr1ck

      and i also believe that you are one too

      why else would someone find comfort in such a punk?

      September 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  9. Evenstar13

    Dante said it best,
    "All hope abandon, ye who enter in!"

    September 28, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  10. sean

    So many people struggle over this issue, which is how could a God of Love and His son who obviously loved mankind so much that he endured a torture stake, besides shame and extreme pain, willingly torture people for eternity while giving others a lasting reward, all for the simple act of belief and repentance. It is true, that the Bible talks about judgement day, resurrection, everlasting cut off and the gnashing of teeth, as well as a lake of fire.
    However, the pastor didn't mention the rest of Revelation 20: 13 The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

    Can you torture death and hell itself or can you destroy them? That's what fire does, it destroys, it doesn't continually burn something. When Jesus Christ talk about Gehenna, he was referring to the valley of Hinnom by Jerusalem where they dumped trash and the dead bodies of criminals who were not fit for burial. The point is the criminals were not being burned alive, they were already dead, they just didn't have a place of burial like everybody else called the memorial tomb. The biggest clincher should be this comment from God Himself at Jeremiah 7: 31 King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
    And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

    September 28, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • EaglesQuestions

      Insightful. Good observation, Sean!

      September 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Sarah

      Sean, are you sure you completely understand Jer 7:31? I have to respectfully disagree with your interpretation here. The verse refers to those who had begun to worship Molach and had given themselves up to idolotry. The sons and daughters burning in the valley were NOT dead criminals, but child sacrifices being made to the false god. God is grieving. This is not what he commanded of his people, and as a result of them straying from his will, his people had become animals – burning their own children as a sacrifice to a false god. This is why God was so angry with the children of Judah. I'm not sure how you find this relevant in a discussion regarding hell.

      September 28, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • JW

      I quoted the same scripture in another answer. His point is that Jehovah God hates the burning of humans and thus would not set up a system by which all those who are unrepentent would burn forever.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  11. f4xtrafn

    It's too hot down there.

    September 28, 2012 at 3:13 am |
  12. grouchoman

    God is not willing that any should perish but that all would come to repentance. It is the age of grace and mercy. We are all sinners but while we are sinners, Christ died for us. That's God Himself who became a man, lived a sinless life and took your sin and mine upon Himself and paid the punishment we deserve. He offers that gift of redemption, forgiveness and eternal life to those who will receive it but to those who refuse who have basically cast their lot with the devil and his demons, He has reserved the lake of fire or hell. You don't have to go there. I beg you by the mercies of God to trust in Jesus Christ and the price He paid to redeem your soul from eternal death in hell.

    September 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • Athy

      What a load of bull. How can any reasonable person believe this crap?

      September 27, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • Sony Bozo & Chair

      I LOVE Yeshua and his teaching VERY much that is why I would NEVER want him to die for my sins. I am alone responsible for my sins.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • sam stone

      grouchoman: your god could have forgiven without the blood sacrifice, no?

      September 28, 2012 at 6:34 am |
    • sam stone

      Athy: The answer is NO reasonable person could believe this stuff.

      Grouchoman: The punishment we all deserve? Speak for yourself. I do not believe that iron age sheep mounters spoke for god, nor the folks who translated or edited their drivel. Without guilt, your belief system is dead in the water. If you want to beg, have at it. Subservient folks will always find a way to beg

      September 28, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • EaglesQuestions

      Boldly spoken, Grouchoman.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • sam stone

      sure, it's boldly spoken. but, is it anything other than what drops out of the southfacing side of a northbound bull? i don't think it is.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • NickZadick

      Why do you believe that ancient bronze age myths are true?? are you simple-minded??... are you "special" ... if so, please seek help for that!

      September 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • grouchoman

      Thank you for the replies to my post!

      September 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  13. Jesus Christ

    Mark Driscoll is my butt-buddy, that's why he's so hyper sensitive about hell...you know that it's been said that we hate the most – what we see in ourselves...

    September 27, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • isaacbennett

      I bet you'd like Mark Dricoll if you met him. You interpret his words as angry or accusing, but he isn't trying to get people condemned but set free : )

      September 28, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • sam stone

      set free? by continuing to proffer iron age writings as "the word of god"?

      sounds more like continued enslavement

      September 28, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  14. Draxta

    "F" hell.

    September 27, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  15. Anybody know how to read?

    '"hell"
    occurs 54 times in 54 verses in the KJV It seems unseemly to write off 54 verses just because they're not popular. They might just contain the little bit of wisdom you can stomach. Don't even think of it when it comes to Revelation. 'Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book.'

    September 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yep. You can't take "hell" out of the bible. In stead, throw away the entire stupid belief. What kind of fvcked up god makes and sustains a hell anyway? What kind of azzhole allows people to spend an eternity being tortured in fire? What a dovchenozzle terrorist that biblegod is.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • JW

      @Anybody know how to read?
      I think the problem is the KJV of the Bible. You are right that nothing should be taken away from God's Word the Bible, but when a "version" of the Bible contains errors, look to a "translation" that does not. A translation is taken directly from the original scriptures. A version is not. The interpretation of the word the KJV inserts as "hell" is in fact, not what you think.

      September 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      JW, what next? Church should be capitalized in the KJV?

      September 28, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • JW

      @Anybody know how to read?
      Do you doubt what I say is true? Both Sheol and Gehenna are rendered "hell" in the KJV, correct? However, Sheol is really translated to mean mankind's common grave (a place Jesus went and Jesus certainly didn't go to any "hell") and Gehenna refers to eternal destruction (not torment). Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10 refers to the dead as being conscious of nothing at all and thus not feeling joy or pain. The resurrection is the release from Sheol (common grave). There is no resurrection from Gehenna because those who go there are destroyed. God expressed repugnance for the burning of people alive when describing pagan human sacrifice in Jeremiah 7:31 and 32:35.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      JW, watch out and don't get all tripped up by Solomon and Ecclesiastes. You do know he was an antichrist type? If not, I won't even go there. I don't see 'hell' used in the two verses you quoted. Why don't you give us the places you think are translated wrong?

