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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. Even Betterer News!!

    The man in the moon has given up his plans to wipe out straight white males to get back at them for the rocket in the eye!!

    October 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  2. End Religion

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

    October 8, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  3. 2357

    If knowledge is a function of proximity and familiarity, we should be asking newborn babies about God, and seasoned homicidal maniacs about hell. All the rest of us live in a fog of ignorance.

    October 8, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • End Religion

      in the spirit of any and every 2357 post, here is more silly nonsense...

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAiq1xKF38k&w=640&h=390]

      October 8, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • 2357

      ...and ask Benny Hill about what really makes the world go around.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • End Religion

      From his TV show one might guess he'd say naked girls make the world go around. However there are rumours he was gay, so maybe not. In any case, we all know the real answer is love (meaning gravity and the conservation of angular momentum).

      October 8, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • 2357

      I disagree. Benny Hill has nothing to do with love, physics or any other absolute reality. If it did, it would cease to be hilarious.

      October 8, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  4. Good News

    GOD never sends good people who wholeheartedly hearken to His Voice,
    and thus always sincerely seek to do good deeds into Hell.

    And there is 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,"

    in such a perfect parallel manner:

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

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 8, 2012 at 6:49 am |
    • Even Better News!!

      The man in the moon has given up his plans to wipe out humans to get revenge for the rocket in the eye!!

      October 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  5. Sabrina

    You can't "abandon" Hell nor can you abandon Heaven. Heaven and Hell are the Divine presence experienced either pleasantly or unpleasantly, depending upon one's spiritual condition. For those who chose to embrace God and steadfastly sought theosis (union with God) throughout their lives, there will be Heaven. For those who actively rejected God and never repented of it, i.e. chose perdition, then it will be Hell for them. God doesn't send any of us to Heaven or Hell. We do it to ourselves. At least that is what I, as an Eastern Orthodox Christian, believe.

    October 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Sabrina

      What I'd like to know is if anyone that has been dead for a year or so come back and actually brought proof of a heaven or hell?

      October 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      how about those who do not believe in your god?

      October 7, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • End Religion

      If you believe in god and hell then there is no question god sends people to hell if they don't play his game properly. He supposedly set the game in motion and forces one to choose.

      Just like Jigsaw from the movie Saw, god supposedly puts a game in motion, forcing people to choose his way or torture. While the poor cattle in the movie indeed get to "exercise free will" they've still been bound into a game against their choice, then forced to play by its rules.

      And you call this god a loving god... lol.. He's a horror movie monster.

      October 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Niknak

      I abandoned hell the same time I abandoned god, back in second grade.
      Your imaginary friend is just that.
      But keep wasting your time, and enjoy your long slide into oblivion......

      October 7, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  6. Good News

    GOD never sends good people to Hell.

    And there is only one real GOD

    who has created His book of Universe
    (via Big bang and especially upon those 4 fundamental forces: weak, strong, electromagnetic, and gravity therein)

    and His book of Religion
    (Final Testament which is thus prophesied and confirmed as "CornerStone" by all great Prophets here (Psalms 118/22-26),

    by putting His 19 coded, Symmetrical, most Powerful and Superb "Mathematical Signature" upon both of them,

    in such a perfect parallel manner, in the first place:

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

    ==UNIVERSAL MAGNIFICENT MIRACLES!

    October 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Any god who allows hell to exist is evil by definition.

      October 7, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • sam stone

      moby: what do you expect? petty vindictive people find comfort in a petty vindictive god

      October 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you identify those who are "good?" Are they people who hate the same folks you do?

      October 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Moby, A little thought will show the error of your supposition. A truly evil God would mandate that we love him. In fact, there would not even be a cognitive choice on our part. We would simply be automatons in service to that God with not even any knowledge that there was an alternative. Is that the kind of God you would prefer? My guess is that it is not. The God we have is actually the God who loves us, who invites us into relationship with Him and who allows us to reject that love. You can't really lay the guilt on Him for giving you both the ability and the freedom to choose now can you?

