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September 22nd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell?

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

My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell

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

By Frank Schaeffer, Special to CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Mark Driscoll, Special to CNN

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

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

What happens when we die?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does Jesus say about hell?

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

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

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

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

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

What does the rest of the Bible say about hell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is there a second chance after death?

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

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

How long does the punishment last?

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

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

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

Am I going to hell?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Devil • Opinion

soundoff (7,963 Responses)
  1. RichardSRussell

    Here we are in the 21st Century, realizing that NOT A SINGLE PERSON HAS EVER SEEN THE PLACE, and there are still suckers who fall for the scam. You dopey dupes. Don't you realize they're just trying to scare you into throwing your money into the collection plate? Grow up.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  2. Ken

    I'm a Seventh-day Adventist.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      You are suffering from a delusion on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th days of the week.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  3. Don Camp

    Colin has a point: if we can simply decide that any particular aspect of Christian teaching that come from the Bible can be altered to suit the times, the Bible becomes ludicrous. But Colin’s conclusion that because he doesn’t understand it or because he doesn’t like it the Bible is wrong is equally so. In fact, the two ideas are not much different. They both place the decision in the hands of men.

    Both God’s love and consequence of rejecting God are truth in the Bible. The two are not in conflict. God loves every person. Every person, with the exception of those who are mentally incapable of understanding or the young, have an opportunity to respond to God’s love. If they respond by embracing his love and turning from rebellion, God forgives. If they choose rebellion God allows them to have what they have chosen. Those incapable of responding to God’s love because of mental incapacity or youth we place in God’s merciful hands. I do not fear for them.

    There is a lot of theology that nuances those bottom line truths, but that is what the Bible tells us in simple terms.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      All religion is a fraud. If you suffer from a brand of this delusion, it is no better than any other...

      September 24, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  4. bhc2013

    There is no god.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  5. Ken

    There's not a single text of Scripture that speaks of hell burning now or ever in the past. Read 2 Peter 3. It speaks of hell fire only burning after Jesus comes and then in burns earth until all trace of evil is gone and then a new earth is recreated over the ashes meaning the fire goes out and never returns.

    All the texts that mention "everlasting" in connection with hell teach that the effect of hell never ends which means an eternal death of non-existence.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  6. pg13

    Not only does the pastor eat shrimp, he eats pork too.

    He is hellbound.

    Enjoy the hell pastor Driscoll, it may be the making of some insane guys who said and wrote stuff they knew not, but you are living it and bound to it.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are hereby hired to write Chinese fortune cookies. Congratulations, moron.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • pg13

      Thanks, Tom, Tom.

      If you believe in hell, then you are probably a moron despite your accomplishments in life. Because that's the most dumb thing to believe in.

      You are just 'angry' that you believe in such stupid stuff.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't believe in hell. I simply abhor sh!tty writing, and you displayed your talent for it. Congrats.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • pg13

      Ok. Thanks, Tom.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  7. Smithsonian

    "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 – ...who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell."

    And people actually have the gall to ask me, as an atheist, why I care so much about what other people believe. There it is. There are a lot of well-armed idiots motivated specifically by religion to commit acts of atrocity. From the small scale denial of rights to the large scale murder and war, THIS sentence is *precisely* why atheists care what others believe.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • kotchi

      Excellent my friend.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • pg13

      Those people who want to kill are only a minority. But why we should care is because these people who believe in hell help choose public policy. They are in the majority.

      Public policy affects everyone. Faith based politics is gripping us by the balls.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Jabroni

      ...that may not really be the angle they ask it from. Spare me, I'm going to make an assumption: you don't believe in any afterlife. As such, life or death, in many an atheist's perspective, is a rearrangement of atoms. Any desire to live is strictly an electrical signal to the brain, derived from gravity and chaos. Whether you want to live or die in the face of religious people shouldn't mean anything to you...because the end of your life is simply a change of state. None of us really have a choice...we're bound to the forces holding our collection of atoms together...the way those forces sling electrons around really makes the "choice" for us...any feeling of free will is strictly an illusion created by our brain. That being the case, why do you care what anyone else believes?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  8. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Who was Mohammad?

    September 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Debate on Mohammad with me if you ALL Hindus, Jews, Christians, Atheists, Animals dare!!!

      September 23, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Christlink

      Come at me with those animals, you dirty hindu.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      You are heading right in to ink ism with your fake Christl Mithraism pagan savior ism christianity by denying truth absolute.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Mack

      Folks, pretty good example here of how there are likely muslim rocket scientists who still believe they will be with 72 virgins after death. Chew on that for a while as you covet your own faith.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  9. Christlink

    I'm a total loser, but it's not my fault. I'm only 15, and I was dropped on my head twice by my wh0re of a mother, the loser. I can't remember my own address or phone number, so I had them tattooed on my butt. Too bad no one can see them unless they remove my diaper.

