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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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. stjdsj

    “I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
    “Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand ?’" (Revelation 6:12-17, written to Christians by apostle John, A.D. 90)

    October 7, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Satanluv

      Blah blah blah..are you serious?? Figs, earthquakes, seals...here is some stuff that is scary and real: global warming, depletion of natural resources, antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria...not a bunch of c r a p written by goatherds who didn't know why the sun came up in the morning...they would have been hard pressed to tell you what lay beyond the horizon but they were experts on the mysteries of the universe...yeah right

      October 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  2. stjdsj

    “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power.” (2Timothy 3:1-5, written by Paul to Timothy, A.D. 64)

    October 7, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • A Frayed Knot

      stj,

      "The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
      authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
      rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
      chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
      legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

      -Attributed to Socrates, by Plato 380 BC

      Paul of Tarsus original? PHOOEY!

      October 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  3. spanglish

    Life with this President has been Hell, the cost of basic items has increased almost 40% percent, crime has risen, poverty has increase, stress has increase, manipulation of the media has increase, insecurity has increase,fraud has increase, liberty has diminished, corruption has increase,government bullying has increase, etc.,This Hell

    October 7, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • End Religion

      i don't believe you. Please supply data to support all your claims.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • tallulah13

      One thing that has truly multiplied during the current administration are the blatant and venomous lies spouted by conservatives and christians alike.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  4. stjdsj

    Jesus said, "An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29)

    October 7, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Satanluv

      He also said " hey Paul I gotta pinch a loaf, hold up a minute, will ya" but those aren't really words to live by...that's one of the lost gospels but i am sure he said it

      October 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  5. stjdsj

    Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation." 2Peter3: 3-4

    October 7, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Satanluv

      Wow that is scary..i am mocking you

      October 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  6. Good News

    There is only one Religion on this earth now that is definitely NOT man made!

    For it is revealed in an absolutely Matchless, most Powerful and Superb "Mathematical Language!"

    And thus absolutely proves that there is only one real GOD who has thus created

    His book of Universe, and His book of Religion,

    based on this same 19 coded, Symmetrical most Powerful and Superb "Mathematical Language"

    thus in such a perfect parallel manner here:

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACES!

    October 7, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  7. End Religion

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMAt0a5EWw0&w=640&h=390]

    October 7, 2012 at 3:05 am |
    • tallulah13

      Fascinating video. Thanks for sharing.

      October 7, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  8. Mara

    End Religion,
    I would like to suggest that per chance hell is a real place and that I prefer to not test it out. Since you cannot back up your claims that it doesn't exist and I believe that it does as a matter of faith. I have placed my faith in Jesus for the assurance that I don't end up on the hot seat:) What have you got to lose by placing your faith in Jesus? His life is a fact. He did exist by proof of eye witness accounts. We do die and enter into an eternal state either torment or peace with God. How would you prefer to spend your eternity?

    October 7, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • End Religion

      @mara: "I would like to suggest that per chance hell is a real place and that I prefer to not test it out."

      That's cool. I can't stop you from choosing to live in ignorance. I'd like to help you understand you don't need the threat of punishment just to be nice to others, but I can only show you the door. You have to decide whether you walk through it.

      ***
      "Since you cannot back up your claims that it doesn't exist and I believe that it does as a matter of faith."

      Hell as an abstraction, as a singular place where, no matter what religion, humans are punished for some reason by some creator can neither be proven nor disproved. However, if you're familiar with any sort of formal debate, the negative can never be proven so the burden is always on those who assert something as fact to prove it. Until it is proven it is false.

      Simply resorting to faith is indeed an answer for people who do not want to trouble themselves with proof but that puts us back at square one, where each individual must decide whether to live in ignorance or not.

      ***
      "I have placed my faith in Jesus for the assurance that I don't end up on the hot seat :)"

      The hot seat! Sounds like a good idea for a TV game show...