      October 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • OTOH

      Bill Deacon,

      Thug: "Your wallet or your life. Hurry up."
      Jack Benny (miser): "I'm thinking.... I'm thinking."

      Your fantasy god is a thug. "Believe or burn".

      October 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      OTOH, My perspective is that you persistently misunderstand the dynamic.

      October 8, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Even Better News!!

      The tooth fairy isn't using our childrens collective teeth to build a giant white d i l d o to fvck the planet with!! Good News!! Hurray!!

      October 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • End Religion

      @bill: "A truly evil God would mandate that we love him."

      How is it that you know the mind of any god, good or evil? You don't know the mind of the human standing next to you, let alone a god.

      ***
      "The God we have is actually the God who loves us"

      Your God purports love but only delivers hate, violence and divisiveness.

      ***
      "who invites us into relationship with Him and who allows us to reject that love."

      According to you, he sets a game in motion with 2 choices (which you call free will) where we either love him or are punished eternally. What kind of fucked up choice is that? And you not only admit to digging this guy and his idea of love, but you run around telling others how wonderful this sick game is. Man, you are twisted.

      ***
      "You can't really lay the guilt on Him for giving you both the ability and the freedom to choose now can you?"

      Bill, you're a sick, twisted person. What god offers is not love but rather sadism. And you're into it. Do you put on your leathers before going to sunday service? Take along a little cat o'nine tails for the collection plate?

      October 8, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Bill

      Let me clarify. Any god who could eliminate a place of eternal torment, and chooses to let it continue on, is evil beyond comparison. I'm not stuttering.

      October 8, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I agree Moby but the point is that it is not God who creates hell and determines who inhabits it. It is us. Why do you people refuse responsibility for your own choices and insist that God is punishing you for your own decision? I thought you believed in freedom. Well you got it.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  7. kjv

    But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by Thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
    Matthew 12:36

    October 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Wow that is scary

      October 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow.......quotes from A BOOK. you don't get any more convincing than that, nosireeeebob

      October 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • End Religion

      kjv, you realize that the "book of matthew" was but scraps of paper combining Mark, Q (sayings), and apparently stories from the author's own community which were then edited and translated several times? If god gave "his word" it could hardly be the ones you've posted. Therefore if one will be condemned for one's naughty words upon death, you will be condemned for passing off poor medieval poetry as words of that god.

      October 8, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • jong316

      What does God need with a starship? – Captain Kirk

      October 9, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  8. kev thomas

    Hell was invented in the 13th century to scare the people into going to mass.

    October 7, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Taken loosely from Greek mythology...and even though humans have existed for at least 200,000 years, hell only came into existence about 1,500 years ago

      October 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  9. Petrus

    it just baffles me how Frank Schaeffer gives a 'Christian' opinion without referencing the Bible once. Thank you Mark for sharing not your opinion, but what God's Word says about Hell. Dear Mr Schaeffer I recommend that you start reading the Bible. I will pray to God that He will open your eyes to the truth. John 18:37 “You are a king then?” Pilate asked.
    “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.”

    October 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      maybe unlike most christians he's smart enough to understand the bible is a crock of shit?

      October 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • mama kindless

      True "End Religion". Gullible's Travels is interesting the few couple of times, and then it gets old. Why some people think rehashed fable is something more than that just amazes me.

      October 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Sabrina

      That is a big part of the problem. Fundamentalist Protestantism and their Sola Scriptura obsession, and presuming they are the ONLY people who can speak for all Christians. Well, those of us who are either Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian know that one can't limit the limitless wonder of God to one book! A God that can be limited by human being is no god at all. Besides, quoting Scripture has been abused for far too long. One also has to look at Sacred traditon and see what the church fathers taught and believed. The only flaw I can find in Schaeffer's argument is that he doesn't go on to explain what some Christians believe about Hell.