      September 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Solid Christian thought: '2Cr 5:8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.'

      September 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • JW

      Maybe you can explain what you mean by quoting that verse in 2 Cor. And regarding the word "hell", iin my view, it doesn't exist and thus is translated incorrectly in all places. Eccl is not the only place in the Bible that explains the condition of the dead: Ps 146:4 and John 11:11-13 (asleep in death).

      September 28, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      JW, 'Luk 23:42 -43 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.'

      September 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • JW

      @Anybody know how to read?
      If you are implying that they both went to Paradise that day, you might call to mind that Jesus didn't ascend into Heaven for 40 days. "Today", then, was a reference to the day of the promise Jesus was making to him. Something like–on this day, I promise to you that you will be with me in Paradise. Whether that criminal is heavenly bound or earthly bound, it doesn't really matter. Jesus promises him Paradise for showing faith on that day when Jesus was being so ridiculed,

      September 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      JW, I recommend you take a sabbatical from your work for the Watchtower. Get a KJV and go fishin' for a year. You've got nothing to lose.

      September 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • JW

      you mean to read the Bible in old English that few these days understand? I think your arguments would be more effective if you used today's language and perhaps your understanding of God's Word would be better.

      September 28, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  16. Tom Paine

    I would like to thank Pastor Driscoll for the vivid reminder of why I am no longer a Christian.

    September 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Tom, you are not "no longer a Christian.". You may be no longer a professing Christian. Once God regenerates you, which is necessarily so if you were ever a Christian, you cannot become unregenerated. Further, if you reject any of the plain teachings of the New Testament, you cannot be a Christian.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SciGuy

      By your definition, I don't think anyone ever has been or ever will be a christian. Can't be regenerated (odd word to use) by something that doesn't exist.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Madtown

      "Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation? If not, you are hellbound"
      ------
      Right Tom, Driscoll appears to be in his own league when it comes to being a whack-job. The above quote is from his section of this article. I wonder what he thinks about people throughout the world who've just never had the chance to hear of Jesus, or learn the first thing about him? Surely he wouldn't think those people are hellbound? Would that make any sense?

      September 27, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @SciGuy, Once a christian, always a christian... That's so convenient. Well I said my prayer when I was 5 and again when I was 8. I got baptized both times and devoted my life to christ and the church.

      Now I get to be an atheist and go to heaven if it really exists. Unfortunately for me, I can't get out of heaven. I have absolutely NO interest in spending an eternity with fanatical believers and judgmental haters. Any advice on how to get out of my contract?

      September 27, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • ECIAL

      @GodFreeNow- so then you will be in your own little hell, so you should be happy

      September 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      GodFreeNow, tell us about your baptisms. I might have a loophole for you. BTW, donations welcome.

      September 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @Anybody know how to read?, Typical baptist submersion in front of the congregation... Any help?

      Heaven is facebook for eternity. Eash.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      GodFreeNow, got some great news for you. Be patient and follow this reasoning. John, the Baptist, said this: 'Luk 3:16 John answered, saying unto [them] all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:' Paul also did some water baptizing but was glad when he stopped. He also said this:'Eph 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,' So you see with only one baptism, it cannot possibly be water. You're HOME FREE!

      September 28, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      GodFreeNow, there is something I ought to bring up. It's the dark side of your silver lining. I hope you liked those people in that church. You might be spending a lot more time getting to know them further in your future. But hey, one/two ain't bad!

      September 28, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Can you explain...

      Careful that Vishnu doesn't get you. Once a Hindu, always a Hindu.

      Once a Christian, stay away from the bible if you want to keep your faith.

      September 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  17. Joe Rapisarda-Author of Awaken Your Power

    I think heaven or hell is created on a day to day basis based on the things we attract into our lives through the choices we make and the thoughts we think. http://www.JoeRapisarda.com

    September 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  18. augustghost

    abandon hell...I though we were there already

    September 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  19. 2357

    Do Jews exist? You know, those funny people who love their little scrolls full of words about some invisible nameless creator of the universe. Maybe you wish they didn't. How would you explain scientifically, their survival amidst persecution across all of the world's largest empires?

    September 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Determination? Adaptability, assimilation, finding value in cultural traditions? Not that hard to really see.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • 2357

      I'd call it genuine faith. Faith in someone real, to be specific. What you call it is telling of your intellectual capacity.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      It took you that long to come up with just saying "I'm gonna say what I think it is, and therefore it wll be truth". I answered your question, and you look like a moron for it. Don't dig your hole any deeper.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You are confused. The definition of a Jew was changed by Jesus. 'Rom 2:28-29 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither [is that] circ umcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he [is] a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circ umcision [is that] of the heart, in the spirit, [and] not in the letter; whose praise [is] not of men, but of God.'

      September 27, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Friend, if YOU know how to read, take on Romans chapter 11. Keep on reading... God did NOT forsake His people. He will restore them to Himself. You need to look deeper in theology you've been taught, because much of it our there is amiss!

      September 27, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      PRISM 1234, 'Rom 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.' 2357 wasn't talking about a remnant.

      September 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      There was this little thing called divorce. 'Isa 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where [is] the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away?.....'

      September 27, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Jesus talking to the very JEWISH Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, 'Jhn 3:6-7 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.'

      September 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @2357, For the sake of discussion, you don't require faith for someone real. I don't require faith that you exist because someone is typing as you appear to be on this forum.

