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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. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Hmmm... We need Chad. Did God create hell, a thoroughly evil please that he intends to coexist with forever?

    1. Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
    2. Hell began to exist.
    3. Therefore, hell has a cause.

    Through a process of elimination, that the cause of hell must be a personal, uncaused, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, enormously powerful, and enormously intelligent being, which is God.

    There, we're done. Right?

    September 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      sorry- "place" not "please"

      September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  2. Daniel

    I spent most of my life believing in God. As time went by the realization that there may not be one becomes clearer. I sometimes still pray but in the back of my mind, I know that I am only talking to myself. What I hate is the Christians that threaten others with hell for not believing, Being gay, or voting wrong which has actually happened to my wife by a family member. I would love to go to heaven but do not want to be around those Christians.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Athy

      Then I guess your only choice is hell.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • One one

      Not to worry, heaven and hell don't exist.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  3. Bob

    As a Devil worshiper that wishes to defeat god using evil, I take offense at this CNN article that completely disregards my religion and paradise. It very offensive that you would suggest that we abandon Hell. You have wronged my religion, and because of this, me and my fellow Devil worshipers will take to the street in mass all around the world. This will be a silent protest that will dispersed on every street.

    FYI, defending YOUR "true" religion sounds just as insane to us.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  4. 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 strictly symbolic in nature as are many other words in the Bible. A symbol is something that relates to or is characterized by a symbol. For example: The owl is symbolic of wisdom and learning

    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

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how and by whom this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

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

    September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Reported to CNN as spam. If you can't get anyone to look at your sh!thole of a website, Avdburger, it should tell you that you're barking up the wrong tree. You can't sell your drivel because no one wants it. It's dreck.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • AvdBerg

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      But the natural man (like yourself) 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 (whose spirit you are of) unto God (Acts 26:18).

      But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor 2:15).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      September 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • One one

      @avbetg, Im sorry, I fell asleep while reading your post. Would you please repeat it ?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • One one

      The farce is strong in this one.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      *Yawn* AzzBerg, your real crime is that you're a complete fvcking BORE.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  5. Joseph Gonzales

    This is so shortsighted! How about the millions who did not know or even heard the name of Jesus Christ? The message he had. The people that lived before Christ? They got a VERY wrong idea about hell and real salvation. If they would only search and read the following topics "Is this the only day of salvation lcg" and "what is hell lcg" in the net they would understand better and teach the real truth about hell and salvation.

    http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/booklets/is-this-the-only-day-of-salvation
    http://www.tomorrowsworld.org/magazines/1999/may-jun/what-is-hell

    September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • deadlyserious

      Oh good. I was worried that no one was going to offer the truth about this completely fictional place.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  6. j

    The devil has blinded you, pray that God may give light and see the truth

    September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • k

      Why should we? Thus far he has failed to do any of those thing.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      The devil has blinded us.

      J, you realize that this devil fellow is absolutely kicking your god's a-ss, right? i mean, he's smoking him left, right, and centre- blinding and tricking god's creations.

      Which is a good thing, considering what a murderous pr-ick your god is.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • j

      God is letting the devil blind many, God only has a few, a small number of his children on earth. God says many are called few will enter the narrow gate of even.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      and therefore your god is a murderous c-unt

      September 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • j

      the same God you talk to like that, is the same God that gives you life. Can't you even see how badly the devil has blinded you ?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      If your god can't handle one of his creations calling him a murderous c-unt, then he's also a whiny t-wat

      September 23, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      J – accepting for the moment your premise that magical invisible beings can "blind' us poor humans, how and why are you so sure that it's me who is blind, and not you? How do you know that the entire bible is simply an elaborate ruse to fool the weak-minded sheep of the world.