      October 7, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  10. Angel

    Not bothering to read all the, I am sure well thought out information....abandon it all you want. When you die you still may go so to have it as debatable seems stupid. I mean lets really be smart for a moment. If there is a God...do you really have a chance to match him in intellect, knowledge or control of things to come. If there is a satan for those believers that believe and don't, if he in human terms was second to none but God and most revered of God...does it really matter what we as human beings debate about real or fake, delusion or reality, imagined tale or history. Man's logic is foolishness to God so really any debate had is just foolish when talking of spiritual beings because they have all the facts and the choice as a human is to believe or not to believe, that's it. You either do or you don't and you will know with physical proof when you die.

    October 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Get Real

      "you will know with physical proof when you die."

      And your verified evidence for this is...?

      October 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      Were you home schooled? Why does it seem religion prefers keeping its members ignorant? This is what you are proposing: we can't know so we shouldn't bother trying to know, or even to talk about it. You're proposing everyone choose ignorance. Why don't YOU choose ignorance for yourself, as apparently you have, and let the rest of us decide for ourselves how to live. This is in essence one of the problems of religion... they want to decide what's right for others.

      October 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • tallulah13

      So in other words, you are so afraid of your own mortality, you happily believe in something for which there is no proof because it comforts you.

      Okay. It's certainly your option.

      October 7, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Satanluv

      But see Angel the beauty of living right now is we know more than any other humans who have ever lived and all the available EVIDENCE seems to show that we are a species of ape that arose on the savanas of Africa 3.5 million years ago, living on a rock just the right distance from a controlled fusion reaction to give us liquid water the essence of life. Our solar system is one of millions in our galaxy and our galaxy is one of milions or billions of galaxies blowing through the universe...and if you rolled all those galaxies backwards they would join in one central point or big bang...so we don't need a silly book written by goatherds to explain the world to us...we figured it out for ourselves using the scienticic method...we don't need god either except if you wanna live forever which you won't, not even the universe will last forever

      October 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Jim T

    The bible is clear that no one has gone or is going to hell. It is also clear that our soul literally means our body and that we do not possess an immortal spirit. THe bible also does not say that anyone will be tormented forever. You will simply be forgoetten forever. I quote:

    "While the Greek teaching of the immortality of the human soul infiltrated Jewish religious thinking in later centuries, the Bible record shows that Sheol refers to mankind’s common grave as a place where there is no consciousness. (Ec 9:4-6, 10) Those in Sheol neither praise God nor mention him. (Ps 6:4, 5; Isa 38:17-19) Yet it cannot be said that it simply represents ‘a condition of being separated from God,’ since the Scriptures render such a teaching untenable by showing that Sheol is “in front of” him, and that God is in effect “there.” (Pr 15:11; Ps 139:7, 8; Am 9:1, 2) For this reason Job, longing to be relieved of his suffering, prayed that he might go to Sheol and later be remembered by Jehovah and be called out from Sheol.—Job 14:12-15."

    October 7, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Satanluv

      The problem is that the bible isn't "clear" on anything..it's a mismash of nonsense, ancient mythology mixed in with some history, a lotta guess work and conjecture based on a faulty understanding of the natural world with a whole lot of contradictions especially between the new and old testament thrown in just for good measure ...which is why no one is ever going to figure it out and why anyone can use it to suit their purposes...

      October 7, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • End Religion

      the bible is anything but clear. The Hobbit, on the other hand, is crystal clear. No doubt we should live by it. Please learn to walk in the many footsteps of Bilbo. In His name I pray...

      "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty wet hole, filled with the ends of earth worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole, with nothing to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort."