      Also, there is no distinction between, "genuine faith" and run of the mill faith. Faith is just faith. Your distinction is like pointing out someone has genuine dreams as opposed to the non-genuine variety. All of it exists in your head. There is nothing more or less genuine about someone's faith. As pointed out in the previous paragraph, if you know something is true, you don't need faith.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  20. JW

    Hmmm...do you all know that you are contributing to the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in one way or another? The end to false religion is predicted in the book of Revelation and it is pretty clear how atheistic beliefs are becoming not only more prevalent, but also more hateful and zealous against false religion. In the last days, which it is clear we are living in, this fulfillment takes place and those of us who believe in God's Word the Bible, we look forward to the end of this system and the fulfillment of the promoise of life on an Earthly paradise. If you believe there is a place of eternal torment, look up the real meaning of Sheol, which many use to support the belief in the existence of a hell. And to those who can't find Truth in the Bible just because it says so, try looking at how much Truth is in the Bible. Test the accuracy and the practicality for yourself. No one is forcing you but what if it is correct? Maybe some of you care that you could be wrong. Have a beautiful day!

    September 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Veritas

      What if you've chosen the wrong god to pray to? That god could send a non-believer like you to eternal damnation (or whatever the non-believer punishment is for that religion).
      What if your god is benevolent and accepts non-believers?
      No gods. No heaven. No hell. No problem.

      September 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • JW

      I am confident through study of the Bible that there is no other almighty God than the one I choose to serve. Certainly there are lots of other gods, some that will get people only into trouble, like Satan and money for example. If you have no gods, maybe you think that's no problem, but as the end plays out, I hope you don't mind the consequence. Those exercising faith have a eternal paradise on Earth to look forward to.

      September 27, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      JW: Do you care that you could be wrong, or are you too arrogant to acknowledge that possibility?

      September 27, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Those exercising faith have a eternal paradise on Earth to look forward to."

      Lots of people exercise faith in lots of different beliefs. But, of course, YOU have the correct one....

      September 27, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Isa 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.'

      September 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      'Rev 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.'

      September 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • JW

      Sam, of course I think I have the correct beliefs. Doesn't everyone? The difference is whether those believes are based on vast/solid/unbiased research and proving to myself what is true. It is blind faith that is harmful as is blind dismissal of faith, don't you think? Do you not believe that what is in the Bible is Truth? In the past, I too listed to what the world said about how it was written–by fallible men. Put the book to the test. See for yourself if it makes sense that these writings are so consistent, accurate, harmonious, and practical. As I said, no one can make you believe something–you have to see it for yourself. I does seem like you care about it, so why not explore?

      September 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • JW

      To "Anybody know how to read?" I'm not sure if you are disagreeing with me or not...however,
      Try Ps 37:10-11, 29–
      "10And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more;
      And you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be.
      11But the meek ones themselves will possess the earth,
      And they will indeed find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.
      29The righteous themselves will possess the earth,
      And they will reside forever upon it.'

      The scriptures you are referencing about the new heavens (or heavenly government) and new earth (restored paradise of earthly righteous people) can be very confusing if not read in context.

      Here is a reference supporting no destruction of the actual earth or heavens:
      "In the Bible, “earth” does not always refer to our globe. For instance, Psalm 96:1 says literally: ‘Sing to Jehovah, all the earth.’ We know that our planet—the terra firma and the vast oceans—cannot sing. People sing. Yes, Psalm 96:1 is referring to the people on the earth. But Isaiah 65:17 also mentions “new heavens.” If the “earth” represents a new society of people in the Jews’ homeland, what are the “new heavens”?
      The Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, by M’Clintock and Strong, states: “Wherever the scene of a prophetic vision is laid, heaven signifies . . . the whole assembly of the ruling powers . . . being over and ruling the subjects, as the natural heaven stands over and rules the earth.” As to the combination phrase “heaven and earth,” the Cyclopædia explains that ‘in prophetic language the phrase signifies the political condition of persons of different ranks. The heaven is the sovereignty; the earth is the peasantry, men who are ruled by superiors.’

      What we look forward to is a righteous new government to take the place of the inferior earlthy governments: Dan 2:44

      September 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Madtown

      there is no other almighty God than the one I choose to serve
      -------–
      This is pretty funny! Here's something I'm confident in: If you happened to be born in Egypt(something out of your control), you'd be a practicing Muslim. And, you'd also then believe that christians follow a false God.

      September 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • JW

      To Madtown,
      Definitely taking my words out of context, but that is an excellent question you pose.
      Mathew 24:
      "11 And many false prophets will arise and mislead many; 12 and because of the increasing of lawlessness the love of the greater number will cool off. 13 But he that has endured to the end is the one that will be saved. 14 And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come."

      God is righteous and a lover of justice. He will not destroy anyone without an opportunity to hear the Truth.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Madtown

      JW – again, if you happened to be born into a portion of the world where christianity wasn't the prevailing religion, then you would not quote biblical scripture to try and make whatever case you're trying to make. You'd quote scripture from a different book.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Yes a truth that supposedly you must accept on faith alone, and which is supposedly the same information everyone gets, but people are different, and some people just don't operate on faith, so too bad for them they get to go to hell because they value evidence and justifications for belief.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Chad

      Origin of the universe,
      the fine tuning of it for the building blocks of life,
      the origin of life on earth,
      the development of life into it's current level of complexity,
      empty tomb

      September 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • fred

      JW
      It is a blessing and a privilege to have been given the gift of life! I give thanks everyday !

