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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. Kingofthenet

    Good News: Hell doesn't Exist!
    Bad News: Either does Heaven

    September 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Abinadi

      22 And behold, others he flattereth away, and telleth them there is no hell; and he saith unto them: I am no devil, for there is none—and thus he whispereth in their ears, until he grasps them with his awful chains, from whence there is no deliverance. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, Chapter 28)..

      September 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Abinadi – another threatening quote, from yet another invented book. I had a vision last night... there was no religion, and hell below us, above us only sky.. IMAGINE !

      September 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ Abini – whatever the frig your name is:

      So what? You quote from a book some con artist wrote a few years ago – big friggin' deal. Fiction, buddy – pure fiction. Frightening that Romney supposedly follows crap like that.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Kingofthenet

      I ALREADY have a Star named after me....it cost me $19.95

      September 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Attack, so, did the devil tell you to say that?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Abinadi – how old are you? Seriously. Are you 3? 4? 5? Yeah, right – the devil made me do it! Who do you think I am – Flip Fukkin' Wilson?

      Your moronity is breathtaking

      September 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  2. oneworld2

    The devil must be a decent guy, you never hear him talking bad about Christians even when they are always talking bad about him.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Oh, the devil is here alright. He speaks through his servants. You mean you can't see all the hateful comments here and those ridiculing righteous things?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • edweird69

      @Abinadi – since when doe eternal punishment, fit a finite crime (like not believing something is a crime?) I'm glad you're a religionist, and not a judge!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  3. Steve S

    Is hell for real?

    Marry the wrong woman, and find out.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  4. Ben

    I am NOT an Atheist, but I strongly encourage those who are (and I KNOW y'all don't need encouragement!) to give this Driscoll lunatic a dose of his own hell! To make a statement like, "These are the only two options and you have an eternal decision to make," is not only philosophically absurd, it's vicious and dangerous, as dangerous as the parallel Islamic point of view regarding religious choice. Forget the concept of hell, disregard the concept of God (or gods)...is not the sole purpose of religion to serve as a beacon for human CONDUCT here on Earth? Isn't the notion of God really a behavioral goal we can strive to achieve (ultimately of course, imperfectly) during our limited time in this corporeal state of ours? To banish from heaven (a silly little concept philosophically on the face of it) those who choose to strive for "Godliness" in some fashion other than the acceptance of a particular deity is the backbone of the kind of intolerance and hatred that is spreading throughout the world like a cancer. This is the "love" of which Jesus Christ supposedly spoke? Oy vay, my brothers and sisters, please reread your sacred texts with just a little more intelligence!

    September 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Brian

      that is absolutely NOT the sole purpose of religion. what religion do you know of acts like that?? none of them do so why do people insist on believing that's why they exist. they have always been invented for the sole purpose of control and manipulation. what religion doesn't do that??

      September 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  5. Scott

    So Frank doesn't believe the Bible as has no basis for calling himself a Christian. But thanks for playing.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  6. ja-coffalotte

    ALL religious people are mentally ill on some level. Sorry Joseph, somebody tapped that.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Answer

    You moron believers want to start a little game of "thinking"?

    Or rather why not try using your imagination and see how your illusion or hell can exist?

    Just imagine your place – be it hell or heaven..

    Does it have a firmament – like the ground? With perhaps soil, sand or atmosphere?
    Where does all of this fit and how is it held together? Is your imagination telling you that "magic" is the ultimately glue to hold all this together?

    Does the fires of hell burn magically for eternity? Or does it come from the oils that the devil's minions toil to bathe and burn your suffering soul in? Care to imagine how you will need resources to continually do this? Could you possibly be inclined now to think that it will be a planet? Or are you going to tell yourself that any of those places are just flat and stretch out forever in all directions?

    You bloody morons are always just scared and pathetic.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • ja-coffalotte

      Yep, GAWD and control.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  8. yourmother

    First author makes many good points. Second author: "As a pastor, my job is to tell the truth." I stopped reading after that sentence.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Scott

      So yourmother, you choose to be willfully ignorant. Thanks for letting us know. Perhaps someday you'll be interested in the truth, before it's too late.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • yourmother

      Yes, please tell me what "Truth" is. "Before it's too late" is a typical passive aggressive way of saying that I'm going to hell. Not very Christian like. tisk tisk.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  9. Gunnar

