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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. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something that presently, no one knows anything about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    mama kindless

    September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • MikeyZ

      It is impressive how well some sales pitches stick, isn't it? Maybe in another 2000 years, John 3:16 will be replaced with something like "More doctors smoke Camels than any other brand".

      So tell me this, then: My wife and I have a 5yo daughter at home. We don't go to church (practice religious atheism), and we take a minimalist viewpoint on G-d and afterlife. So how do we work to disarm her concepts of Heaven and Hell (not to mention other tenuously sustainable religious dogma) engrained upon her by proxy, e.g., her grandmother and classmates, without risk of being ostracized or bullied by those less fortunate to have been born of parents without a brain?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  2. VampiresAreEverywhere

    My question is how can Hell be dark when there is supposed to be fire?

    September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • jason

      Darkness often means in scripture the absence of God
      Fire often can represent the conviction of God's word, the Truth meeting error –

      I would seek a biblical worldview answer for that question – not making up a straw-man argument than attacking it

      September 23, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • MikeyZ

      And how can we see the fires of Hell if our eyes are left behind rotting in some grave or torched to ashes in a crematorium?

      And how can we smell the brimstone, feel the pain, woe the choices that brought us down this path, without a nose, skin, or a limbic system respectively from which to experience them?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  3. Patrick Clarkin

    Why is this on CNN?

    September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  4. Muhammad

    Science created bombs so Muslims could blow themselves up :D

    September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • jason

      Science is a concept, it's a tool, you cannot give it human characteristics – that's the fallacy of reification

      September 23, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  5. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  6. 200 TON HAMMER

    the european and american churches need too bring jewish people back too isreal

    September 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      European and American schools need to teach people the difference between to and too.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Curious 200 ton .. why do the european and american churches need to bring them back to israel? Why can't they go back on their own?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  7. Chris

    Few 100% true fact why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, name of some cities/counties/streets, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    ¦There is only one God and it is to Him that you pray. All others pray to false gods and idols. Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist are all lost unless they know Jesus as their Lord & Savior.¦.
    .

    September 23, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Luis Wu

      You really are a very stupid person.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Oj

      You misspelled 'Christianity' as 'Atheism' up above. Check your spell checker!

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Chris", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • newtonfig

      if thats as good an argument for religion you can make, religion is in trouble

      September 23, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Mark

      what in the name of atheism are you snorting?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Lynn

      The 100% true fact is I enjoy each day in this mysterious and wonderful universe. I feel sorry for you in that your days are filled with all-consuming thoughts on how terrible I am.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Christie Ley

      To dismiss and degrade millions of peoples beliefs and practices shows a very narrow minded and fear based outlook on life and religion. To say so many are wrong shows a lack of compassion, clarity of thought, and inability to walk in the shoes of another. You are living in a protective bubble, unable to truly connect with the feelings of others.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • jason

      While I would stand on Scripture as the only worldview that is logically consistent, I would not pretend to agree with every point of this post, some are logically inconsistent, and 30 minutes of homework would probably lead you to correct a few of your points.
      Beam me up scotty – you assume a moral absolute, is that consistent with your worldview?
      Jane – hasn't done any homework on actually where the bible comes from and is building a straw-man fallacy

      September 23, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • pirate

      You obviously don't have a grasp on prison statistics, for one. There is a startling low incidence of atheists in America's prisons, so pretty much all your rants and claims fall apart based on solid statistics. The prisons are primarily stocked with people of the Abrahamic religions. Do your own research. Its true! We really don't eat babies!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  8. Christie Ley

    I believe that we each of us create our own heaven and hell. The hell of the Christian churches was created to keep people in line. If you did not do what the church told you to, you were threatened with hell and damnation. A way to control the masses.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • jason

      Maybe some fake religion like roman catholicism – But Jesus was emphatic about the existence of hell, He spoke more about hell than any other subject. To say that Christians made it up is silly, and obviously you haven't done any homework that 30 minutes online would teach you. The Bible emphatically warns of it, period – it's real whether we like it or not, whether we feel like believing in it or not. Any short-sided person knows that Justice should be done.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  9. Kenny

    I only believe in Science!