      September 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • JW

      Madtown, perhaps you mistake my answer. The answer is that all will have an opportunity to hear the Truth from the Bible regardless of their current faith. Thus they can accept it or not.
      Hawaiiguest, perhap you missed my comment about doing extensive research before believing. Blind faith = bad, eyes wide open faith = good. Also, I do not believe there is evidence of hell in the Bible, just misinterpretation of the word sheol vs gehenna. God is LOVE. :-)
      and Chad, you are giving us all evidence of God Almighty. Thank you.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Huebert

      Chad

      The first three aren't evidence for the belief in a creator. Evolution explains the fourth, even though you say it doesn't. The empty tomb is either an elaborate con or an out right lie.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Same crap, still not evidence of anything.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      You’re on the right track because the Bible clearly says it is God who places everyone exactly where they need to be. In the event you are born in Egypt that is out of your control but that is where God has placed you. If you are gay or straight that also is your lot in life. We are all held accountable for what we do with what we are given. God never said life was fair because it is written that in this life you will have troubles. The plan God has revealed to us is Gods plan. If you choose a plan of your own making don’t blame God.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • JW

      Fred, so TRUE! I thank Jehovah God for this undeserved gift as well and work hard every day to give him my full and exclusive devotion.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Madtown

      you are born in Egypt that is out of your control but that is where God has placed you
      -------–
      Then God would be just fine with me worshipping him from the Muslim perspective, because that's what they do in Egypt.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • JW

      Huebert and Hawaiiguest–
      Do you think an ipod was spontaneously created out of nothing? Or was there an intelligent designer? How much more complex and miraculous is life–each form of life? How complex the human body, the science of the Universe, each living creature? It seems some would rather believe in nothingness than feel any obligation or assign honor to anyone.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Chad

      @Huebert "The first three aren't evidence for the belief in a creator"
      @Chad "they dont PROVE a creator (just because an atheist can explain how the universe was created, doesnt mean that God did it), but they ARE powerful evidence for a creator (as the external agent)

      If you dont like the God of Abraham as the external agent, what external agent are you proposing?

      =============
      @Huebert "Evolution explains the fourth"
      @chad "“No it doesnt, there is simply no viable theory whatsoever even on the table that can explain the stasis/rapid change we see in the fossil record. None."

      ====
      @Huebert " The empty tomb is either an elaborate con or an out right lie."
      @Chad "Both theories long ago discarded as in any way shape or form sufficient in explanatory scope, for just a few of the following reasons:


      If Jesus did not actually rise from the dead, why did the disciples go from frightened, timid followers of Jesus before his death, to bold evangelists willing to die preaching his resurrection if they just really made the whole thing up and he was still dead?

      Why were the disciples willing to be tortured and killed for a known lie? (people do not go to their deaths willingly for something they KNOW to be false).

      Why would they make up the resurrection story if Jesus turned out to be a fraud? Remember, Jesus told them he would rise after 3 days. If he was still dead on day four, that means he wasn’t who he claimed he was, he wasn’t the Messiah and certainly wasn’t God after all, so why would the disciples worship a dead guy who lied to them and was exposed as a fraud?

      How did Saul of Tarsus, the chief persecutor of Christians convert to become the Apostle Paul, the chief follower of Jesus if he didn’t really have an encounter with a risen Jesus?

      How could the disciples even steal the body in the first place? The body was encased in a tomb with a 24 hour watch by Roman guards

      Why did the disciples make themselves look bad in the Gospels? Think about it, if you were going to make up a story, wouldn’t you present yourself in somewhat of a positive light? The disciples painted themselves as sniveling cowards lacking in faith – Bob Dutko

      September 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @JW

      Doesn't matter what concept of hell you subscribe to, or if you're an annihilationist, doesn't matter. The fact remains that according to the bible, what you believe is more important than what you do, and eternal punishment or reward for finite decisions and beliefs.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Chad

      "just because an atheist can explain"
      should be
      "just because an atheist can't explain"

      September 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "The fact remains that according to the bible, what you believe is more important than what you do, and eternal punishment[separation] or reward for finite decisions and beliefs."

      =>well said!
      first time I think I have ever agreed with you (with the one mod) :-)

      September 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Madtown

      eternal punishment or reward for finite decisions and beliefs
      -------
      That doesn't sound the least bit "just".

      September 27, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      It is written that to each is given a measure of faith yet it only takes a small amount to move mountains. In the U.S. it does not take a lot of faith to claim Christ is Lord of my life. In Egypt it would take a great deal of faith to proclaim anything other than Allah is great. Now, to whom was given a greater measure of faith?
      You must also keep in mind that only a small minority of people actually follow Christ. A great many claim to be Christian by birth or whatever means yet they do not love God and love their neighbor as themselves.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Huebert

      @Chad

      Yes evolution does explain the diversification and complexity of life, I know you will never believe that, but you are simply wrong.

      When I say out right lie I mean that none of it ever happened. Jesus was taken down and berried and 60 to 100 years later someone wrote a story about a resurrection and the lives of the apostles. There is about as much truth in the gospels as there is in a Dr. Who episode.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      You're still kipping steps. You must first prove that there is such a thing as an external force, any external force. Then you need to draw the causal relationship. Starting in the middle with an unproved premise doesn't solve anything.

      @JW

      False analogy btw on the iPod thing, but nice apologetics sound bite.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • JW

      Chad–love it!
      Madtown–the problem I have with your reasoning is that I don't believe God's Word is in the scriptures put into Bible, not in any other publication. To the Samaritan woman, Jesus said to worship in spirit and TRUTH.
      "John 4:21 Jesus said to her: “Believe me, woman, The hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will YOU people worship the Father. 22 YOU worship what YOU do not know; we worship what we know, because salvation originates with the Jews. 23 Nevertheless, the hour is coming, and it is now, when the true worshipers will worship the Father with spirit and truth, for, indeed, the Father is looking for suchlike ones to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.”"

      And Hawaiiguest, I think you misunderstand my beliefs. Faith without works is dead. Thus you must EXERCISE faith (works must go along with faith)
      "James 2:24 YOU see that a man is to be declared righteous by works, and not by faith alone. 25 In the same manner was not also Ra′hab the harlot declared righteous by works, after she had received the messengers hospitably and sent them out by another way? 26 Indeed, as the body without spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead."