      Right? Perhaps the devil is real, and he has blinded you! Of course, you would be too blind to see that, right?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Hugh Mann

    Crazy Horse best describes it as there being a Spiritual World and a Physical World, and we constantly travel between the two. And as he said, he prefers to to stay in the Spiritual World more often because he feels more at home there. I believe there are a lot of people like Crazy Horse.
    "Hell" is the state of your mind where you suffer from indecision and cowardice, and most of us experience Hell on a daily basis, as briefly or prolonged as it may be. "Belief" in Hell is not necessary as it exists in all of us at some given moment. Believing that someone or thing holds control over it other than yourself does require Faith, simply, because the is no proof for either argument.
    Politicising it, or attempting to "own" one Deity or another is human (and not a very good example of virtue).

    September 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  8. Ray Edwards

    It's interesting that the Devil should be punished in Hell's fire, yet this
    is his favorite subject because it make God look unmerciful and bad.

    The BIBLE does not teach a forever burning hell. It says clearly
    that the wicked will be burnt up, destroyed, be as if they never
    existed, "ashes under your feet."

    The wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is eternal LIFE.
    It's DEATH vs. LIFE, not burning forever (therefore living) vs. life.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  9. deadlyserious

    I wasn't aware that CNN considered evangelism to be news.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • j

      it's good news

      September 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • deadlyserious

      Walked right into that one, didn't I?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • pockets

      I have come to the conclusion that those who believe in "ANY" religion have a mental illness. It staggers the mind that those who are 'supposedly' intelligent can lose that intelligence and believe in something that has no proof to it whatsoever. Religion exists because people are afraid of death.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  10. Mike

    it saddens me that there are so many good people, people that i love even, and call family, that persist in their belief in God and concepts like Heaven and Hell. If there was a Creator, that being is in no way concerned with the affairs of man any more than we care about a family of amoebas in some long forgotten sewer. The internet at least should be a "religion free zone' and religious topics should have their own filter category in the various website blocker tools. Does hell exist? No move along.

    September 23, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • IWantToGoToHell

      well said. I'd like to think that if God exists, we sure as hell don't know it. And if it does, it's nothing like we imagined it. And trust me, we humans have done our fair share of conjuring up otherworldly beings that rule the universe... But that's just the noggin's imagination hard at work, trying to fill in the voids of understanding before science came to the rescue.

      But I'll totally go with amoebas.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • 1word

      Heaven is real and Hell is real. Science cannot tell you what came first the chicken or the egg. If there is no creator, why is earth the only planet in our solar system that have intelligent life? Please explain that to me, God is loving but you have to LOVE YOURSELF AND SEEK THE TRUTH. Your family members are on the right path, and you're the one Blind.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Clive

      1word to go with your one brain cell, so what created your god?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I could honestly explain it to you 1word but I know from experience that you wouldn't even try to understand.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Science cannot tell you what came first the chicken or the egg. If there is no creator, why is earth the only planet in our solar system that have intelligent life? Please explain that to me,"

      well actually science can tell you. It was the egg, laid by a proto-chicken, and from that egg came the first real chicken.

      but what on earth does that got to do with god at all?
      and what on earth does only intelligent life in this solar system have with proving god as well? thats a bizarre argument.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Paul

      Excellant !! You hit the nail on the head. We want to take the God factor out of the picture so we can do what we want when we want without anyone telling us what to do . Play it safe, put your trust in the Lord, you only get one chance.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Ray

      Remember the film braveheart where melgibsons character exclaims, "even if We die today our names will live for ever"? Apparently there was a time in the history of the planet when God was as present as the electricity that powers your laptop...you couldnt see him but were aware of his presence. God had a simple command that We recognize our existance is not random event and only ask that We serve him and give thanks. It was man's harden and rebellious heart that he ultimately gave us Jesus and his legend, ultimately leaving man with a choice. Many will parish in their denial and sin...I only pray I'm am strong enough to overcome my sinful ways before it is too late.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  11. Neal Richardson

    We are the only evolved species of life on this planet that understands that we die. That knowledge of life having a start and an end brought about what we know as the ego. The thought of what happens after death is by far life's most perplexing issue and we have difficulty accepting that "me ... yes, me" is nothing more than a lifeform that just comes and goes in the life of the planet, and that after we die we simply cease to exist. Yes folks, that's it. The human ego is what drives our silly belief that we are somehow that special that we live on in some kind of paradise.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • 1word

      Neal, I guarantee you if you would pick up the Bible and seek God with all your Heart he will show himself to you and make you feel foolish for doubting his existence. We Christians live by Faith, the existence of God revolves around Faith. That's why he won't just pop out in front of you and say man I'm here believe. It takes an act of Faith on your part to find out the truth!

