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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 • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    This author just said death is not normal or natural. To me, from that point on, he looses all credibility. Humans die naturally just like any other living species in this planet. If you want to go further, keep this in mind. Planets die, stars die, the universe will one day be a dead. Please, keep in mind, my opinions are my opinions and are not meant to offend anyone. You are free to believe what you believe, and i will respect your belief if you respect mine. My personal belief is that the bible was more of a guideline, a very good guideline, with great morals, for which people are supposed to live by. The 10 commandments are simple guidelines, very basic to todays modern society and the way we live. Do not cheat, do not steal, so on. I think what people call their souls, is actually their energy. Remember, evergy cannot be created nor destroyed, same as souls. But when you die, you dont go to heaven or hell, you simply became part of mother earth. Your body decomposes, giving nutrients to the planet, which turn into energy, and so the cycle continues. I cant prove any of this of course, but you can't fully discredit what i believe, considering it actually makes sense. Okay, I am done.

    October 5, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • End Religion

      coincidentally, anyone who says "he looses all credibility" instantly loses it himself.

      October 6, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, no, dear. Didn't you read that nottolate posted the "unwritten rules of the internet" which absolve everyone of any responsibility for spelling, syntax, and grammar? Yeah, he says that none of those matter if you can figure out the meaning of the post.

      I tried to tell him he was an azz, but he's convinced he's God.

      October 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  2. Ben

    What if at the end of your time here on earth you awake to find yourself in hell? It will be too late then. Be wise.

    October 5, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • sam stone

      which god shall we pray to to avoid hell?

      October 5, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Which ones have you tried?

      October 5, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      For those who must believe in a god, what if there is indeed a god but his true test, which hasn't been revealed in any faith/book, is whether or not you exercised your free will during your time on the planet to believe in any of the various faiths/books of hate and intolerance that man created? What if the true test were something like: "Here are many versions of false religions to believe in, all of which purport to be based in love yet are clearly awash in hate and violence. Will you blindly follow the men who've told you their religion/book is holy, or will you use your mind to determine that in reality none of them are good? Can you realize that real, virtuous good only comes from your personal decision to practice love without threat of pain? Everyone who is deceived by a "holy book" will be punished for eternity simply by not being allowed into the afterlife extravaganza."

      October 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  3. PretoriaDZ

    I think that separation from God while alive is a living hell. You don't have to go to a particular church to have a relationship with God. Read the Bible, pray, and ask God to give you understanding of His Word.

    October 5, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • sam stone

      what makes you think you cannot know god without reading man's translated, edited stories?

      October 5, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • End Religion

      pretoria, you think incorrectly.

      October 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  4. muslim2012

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYm2FMjZhck&w=640&h=390]

    October 5, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • End Religion

      this is one of the funniest yet sickest videos I've seen in a long time. The constant death desire is the sick part. The constant interruptions of the narration by "peace be upon him" every time they mention some religious name is absolutely hilarious! Man, there some fucking insane people out there...

      October 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  5. muslim2012

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUbjw683Aio&w=640&h=390]

    October 5, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  6. correctlycenter

    Jesus the Son of the living God told us in Matthew 7 about heaven and hell, Luke chapter 16 talks about the rich man who died yearning for a drop of water to cool his tongue...Hello!!!

    October 5, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Clang

      Now go try to find any mention of the word "Hell" in your bible.....you cannot. If you are a bible contextualist and the words aren’t there, why do you believe it? I know, just because something is never mentioned, has no basis in the origins of Christianity and was created to control and build fear, will never stop the sheep from believing it. Most Christians have no understanding of the history of their own faith. The reason for this is if you ask to many questions, the answers disappear or default to, “Your faith is weak” or “Jesus loves you” or “Let go and let god”.
      Religion is the bane of human existence. With religion in the picture there will NEVER be a common ground among people, especially Christians and Muslims, when the basic tenants of both philosophies are to assimilate the world to their belief system.

      October 5, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • sam stone

      wow.....nothing more convincing than a book, correctlycenter

      October 5, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Nate

      To Clang: Newer translations (HCSB etc.) refer to Sheol, but the old King James uses the term "hell" frequently. Just do a search using YouVersion or any other Bible app. Just a few references include: Deut32:22,Job11:8,PS9:17,Pro9:18,Is14:15,Matt10:28,Luke16:23. Your argument doesn't hold water. There are dozens and dozens of references to a place called "hell" in the Bible.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      it is incredible, the amount of stuff a religious person has to choose to ignore. I guess you just make your choice to live in ignorance or not, and hope the house let's you win on this roll. How pathetic.