      September 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Madtown

      U.S. it does not take a lot of faith to claim Christ is Lord of my life. In Egypt it would take a great deal of faith to proclaim anything other than Allah is great
      ---–
      Those are just the prevailing religions in those countries. We typically go with what we're exposed to when we are young.

      September 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Also, trying to slip in a word that's nicer to your sensibilities doesn't change the doctrine. Punishment is punishment, and eternal punishment for finite wrongs commited against a moral system subject to the whims of your god is unjust, immoral, and makes that god (if it exists) not only unworthy of worship, but worthy of being rebelled against.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • JW

      Hawaiiguest–I'm not sure how you made me an "apologetic". Can you explain something infinitely more complex than an ipod sponteously poofing out of thin air if you can't explain how an ipod would poof out of thin air? :-)

      September 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Madtown

      Madtown–the problem I have with your reasoning
      -----–
      No, the problem you have is that you don't follow reason. If you were born in Egypt, you'd believe the word of God to be contained in the Qur'an, and you would discount the bible as false prophecy. Simple as that.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @JW

      Even in that scope, what you belief is more important than works, because the same works withoutt the right beliefs will still earn you eternal punishment. My commnent still stands.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • fred

      Madtown
      It does not sound just because you are not in the position to make that judgment. There is good reason why the Bible says we are not to judge. To begin you do not have an eternal perspective rather a very limited view based on experiencing life in a temporary physical shape. Making matters worse you appear to be a non believer or perhaps an atheist so you can only comprehend the materialistic things around you. Then there appears to be the thought that somehow evil can change its ways by imposing a limited sentence on wrong doing. Like our prison system that was once called a correction center. Everything you say is limited by your perspective which is why it seems unjust.
      Hell (whatever that is) is reserved for Satan and his demons. They rather like it there and would never want to be in the presence of good.
      It is entirely possible that eternal souls are expressing their true longings and desires through our thoughts and actions during this short stay. There is little doubt that some people belong in heaven and there is nothing you can do to keep them from that. Others desire a fun life then nothingness after a brief stay in these physical forms. Gods plan gives every one all the time and opportunity they need to reveal their hearts desire. What is so wrong with that?

      September 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Chad

      @Huebert "Yes evolution does explain the diversification and complexity of life, I know you will never believe that, but you are simply wrong."
      @Chad "OK then, explain how stasis and rapid change occurs? What's the mechanism? How do you reconcile what we know of random mutation and natural selection with the stasis in the fossil record?

      how?

      ==============
      @Huebert "When I say out right lie I mean that none of it ever happened. Jesus was taken down and berried and 60 to 100 years later someone wrote a story about a resurrection and the lives of the apostles.
      @Chad "hmm
      first written records 20 years after the fact..
      and, you still have not refuted any of the facts listed above. You need to provide some credible argument that provides an explanation for the origin of the belief on the part of the apostles that they had indeed seen a resurrected Christ as well as how a persecuted movement based on an empty tomb could have survived in the face of an occupied one??

      September 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • JW

      Well Madtown this is why I work so hard! "This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)
      If you are looking for what true faith is–look for those who practice what they preach–who have an outstanding love for one another. Test all faiths against this.

      September 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "You're still kipping steps. You must first prove that there is such a thing as an external force, any external force."

      @Chad "no.. all that must be demonstrated is that an external agent is required, it is metaphysically impossible that the universe came into being spontaneously out of nothing

      September 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • JW

      Hey, it's been fun! Thanks for the lively discussion! I'll check back in later. Have a great night!

      September 27, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Saying it is required doesn't make it so. All you ever do is make assertions, and sorry that may be good enough in your little bubble of a world, but that doesn't make it good enough in the real world.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, this issue has been explained to you over and over, so you must be way too fvcking stupid to grasp simple logic. We DON'T KNOW how the universe "came into being." Saying "We don't know" is not equal to saying "It came from nothing." Moron.

      Also, do you know if "nothing" is even possible? I don't, and I don't know any sensible person who does. Why claim that there's only two options, and one of them isn't something that we even can tell is possible? Get your head in the game.

      September 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby Schtick "We DON'T KNOW how the universe "came into being." Saying "We don't know" is not equal to saying "It came from nothing.":
      @Chad "agreed, either one says that the universe had its origin from nothing, or from some external agent.
      Which one are you advocating?
      .
      @Moby Schtick "Also, do you know if "nothing" is even possible? I don't, and I don't know any sensible person who does. Why claim that there's only two options, and one of them isn't something that we even can tell is possible? Get your head in the game."
      @Chad "I would say yes, nothing is possible, as our universe is not infinite, "nothing" "exists" outside it.

      do you have a third option? I'm not aware of anyone proposing a third..

      BTW "we dont want to talk about it" or "it's a dumb question" or some variation thereof isnt the third option.

      September 27, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Saying it is required doesn't make it so. All you ever do is make assertions, and sorry that may be good enough in your little bubble of a world, but that doesn't make it good enough in the real world."

      @Chad "do you know of ANY theory on the origin of the universe that doesnt require an external agent?

      (this is usually where you call me a liar and dont answer the question)

      September 27, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      The origins of the current form of the universe is known. Now, if you're talking about before the Big Bang, then you're talking about hypothesis, and I don't really keep up with the multiple hypothesis of what may have been. If you're ging to talk about science, the least you can do is use the terms properly.

      September 27, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "The origins of the current form of the universe is known."
      @Chad "IT IS???
      My goodness man! Please tell us!
      Stop keeping the world in suspense! :-)
      think you are re-defining the word "origin", you are talking about what happened AFTER the origin.

      ======
      @hawaiiguest "Now, if you're talking about before the Big Bang, then you're talking about hypothesis, and I don't really keep up with the multiple hypothesis of what may have been."
      @Chad "you're going with the 'we dont know how to explain it without an external agent, so lets not talk about it" then?