    September 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Christlink

      Troll much? Whinny little Tom, can't you get you wily up?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Webster

      whinny = a gentle sound (usually from an equine)
      wily = astute, shrewd

      But maybe you'll learn those words next year in 4th grade.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Christlink

      Oh, poor little Webster, can't get you wily up either? Poor little Webster, rejected by his family and now whinning here on the web again. WAaaah!

      September 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Webster

      Please keep talking, Christlink. Please. You are a showcase for the below average intelligence of the majority of Believers.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  10. Colin

    This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple. The man spoke first:

    John: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."

    Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about? Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss His ass?"

    John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, He'll give you a million dollars; and if you don't, He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"

    John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town. Hank owns this town. He can do whatever He wants, and what He wants is to give you a million dollars, but He can't until you kiss His ass."

    Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."

    Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"

    Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."

    John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."

    Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"

    Mary: "Oh yes, all the time..."

    Me: "And has He given you a million dollars?"

    John: "Well no. You don't actually get the money until you leave town."

    Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"

    Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't get the money, and He kicks the guts
    out of you."

    Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town, and got the million dollars?"

    John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town last year, and I'm sure she got the money."

    Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"

    John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."

    Me: "So what makes you think He'll actually give you the money if you've never talked to anyone who got the money?"

    Mary: "Well, He gives you a little bit before you leave. Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto, maybe you'll just find a twenty-dollar bill on the street."

    Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"

    John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"

    Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con game."

    John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass He'll kick the guts out of you."

    Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to Him, get the details straight from Him..."

    Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."

    Me: "Then how do you kiss His ass?"

    John: "Sometimes we just blow Him a kiss, and think of His ass. Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."

    Me: "Who's Karl?"

    Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to dinner a few times."

    Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss His ass, and that Hank would reward you?"

    John: "Oh no! Karl has a letter he got from Hank years ago explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."

    From the Desk of Karl
    1. Kiss Hank's ass and He'll give you a million dollars when you leave town.
    2. Use alcohol in moderation.
    3. Kick the guts out of people who aren't like you.
    4. Eat right.
    5. Hank dictated this list Himself.
    6. The moon is made of green cheese.
    7. Everything Hank says is right.
    8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
    9. Don't use alcohol.
    10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
    11. Kiss Hank's ass or He'll kick the guts out of you.

    Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."

    Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."

    Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is Karl's handwriting."

    John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."

    Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"

    Mary: "Not now, but years ago He would talk to some people."

    Me: "I thought you said He was a philanthropist. What sort of philanthropist kicks the guts out of people just because they're different?"

    Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."

    Me: "How do you figure that?"

    Mary: "Item 7 says 'Everything Hank says is right.' That's good enough for me!"

    Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."

    John: "No way! Item 5 says 'Hank dictated this list himself.' Besides, item 2 says 'Use alcohol in moderation,' Item 4 says 'Eat right,' and item 8 says 'Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the rest must be true, too."

    Me: "But 9 says 'Don't use alcohol.' which doesn't quite go with item 2, and 6 says 'The moon is made of green cheese,' which is just plain wrong."

    John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon, so you can't say for sure."

    Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon is made of rock..."

    Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."

    Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the Moon was somehow 'captured' by the Earth has been discounted*. Besides, not knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."

    John: "Ha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes, but we know Hank is always right!"

    Me: "We do?"

    Mary: "Of course we do, Item 7 says so."

    Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so, the list is right because Hank dictated it, and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so. That's circular logic, no different than saying 'Hank's right because He says He's right.'"

    John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone come around to Hank's way of thinking."

    Me: "But...oh, never mind.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Anon

      You sir, ...have won the internet

      September 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Jay

      That is Brilliant. They sure love circular "logic" all right.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Christlink

      I don't get it.

      But I'm pretty sure you're going to hell for posting it, little whinny Colin. Can you find you wily?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Jeremiah

      Excellent.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • KC

      BRAVO!
      I used to be a minister's wife, bought into all the religious crap. But then saw truly rotten people being rewarded while very religious people suffered and concluded all this "be a good person, God gives you goodies" crap was a load of BS so the church leaders could control you. My life has NOT gotten worse since I walked away from it all.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  11. Julie Ferwerda

    I think Frank did a great job of addressing this topic–the doctrine of hell is a great money maker for churches, just as it was in the Middle Ages. I am so excited about the movie Hellbound? and I hope everyone watches it! Also, an important book to read on the topic explores the historical, Scriptural, Jewish, and philosophical reasons why the common belief in an unending torture chamber can't be true. Check out RaisingHellBook.com or to to Amazon and look up "Raising Hell: Christianity's Most Controversial Doctrine Put Under Fire."

    September 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Julie Ferwerda

      Here is the link if it doesn't get edited. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0984357815?ie=UTF8&tag=juliefercom-20&link_code=as3&camp=211189&creative=373489&creativeASIN=0984357815

      September 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  12. truth be trolled

    Sh it Christians Say to Atheists
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tU7TdZSRcpo&w=640&h=390]

    September 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
  13. Jared

    As a "Mormon", I find it somewhat comical and sad to see this sort of description of Heaven and Hell and follow on dialog. How disheartening! It's no wonder so many people are turned off by "religion"; there are so many counterfeits and half truths out there so as to cast doubt on the possibility that there may actually be a genuine article of truth to be found.