      September 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Like it or not folks .. Neal speaks the truth!!

      September 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Self delusion 1word .. you suffer from self delusion. Be happy in that all you want, I have no problem with it .. just don't go all inquistion on the rest of us & we'll be just fine with you being in your happy place.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • lemonlift

      @Neal......I agree with your statement...Afterlife is what people want it to be because they're scared.....Funerals are really for friends/ relatives to grieve and maybe put family issues to rest...It doesn't bother me that my family calls me an atheist or whatever...It does however bother me that they actually think Heaven and Hell is a real place....Eventho some say it's rather your soul that goes to a higher place.....Whatever....If all this gives people peace of mind that's OK with me but don't try to shove in my face your misguided belief that some diety really exists....

      September 23, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    to the christians:

    what would it take for you to stop believing in god?

    September 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • 1word

      Hell to free over!

      September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • toad

      Don't beg. It's unseemly.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • 1word

      Hell to freeze over. lol

      September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      as an atheist, i've been asked the reverse questions lots of times: what would it take for me to believe in god?
      just proof. empirical evidence. so far i've been offered zero proof of god's existence. we're told we're closed minded about god - but we're really not. just show us god and we'll believe.

      so i'm asking here, for christians, what would it take for you to stop believing?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Sam

      nothing could make me stop believing in God or Scripture

      September 23, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Kalo

      They will never stop believing in god. There is no argument against faith, it does not follow the same rules as logic and fact. In Science logic and facts make the laws in faith the laws make the logic and 'facts.'

      There will never be a time when someone doesn't want all the answers to be given, no time in human history or future will "I don't know, and no one else does either" be considered ok for the majority of folks. Most people want the all knowing father figure up on high like they were when they were a child, and everyone wants answers...Only Atheists and Agnostic people can have the mental capacity to cope with knowing there is no plan, there is no certainty, there is only you and everyone around you. Make earth yours and your brother's heaven and stop making it hell for others.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      well said, Kalo.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Kev

      Well, I cannot recall knowing of any empirical evidence that proves God's existence, but I cannot recall any proof of How's nonexistence either. For me, that is where the concept of faith comes into play.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • j

      I will never stop believing in God, I felt his presence when I came to Him, He is in my life everyday. bootyfunk the evidence of God is all around you, simply that you are alive and breathing is more then enough evidence that God exists

      September 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • delmontyb

      I have to say that by default (In my opinion) Atheists have more faith then I do on any given day. And from those that I know I find that it's the definition of God that most people have difficultly with.
      So to first start to answer your question, I have to first define God, no simple task, but we have to start somewhere. First, God is not some being, or a higher being, rather in fact, "God is". If someone told me that God was some greater good that is floating somewhere above the world I too, would reject that definition. So, the idea of "God is", and what that means is complex, so bear with me a second.
      If I provided you with two toys, and you open the box to the first toy, and assemble it together, and once you have finished, the toy starts up and starts making copies of itself, you'd probably say, "wow, that's one pretty smart toy maker". Then you open the second box, and without doing anything else, the toy starts assembling itself and once done, starts making copies of itself. Then the conclusion that the toy maker for the second toy is more intelligent then that of the first toy.
      Now you must look at the natural world, and you can draw the conclusion that God doesn't exist, or you can draw the conclusion that God does exist. The facts are that God made the world, and works through the natural order. So looking back at the example of the second toy maker, and now looking just at mater itself, and how it's ordered to come together, which then forms, cells, bonds, DNA, life. And that is what God is. The intelligence behind the universe, behind life.