      September 27, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • redzoa

      "OK then, explain how stasis and rapid change occurs? What's the mechanism? How do you reconcile what we know of random mutation and natural selection with the stasis in the fossil record?"

      This has been explained to you ad nauseum. PE = species level changes, that is, the smallest detectable changes between related species. The mechanisms are many ranging from molecular to ecological and have also been explained, complete with examples of observations of dramatic changes occurring over decades in extant species. The stasis in the fossil record represents a number of factors, not least of which are stabilizing selection and the improbability of small populations of newly emergent species being captured in the fossil record. One is left with no other conclusion than your questions reflect a dedicated willful ignorance.

      September 28, 2012 at 1:03 am |
    • Chad

      @redzoa "This has been explained to you ad nauseum. PE = species level changes, that is, the smallest detectable changes between related species"
      @Chad "which says nothing,, other than providing a definition of the word "species" :-)

      @redzoa " The mechanisms are many ranging from molecular to ecological and have also been explained
      @Chad "the ONLY mechanism on the table currently is allopatric speciation, which utterly fails as a credible explanation"

      @redzoa " complete with examples of observations of dramatic changes occurring over decades in extant species."
      @chad "no one argues that birds can turn into different kinds of birds gradually. The unexplained is the major abrupt changes"

      @redzoa "The stasis in the fossil record represents a number of factors, not least of which are stabilizing selection and the improbability of small populations of newly emergent species being captured in the fossil record."
      @Chad "LOL
      once again, you arent actually saying anything, you are merely describing the results of the theory of allopatric speciation, blatantly (willfully) ignoring the fact that the vast majority of mutations do not provide a benefit and are quickly removed from the gene pool, you arent actually describing a mechanism which accomplishes this rapid change.

      repeatedly, you keep trying to say that "mutations secretly acc umulate in populations (so they are undetectable in the fossil record, then an extremely small segment of that population steals away and WHAM new species.

      laughable.. which is why allopatric speciation as THE mechanism for stasis and rapid change is not considered credible..

      September 28, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Chad

      and dont forget, I do NOT believe that herds of buffaloes materialized out of thin air and started eating grass. As a theistic evolutionist I believe in common ancestry.
      What can not be explained in a purely naturalistic manner, is how exactly the necessary beneficial and interrelated mutations ALL occurred within this extremely short period of time, in an isolated population thus escaping fossilization showing the small incremental changes acc umulating to species level differentiation.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @Chad

      always circling back to evolution I see. The simple fact is, if you understand and believe that evolution does in fact occur, it spans over millions of years and we all share common ancestry we other mammals, why is it so terribly hard to remove god from the last bit of the equation? You ask what could have caused stasis and species explosions as if there is a singular answer to every event. The truth is that we won't really ever "know" but we can guess that there was major events to the environments that demanded adaptations while other times the environment pretty much stayed the same and so did the species. You don't need a god flying down every couple of thousands of years, waving his wand and randomly mutating a bunch of animals to evolve into something else.

      Stop being silly.

      September 28, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • fred

      Concerned Citizen
      I am not aware of any proof that complex life forms evolved from simple or structurally different ones. The variation within species can be seen but they do not cross class and family boundaries.

      September 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      The current form, or state of the universe began with the Big Bang. This has been confirmed through observation and testing. Accept it or not, it is a confirmed theory.
      Next you very dishonestly put words in my mouth that I didn't say. So congrats, you continue to show your own dishonesty.

      BTW, theistic evolution basically makes the assertion that god did it. No way to test, no way to confirm. Not a valid or accepted scientific hypothesis.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @Concerned Citizen "The simple fact is, if you understand and believe that evolution does in fact occur, it spans over millions of years and we all share common ancestry we other mammals, why is it so terribly hard to remove god from the last bit of the equation?"
      @Chad "because without God, we have no working hypothesis for how in the world it could have happened.
      Which, if you're an atheist, would HAVE to be considered extraordinarily odd, as the process has occurred millions of times, and still occurs now.

      Remember, to a theistic evolutionist like myself, the question is not common ancestry, rather the question is how to explain stasis and rapid change with what we clearly know regarding random mutation and natural selection.

      =======
      @Concerned Citizen " You ask what could have caused stasis and species explosions as if there is a singular answer to every event. The truth is that we won't really ever "know" but we can guess that there was major events to the environments that demanded adaptations while other times the environment pretty much stayed the same and so did the species"
      @Chad "guess? sounds a lot like "and magic happens here, ok, lets move on now and talk about something else".. just another variation on "given enough time, anything is possible".
      remember, stasis and rapid change is the NORM, and we have millions of examples and that process would have to be ongoing to this day. To a naturalistic atheist evolutionist, evolution doesnt just "stop".

      This isnt like the origin of the universe, or the origin of life on earth, one time events billions/millions of years ago. How in the world can an atheist think "we dont know" is a sufficient answer?? That's ridiculous.

      September 28, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "The current form, or state of the universe began with the Big Bang. This has been confirmed through observation and testing. Accept it or not, it is a confirmed theory."
      @Chad "The big bang occurred, but you are getting confused on what the big bang is. The big bang refers to the rapid expansion of the universe from the singularity.
      how did all the mass of the universe, and time itself, come into being? What "created/caused/was the external agent" for that singularity? That is the unanswered question.

      @hawaiiguest "Next you very dishonestly put words in my mouth that I didn't say. So congrats, you continue to show your own dishonesty."
      @Chad "really? will this be the first time ever that you actually provide evidence for one of these claims of dishonesty? :-)
      I doubt it..

      September 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Then ask that specific question dumbass. Don't say "origins of the universe", and leave it undefined as origins of the current state of matter that we generally call the universe, or origins of the singularity that expanded.

      Evidence of your dishonesty is pointed out every thread you go into. As for right now

      "you're going with the 'we dont know how to explain it without an external agent, so lets not talk about it" then?"
      When did I say this on this thread?