    Mr Driscoll (author of the second article), contrary to what you may be believing about yourself, you are (currently) a deeply immoral, or unethical, person. Your lack of any kind of universal compassion or empathy is disturbing. People like you are, and have always been, a major force of evil in this world. Anyone who believes that eternal torture is an appropriate consequence or punishment for anything is either severely deluded or a monumentally vicious and hateful person.
    My guess is that you have no idea what you are talking about when you speak of “eternity” because if you know what this term means and nonetheless demand that those who disagree with your world view should suffer and be tortured into all eternity, then you are a psychopath, i.e. insane or evil.
    In fact, it would be an absolutely terrible injustice to condemn even someone like Adolf Hitler to an eternal hell. Why? Even if you say that Hitler is personally responsible for the suffering and death of several millions of innocent people, would you consider it to be justice that he be tortured for a million years for every life that he destroyed? How about a billion years of agony for every second of suffering of every single one of his victims? Do you consider that to be appropriate and in proportion?
    Well, that is nothing compared to eternity. Even a billion times a billion years for every grain of sand on this planet, for every atom in the universe, is nothing compared to eternity.
    Do you seriously think that a punishment that is infinite times as cruel as the crime committed, is justice? That a supposedly good, compassionate and loving god would come up with such a vile, horrifically evil idea for the punishment of his “children” if they don’t do what he says?
    Would you treat your children like that if they disobey you – because they don’t know better or for some reason didn’t get the chance to develop the kinds of qualities you want them to have? Would you lock your children in the basement and go down there and torture them day and night, without end, and watch them cry and scream and beg for mercy?
    Would you feel no compassion, no desire to stop their pain and fear?
    Would you continue torturing them for the next couple of decades until the day they die, and then, because this was not even close to what they really deserve, leave it to god to torment them for the rest of eternity? Because your child made a mistake, and this is justice and there are no second chances?
    The idea of an eternal hell is arguably the worst, the most disgusting and evil idea human beings have ever come up with. The cruelty of medieval torture chambers, witch burning and the like is practically insignificant compared to the darkness, viciousness and malevolence of this disgraceful religious dogma.
    If you really think the existence of an eternal hell would be justice, then you are a monster!

    PS:
    Apparently a very large portion of religious believers value being right about the literal truth of their scripture more highly than their capacity to feel compassion about the suffering of other human beings. Being right about their world view and their belief that the bible is the word of God is more important to them than actually having a good character and being humane and warmhearted.
    But you cannot have a good character and at the same time wish for any living being, let alone for billions, to be tortured for all eternity!
    The faithful can always justify their lack of compassion for those who are not like them and their disdain for those “others” by saying: “Hey, it’s not me who wants to see them suffer. It is God who decided that they should be tortured eternally, so that must be right because God is good.”
    Well, guess what, it was your choice, your decision to say: “I believe that everything in this book is true and good.” It’s your responsibility. You couldn’t possibly believe in things like hell, unless you either didn’t think this through or you actually are not a good person. (I kind of take it for granted here that a “good person“ cannot be someone who hates other people so much, or regards them as so worthless, that he wishes for them to suffer without end, and feels good about imagining their agony.)
    Unfortunately words like these are mostly written in vain because true believers are usually somehow unable to process arguments that go against their core beliefs. It just doesn’t compute. No matter how obvious and self-evident it may seem.
    Well, I wrote it anyhow… Hell is just a religious dogma that makes me so angry because it is so disgustingly cruel and inhuman.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Ron

      Thanks, Gunnar. You perspective gives me some hope for this insane world.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Scott

      So you judge a pastor you've never met and decided he isn't compassionate. Total breakdown in any semblance of logic you thought you had. Please post if you have something worthwhile to add to the discussion.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  10. Mike

    'Hell' is a construct of organized religion created to scare those who need a reason to treat other people with respect.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  11. Lol

    Lucifer is the only likeable character in the Christian mythology.
    of course,Christianity is barely distinguishable from Stalinism,
    so it's hardly surprising that he's a villain from their point of view........................