      October 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  7. Joshua

    The author of this article has a fundamental misunderstanding of hell (for any religion) altogether. This article uses a conspiracy theory (at best) as a major premise for his argument. So whether you are a Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or if you worship the whiteboard eraser in your child's classroom, what everyone should understand about hell is that it was never meant as a place to send people YOU don't agree with. Hell is simply existence without any relationship whatsoever because that's what the person preferred in this life. If you treat the people around them like garbage then it is probably a sign that you never wanted to be around them in the first place, let alone the deity that created them.

    October 5, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • Nate

      Actually Mr. Schaeffer is accusing all atheist or agnostic military members as simply wanting to kill for the fun of it. If the Christians and Muslims only kill in order to get rid of their opponents and send them to "hell", then not believing in "hell" means you kill simply to kill. Yes. This logic is just as flawed as the logic of his article.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  8. Randy

    Abandon it all you want. It will still be there when you die.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • bataylor

      The only place hell exists is in the minds of those who dread going there, those who think they're not going there and those that have to live on the same planet with them.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      Randy: Thanks for clearing that up.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • ViperGuy

      Hellfire is a false doctrine that even the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges stems from sources other than the Bible. Hellfire was a doctrine the church used to scare people into submission, something Jesus never taught. Religion uses scare tactics today. People still believe in eternal hellfire because the church teaches it. The fact is, the word "Hell" is literally translated "Sheol" which mean, "the common grave of mankind". Ecclesiastes 9:5 says that "the dead are conscience of nothing at all." Proof that hellfire can't exist. A loving God would not allow it, and He doesn't scare his people into submission. Religious doctrine has been misleading people for ages, but more so today than ever. The Apostle John saw a vision in Revelation that showed him this would take place in our time. The fact that religion has mislead and drank the blood of the nations is why so many people don't believe in God. False religion today is a Satanic influence that has been a tool for misleading many using doctrines and traditions not found in the Bible. All for money and power, just like the scribes and Sadducees. (Revelation 14:8)

      99% of religions are misleading the nations. Soon God will use the elements of this world to rid it of religion.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • scott

      very good point Randy!

      October 5, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • sam stone

      Scott: Randy's drivel is an opinion, not a "good point".

      October 5, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  9. toadfun

    Hell is a very small town north of Ann Arbor, Michigan. It isn't going anywhere.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Joshua

      This made me smile.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:50 am |
    • sam stone

      If you go, make sure to have a sandwich or a pizza at the Dam Site Inn.

      October 5, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  10. Robert

    What a useless debate...should we abandon hell? As if it was our choice. Hell exists, whether we choose to 'believe' in it or not. You can't change something just because you decide it doesn't exist. For all of you who say otherwise...well, you will find out soon enough. Sad for you.

    October 4, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Can you provide evidence that your concept of hell even exists?

      October 4, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • bataylor

      and where exactly is your proof of hell? What I KNOW to be true is you've only READ about it. You havent't been to a place who's existence has not been proven.

      October 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • ViperGuy

      While the spirit realm and heaven can be thought of as a dimension of space and time that we can't see with our own eyes, hell doesn't exist because the Bible says hell is the common grave of ALL mankind, good or bad. The Bible has mentioned even good people being in hell or sheol. No one is conscience in hell. And hellfire is not the same as the lake of fire which represent eternal destruction. The mention of hellfire simply doesn't exist in the original greek new testament. You can't prove heaven exists by direct means, but you can prove hellfire doesn't exist, just by using the Bible.

      October 5, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • FollowerOfTheWay

      Viperguy, what you wrote is Scripturally incorrect. "Hell" is both in the Old and Renewed Covenant. In Hebrew it is called Gehenna (Old Covenant) and in Greek it is called (Tartarus). Even Shoel, the "holding pen" you describe has 2 compartments, Abraham's bussom and a place for the condemned (Yahushua, Jesus, describes in His parable). The false teaching in today's world is all people go to one or the other. They leave out the third option of eternal dead which is spoken of or hinted at in many passages including in the one quoted in the passage above. Daniel 12:2 says "many will wake up". Not "all" will wake up. Folks, the Scriptures is the perfect Word of Yahuweh, God. Read it for your self to have a relationship (not religion) with Him. Do not make your decision on what anyone (including myself) say.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:45 am |
    • sam stone

      Robert: Your empty proxy threats are laughable. Now, get back on your knees and beg

      October 5, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • FollowerOfTheWay

      Sam, I can point you to numerous prophecies from Genesis to Revelation. I can point you to Daniel which makes detailed references to Greek rise and specific Greek Dynasties and what wars and atrocities they will perform. A book translated to Greek (Septuagint, 250 BC) that we have and date to prior to a lot of the prophecies. Or Isiah which describes intelligent weapons like the cruise missile. Or several which describe nuclear weapons 1000s of years before they were conceived. However what exact evidence that convinces me may not convince you. So I urge you to read it for your self. Do internet searches, read the passages, read the independent historical records of their fulfillment and decide for yourself. God promises to meet the truly curious mind. He will do it not me, the question is whether you want to be an honest seeker. All I know is Yahushua, Jesus entered our space and time to take the punishment for my lawlessness. It was His FREE gift, all I had to do was accept it and you can too.

