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September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

Editor’s note: The new documentary "Hellbound?" explores Americans' ideas about hell. We asked two prominent Christians who featured in the film to give us their very different takes on hell.

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

Editor’s note: Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times bestselling author. His latest book is "Crazy For God."

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

Is it any coincidence that the latest war of religion that started on September 11, 2001, is being fought primarily between the United States and the Islamic world? It just so happens that no subgroups of humanity are more ingrained with the doctrine of hell than conservative Muslims and conservative Christians.

And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States. And nowhere on earth have conservative Muslims been more dominant than in the countries from which the 9/11 extremists originated – Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

What a pair George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden made! On the one hand, an American president who was a born-again evangelical with a special "heart" for the state of Israel and its importance to the so-called end times, and on the other hand a terrorist leader who believed that he was serving God by ridding the Arabian Peninsula of an American presence and cleansing the "defiled" land of Palestine of what he believed were “invader Jews.”

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So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed - from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

And so my view of "hell" encompasses two things: First, the theological question about whether a land of eternal suffering exists as God's "great plan" for most of humanity.

Second, the question of the political implications of having a huge chunk of humanity believe in damnation for those who disagree with their theology, politics and culture, as if somehow simply killing one's enemies is not enough.

What most people don't know is that there's another thread running through both Christianity and Islam that is far more merciful than the fundamentalists’ take on salvation, judgment and damnation.

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Paradise, which Muslims believe is the final destination of the society of God’s choice, is referred to in the Quran as "the home of peace"

“Our God,” Muslims are asked to recite, “You are peace, and peace is from You.”

Since Christianity is my tradition, I can say more about it. One view of God - the more fundamentalist view - is of a retributive God just itching to punish those who "stray."

The other equally ancient view, going right back into the New Testament era, is of an all-forgiving God who in the person of Jesus Christ ended the era of scapegoat sacrifice, retribution and punishment forever.

As Jesus said on the cross: "Forgive them for they know not what they do."

That redemptive view holds that far from God being a retributive God seeking justice, God is a merciful father who loves all his children equally. This is the less-known view today because fundamentalists - through televangelists and others - have been so loud and dominant in North American culture.

But for all that, this redemptive view is no less real.

Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge. And according to brain chemistry studies, taking revenge and nurturing resentment is a major source of life-destroying stress.

For a profound exploration of the madness caused by embracing the “justice” of “godly” revenge and retribution, watch the film “Hellbound?”

The film shows how the "hell" of revenge thinking, and the resulting unhinging of some people’s brains through their denial of human empathy, leads them to relish the violent future of suffering that they predict awaits the “lost” in hell.

Do we really want to go back to a time of literalistic religion. Wasn’t 9/11 enough of an argument against retributive religion?

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

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frank Schaeffer.

My Faith: Hell is for real and Jesus is the only way out

Editor's Note: Mark Driscoll is founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth. Your job is to make a decision.

When controversies over biblical doctrines arise, it’s a humbling opportunity to answer questions about what the Bible teaches without getting into name-calling and mudslinging. Near the very top of the controversial doctrines is hell.

What happens when we die?

Human beings were created by God with both a physical body and a spiritual soul. When someone dies, their body goes into the grave and their spirit goes into an afterlife to face judgment.

But death is not normal or natural—it’s an enemy and the consequence of sin.

Think of it in this way: God is the source of life. When we choose to live independently of God and rebelliously against God it is akin to unplugging something from its power source. It begins to lose power until it eventually dies.

The Bible is clear that one day there will be a bodily resurrection for everyone, to either eternal salvation in heaven or eternal condemnation in hell.

Christians believe a person’s eternal status depends on their relationship with Jesus and that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Our lives are shaped by the reality that “whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

What does Jesus say about hell?

Jesus was emphatically clear on the subject of hell. He alone has risen from death and knows what awaits us on the other side of this life. A day of judgment is coming when all of us — even you — will rise from our graves and stand before him for eternal sentencing to either worshiping in his kingdom or suffering in his hell.