      ***
      "What have you got to lose by placing your faith in Jesus?"

      First of all, I have a lot to lose. Rationality and sanity for starters. You lose those when you believe in jesus. God suggests to stay in his good graces you must stay ignorant. That's roughly the same as any cult, who need to keep one ignorant and preferably away from family and friends so they have more trouble freeing themselves from the delusion.

      Second, what you're proposing is called Pascal's Wager and is a resoundingly poor reason to turn to religion. The idea and arguments are detailed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager
      If you don't want to read it, basically your assertion is considered intellectually irresponsible and likely immoral.

      ***
      "His life is a fact."

      The life of the person you believe in as jesus is not in the realm of anything I agree to as factual. We're simply not going to agree on this. You'll want to use the bible as historical proof, and Paul, and maybe a handful of others to assert "eyewitness accounts" but it has been proven factual time and again that Paul's writings are not reliable evidence and any other "eyewitnesses" were anything but. And the bible posits zombies as a reality – what other factual history books do you know that are not laughed out of academia for positing the reality of zombies?

      Written documentation about the life of some guy named jesus, and there apparently were plenty, didn't even begin until @30-50 years after his supposed death. Humans have trouble keeping a verbal story factual for 15 minutes, let alone 30 years. "Eyewitnesses" are known to be among the worst type of evidence for various reasons.

      The entire jesus timeline is in question. Even amongst religious scholars, they cannot come to an agreement on when he may have been born or when he may have died. But even these "scholars" rely mostly on Paul, who was a zealot and prone to fantasy, or Constantine who needed a new religion to unify and whip people into a frenzy.

      If you're truly interested in a view other than your own, start here:
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJXlOoKfZfo&w=640&h=390]

      But none of this matters if you have faith. Just don't call his life a fact, because it isn't. It is a belief. Your belief is not a "Truth" no matter how the church tries to redefine it.

      ***
      "He did exist by proof of eye witness accounts."

      See above...

      ***
      "We do die and enter into an eternal state either torment or peace with God. How would you prefer to spend your eternity?"

      You'll need to show some proof, since science has yet to agree to your brand of the religious delusion. Otherwise it is false. Of course, you have the faith option which puts us back to square one on your choice to life in ignorance.

      From my perspective there is no eternity for me to be concerned about. It is a fact I will die and my body deteriorate. I have seen no proof that a "spirit" of any sort, let alone one that has some sort of memory, will survive the affair.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • Cully

      To argue with a fool is to make a fool of yourself. As Christ was quiet before those who accused Him, let us not even give people of such hatred toward the gospel the time of our tongue. "Do not cast your pearls before swine"

      October 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  9. Good News

    GOD never sends good people to Hell.

    And the Son of Man has thus already come to seek and save those who are lost

    in the beginning of this most critical Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now! (=John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Cully

      Your preach a false gospel and will pay grievously for it.. If everyone was going to heaven, why would the Son of Man come into the world to save the lost?? He would not need to.. But sin is real, and without forgiveness the redeeming blood of Christ, we are liable to judgment. Repent, and be saved. Turn to God and love the one who died for you. There is no need to suffer His wrath, for the price has been paid in full. Believe in Christ the Lamb of God. For when He returns He will be as a devouring lion.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      cully, just 4 short minutes ago you posted this in response to a post:
      "To argue with a fool is to make a fool of yourself."

      ...yet here you are arguing with a fool. You are the prototypical, religiously deluded nutter. Congrats. You preach at us of god's perfection and the perfection of his word, then follow through on the exact opposite. You are arguing with other religious people that only your delusions are the correct delusions.

      YOU are the reason people are leaving religion in droves. Religion is chock full o' hypocritical crazies just like you. Again, congrats!

      October 7, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  10. Rick

    I believe in Heaven and Hell. One represents everlasting life and the other everlasting death. It is the second death. Those who go to Hell will be destroyed forever. There will be suffering, no doubt, before they are finally destroyed, but they will eventually be destroyed. There's no coming back from the second death like there was from the first. The Bible warns us against the one who can DESTROY both the body and soul in Hell.