      From the book of Bilbo, 1:1

      October 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Read some Carl Sagan and watch the History Channel's "The Universe" that will answer all your questions...and btw: you are going to die and be dead just like everyone else you know w/in the next 100 years....regardless of your magic gods and secret incantations..that is going to happen

      October 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Satanluv

      End...Shakespeare's pretty clear too...Lord what fools these mortal be....how is it that Shakespeare is a more competent writer than god....god must have slept through his creative writing classes in college..it would be great if good ole god had a thesis or and overall point or an overall message, but he doesn't...all he has is a mess of contradictions and nonsense

      October 7, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Jimmy T, is it true god had a wager with Satan over the whole Job thing? God gambles with the devil? Who takes god's action btw? i mean there is a guy you don't wanna get into heavy debt with..it could have eternal consequences

      October 7, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      satanluv, some might see it as irony while others might see it as making perfect sense, if god had made a bet with satan over souls and the only bookie who'd take the bet was one of satan's minions, putting god on the hook to satan.

      October 7, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Petrus

      Dear Satanluv, How did you came to the knowledge of satan?

      October 9, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  12. Satanluv

    i do so hate when this comes to an end...the believers realize they are outmatched and slink away to reconsider their lives..maybe be I am really the king of lies, satan..sure that has gotta to be it...i was really talking w/ the devil and he was trying to lead me away from the light

    October 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  13. Satanluv

    @Jesusthe yada yadda fact guy...what happened to you..I am waiting for you to explain away the findings of the Hubble telescope or tell me how a bunch of goatherds who weren't sure if the earth was round or flat knew the mysteries of the universe better than Carl Sagan

    October 7, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  14. Byrd

    So long as the likes of Bush, Cheney and Catholic priests still walk the Earth, Hell remains open for business.

    October 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You mean priests like these?

      John Wallis (1616–1703) As a mathematician he wrote Arithmetica Infinitorumis, introduced the term Continued fraction, worked on cryptography, helped develop calculus, and is further known for the Wallis product. He also devised a system for teaching the non-speaking deaf. He was also a Calvinist inclined chaplain who was active in theological debate.
      John Ray (1627–1705) English botanist who wrote The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of the Creation. (1691) The John Ray Initiative of Environment and Christianity is also named for him.
      Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716) Polymath who worked on determinants, a calculating machine, He was a Lutheran who worked with convert to Catholicism John Frederick, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg in hopes of a reunification between Catholicism and Lutheranism. He also wrote Vindication of the Justice of God.
      Isaac Newton (1643–1727) He is regarded as one of the greatest scientists and mathematicians in history. Newton's study of the Bible and of the early Church Fathers were among his greatest passions, though he consistently refused to swear his allegiance to the church. He wrote Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John (Nontrinitarianism).
      Colin Maclaurin (1698–1746) Proposed to explain Newton's differential calculus using infinite series instead of Newton's fluxions. A Divinity student, he had a Christian instiitute named for him.
      Stephen Hales (1677–1761) A Copley Medal winning scientist significant to the study of plant physiology. As an inventor designed a type of ventilation system, a means to distill sea-water, ways to preserve meat, etc. In religion he was an Anglican curate who worked with the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge and for a group working to convert black slaves in the West Indies.
      Thomas Bayes (1701–1761) Presbyterian minister who wrote Divine Benevolence, or an Attempt to Prove That the Principal End of the Divine Providence and Government is the Happiness of His Creatures. He is better known for Bayes' theorem and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1742.
      Firmin Abauzit (1679–1767) A physicist and theologian. He translated the New Testament into French and corrected an error in Newton's Principia.
      Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) His writing is the basis of Swedenborgianism and several of his theological works contained some science hypotheses, most notably the Nebular hypothesis for the origin of the Solar System.
      Carolus Linnaeus (1707–1778) He is known as the "father of modern taxonomy" and also made contributions to ecology. Natural theology and the Bible were important to his Systema Naturae and Systema Vegetabilium.
      Leonhard Euler (1707–1783) A significant mathematician and physicist, see List of topics named after Leonhard Euler. He wrote Defense of the Divine Revelation against the Objections of the Freethinkers and is also commemorated by the Lutheran Church on their Calendar of Saints on May 24.
      Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718–1799) Mathematician appointed to a position by Pope Benedict XIV. After her father died she devoted her life to religious studies, charity, and ultimately became a nun.