      October 5, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • End Religion

      lol... "Scripturally incorrect"...
      mythological tales handed down by word of mouth, finally written down after hundreds of years in a language no longer spoken, sections of which were discarded and/or amended willy-nilly then translated any number of times into any number of revisions, and you have the nerve to assert that your opinion is the correct one? That's one big set of balls you have. Doesn't god frown on arrogance? How can you possibly comprehend a god?

      October 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  11. Joel

    I love how this character quotes his book to prove his points that his book is true.

    October 4, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • whataboutthemetaphor

      exactly.

      October 5, 2012 at 1:42 am |
    • FollowerOfTheWay

      Jeol, even your name contradicts your statement. Your name Joel or Yo'el means Yahuweh is God. Also the Scriptures (Old and Renewed Covenant) scientifically prove themselves to be true by many exacting prophesies that turned out to be correct, even about today's world proving that the author is outside our space and time. Please read it for yourself with a true seeking mind. Do not rely on what you have heard. That way you can make an informed decision one way or another.

      October 5, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • sam stone

      Follower: They scientifically prove themselves? Provide a link to said science

      October 5, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • Mr. T

      1:1 Yes, and if I further change your name from Joel to Yo'el, 2 and then from Yo'el to Noel, 3 your name means Santa Claus. Its true because it was written in the book of CNN Comments, Verses 1:1-3.

      October 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Noel actually means Christmas or Christ Mass. So, contextually even if you changed his name from Joel to Noel you would not change the meaning of his name. Besides there is no semantic construct under which "Y" becomes "N" as there is for "J" to become "Y"

      October 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • FollowerOfTheWay

      Sorry posted in wrong section
      Sam, I can point you to numerous prophecies from Genesis to Revelation. I can point you to Daniel which makes detailed references to Greek rise and specific Greek Dynasties and what wars and atrocities they will perform. A book translated to Greek (Septuagint, 250 BC) that we have and date to prior to a lot of the prophecies. Or Isiah which describes intelligent weapons like the cruise missile. Or several which describe nuclear weapons 1000s of years before they were conceived. However what exact evidence that convinces me may not convince you. So I urge you to read it for your self. Do internet searches, read the passages, read the independent historical records of their fulfillment and decide for yourself. God promises to meet the truly curious mind. He will do it not me, the question is whether you want to be an honest seeker. All I know is Yahushua, Jesus entered our space and time to take the punishment for my lawlessness. It was His FREE gift, all I had to do was accept it and you can too.

      October 6, 2012 at 6:08 am |
    • End Religion

      circular quoting of a source... hmmm... sounds like a technique familiar to the religious.

      October 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • End Religion

      if we're going to be absurd with names:

      Joel -> Yo'el -> Noel -> Christmas -> Christ Mass -> Anointed Mass -> Prostitute -> Joel

      "Christ" is ancient Greek for Anointed. Anointed means "one who has been rubbed with a substance." Mass is "a large body of matter with no definite shape". A prostitute is often rubbed with a large gooey body of matter with no definite shape. Prostitutes are the subject of the Bible's Joel 3:3

      October 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • End Religion

      follower, your delusion is working on multiple levels. There may be no hope for you. Religions is a fraud and prophecies are a scam. Usually, people figure this out for themselves between 14-20-some years old. Nostradamus is fun when we're 12. Time to grow up.

      October 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  12. Guest

    If you study the life of Jesus, His miraculous works and the everlasting effects of His ministry, His divinity is so obvious. He wasn't like any other person who ever walked or ever will walk this Earth. He changed the world and gave us all hope, believers and nonbelievers alike (although you nonbelievers have yet to realize you've been blessed by Jesus and are the recipients of His love). And to all you women: Jesus was the original emancipator of women. Were it not for Jesus all women would still be treated like slaves and chattel. I believe in Jesus and I love Him and I am so grateful that I know Him. Give Jesus a chance and you'll have peace of mind and soul.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      "I'm normally not a praying man, but if you're up there, please save me Superman"

      October 4, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Joel

      Sam Stone, that's beautiful!

      October 4, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Guest

      Talk about a complete non-sequitur argument on your part.

      October 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  13. Moby Schtick

    You must be stupid. I'll help you out. To abandon a stupid idea is not the same as coming up with a comparable idea. The christian religion is stupid and intelligent people should abandon it. Whether or not those people "make up" or join another religion is an entirely separate matter.

    October 4, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Sorry, intended for Bob B below.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  14. Rack of LAMB

    I think if we do decide to stick with any idea of God at all, we should go back Pantheism (many Gods) again.

    It's much more interesting and entertaining than the idea of ONE GOD, don't you think?