    October 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      @rick: "I believe in Heaven and Hell. One represents everlasting life and the other everlasting death. It is the second death."

      Please reveal the lab reports and notes from your experiments which prove this second death.

      ***
      "Those who go to Hell will be destroyed forever."

      As Blade said, "Some motherfucker's always gotta try to ice skate uphill." First, show us proof of hell. A tip: it doesn't exist. You will therefore have trouble getting to the proof of anyone sent there being destroyed forever.

      Want to know who *will* be destroyed forever? It's likely to be YOU! And me. And everyone else. It's called "death". You know, the *first* death.

      ***
      "There will be suffering, no doubt, before they are finally destroyed, but they will eventually be destroyed. There's no coming back from the second death like there was from the first. The Bible warns us against the one who can DESTROY both the body and soul in Hell."

      Good golly, Miss Molly. I feel embarrassed for your beliefs... You believe in zombies coming back from various death states. Dude, lay off the science fiction and horror channels for a bit. Watch a documentary or 2 for a change of pace.
      Religious Delusion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religious_delusion

      October 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  11. edward

    Hell is a real literal place of burning and torment, and all non believers will go to hell. Ye must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. Every human has a chance to escape hell by accepting Jeus Christ as Lord and Saviour. Yes hell is indeed more real than our house, cars, malls, etc. It is real place of eternal torment for the damned. The greatest accomplishment is that Satan has convinced people that he does not exist and that hell does not exist.

    October 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      @edward: "Hell is a real literal place of burning and torment, and all non believers will go to hell."

      Please provide a bit of sulfurous brimstone from said hell so we may test your assertion. You will then need an extensive powerpoint/video combination to persuade us what exactly constitutes a non believer and that they end up in this place you know about (which no one else has visited).

      ***
      "Ye must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God."

      I guess that excludes any human since they're all born just once.... unless ye have evidence otherwise?

      ***
      "Every human has a chance to escape hell by accepting Jeus Christ as Lord and Saviour."

      Every human will escape hell without doing anything.

      ***
      "Yes hell is indeed more real than our house, cars, malls, etc"

      More real? Explain this. Is there some real that's more real than our shared real? Don't say "heaven" or "the spirit world" because we don't share those. That type of "real" is only in your delusion.

      ***
      "It is real place of eternal torment for the damned. The greatest accomplishment is that Satan has convinced people that he does not exist and that hell does not exist."

      Yawn... OK, so as usual, we'll need some data on this "real place" that no one can seem to visit in order to bring back the brochure. Tell us more about the torments you envision there. Tell us who, in your version of the delusion, are the most damned?

      So you are privy to all of Satan's accomplishments, have rated them, and determined which is greatest? How exactly did you end up with that privilege?

      As far as I see, there seem to yet be tons of deluded people who think hell exists, so this "accomplishment" doesn't seem so great after all. Since you're the one who is in charge of rating Satan's accomplishments, I'd like to lodge a protest. I suggest that you be removed from judging the greatness of his accomplishments in the future.

      (just between you and me, hell and satan do not exist)

      October 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  12. Good News

    GOD never sends good people to Hell.

    And the Son of Man has thus already come to seek and save those who are lost
    in the beginning of this most critical Third and Last DAY (=MILLENNIUM) now! (John 6/27, 40)

    http://www.holy-19-harvest.com

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 6, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  13. consiglieri

    In life you learn to take the good with the bad. For the individuals that argue against the NEED for the idea of hell, I say let sleeping dogs lay. Without the notion of a hell as Lance stated the world would be a completely different place and thats speaking from personal experience. No hell means no consequence. No consequence means no rules. No rules then the weak are prey items.

    October 6, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      those preying on the weak already do not care if they're punished in a prison or in a hell. They prey on the weak anyway. In fact, almost everyone who pretends to believe in hell "sins" anyway, meaning they really don't think they'll be punished there. If they did truly believe it, they wouldn't sin. Hell serves no purpose.