      Other centuries available by google

      October 8, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  15. Satanluv

    Here's the problem for all you desperate believers: Darwin proved there was no god..how did he do that? the only "proof" for the existence of your god is the bible..without that you got nothing, zip...Darwin's work clearly shows that the foundation of the bible, genisis, is flat out wrong, couldn't have happened, didn't happen, garden of Eden story, not possible...noah's ark... nope...all wrong and false which unfortunately for you, crushes the rest of the story...early Christains blew it by incorporating old testament and claiming it was true...it ain't...you have some other "proof"...go down to Museum of Natural History and try and explain that all away

    October 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  16. eroteme

    Does anyone know where hell is? I think there are those who know where heaven is. Of course, I understand there is no sky, just space. I always thought of hell as being in the opposite direction, but I know I don't know.

    October 7, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Satanluv

      i don't know, but how bad could it be..I mean people can get used to anything...people live in Ft Lauderdale in August or Newark year round

      October 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Byrd

      For those deservedly headed for the Big Pit Fall, Hell sits at the bottom of that last doosey of a step. But not to worry, because Falwell will be there to show you around and give guided tours.

      October 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  17. eroteme

    We can deny most anything we want to. Our conception of hell may be equal to our conception of heaven. Even though the streets in heaven are paved with gold, eternity is a long time. Maybe it would be best if we could comprehend how long eternity progresses. It would be a long time to spend in heaven as well as hell. Those in heaven after a few billion years might grow weary of their bliss. Of course, it is our souls that go to heaven, souls might adjust to eternity in heaven a lot easier than those of us who are accustomed to rise and shine each day.

    October 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Cully

      "For as many as would recieve Him, He gave the right to become the children of God" Once I recieve God into my life through Christ, there is no way to explain the feeling of love that comes over me from time to time. It makes me want to be away from this world and in the His presence even while Im alive here. The feeling of being in the presence of the one Holy and True God, is a feeling that doesn't get old.. Its the first real feeling of love, and only real feeling of love, that I have ever felt.. But fear of the Lord is beginning of wisdom.. If I had never feared Him, I would never have repented or been saved. But now Love has a far stronger grip on me than fear. And I can't wait to praise Him in His presence, for eternity.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Satanluv

      hey Cullly doesn't matter to me what you believe as long as you're not in a position of power over me or making policy you can believe whatever you want...you can believe the moon is made of green cheese which given amount of evidence to the contrary makes about as much sense as your belief in god..sceince gets closer and closer to the the real answers w/ every discovery...your faith likewise becomes more and more ludicrous with each jump in knowledge...much of the bible we know is flase...Noah's ark, please...I get it, you're afraid of death..it's scary and unfortunate but inescapable...your faith is a cushion to soften that blow..so be it, but you're still gonna be dead, lights out. nothing more...as a teacher the childishness of your thinking does irk me...which is why in my class I am constantly underminng belief not by directly saying there is no god but by pointing out how rediculous the tenets of faith and belief are which is what i am doing here

      October 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      cully, get some professional help for your religious delusion.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  18. Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

    Ok i challenge all atheist/non-believers to a simple small short mature intellectual debate. I claim that there is a GOD, Higher Power, Intelligent Designer/Engineer, and Creator. You claim that there isnt a Creator and everything is a coincidence. (If what i say about your claims are wrong please correct me) Here are the rules: No THEORIES and no BIBLE VERSES. Proven known facts ONLY, none requiring faith. I simply ask that you consider my facts as i will yours. I will provide 10 facts in defense to my claim and you can list as much as you will.

    1.The perfect unseen order of our solar system.
    2. The accurate and precise distance of our sun and it's perfect compatibility with our moon. Its unfailing rising and sustaining power.
    3. The engineering of the earth in every aspect.
    4. Nature, it's power, beauty, and contributions.
    5. Natural law.
    6. Creatures, all of their different abilities, bodies, and behaviors.
    7. The extraordinary and intelligently designed human body and mind.
    8. My user name. Jesus indeed had the most influence and biggest impact on this world than anyone in all of time.
    9. Due to how orderly and precise creation is, the chance of the big bang theory or coincidence happening is statistically 0. Scientists have come up with approximate numbers that far exceed the trillions, but these numbers are made up from their theories which is why i didnt paste the number. As of right now the chances of life forming from nothing is statistically 0.
    10. Time & Life (consciousness)

    Please be respectful and list your facts.