      I wish I had time to list off all the arguments for God in this comment, but there are plenty of books and proofs of God's better worded and phrased then my argument above.

      So as for your question Bootyfunk, there is nothing that could make me not believe in God, because I know him some personally. I could go much more into detail, but I hope these words have been of some value to someone. :)

      Take care all! :)

      September 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
  13. MDAT

    There is no proof o god scientifically.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • toad

      Not the sharpest pencil in the atheists' box are you MDAT?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • MDAT

      Just a spelling error.But we need evidence.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • 1word

      God's power is above Science.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • MDAT

      We are not looking for that.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • IWantToGoToHell

      In class today we did a science experiment on God's power. And guess what, we discovered that God's power doesn't exist! Amazing thing, that science...

      See, in your class.. You just go "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" and focus all your mental juices on a magical point in space and POOF! God's power wins!

      But, we science nerds tend to ask questions and continually prod and dig... Learning along the way that science is the process of truth, and religion a game a magic.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Tadd

      Would an atheist please explain to me the beginning of the universe? Because as far as I understand logical reason...
      The universe either
      1) is eternal and unchanging which science has disproved
      2) created itself which is ridiculous because we know that nothing can creates itself
      Or
      3) an omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent creator created it

      It takes far more faith to be an atheist than to be a Christian and it also seems far more logical to believe in a God who has infinite power and is the source of all intellect than to believe that the no less than divine beauty and design that is evident in our universe just came from mere chance. Ex nihilo, nihil fit.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  14. Me

    Whether or not hell exists, none of what any of us say here changes the fact that it does or doesn't... it's one way or another. That's the part that is kind of funny, or maybe sad?

    September 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Maria

      Well, Me, that's kinda like saying that maybe Fairies exist because we haven't seen them, but we've heard of them, so we can't prove or disprove them, we should all believe in them just in case?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Me

      True, however I don't think fairies existance or not has near the potential impact on us all as the existance of hell. At least I sure hope not, cause those would be some freaky fairies.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you're missing the rub. it's not where we go when we die - it's what we do with our time on earth. when you believe in disgusting concepts like "hell", you live with fear, guilt and ignorance. you believe a lie. so yes, it is sad - that religion teaches people to self-loath.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • nope

      @footybunk
      nope

      September 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Me

      But what we do with our time here on earth kind of leads back to the same debate... A hell exists or it doesn't despite all of our clever typing bored on a Sunday afternoon. If it doesn't exist, then who cares about almost anything really? If it does exist, the we'd better find a way to avoid it. Again, it does or it doesn't, regardless of what we think.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  15. 1word

    This clown actually made me search for the word Hell in the Bible and I found a lot of entries in the old testament.
    http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=hell&searchtype=all&version1=9&language1=en&spanbegin=1&spanend=73

    A liar will always be a liar, and a fool will always be fooled.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Maria

      So 1word...you're saying hat you'll always be fooled?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • 1word

      Maria, I commune with God face to face. I know the truth. In order to find the truth for yourself, you have to seek God and give your life to him!

      September 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • NoTheism

      and why should anyone believe you? You could be (and it could be very likely) a nut job... schizophrenic or whatnot. Personal experience is unreliable, and if you start talking about scripture and such, it is easy to debate its validity also.
      You should stick to reality rather than "communing" with your god.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      " I commune with God face to face."

      face to face huh? so what does he look like?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Has he brushed his teeth? Does he floss? Does he have bad breath?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  16. Maria

    For all of your Christians out there...How can you prove that God exists anymore than the ancients could prove that Zeus existed? For that matter, how do you know your God isn't really Zeus in another form? Sure, I'm just picking a random God out of history, but if you think about all of the cultures and all of the civilizations since time began, how do you know which God is which...if you still believe in a God (especially when you have NO proof)?