      October 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  14. consiglieri

    This is a small correction, away from the point but none the less needed to be stated. Mr. Driscoll was incorrect in stating "He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life." Jonah was dead for three days as well. I know you are aware of this because as you stated as a pastor your job is to tell the truth. I am certain that this was an oversite.

    October 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      Typical Christian ignorance of your own scriptures. Jonah did not die while inside the fish. Go look it up.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  15. plumbine

    Men have prisons for evil people, why not God. The departed spirits of unregenerate people are eternal, and are capable of eternal evil, just like fallen angels. God originally made hell for fallen angels, not mankind. But mankind fell through the entrance of sin in the Garden of Eden. Christ has legally purchased a pardon for us by dying on the Cross, bearing our sins, and rising from the dead. He nows offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit..........Call upon His name today, while it is still called today.........

    ........John 3:18
    “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    October 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • justme

      call on his name ? what is it ?

      October 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      @plumb: see if you can follow along. It's quite simple really. Men have a prisons because they exist. There is no evidence for any god and an abrahamic one is patently non-existent, therefore no godly prison.

      There exists no evidence for spirit, especially one that has any sort of memory (if you're thinking of arguing "by spirit i mean energy"). No angels of any kind, no eden, no christ, no zombies. Throw any tantrum you'd like as we pull your binky away, but it is time to grow up.

      October 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • UncleBenny

      justme: "call on his name ? what is it ?"

      It's Ted. I asked, he told me.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  16. lance

    the belief in hell keeps parts of this planet from sanking in total chaos, picture this earth without the belief in hell it would look worse than iraq.

    October 6, 2012 at 10:54 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      That is some pretty stupid reasoning lance

      October 6, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • End Religion

      The world didn't get any worse when Vikings stopped believing in Helheim, nor when Romans stopped believing in an Underworld run by Pluto, or when Zoroastrians stopped believing in Drûgâskan. Pick your cult. It likely has an imaginary place of punishment. Such is your faith.

      October 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  17. Son_Of_Pallas_Athene

    "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."

    Really? Mr. Schaeffer, by what merit or right do you hang American military personnel with Islamic extremists? By what stars are you navigating this perilous sea of nonsense? There is no comparison between your average Taliban fighter and your average American Soldier, Sailor, Marine or Airman. In Afghanistan, where I spent fourteen months of my life, the enemy hides and shoots from behind the crowd; uses children to gather scrap metal close to American compounds to build their bombs, and in all other ways act against any recognized code of military excellence or personal honor, much less in accordance with God. The enemy there has shown no remorse at acts of barbarism.

    Compare this with the treatment the enemy receives from us. He is cajoled, pleaded with, persuaded and begged to return to normal civilian life. If he is captured, he is rendered legal assistance once imprisoned. If he is wounded, he is cared for. If he dies under care, he is allowed Islamic burial rights.

    Meanwhile, the Islamic extremists have shown the world what their standard for behavior is; dragging our ambassador through the streets the same way they have done to American contractors and military personnel.

    And as for this hell business; Speak on a subject that you know. Don't you dare go around speaking for the majority of American military personnel whose goal entire is to do their duty and go home to their families. The fact that you have the audacity to hang us as some kind of feudalist Christian fellowship of killers reveals your deep ignorance of the military and the human heart. You spit on our military by doing so.

    October 6, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Ladasha Jones

      Ah, yes - because there's nothing more noble than smart bombs.

      You either joined the military because of a false belief in American empire, making you a fool, or you joined for the pay or accolades or the college funds or the travel, making you a selfish opportunist. Actually, there's a third option - you're a sociopath or psychopath who wanted a socially-acceptable way to get out your aggressions.

      Either way, you're probably a murderer too. Have a nice day, here's hoping for your sake that Hell isn't real.