The Bible could not be clearer: “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

These are not just obscure Bible verses. In fact, Jesus talks about hell more than anyone else in Scripture. Amazingly, 13% of his sayings are about hell and judgment, and more than half of his parables relate to the eternal judgment of sinners.

Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture, which says that God “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Furthermore, he “is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”

God is far more loving, kind and patient with his enemies than we are with our enemies.

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

The Bible gives us many descriptions of hell including (1) fire; (2) darkness; (3) punishment; (4) exclusion from God’s presence; (5) restlessness; (6) second death; and (7) weeping and gnashing of teeth in agony.

A common misperception of Satan is that he’s in a red suit, holding a pitchfork at the gates of hell. But Satan will not[j1]  reign there. Hell is a place of punishment that God prepared for the devil and his angels, and it’s where those who live apart from God will, according to Revelation:

. . . drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb [Jesus Christ]. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night.

At the end of the age, the devil will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

Hell will be ruled over by Jesus, and everyone present — humans and demons and Satan alike — will be tormented there continually in perfect justice.

Jesus says, “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ... And these will go away into eternal punishment.”

Is there a second chance after death?

The Bible is clear that we die once and are then judged without any second chance at salvation. As one clear example, Hebrews 9:27 says, “It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.”

We live. We die. We face judgment. Period.

How long does the punishment last?

Some argue that the punishment of sinners is not eternal, a view called annihilationism. This means that after someone dies apart from Jesus, they suffer for a while and then simply cease to exist.

Annihilationism is simply not what the Bible teaches. Daniel 12:2 says, “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” Jesus speaks of those who “will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

Grammatically, there is no difference here between the length of time mentioned for “life” and that for “punishment”; rather, there is simply eternal life and eternal death.

Am I going to hell?

The good news is that the closing verses of the Bible say, “Come!” Everyone is invited to receive the free gift of God’s saving grace in Jesus. Jesus is God become a man to reconcile mankind to God.

He lived the sinless life we have not lived, died a substitutionary death on the cross for our sins. He endured our wrath, rose to conquer our enemies of sin and death, and ascended to heaven where he is ruling as Lord over all today. He did this all in love.

The stark reality is this: either Jesus suffered for your sins to rescue you from hell, or you will suffer for your sins in hell. These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make.

My hope and prayer is that you would become a Christian.

Have you confessed your sins to Jesus Christ, seeking forgiveness and salvation?

If not, you are hellbound, and there is no clever scholar who will be of any help when you stand before Jesus Christ for judgment. You’re not required to like hell as much as you need to believe in it, turn from your sin, trust in Jesus, and be saved from an eternal death into an eternal life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Driscoll.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • My Faith • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. petemg

    Why is there such criticism of the Bible and Christianity. Would these same people be punished if they question the Koran. Even though many translations have been made of the Bible God is never changing. I would not want to go out and sin with the feeling the God will forgive. If you are a true believe you would daily read and study the Bible and meditate upon it and pray to God that you can follow His path the best you can. When we say there is no Hell are we not trying to change God. God is never changing. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and I for one will have God as my God.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • Gregg

      His path ? now your god is a him ? The creator laugh's !

      September 23, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  2. MennoKnight

    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.”

    On this point I have to agree with this author. I believe that for the American Fundamentalist, this is directly tied to the Heretical teaching of Dispensationalism.
    Dispensationalism did not exist until the mid 1800's and it took on a real life of its own in the 70's with Hal Lindsey and Late Great Planet Earth and then the Left Behind series.
    The problem is that even though this theology has fallen out of favor in every major Christian Seminary in North America (which by the way is the only area of the Christian world that ever held to this messed up theology) there are more pew sitters that hold to it than ever before, and GW Bush is one of them.
    Read the last book in the Left Behind series and you will read Christian Jihad.
    Time for us Evangelicals to purge poor teaching from our churches.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • MennoKnight

      Oh and I totally believe in Hell, because Jesus taught on it more than he taught on heaven.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  3. cary lacayo

    Hell is for real, so don't listen to the lies that people and the devil himself will tell you. People are in denial because they don't want to give up the lifestyle of sin their involved in or they have been given a wrong definition of what love is while being raised on this earth.

    Perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love in our lives.The devil doesn't want you to believe in hell either. Why would he? He wants you to be in denial of its existence or that we don't deserve it. The devil wants you to be as far away from God as possible. He loves it when we come up with ideas and opinions of who God is or that there is no God at all. He is the father of lies, so he wants nothing more than to feed us some each time we think about God, hell or Jesus Christ.

    That's the breakdown like it or not, believe it or not...The real issue is sin and we all know clearly what that is in our own lives. Sin is when we do what we want, instead of what God wants. And when we do, bad things happen. Sin ruins things. Someone always gets hurt by it. Maybe not right away, but someone will always get hurt sometime. And it only gets worse and worse...That’s the terrible thing about sin. It keeps people away from God and that’s why God hates sin so much...

    Hell wasn't made for us! It was made for the devil and the fallen angels according to the Bible. God doesn't want any of us to go there. Like the pastor said in his notations, we need to make a decision, so based on that action, we send ourselves to hell by not accepting God's forgiveness of sin only through Jesus Christ His one and only Son. Jesus paid the price for sin on the cross. There had to be a punishment for our sins and Jesus completed that mission.

    Please stop for a moment and do a soul search with yourself regarding these things. People on here talking about God not existing, deflecting the issue of hell, saying Jesus isn't who He said He is and the rest of the opinions flowing in these replies that try to justify their way of thinking are simply coming up with excuses not choose to believe in God. It takes way more brain power and will to establish any of those ideas concerning a belief in God, hell and Jesus Christ.

    One day we will see Jesus face to face. We will see the nail prints in His hands and be faced with knowing what He did on the cross for us all. He loves you sooo much, enough to die for you...No greater love than that...

    September 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      A god who is "perfect love" would not create an eternal torture pit. As an atheist, I am completely unafraid of your god and his hell. Stop worshiping such a disgusting idea.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:02 am |
    • j

      moby you are blinded by the devil !!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  4. CMDog

    "There is nothing a free man is so anxious to do as to find something to worship. But it must be something unquestionable, that all men can agree to worship communally."

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor; Andrew R. MacAndrew; Konstantin Mochulsky (2003-11-04). Brothers Karamazov (p. 339). Bantam Classics. Kindle Edition.

    ....

    "In their efforts to impose universal worship, men have unsheathed their swords and killed one another. They have invented gods and challenged each other: “Discard your gods and worship mine or I will destroy both your gods and you!”

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor; Andrew R. MacAndrew; Konstantin Mochulsky (2003-11-04). Brothers Karamazov (p. 339). Bantam Classics. Kindle Edition.

    ...

    "freedom. I tell You once more that man has no more pressing, agonizing need than the need to find someone to whom he can hand over as quickly as possible the gift of freedom with which the poor wretch comes into the world. But only one who can appease a man’s conscience can take his freedom from him."

    Dostoevsky, Fyodor; Andrew R. MacAndrew; Konstantin Mochulsky (2003-11-04). Brothers Karamazov (p. 338). Bantam Classics. Kindle Edition.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  5. Earl

    Good day

    I read a website: http://www.thename.ph and i suggest that the readers here visit the said site . Why?

    1. You will know the truth in the Bible why God sent Jesus

    There is a great inconsistency in the teachings of the pastors about Jesus-they say that Jesus was the descendant of King David who is a LITERAL son of God who will die for our sins as fulfillment of the prophecy in the Old testament. However if we read the real prophecy about Jesus we will discover that their (pastors )teaching is not according to what God said in the prophecy.

    this is the link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/testimony/jes06-en.html

    2. You will know the shocking and unthinkable truth where Jesus is right now- If he's really in Heaven

    this is the link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/testimony/jes10-en.html

    3. You will be enlightened and surprised to know the real and only name of God in the Bible

    this is the link:http://www.thename.ph/thename/thename1/index-en2.html

    4. you will know the truth if Jesus will indeed return
    http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/counselor-en.html

    5. Most importantly you will learn the root cause of the present religious conflicts in the world and what action must the peoples of the world and their leaders must take to end it-once and for all:
    this is the link: http://www.thename.ph/thename/revelations/division&cause-en.htm

    God never promised in the Bible that there will be a heaven or a hell after you die. this was explained by king Solomon -whose wisdom came from God

    Eccl. 9:5-10
    5 For the living know that they will die,
    but the dead know nothing;
    they have no further reward,
    and even the memory of them is forgotten.
    6 Their love, their hate
    and their jealousy have long since vanished;
    never again will they have a part
    in anything that happens under the sun.
    7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. 8 Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. 9 Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.