    September 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I think Onan is pretty d@mn funny, too! He was the one commanded by Yahweh to sleep with his brother's wife, and then Yahweh got mad when he "spilled his seed" by engaging in coital withdrawal. HA HA HA HA! Hilarious stuff!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Lol

      Ha, I forgot about that. A great man, imo.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Bizarre

      The LORD of Numbers 5:11 is a hoot too. An unfaithful wife can be identified by having her drink some magic water, and if she's guilty her belly swells and her thigh rots!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  12. hokmah

    @End Religion
    nope i too don't have a religion, but not an atheist either.
    just been into many religions, but did not judge them if they are right or wrong.
    I am more inclined now on good virtues (kindness, compassion, helping, etc) rather than religions.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • End Religion

      The fact that you've gone through many religions simply shows you are a fool who hasn't found his favorite brand of delusion yet. You *want* to believe in some nonsense. It's only a matter of time before you find the one that you will proclaim as the true one. I would not believe you if you were to tell me you weren't into some bogus thing or another like Buddhism or whatever. You're seeking to find some "spiritual" answer, just like the rest. There isn't one. Save yourself some time. Deal with the existential grief now then get on with making the world a better place *without* the need for some reason behind your kindness.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  13. Tom

    Most linguists who have studied the bible believe the references to hell have been added centuries later. Even the quotes attributed to Jesus are probably falsified as they contain words and even verb tenses not in use during his time. It really wasn't uncommon for the major Christain churches to 'borrow' components of other faiths, and the idea of hell was popular idea in other faiths of the time, to increase the rates of conversion from those faiths.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  14. AvdBerg

    God is a spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). Heaven is a reference to the spiritual realm.

    The word ‘hell’ was translated in the Old Testament from the word ‘Sheol’ which comes from an Assyrian root meaning ‘chamber’. It was regarded as an underworld for the dead, often called the grave.

    Two words are translated in the New Testament by ‘hell’, namely ‘Hades’ and ‘Gehenna’.

    ‘Hades’ is the Latin translation of ‘Sheol’ and means literally ‘the unseen world’ or the ‘grave’.

    ‘Gehenna’ is however the word that is most often used. Originally the valley of Hinnom (Ge-Hinnom) was the area where Molech and Tammuz were worshipped and eventually became the place for burning the local refuse and was regarded as a fit symbol of the destruction of wicked souls.

    The words ‘heaven’ and ‘hell’ are symbolic in nature as are many other words in the Bible.

    At the return of Christ only those that are dead in Christ (referred to as asleep) will rise with him (1 Thess. 4:16). It is noteworthy that there are only few that are dead (asleep) in Christ (Matthew 7:14), as this whole world has been deceived (Rev. 12:9).

    At the final judgment, all those whosover was not found written in the book of life will be cast out into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).

    The above mentioned article by Frank Schaeffer is a good example how distorted things have become in society with the media industry as the main culprit.

    He is spiritually blind as the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:15).

    In order for anyone to be able to understand the Word of God they must repent and turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God (Acts 26:18). Frank Schaeffer does not know what spirit he is off (Luke 9:55).

    The Word of God is not to be interpreted (2 Peter 1:20) and it is the discerner of every thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

    The local media, including CNN, Fox and your local TV stations and newspapers are a very important element of social and political behavior, as society is shaped by what it sees, hears and reads and it is conditioned by the events that influence the mind of every person. You reap what you sow.

    To allow anyone to be directed by public opinion is dangerous because most public opinion is the view of the media. If the media does not like something, their bias taints information getting to the public, and this forms public opinion. Public opinion is never based on research and facts. The public uses the media for its sole source of information and for this reason social behavior will continue to deteriorate and wax worse and worse (2 Timothy 3:13).

    The media does not provide accurate information on ‘Religion’ as it continues to ignore the truth and the history of deceptions (John 14:17). They only report how they want you to hear things. They have created the big chasm that now exists without offering any solutions.

    For a better understanding of the role of the media we invite you to read the articles ‘Influence of the Media’ and ‘CNN Belief Blog – Sign of the Times’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    Consider the truth about Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Judaism, Evangelicals and Christianity and all other religions and ask yourself the following question.

    Are so-called Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Israelites and Evangelicals and all those that call themselves ‘Christians’ followers of the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God, or do they follow after an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; Gal. 4:8)?

    For a better understanding of the history of Catholicism, Islam, Mormonism, Christianity, and Judaism and its spread throughout the world, we invite you to read the articles ‘The Mystery Babylon’, ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’, ‘World History and Developments in the Middle East’ and ‘Clash of Civilizations’, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    For a better understanding how and by whome this whole world has been deceived we invite you to read all the pages and articles of our website.

    Seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7)

    September 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Lol

      We invite you to jump off a tall building, spam boy.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      I'm glad to see a religious freak refer to the gaping conflict in the different terms the Jews used for "hell." You are right about Sheol. That's how "the underworld" started out for the Jews - a place where not much of anything happened....and certainly no fire and damnation! It wasn't until later that the opportunists changed the meaning and adopted the fire and brimstone bit. Thanks for pointing out yet another CONTRADICTION! So why do you still believe in this obvious forgery?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Revelation?? Everyone knows whoever wrote that mess was high as a kite. St John the Opium Addict, evidently. He must have crashed his camel into a field of burning poppies or worse. My goodness.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  15. Richard in Tyrone PA

    The devil is the ultimate deceiver. He wants you to believe that there is no god nor spiritual realm. I laugh when people don't believe in heaven and hell and yet they believe in ghosts. I can assure you that they all exist.

    September 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Answer

      Ya sure and you've been there and came back. Moron.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Really? You believe in ghosts? What about ghouls? Goblins? Fairies? Trolls? Dragons? Unicorns? Gimme a break!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • End Religion

      Well, that's a wrap then folks. Shut down the comments. Richard in Tyrone PA has assured us all that god and other ghosts exist. Case closed.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  16. William2010

    Funny, the same people who go to church to be told what the bible means, are the same people who claim to understand it. Then why do they need a teacher? And if they can't make sense of the more simple stories by themselves, then how am I to expect that they understand the culture, history, philosophy etc.?? It's hilarious that a group of people would denounce education and denounce questioning the bible, yet, they pretend to be understanding of it. It just doesn't make sense. without secular research, you're just falling into a BELIEF that you are correct. but you're not. And those with a more thorough education know this.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  17. j

    ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS, EVERYONE THAT DOESN'T BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST AND GOD THE MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH.......... WILL BE THROWN INTO HELL, AND THIS IS NOT COMING FROM ME, IT'S COMING FROM GOD'S WORD........... GOD HIMSELF SAYS THIS!!! BELIEVE IT OR NOT !!! ......... gotta go Tom Tom and truth be trolled, it's lunch time.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Run away, chicken little. Run far, far away. Run so far away you get lost.

      Idiot.

      September 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • LB

      HELL is an illusion created by the human mind as well as hate, fear, punishment, sin… these is what the bible teaches, to control masses as many as other structures. We are created in the image of God. The God Self is our higher self. In order for us to relate to God, there has to be within each of us already a self concept which fits into God because it is in its shape or pattern, an incarnation of God’s inner nature. We cannot escape from God anywhere because we carry the divine essence within us.

      Lucifer became the opposition of God and was called Satan which means opposition and accuser. Satan represents Doubt. God did not want Adam and Eve to eat of the Tree of Good and Evil. It was Satan, the most intelligent created being, who stood up against God’s word by claiming it to be enforced ignorance. Satan tells mankind to search for knowledge, even in forbidden places.

      Just ask your self one question, How many religions exist on planet earth? How many do exist in heaven?
      Doesnt that tell you something? Follow your instict and see the truth!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • j

      just telling the truth buddy, pray that God may open your eyes and see, don't believe what the devil puts in your mind, saying there is no God.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Yeah – I'm sure we'll be hearing from "pervert alert" soon. Weak-minded little troll.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How can we miss you if you won't stop lying and leave as you promised, j for jerk?

      September 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Shouting with all caps makes your argument sooooooo, believable.

      Yeah Riiiiiight.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • sam stone

      j: your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck.....you obviously find comfort in this because you are vindictive pett pr1ck. get back on your knees, slaveboy

      September 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  18. Gary

    Both of these arguments are ridiculous.

    The first argument comes down to hell doesn't exist because it is inconvenient if it exists. Unfortunately, inconvenient things exist, such as mosquitoes, cancer, and Justin Beiber (my apologies to mosquitoes for being included here).

    The second argument comes down to hell exists because it says so in this book. However that book has been proven to be incredibly inacurrate regarding many things. It even fails to be internally consistent, with many contradictions from chapter to chapter and even page to page within chapters. Pick and choosing between inconsistencies does not make a convincing argument.

    September 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • LB

      We are awakeing! We are finally seeing the truth. Religion is just a structure to control masses. The one who follows a format is giving away their true inner self called GOD.

      We are GOD, We are Love, We are ONE!

      September 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  19. Joshers

    Love how we get commentary from none of the major denominations just two dudes just chillin

    September 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  20. truth be trolled

    Check this out . . . . . . . . . .

    List of atheists in science and technology (natural scientists):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_atheists_in_science_and_technology

    (The number of Nobel laureates is astounding.)

    List (social sciences):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nontheists_(miscellaneous)#Social_sciences

    September 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.