    September 23, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Bibletruth

      I do too, including the science of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • jason

      Scientism is it's own religion. Science is a tool, people with worldviews use science – along with their own bias, agendas, and religions To say 'I believe in Science" is quite narrow perspective, since the tool of science cannot find out every truth claim. The Scientific Method itself is a logical fallacy of affirming the consequent or denying the antecedent – put it in formal logic variables and you will see

      September 23, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  10. tom

    I would be afraid to die if I murdered someone, so I guess I believe in hell.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • jason

      Tom – where does murder come from? Is it not hate? Jesus said if you have hated someone in your heart, you have murdered him already. Jesus doesn't put a bunch of rules to follow – he sets the bar higher

      September 23, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  11. Brian

    Remember this when you vote! Any vote for the socialists will land you here. Don't let them give people healthcare and feed the poor by stealing from rich people or you go here with them! God aint a commie european.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • MikeyZ

      Does your church endorse one candidate over another?

      If so, your church violates the tenets of separation of church and state.

      That either means you and your church should STFU about your political convictions, or your church should agree to be taxed.

      Pick one.

      September 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Aestherus

      MikeyZ doesn't understand sarcasm.

      October 8, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  12. Atheism is Great for Kids and Grown-Ups Too!

    It's really best for all people including children to have an agnostic approach to god, and an atheistic approach to all religion. It keeps things simple for kids, and lets them be all that they can be. They just need to be taught that some things, like all religion, were just made up by salesmen and politicians from long ago. (Yes, charlatan folklore and spam started long before the Bible; what would make you think they hadn't?) And they need to be taught that other things, like God, we really don't know a damn thing about.

    Atheists have strong minds and don't need a religion. Many religious folk have the best intentions. But too often, religious folk run and hide their misdeeds within their religion (and by doing so, they disserve society). And too often, religious folk are easily offended when someone mocks their make-believe characters – and, as we can see they can get really CRAZY!

    Although there are many religious folk with good intentions – some selflessly helping others, religions and religious organizations are, as a whole, just big old clubs – each trying to out do each other and inspiring hate and division (often disguised as love) along the way. The problem is that people too easily buy into religion and don't realize how unfounded it all is. And when they buy into it, they buy into a lot of really old, really weird tenets that are nothing but harmful for the human species.

    Take Christianity, for instance. Just look at all the things that Christians argue about amongst themselves today – abortion, men's and women's roles in the church, celibacy, contraception, acceptance of gays, etc. Most of these issues have their roots in the conflicted, unfounded tenets of early Christianity. Non-Mormons harp on Joseph Smith these days. But we really don't have any more proof at all to believe that Paul, the self-proclaimed "apostle" was anything more than an ordinary man who needed to make up religious "sales literature" to survive and spread his own personal beliefs. And yet a good chunk of the NT is attributed to Paul and accepted by many Christians. And a lot of what he wrote about has to do with many of the issues I mentioned above that have Christians fighting amongst themselves hundreds of years later. It's way too unfounded to argue over.

    Get a good cup of tea, and sit down and collect your thoughts. If you find it helpful to pray to a god (something you know nothing about), fine. But it is really healthier for the mind to leave behind all the characters that people over the centuries have invented or given powers to, for which there is little or no foundation. Because with those invented characters and powers – that's where division and hate join the little party in your mind. That's where, in your mind, you are inheriting the division and hate from ordinary politicians, lobbyists and salesmen from long ago. My goodness.

    originally posted by mama kindless

    September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • jason

      your kind of living in a dream world, but we all justify our unbelief. Sure everyone is good to talk to, until you disagree with them. Human nature is sinful, so when 2 sinners get together, there is bound to be conflict. Atheism is this kind of love " i love you and I have a wonderful plan for your life, as long as you follow my plan for it"

      September 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  13. Chris

    Majority of people believe in religion... how could normal and healthy people not believe in one God?