    What about that? Did king Solomon say that your work here on earth will be rewarded in heaven? No- in summary He said that we should live our lives to the fullest because this is our"lot in life".

    By the way-In Isa.66:23-24 we will learn the real meaning of "lake of fire"
    23 From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me,” says the Lord. 24 “And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”

    It says from "One New moon to another and one sabbath to another" – this is about a passing of days -not in heaven but here on Earth
    It also says" all mankind" – so this means the peoples here on earth-not in heaven. It also says that all mankind will-
    "look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind.”
    This eternal fire is not about Hell but about a coming future where people will always remember the evil deeds of those who rebelled against God and His word

    you will know who rebelled against the word of God once you know the real name of God in the Bible as written in: Malachi.3:16-18

    16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored HIS NAME.(caps mine)
    17 “They will be mine,” says the Lord Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

    Read http://www.thename.ph and make a decision – if you want to live in the truth about God or the dogmas of the religions.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • IhaveID

      Yes yes of course. All information posted on websites is the truth.

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

      Ill leave it to my fellow readers here if what the website http://www.thename.ph revealed -as based on the Bible is true.

      I suggest that you read the entire Biblical revelation in the said website first.

      thanks

      September 23, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Troy

      Earl, you are so blind. I went to your website, and the first thing I see is someone making predictions based on the Bible. Do you not realize that this has been done and over done so many times that to those that do not already believe what you are saying, you look like a complete lunatic. Your whole premise is "as written in the Holy BIble". Well, the Bible was written by man. There is no evidence to suggest otherwise. None at all. That makes all of it a giant Harry Potter book. Good luck to you in the future. Your brain now requires a complete rewire in order to know the truth, which is this:

      The truth is unknowable. Claims that would state otherwise are intended to control the masses, which in the view of this Agnostic is completely immoral. Religion destroys freedom. Religion destroys societies. Religion is cancer. You and your kind are cancer cells. Despite your intentions, no good will come of your "work".

      September 23, 2012 at 10:33 am |
  6. Tom LI

    To Mark Driscoll. Okay, I have a relationship with this God of yours, as described and diagrammed by scriptures.
    Whose to say that my relationship cant be one of skepticism, and of contention – if this God loves and truly KNOWS us as scripture claims – he knows and understands that I'm not the get-on-line like everyone else type – because he built me this way! He apparently built a lot of us this way and has been doing it for as long as he's been God around these parts.

    He knew before I came out the birth-chute that I was going to be a huge skeptic of what HUMANS had to say about all things spiritual – and most of all he would have known I would meet many Xtians (and then others of other faiths)who would unbeknownst to them educate me OUT of my fledgling Faith by trying to educate me all about it. (I attended a Seminary school) If all we have about this God is of Men (and that's an absolute truth, that you cant deny) and I am of a type of man who doubts what most men say – most especially these matters of the Spirit and the Supernatural – and I was created by this God to be this way – I am fulfilling his plans. I am as he created me to be!

    Jesus didn't condemn Thomas for his skepticism, he gave him the evidence He (Thomas) needed and that was that. Sure he would prefer if most just believed, as that's always the easier route, but this GOD didn't make anything easy, now did he? Jesus didnt say that Thomas was bad or evil or no longer worthy of being in his Faithful flock, he accepted his skepticism and still loved Thomas for it. He gave what Thomas needed...not one of the other disciples – but Jesus himself!