    October 7, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Will you grow up you big baby...god is such a childish silly notion, that its beneath intelligent debate...its like intellectaully try to explina to a five year old that no monsters exist under the bed...here are the cold hard facts...you are going to die and that will be then end of you...no little spirit or soul w/ white nightgown and a halo and a harp floating around the clouds or golden streets or big thrones w/ bearded old dudes sitting on them...black cold out goodnite nothing....grow up... believing in your silly god has no purpose...all your belief, praying and fasting comes to naught: no matter how much you pray and believe, you and everyone you know is going to come to the same conclusion...death...many of those deaths being tragic and horrible...your god ain't gonna lift a finger to help, so what's the point?

      October 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Jesus is the most powerful figure known to mankind (Fact)

      @satanluv. Thank you for refusing my challenge by name calling. I understand why you wouldn't take on this debate. How could you? For starters what evidence would you begin to use proving there is no Creator or Intelligent Designer? It is impossible for you. Theres a reason why my post has been ignored. You cant fight the truth so bash it, accodring to your logic.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your posts are being ignored because you're a spammer and your posts are full of nothing but your opinion.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Satanluv

      What is your challenge again? i can't make sense of your ramblings..state your challenge in 2 sentences? while you are trying to work that out. you may want to look up the Hubble telescope and visit the museum of natural history and try and expalin that all away with your silly book of mythology and contradictions..I don't mean to name-call but man your stuff is so infantile it is hard to take seriously on any level

      October 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • psst's understudy

      "it's" is short of "it is."

      "its" is a possessive. They are not interchangeable.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • psst's understudy

      "it's" is short for "it is."

      "its" is a possessive. They are not interchangeable.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Satanluv

      do you kow how science knows about the big bang. ...see we have these big telescopes out in space where god was originally supposed to be, up in the sky but he wasn't...and these telescopes, like the Hubbel found out we are in a big universe full of galaxies rocking through space at a high rate of speed that are getting farther and farther apart for the most part...this changed our view of everything, seeing this, just like seeing the earth from space the first time changed our perspective..no more conjecture, the earth was round...just like when scinece found that contrary to the teachings of the church that the earth was not the center of the universe or the solar system..now what the scientists discovered is that they are actually looking back in time because the light from these galaxies takes so long to get here...they also found if they wound the clock back all the galaxies got closer and closer together until well you get back to the big bang..see that is sceintific.. knowledge built on other knowledge giving us a picture of the facts...now if you have something better than a book of contradictions and out right falsities, i'd be glad to look at it

      October 7, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      No point. You provide a false and negative claim for us to defend which leaves no ground for debate. We do not know if there was a creator, and cannot prove the negative, however we see no evidence pointing to it. Evolution is a fact inasmuch as we rely on any established scientific theory as fact and involves little if any coincidence.

      The meat of all this is, if you assert an overwhelming theory as fact then you need overwhelming evidence in support, otherwise it remains a belief or guess. You do not have such evidence.

      It's been debated to death, and as time goes on your side of the debate gets increasingly tenuous. These things end in "we'll have to agree to disagree" because, when faced with facts, you will like all others before you eventually shrink into Ad Hoc Hypothesis mode then finally to asserting something wildly outside the natural world, which is the religious safety net when it comes to logic.

      You have no argument for your case aside from magic, and magic we do not accept.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. Intelligent Guy

    lol, I really can not believe that some people still believe in god, jesus, heaven, hell. These are very outdated concepts created by ancient man to describe things that they could not understand. It also was a way to keep society in line. Good vs Bad. Be good or else, you will be punished. Do you christians also still believe in ghosts, witches, goblins and the tooth fairy ? God, some people are dolts.