      October 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  18. Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

    There is evidence that GOD is distant from this world, but no evidence that He does not exist. GOD's government does not exist in this world, there is also evidence of this. GOD is allowing mankinds self-rule to continue until the time He has appointed. Look around you look at the world yesterday and today. Look at the governments all around the world. Are they not corrupt? This world is full of violence, lust, envy, confusion, greed, pride, lies, hatred, and death. Man alone brought forth the destruction of the world through an extraterrestrial named satan. The world crys out for the government of GOD and His justice. The world crys out for the Kingdom of GOD whos Eternal Law is Love in every aspect. Jesus Christ left this world with one command, to love. He said love as He has loved. "What greater love is there then the love of someone freely giving up their life for a friend?" – Jesus. This is the Etern Law in the Kingdom of GOD, this is the law man has forsaken, and it is this law that will judge each and every person. Soon all will change, mankinds self-rule is almost up. The end is near and the government of GOD draws near, the Kingdom is at hand. Jesus warnings are becoming more frequent and growing more severe. Those who have ears hear His words, those who have life repent and turn to Christ Jesus earths only hope. None will deny the power of this new one world order, and all knees will bow to the Kingship of the Lord of all lords. May the grace of the Almighty be with you all. John 8 vs 47-"He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

    October 6, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • End Religion

      fixed this for you again...

      There is no evidence that GOD exists. GOD's government does not exist. GOD has no hand in allowing mankind's self-rule to continue. Look around you. Look at the world yesterday and today. Look at the governments all around the world. Are they not corrupt? This world is full of violence, lust, envy, confusion, greed, pride, lies, hatred, and death. Man alone brought forth the destruction of the world. The world cries out for a departure from god. The world cries out for release from the delusion of the Kingdom of GOD whos fictional Eternal Law purports Love in every aspect yet delivers only hate. Jesus Christ never existed in this world. He is reported via mythological third-hand zealot accounts to have said "love as He has loved" plus many other things wherein he espouses hate and violence. There is no Eternal Law nor any Kingdom of GOD. It is impossible for man to have "forsaken god's law" since god did not exist. No human has been or ever will be judged by any god upon death. Soon all will change, simply because the world continues to evolve. It is eventual that mankind's self-rule will end, whether by insect, microbe, weather, cosmic forces or self-destruction. The end is likely not near however. Jesus warnings seem to become more frequent and severe because those deluded by religion are ruled by fear and as they grow older they become more afraid. Those who have delusions hear His words, those who have imaginary friends in the sky repent and sometimes turn to Christ Jesus, earth's greatest fraud. Anyone sane will deny the power of this new one world order, which exists only in the mind of crazy folks. Some of the knees of those whose insanity falls into the Chrisitian brand of the delusion could bow to the Kingship of the Lord of all lords, unfortunately it will all still be imaginary. May the grace of the kindness be with you all.

      October 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      Solely for your sake your better hope you are born again or your birth is undone. For you there is only hope in these two things and from your words they both seem impossible. But what is impoosbile for man is easily possible for GOD. Be smart take the time to think and choose wisely.

      October 7, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • End Religion

      You have yet to provide a single bit of support for your baseless claims. I have indeed chosen wisely.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • OTOH

      @Jesus is the most...

      Over 2,000 years now and still 2/3rds of the world does not believe the Jesus legend. It took probably less than 50 years for the theory of gravity to be accepted world-wide... and it is the same for any other proven ideas, eg., mathematics, the telephone, radio, engines, penicillin, etc., etc., etc.

      More people world-wide accept Mickey Mouse, Coca-Cola and Levis than believe that Jesus was/is "God".

      October 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  19. See You In Hell

    I bet when this pastor preaches of the torments of hell, rather than the riches of heaven, the offering plate fills up much faster. Mary was not a virgin! Jesus did not walk on water! AND NO ONE built a boat that contained two of every species of life present on earth! I could go on and on. I don't need your salvation preacher.

    October 6, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  20. Wait What?

    "As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth."

    This is the most oxymoronic statement ever written.

    October 6, 2012 at 12:50 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.