      September 28, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Chad

      @hawaiiguest "Then ask that specific question dumba ss. Don't say "origins of the universe", and leave it undefined as origins of the current state of matter that we generally call the universe, or origins of the singularity that expanded."
      @Chad "LOL
      when we talk about the origin of life, do you get confused and think that includes evolution?
      Big Bang is a theory on the early development of the universe, not to be confused with the origin of the universe (just as evolution shouldnt be confused with the origin of life).

      pretty standard terminology..

      =======
      @hawaiiguest "Evidence of your dishonesty is pointed out every thread you go into. As for right now. "you're going with the 'we dont know how to explain it without an external agent, so lets not talk about it" then?" When did I say this on this thread?"
      @Chad "ah.. I see, well, it was intended to be a synopsis of your treatment of the issue, and it is a correct one, right?

      September 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      Nope, and that's why it's dishonest. You put words in my mouth when I only said that I don't keep up with all the multiple hypothesis with things before the big bang.

      If you want to define Big Bang, universe, and what not like that, then fine I don't really give a shit anymore, because all it's going to do is lead to a definition war and allow you to avoid providing evidence of your imaginary friend.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @Chad

      "guess? sounds a lot like "and magic happens here, ok, lets move on now and talk about something else".. just another variation on "given enough time, anything is possible"." - I'm confused, who's talking about magic here? I've simply pointed out that we have a fossil record that shows periods of stasis and periods of rapid growth, we can theorize that any number of environmental factors could have occurred to promote such adaptability, there's nothing "magic" there. The only "magic" injected here and looking at the facts and saying "god did it".

      "How in the world can an atheist think "we dont know" is a sufficient answer?? That's ridiculous." – How? Admitting ignorance is the first step towards learning and saying "we don't know" is the only truly honest answer there is. It doesn't mean it's the only answer or that by saying I don't know means I stop searching, but what's more ridiculous is to claim you know the answer because you believe it to be so even though there's a complete lack of evidence. What I find ridiculous is not only you that believe that god can be injected into evolution because of events that are hard to answer, but that you can't support it theologically either. At no point in the bible does god "grow" anything, he just creates and destroys. Being a theistic evolutionist like yourself, now THAT'S ridiculous.

      September 28, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Chad

      @Concerned Citizen "I've simply pointed out that we have a fossil record that shows periods of stasis and periods of rapid growth, we can theorize that any number of environmental factors could have occurred to promote such adaptability,"
      @Chad "actually, you havent theorized anything yet, you have just said "any number of environmental.... " and such..
      Specifics please!!!
      how hard can it be to provide specifics? It isnt an unknown thing that happened once billions of years ago. In your view it is an ongoing process. In your view, that's like saying "we dont know how erosion happens, it just does.. we could theorize away, but we just dont know"
      kind of ridiculous, right?

      =====
      @Concerned Citizen "Admitting ignorance is the first step towards learning"
      @Chad "not if it's just a way to dodge facing reality, would you consider it reasonable for someone to say "I'm a believer in the Earth-centered model of the solar system. We dont know that the sun is the center, best thing to do is just admit our ignorance".

      nonsense..

      =====
      @Concerned Citizen " At no point in the bible does god "grow" anything, he just creates and destroys"
      @Chad "right,,, I forgot about that.. it's not like the bible says anything like:

      Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind;
      and it was so.
      Genesis 1:24

      or

      Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky.

      or

      Then the Lord God formed a man[c] from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2

      September 28, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @chad

      Honestly, you've just really confused me here. Your first point, asking for theories. Ok, that's fine. Theory #1: large asteroid hits earth, causing global climate change. Theory #2: Green house gas build up /or depletes causing the earth to lose/gain heat. Heck, Theory #3 is even sort of probable: Aliens come and seed the planet with their own native species. I can theorize however I want and you can even include another theory that "god did it" but as I'm sure you'll probably try to do is refute theories 1-3 because of lack of evidence, ignoring the irony that theory #4 has the same amount of evidence (actually, less so) than the previous theories.

      Your next point, you've got me flummoxed. When you say, " I don't know" that's admitting ignorance, saying, "I don't believe in the earth orbiting the sun contrary to evidence" is being willfully stupid. Admitting you're wrong or that you don't know is not and should not be considered a bad thing, it's sad that you think it should be.

      Lastly, you'e quoted three passages that prove my point so that just really confused me. All three of those passages show god straight up creating, he doesn't slowly grow an animal into another. No where in those passages does it say, "then god found a single celled organism and made it multi celled and watched it become a human being" it says that first we were dirt and then got made us humans. So I stand by my original comment that not only does being a theistic evolution not make sense on an evolutionary standpoint, but on a theological one as well.

      September 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Chad

      @Concerned Citizen "Honestly, you've just really confused me here. Your first point, asking for theories. Ok, that's fine. Theory #1: large asteroid hits earth, causing global climate change. Theory #2: Green house gas build up /or depletes causing the earth to lose/gain heat. Heck, Theory #3 is even sort of probable: Aliens come and seed the planet with their own native species."
      @Chad "those are your theories for how millions of new species were created? That's your explanation for stasis and rapid change in the fossil record?
      all I can say is... LOL

      =========
      @Concerned Citizen "Admitting you're wrong or that you don't know is not and should not be considered a bad thing, it's sad that you think it should be."
      @Chad "attempting to claim that the earth being the center of our universe is a valid hypothesis because we just dont know, then attempting to paint detractors as to narrow because they dont accept that.. is.. nonsense..

      atheists hide behind "we dont know" as a matter of course.

      =========
      @Concerned Citizen " All three of those passages show god straight up creating, he doesn't slowly grow an animal into another."