    September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • j

      Maria, you are also blinded by the devil !!!

      God created earth in 6 days, the same earth you are living on right now.
      God also created the air you breathe.
      God created the sun, that keeps you warm.

      Maria read God's word " The Holy Bible"

      September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      J, I hope you do not reproduce

      September 23, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • j

      hope you don't reproduce, it will just mean more atheists and more people that will go to hell

      September 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • MDAT

      The way you used hell showed your intolerance.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I hope you don't reproduce, j. It will just mean more mentally defective boneheads dragging down the US.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Athy

      Good grief, j. How the hell can you believe that shit? Don't you have any logical intelligence at all?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  17. 1word

    LOL, The devil is so cunning, he will fool a lot of people to follow him to the pit.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Apparently a lot smarter than your dumb a-ss god! And more fun, too! And a lot less murderous to boot. How many people did your god kill in the bible – millions? ANd how many people did the devil kill? Zero?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • IWantToGoToHell

      Hey man! Looks like he fooled you too, huh? Well, welcome. Hope your stay here on Earth is comfy!
      After this, it's over. Nothing but worm food. Enjoy it while you can!

      My motto: Live it up/do no harm to others.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      If there is a Devil why would he care to bring people to hell if he's going there?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      read the bible and total the kills.

      devil kills 10
      god kills millions

      who's worse again?

      September 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • IWantToGoToHell

      What I find really funny Tom... the way Mark describes Jesus as presiding over hell, makes me think...
      That is one pitchfork-wielding, red suit wearing, red beady eyed Jesus!

      September 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • j

      at Tom Tom

      because the devi doesn't want you to go to heaven, he knows whats there, he used to be in heaven, the devil and his angels tried to overthrow God and made war with Him, that's when God threw the devil and his angels out of heaven to earth

      September 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which explains precisely NOTHING, j. Why would he care where a soul went one way or the other? Does he get a commission on each one that goes to hell? Laughable that anyone believes this dreck.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      Hey, j, you dumb tw-at – why would god simply "throw' the devil and rebellious angels out of heaven? Why not just snap his fingers and – poof- they are gone forever?

      Have you actually read the bible? That is one dumba-ass, incompetent god you've got going there/ Apparently he's NOT all-powerful, nor is he all-wise. As for all-loving – HA! He's a childish, murderous, petulant child of a god – why would you every hitch your spiritual wagon to such a steaming tu-rd of a god?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • j

      be careful what your saying, you are talking about the God that made the earth and the air you breathe. you are not wise, are you ?

      September 23, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • MDAT

      Creationism has been taken down as a theory.

      September 23, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  18. Tatiana Covington

    Who the Hell is jesus to be judging me anyway? I never asked him to stick his nose into my business. He can just get the hell out and leave me alone!

    Instead of threatening and punishing and interfering with others' lives and affairs, he (assuming he exists) should be minding his manners and his own business, and should be keeping his hands to himself as well.

    Jesus really should read Ayn Rand and other hard-core Libertarians.

    September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • End Religion

      jesus read ayn rand and had a good chuckle. he found it nearly as funny as the bible.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  19. Galaxy Prime

    I just spoke to the great and powerful almighty cabbage "Ralph" in my fridge and he says there is no hell or heaven – he says when we die we go to a place where there is plenty of cole slaw, sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, corn beef and cabbage for everyone to enjoy! All praise the almighty Ralph and his vision of the afterlife!

    September 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      One hell of a gassy afterlife! Sniff, sniff – lot's of sulphur!

      September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  20. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Should we abandon idea of hell?

    And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. Matthew 18:9

    Perhaps Jesus Christ is a bold faced liar ???

    September 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Obviously, you can't even wrap your mind around the fact that Texas is a state. It would probably be too much to ask for you to abandon your delusion of hell.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam stone

      perhaps they are just stories that you attribute to jesus

      September 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps Jesus was a liar. It's hard to say because no one has any idea if he really said any particular thing he was said to have said.

      September 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.