    October 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  15. freethinker321

    For a sound rebuttal of everything this deluded man believes, read the powerful article "Is Gandhi in Hell?' available here:

    http://leavingtheflock.com/2012/05/27/is-gandhi-in-hell/

    October 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  16. God

    There is no hell as there is no sin. What there is are cycles of birth and rebirth and good deeds and bad deeds. That is it.

    I have spoken.

    October 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  17. Bob B

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

    Another example of man creating his own religion. A major stumbling point for many in accepting Christianity is acknowledging it's not all about them. There is something greater. It's a humbling, radical shift in thinking that people just don't want to make in this 'me-centric' society. So, deny Hell because we don't like it. If there is a hell and a savior, we're not calling the shots. Let's create our own religion with no punishment. That's better for us.

    October 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  18. PeterVN

    Like that great blog post said, religion is for the ignorant, the gullible, the cowardly, and the stupid, and for those who would profit from them.

    October 4, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • Julia

      And pot shot insults and generalization fallacies are for those without valid points.

      October 4, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • sam stone

      Julia: As are claims of authority

      October 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  19. Moby Schtick

    Who deserves hell? Certainly not all who stupidly believe in it, nor even all who think it's "good" that there is one and that many other people go there, but the god who designed it and sustains it and considers it "good" and "just" punishment. So send him there in your mind and be done with such a fvckwad deity, once and for all. Good day.

    October 3, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Chad

      @Moby "Who deserves hell? Certainly not all who stupidly believe in it,"
      =>All of us have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3)

      @Moby "nor even all who think it's "good" that there is one and that many other people go there"
      =>No one thinks estrangement from God(hell) is good..

      @Moby "but the god who designed it and sustains it and considers it "good" and "just" punishment"
      =>Where in the bible does it say that God thinks hell is "good'?
      Quite the opposite. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance 2 Peter 3

      you are arguing against something the bible doesnt say.. that tactic is known as a "strawman"

      October 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      So, Chad, god considers hell "just" but not "good"?

      October 4, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • sam stone

      Chad: The glory of god? Sounds more like a punk than anything to be worshipped

      October 4, 2012 at 7:25 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, your god is a terrorist dovchebag fvckwad for ALLOWING hell to exist at all. If your god were "good" and "just" and all powerful then he would never have allowed the evil of hell to come into being. Your god allows people to exist in torment without end, and thus, is evil beyond compare. Deal with it.

      October 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • sam stone

      "You make people miserable and there's nothing they can do about it, just like god"

      "You know, the one with all the well-meaning rules that don't work in real life - uh, Christianity"

      - Homer Simpson, telling what religion the family belongs to

      October 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Chad

      @Sam: "god considers hell "just" but not "good"?"
      @Chad "letting people live with the consequences of their actions is just, but it is not His desire that anyone perish.

      ===========
      @Moby "your god is a @#@#% for ALLOWING hell to exist at all."
      @Chad "it is your choice to be estranged from God, do you want him to coerce you?"

      ==========
      @Moby " If your god were "good" and "just" and all powerful then he would never have allowed the evil of hell to come into being"
      @Chad "human kind chose it, would you have preferred that God create puppets that had no free will?"

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

      "letting people live with the consequences of their actions is just, but it is not His desire that anyone perish."

      Yet god can forgive people without their accepting Jesus as their savior, but chooses not to. Why?

      God is omniscient, no? He knew from the beginning who was going to do what. Then he turns around and punishes them for what HE knew they were going to do. Does that seem just to you?

      You speak of god's judgement, but I suspect very strongly that is not the judgement of god, but the judgement of god's followers. Many of them, yourself included, seem like you want to be little gods, judging those who do not see the world as you do.

      Well, here is the judgement of THIS man.....

      The judge you appear to worship is a petty I suspect that people find comfort in that because THEY are petty,vindictive pr1cks and.......surprise of surprise, god hates the same people they do.

      Spare me the empty proxy threats. Logic indicates that people cannot fear beings in which they do not believe. Perhaps in your zeal to become a snivelling, subservient sycophant you skipped out on logic.....or any critical thinking.

      Good for you.

      Please, oh, so godly wannabe, share some more edited, translated iron age hearsay with us.....it's almost fvcking inspiring, it is

      October 5, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  20. Harald

    Not only should be abandon hell, but the belief in the supernatural in general.
    Belief in the supernatural is a relic of the dark ages when people believed that lightning was caused by angry gods, but it shouldn't have any place in our modern time.

    October 3, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Lennon

      Because that's a totally new argument and not a relic in and of itself. Religion is something that does have a place in our society. You simplify and dumb down religion for your own argument in an effort to be right on something that you won't every be right or wrong about (until you die anyways). Look up St. Augustine's writings and then talk to me about the dark ages and the middle ages and religion.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:36 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.