      @Chad "Really?? could you point out where it says the time frames involved?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Standard Chad Operating Procedure. I show him to be dishonest when talking to me when he claims I never do, and he all of a sudden ignores my post, doesn't respond, and will make the same moronic claim the next time. Do you enjoy being dishonest Chad? Does it get you off to ignore someone that shows you to be dishonest and act like a 14 year old spoiled brat?

      September 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @Chad

      So instead of trying to refute those theories, you just laugh at them..... why are they ridiculous? We're fairly certain that what wiped out the dinosaurs was a massive asteroid impact, yet the thought of multiple asteroid impacts is laughable? What the hell?

      Second, huh? "attempting to claim that the earth being the center of our universe is a valid hypothesis because we just dont know, then attempting to paint detractors as to narrow because they dont accept that.. is.. nonsense.." How is saying the earth the center of the universe a valid hypothesis? We do know how to figure that out, we use simple spectrum to watch stars and galaxies move away from a central point, since every star, every galaxy, every cluster isn't moving directly away from us, it's idiotic to believe that the earth is the center of the universe. That's not admitting ignorance either, admitting ignorance in this case is understanding that we can hypothesize all we want about what the universe was like pre big bang, but we don't know nor will we ever really know, doesn't hurt to try to figure it out but it's good to start saying you don't know rather than begin with bias and look to only solidify your original stance.

      Lastly – HA! Timeframes? That's what you are going to hide behind? It took god a million years to blow life into dust ipso facto thats evolution? Thanks for the laugh, though I earnestly hope that you aren't actually serious with that statement. Next you'll be telling me that in genesis a "day" didn't actually mean day so the whole god creating the world in 6 days actually meant billions of years, even though creating flora and light and the earth before the sun is impossible....

      September 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Chad

      Can you explain why " 'we dont know how to explain it without an external agent, so lets not talk about it" then?" isnt a perfectly valid synopsis of your position?

      @hawaiiguest, "you're talking about hypothesis, and I don't really keep up with the multiple hypothesis of what may have been"

      September 28, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Chad

      You really don't like admitting you're wrong do you? Grasping at such a weak straw. Did I say let's not talk about it? Did I say anything remotely approaching "let's not talk about it"? No I did not, I said I don't keep track of all the different hypothesis out there.
      Here's a little tip little boy, when you need to read in way more than is actually said to make a point, you're being a dishonest douche. When you need to twist around like a cat chasing a laserpointer, it's the same thing.

      Then again, you're not going to even care what I say are you Chad? You're going to reiterate the straw man you've built against me, or ask the same question claiming I haven't explained it, or you're just going to run like the little fuck you are. So which are you going to choose Chad? Those are the only things you really ever do.

      September 28, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
    • Chad

      @Concerned Citizen "why are they ridiculous? We're fairly certain that what wiped out the dinosaurs was a massive asteroid impact, yet the thought of multiple asteroid impacts is laughable? What the hell?"
      @Chad "yes, I think it's ridiculous. First of all, that asteroid was an extinction event, not a speciation producing synchronized mutation event. Secondly there would be evidence everywhere, remember your talking about millions of these "periods of rapid change that produce fully formed new species".

      ===
      you completely missed the point I was making about the solar system, namely that a claim that something is not known is silly if in fact that statement is a dodge to avoid acknowledging the great deal that IS known (like the stasis and rapid change in the fossil record).

      ====
      @Concerned Citizen Lastly – HA! Timeframes? That's what you are going to hide behind? It took god a million years to blow life into dust ipso facto thats evolution"
      @Chad "So, I take it from that statement that you have actually found a time frame in the bible?
      where was it? I've read it dozens of times and somehow missed that..

      =======
      @Concerned Citizen "Next you'll be telling me that in genesis a "day" didn't actually mean day so the whole god creating the world in 6 days actually meant billions of years, even though creating flora and light and the earth before the sun is impossible...."
      @Chad "ah.. so you are aware that the word translated "day" can also be translated "epoch", and that the entirety of the universe was created on the first "day" which includes the sun, moon, stars, etc..

      as well you are also aware of the different words used for the initial creation, and the subsequent visibility?

      In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
      God made two great lights

      created: Hebrew: bara' create
      made: Hebrew `asah

      only bara' refers to an actual creation from nothing.

      September 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Concerned Citizen

      @Chad

      I never said every asteroid strike is an ELE, I'm merely pointing out that large asteroid strikes can affect weather patterns. Same as volcanos and other global events. Secondly, what sort of evidence are you looking for exactly? Lots of mutations could have occurred that can't be captured by fossils, are you counting out a lot of this simply because somethings are permanently lost?

      Also, how am I "missing the point"? you tried to make the point of saying , "i don't know " as some sort of dodge and then likening it to saying "we don't know if the earth is the center of the universe". That was idiotic. We do know the earth is not the center of the universe, we have the fossil record that has shown us species slowly evolving, we DON'T know the exact reason why because it is not laid out in the fossil record and claiming that there is a divine hand in it simply because no other explanation can fit at the moment is also stupid in the extreme. "I don't know" is not a bad thing to say it's the most truthful statement a person can make about this subject.

      and finally, quibbling over the word "Yom", considering that hebrew relies on context more than anything else, epoch might fit, except that the ancient greek also translates it to day as well, religions in the middle east were always assigning their gods great powers and creating the universe in days is way more powerful than billions of years, or epochs, or ages or what have you. You still face the extreme problem of the earth being created before the sun, and the stars. That just does not make any sense. That's not really the point though (even though I know you're going to make it the point now to worm your way out of the original topic because you're a scared little girl), the point is you claim that since it took god "so long" to create humans, you can squeeze evolution in between "god molded a man out of dust" and "god blew life into the mans nostrils". Talk about going REALLY far out of your way to squeeze truth into lies. You've apparently found libraries full of information in between two lines of text in the bible when in reality its your mind trying to understand the science and make it fit with theology. Talk about trying to fit a triangle block into a circular hole.

      September 28, 2012 at 8:37 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.