    October 7, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Satanluv

      Dude..I am completely blown away by the fact that people still believe this childish nonsense...the devil living in hell torturing souls..i mean give me a break man..I am a teacher and I tell all you belivers out there..I am spreading the news to your kids everyday..

      October 7, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Cully

      It is no harder to believe than believing a magical unexplainable bang happend that produced intelligent life.. You don't see my God, I don't see your big bang. Like it or not both are matters faith, you believe in one thing, I believe in another.. The difference between us is that I can live in peace with the idea that you don't share my faith, but you can't live in peace with idea I don't share yours. Instead I must be uneducated, or a "dolt" ... So sad to see the complete lack of love or understanding so many have toward each other.. I pray for the best for you. That you would recieve faith, and if not, then may God do what He wills with both of us. Peace and Love.

      October 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Satanluv

      cully your prayers will do me about as much good as wishing and hoping...do you kow how science knows about the big band..I'll explain...see we have these big telescopes out in space where god was originally supposed to be, up in the sky but he wasn't...and these telescopes, like the Hubbel found out we are in a big universe full of galaxies rocking through space at a high rate of speed that are getting farther and farther apart for the most part...this changed our view of everything, seeing this, just like seeing the earth from space the first time changed our perspective..no more conjecture, the earth was round...now what the scientists discovered is that they are actually looking back in time becuase the light from these galaxies takes so long to get here...they also found if they wound the clock back all the galaxies got closer and closer together until well you get back to the big bang..see that is sceintific.. knowledge built on other knowledge giving us a picture of the facts...now if you have something better than a book of contradictions and out right falsities, i'd be glad to look at it

      October 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Satanluv

      big "band" that's funny

      October 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      @cully: "It is no harder to believe than believing a magical unexplainable bang happend that produced intelligent life.."

      Your ignorance on the topic does not equate with god.

      ***
      "You don't see my God, I don't see your big bang."

      We see no evidence for a creator. We do see evidence pointing to an initial gargantuan explosion at the beginning of our universe.

      ***
      "Like it or not both are matters faith, you believe in one thing, I believe in another.."

      You oversimplify the situation to keep the ignorance alive. We believe in well-substantiated explanations of aspects of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. You believe in ghosts that have not a single shred of the same type of evidence.

      ***
      "The difference between us is that I can live in peace with the idea that you don't share my faith, but you can't live in peace with idea I don't share yours. "

      From your other posts I'm not sure how you can post you live in peace. You have stated elsewhere you can't wait to die so you can hang out with god all the time. Doesn't sound like you're too much at peace on this planet, otherwise you wouldn't be looking forward to leaving.

      And if you could live in peace that we don't share your delusion, you wouldn't be commenting at all. However, you've shown you're suicidal, and by revealing that you're further revealing you simply need attention. And religion gives you that attention in spades. You get your own jesus buddy who loves you and follows you everywhere and thinks as you think. It's perfect for you.

      ***
      "Instead I must be uneducated, or a "dolt" ..."

      Religion does not necessarily imply being uneducated. The uneducated are more likely, but there are others afflicted for various reasons. Your reasons is more likely that you are depressed. Seek professional help. Religion will only eventually convince you to hurt yourself. Don't go there.

      ***
      "So sad to see the complete lack of love or understanding so many have toward each other.. I pray for the best for you. That you would recieve faith, and if not, then may God do what He wills with both of us. Peace and Love."

      Why would you pray that god does anything other than his will? If he exists he is a GOD and you are nothing. How dare you request he even consider your wish? How arrogant that you believe your simple desires mean anything to such a being.

      October 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  20. jim B

    So say I've been spared. Now in "Paradise" I have to maintain constant shame and contempt for my brothers and sisters who didn't make the cut. Doesn't sound very peaceful to me.
    Seems like a great deal of energy to waste for a God. Spending an eternity doing all that punishing. Just think what a God could accomplish with all that energy and time.

    October 7, 2012 at 11:34 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.