    I have always felt that because that story (of Thomas) is even mentioned and detailed as it is – means that skepticism was supposed to be part of us, that its inherent in Human nature (that Jesus experienced as a Man of flesh – or didnt he?) and if our relationship with this God is one of doubt, skepticism and in some cases outright disbelief – thats between the GOD and those individuals – and as such this God has to accept that what MEN say about him (God) is simply not ever going to be enough for those skeptics – to simply swallow it all and just accept what they say – without the GOD actually providing concrete evidence to suit the criteria of those same people.

    The words of men like yourself are not enough, they are for people like me, empty and vacuous and well simply not enough for me to swallow your Notions whole and go on my merry way. I doubt you because you are Human, and because men like you are a dime a dozen telling others how to Live, How tho Think and How to Behave because of YOUR take on the scriptures.

    You, Mr Driscoll, are of a long line of Grifters that have always been a part of any Faith, and most especially Xtianity. I reject you and what you have to say...now if this God wants to talk to me, he knows where to find me.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  7. julia

    If you ask me eternal life regardless is hell, think for a moment the implications of living for ever? Though this may or may not be our only life it seems rather pitiful to preach about eternal damnation and worrying about whats going to happen after death. Worry about the physical world, bettering man kind for the here, now and future, think for a second that this is the one and only life you get and live as so. Just imagine no heaven, hell nor god.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • j

      Humans are spirit trapped in a body of meat... that ages and dies.... but the spirit lives for ever... the spirit can't die!!!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ j: Then show proof that the spirit lives on.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Damocles

      @j

      Why would a spirit need to be clothed in meat?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:19 am |
    • j

      @ tom tom hmmmmm Tom buddy you obivous don't read the bible at all !! Jesus talks about the spirit Living forever many times, and Jesus say's to His followers that people can kill this body made out of flesh but cannot kill the spirit.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • j

      @ damocles . because God created us "humans" in His image, and God is spirit

      September 23, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • Damocles

      @j

      Yeah, that doesn't answer my question.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • j

      @ Damocles..... hmmmm yeah it does.... you are just blinded ..... you can't even see that, can you?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  8. lindaluttrell

    If I believed in fairy tales, I'd say there are a LOT of hatemongers headed there...one-way ticket...

    September 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  9. sybaris

    Religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • j

      you worship sin, don't you sybaris?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  10. Jim McDonald

    I have read several interviews with people who had a near death experience (NDE) that attempted suicide, or were killed commiting crimminal activity and were revived. There were the classical versions of pain & suffering, but the most startling I read came from a convicted murderer who had his NDE during a prision riot. It took several years for the Researcher to finally get this guy to tell his story, and he only did so days before he was given a lethal injection. He described being in a dark void. He was fully conscious, but had no physical sensations. However, he was given a brief glimpse of God, and knew he was being punished and would be alone for a long time. +

    September 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Damocles

      @Jim

      Well, damn, man! It's got to be real if you found one whole story that lines up with what you believe, I mean what are the odds that you would find one story like that? Wow, one story sure does make for some powerfully compelling evidence.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  11. Rick

    The Bible is the ONLY book that contains accurate prophecy. 2000 prophecies that have come to pass without dispute. Atheists, comments? People are lost and clueless, and it's no wonder why this country is in the shape it's in.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • midwest rail

      Good grief, this nonsense again ?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • UncleM

      A typical unfounded statement.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • edweird69

      Genesis 26:4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.

      Here God tells Isaac that his descendents (Hebrews) will be as numerous as the stars. Considering the number of stars there are in the universe, that would have to be on the order of 1020 Jewish people.

      --------------------------–

      Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

      Christians say that this verse is a prophecy of Jesus' birth to a virgin. There are a couple problems with this prophecy...First, virgin in this verse is a mistranslation of the Hebrew word "almah", which actually means "young woman". A young woman is not necessarily a virgin. "Bethulah" would have been the correct word to use if the author meant virgin. Second, nowhere in the New Testament is Jesus referred to as Immanuel.

      --------------------------–

      Isaiah 17:1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.

      Damascus is still inhabited today with over a million people, and hardly a ruinous heap.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense. The Bible is no more accurate in its prophecies than was Nostradamus.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • sybaris

      Uh right Rick.