    September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Argumentum Ad Populum

      September 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What's abnormal about lack of belief?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Damocles

      @Chris

      So if the majority of believers believe in something different from you, then you agree that you are wrong in your belief??

      September 23, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  14. Jane

    How can anything be debated using the 'bible' as a reference when some or it was written well after the death of Christ and re-written and edited more times than a TV show?

    September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • jason

      Jane – do some research for about 30 minutes and you will find out your are making a straw man argument against scripture then attacking your strawman

      September 23, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  15. KateMae

    This is news???

    September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  16. Beam me up Scotty

    The very concept of perpetual torture is evil.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Dave M

      Exactly

      September 23, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • jason

      You assume a moral absolute – and the biblical worldview is the source of moral absolute, how does your worldview answer for moral absolutes?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • MikeyZ

      Moral absolutism is for people who don't think for themselves.

      Life doesn't happen in a vacuum, despite what judges, juries, police, clergy and parishoners would have you believe.

      September 23, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  17. .

    Few 100% true fact why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you angry, stupid, brainwashed, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists are misguided and causes problem in our religious & public society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Mussolini, Stalin, Hitler (denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders who killed religious people because of their religious cult!
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most atheists are uneducated... No atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are atheists/agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    PS! the USA is a † nation and will always be. You know it's true and stop being ignorant and arrogant!
    (Take a look at our federal/state holidays, 99% of our presidents, blue laws in parts of the nation, name of some cities/counties/streets, the majority of people, some laws, calendar, culture, etc.)
    http://rightremedy.org/tracts/7

    ¦There is only one God and it is to Him that you pray. All others pray to false gods and idols. Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist are all lost unless they know Jesus as their Lord & Savior.¦

    September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      UR Sofa king we tarded.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, ".", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to.....
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • truth be trolled

      Looks like someone is on their period again.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Gregg

      Rubbish – It's amazing that someone would spend so much time trying to make light of something that is imaginary.
      You are only correct in one aspect, their is indeed a creator. To place one religion on top another is human imagination.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • ron

      You and people like you are the reason things like 9/11 happened. Amazing you are too stupid to see it.
      Really.. It truly is.
      You go ahead and keep promoting hate and intolerance. Apparently that is way to your ridiculous notion of salvation. How absolutely idiotic.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Johaunarei

      Atheists by definition are NOT satanic.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • ron

      definite.. athiests are not satanic by definition.. but don't bother trying to explain that.. Facts and proof don't matter to these people.. just like lefty liberals. fact and proof are immaterial..

      September 23, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Chris

      ^ See, this is what we're up against. This whole new arrogant generation of angry Christians.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • SeeJay

      Lost me at, "Atheism is a religion..." Um.. no, by definition Atheism is not a religion, it is absence of religion.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • Athiest

      'Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.'

      Nothing wrong with my lifestyle, I'm a loving father and a pretty decent human being.

      The rest of your post is well... much like the bible – a complete load of nonsense.

      You're just scared – on one side you got the Muslims with their fastest growing religion, they're just as idiotic as you, and then on the other side you have the ever growing number of athiests laughing in your face and mocking your beliefs.

      Sucks to be you right now.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  18. Name*Adonai

    Lord forgive them for they know not what they do or say. Thank you God for giving them the chance and to take time to read this article that so many say they dont believe in. God by reading this article many have read your word for the first time and I pray your word begin to grow. In Jesus name Amen

    September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "this article they say they don't believe in"?

      I think you're a little confused.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Gregg

      If the creator could read the bible it would look like,blah,blah,blah,blah blah blah.
      Human words are not of the creator. You are praying to your own human mind.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • ron

      Praise Ala! Praise Buddha! Praise God! Praise Zeus! Praise.. Oh give me a break..
      How about you stand up and think for yourself for a change and stop attributing everything you do to some invisible supernatural being. You really don't see how stupid that is do you??
      Amazing..

      September 23, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  19. ***********

    Mark Driscoll gets 10 stars * for speaking the truth. :)

    Well done!!!

    September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  20. Bob

    Anyone who's been to Atlanta in the summer would agree there is a hell.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:20 am |
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About this blog

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.