      By your logic any country or region that isn't christian should be in chaos. That is simply not the case

      September 23, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Damocles

      @Rick

      Ah yes... 'bad things will happen, good things will happen'..... gosh golly gee whiz can't get more prophetic than that! I mean, it's freakin uncanny as hell! I have a prophecy as well: Stuff will happen and people will do things. Worship me!

      September 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |
    • j

      the Bible is God's word !!!! It's manual how to live your life on this earth !!! the other way you can live this life is to live in sin and then go to hell when this body of flesh dies

      September 23, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  12. TAK

    The lead headline on CNN.com is "Is Hell Real?". I just got a sneak peak at tomorrow's headline: "Is Santa Claus Real?"

    September 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  13. midwest rail

    By the end of the day, there will be thousands of responses on this topic, and no one will have changed their mind. Oddly, those who believe in hell will have their views reinforced by those who don't, and vice versa.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  14. Bill the Deist

    Embrace deism. There was too much evidence for an omnipotent, intelligent designer for me not to believe in God, but too much BS in the religion business for me to label myself as a particular denomination. Deism: Believes in an God who set creation/evolution in motion, then chose to step back and observe. Does not believe in the legitimacy of any religions or the bible for that matter (as it was written and edited by man). There are varying takes on whether or not Jesus existed or if he was just a man or truly the son of God. Either way, Deism works for me.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • UncleM

      Actually there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support intelligent design. Quote just one peer reviewed paper – you can't because there are none.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • me

      I respect that u are a deist...I am curious what "evidence" there is that there an intelligent designer? People often say that but I have honestly never heard or read of any true (as in scientific) evidence.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  15. Gregg

    And now for something completely different.
    Talking Kitty on Youtube at Stevecash83
    let's just laugh today

    September 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |
  16. more2bits

    Hell exists wherever in your mind you think 'this is hell'. It's as simple as that.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  17. Jon

    I love how the second part by Mark Driscoll begins...

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

    No sir, you are not telling the truth, you only believe you are. Pastors are selling an empty product and are no more an expert in God than the next person. They simply believe it with every fiber of their being that they are indeed speaking the truth when they are not. They are selling a belief.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Realist

      they are selling vapor.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  18. Realist

    odd that christians believe in a satan. Heck, if there was a satan, he got the raw end of the deal. The guy gets slammed by christians, yet this guy never had a bible with his side of the story. That's right! It's just like the christians to go around judging and bashing others. Then again, is it bashing or just part of their brainwashing? After all they do have similarities with terrorist groups whose brainwashing begins in early childhood. Brainwashing begins with reducing the subject, For christians? They tell their children they are sinners and are born with an original sin.How awful and abusing. And as terrorist, you need to make someone the bad guy. In the christians case, it's everyone else who doesn't believe in their fantasy. I almost forgot, with brainwashing you need chanting and euphoric music <– that happens inn their churches. How sad this group it.

    Please, don't get me wrong. I'm not supporting muslim beliefs. In fact I see christian and muslim as all the same. I really hope these groups start believing in evolution, and finally evolve into Realist.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  19. old ben

    Well it is getting close to Halloween. I say, while HS / truth be told is at church, we dress up this hell article nicely – do it up right, so that by the time he/she gets back, black flies will be flying out of his USB ports.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  20. edweird69

    I do not accept the Bible as God’s word because it contains thousand of errancies and contradictions that can not be solved, only rationalized. I refuse to accept Jesus as my personal savior, for his behavior and teachings often expose one who should be escaped and not worshipped. I ask that you read this pamphlet in light of the bible’s teachings; Christians should be “open to reason” (James 3:17 RSV), that we should “reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) and “he who hates correction will die” (Proverbs 15:10) to understand my perspective that the bible has MANY shortcomings.

    According to your Bible I am to believe that human kind is sinful for Adam and Eve ate the fruit of knowledge. Why are we being punished for the original sin? After all, they ate the forbidden fruit, we didn’t. Reason would lead one to say it’s their problem, not ours. Even the bible contradicts itself by claiming in Deuteronomy 24:16, “children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers.”

    September 23, 2012 at 9:52 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.