    ....And all of this flowing from non-authoritative interpretation of Scripture, for (cynically) there can be no such thing as 'authoritative' in these days, no modern revelations, no prophets nor apostles, etc. (Or so "they" say). (And if so, why will you listen?). But, oddly, we are to believe that interpretation is not to be had in the same manner in which the Scriptures were given (revelation) but instead people are to trust the 'learning of men' - those who have 'studied' and now enjoy some sort of worldly authority. All the while the 'people' are not to believe in the possibility of independent, personal verification of truth leading to spiritual independence (and a personal conviction leading yet further down a good path). Why look for life from a dead tree?

    The hell and conditions for it described above are not the ones revealed from above. Nor is God so unjust so as to condemn people who have never had opportunities to learn and make forward- and upward-moving choices. This thinking, and many doctrines like it, is a result of philosophical attempts to understand scripture, but are nonetheless false.

    If death were truly 'the end' then why did Christ arrange for the 'disobedient' dead to be taught?

    1 Peter 3:19-20
    19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
    20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

    And again, If death were truly 'the end' then why would there be baptisms performed for the dead?
    1 Corinthians 15:29
    29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

    Let me finish Paul's sentence - "But the dead do rise, therefore are they baptized for the dead!"

    And again,from the same chapter I ask why is death the last enemy to be destroyed? If there were nothing else to be done then wouldn't the the task be complete?
    24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.
    25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.
    26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (Notice the tense.)

    We know death is not 'the end'. There is actually a lot of work and good that can and will be done for our predecessors and possibly descendants. And, because of modern revelation we can reconcile Scriptures that philosophers could not. God is both Just and Merciful.

    (Please don't bother with any derision about "Joe Smith" and "magic underwear" or anything else. I've heard it all before. And, luckily, I don't need to rely on the wind of opinion to make my choice for I have been taught to learn from the 'original source' - independently.) :)

    September 23, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • mama kindless

      The self-proclaimed "apostle" Paul is no more credible than Joseph Smith. Which is like, zero credibility. Bad food and drink does cause hallucinations. So does bath salts.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      You have been taught to believe from the original scam which has now been passed down through multiple generations of children...CHILDREN will believe almost anything their parents tell them. Adults learn to think.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • fred

      mamma
      There can be only one truth and that truth is not so hard to spot. Take note that Joseph Smith elevated himself above God and gave himself the power to correct what God had said. Contrast this with Paul who placed himself below God and humbled himself before God and man. Jesus was unique in that Jesus came to serve and give. Paul proclaimed that which he saw and heard first hand from the Apostles plus others that personally witnessed Christ. There is your difference when you see the likes of Smith, Mohammed and the rest assume lofty positions while Christ and Paul suffered for mankind and lowered themselves before others.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      Jared,
      You are joking right. Someone who thinks he gets his own planet when he dies, is preaching about heaven ?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Onetake

      sqeptiq-

      And as messed up as this world is, your point of adults think best is false since adults run this world.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • Jared

      Ha, did I not call it folks? :) How about 10 points? :)

      Anybody care to address my actual points (not the 10) and bring forth your litmus test for truth if I am so wrong?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • fred

      Jarad
      Nothing is said in the Bible about man ruling new planets after death. Do I have that notion wrong about LDS?
      Jesus was with God in the beginning and will redeem the chosen then judge the rest at the last days. How does that fit with yoru view?

      September 23, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • mama kindless

      @fred

      With Paul, an awful lot went through him as one person. You can describe what kind of person he was till you're blue in the face. What I'm saying is that trusting one person in history with some of the most crucial tenets of a religion is very unfounded and ludicrous, imho. No one can prove to me that he witnessed anything. It doesn't take much to pay off a secretary either. It's all unfounded political sales literature from a very untrustworthy place and time in the world.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • End Religion

      If the manner in which you've been taught to learn hasn't also taught you to immediately see through the fraud of Mormonism, we really don't have anything to talk about. Your rationality is in question.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • fred

      Mamma
      It was more than Just Paul. He confronted the Sanhedrin that set Jesus up and they converted. He spent time with Peter and several apostles. When Peter began to take Christianity back into old Jewish tradition Paul did confront him. The 3,000 saved at Pentecost after Peter was just as valid as the missions Paul set off on.
      You are not going to change your thoughts regarding Christ based on facts anyway because your mind is closed. If you did have an open mind you would realize you have no basis to claim Paul was a standalone nut and Jesus was a standalone rabble rousing Rabbi. You buy into these made up notions that have zero basis yet discount 25,000 manuscripts.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:49 am |
    • Jared

      Wow, I never realized there was so much question about Paul. But I suppose it's not suprising. It would be frustrating to try to piece the full gospel together with only ancient texts while at the same time denying the power of the Holy Ghost (revelation) which is the primary source of spiritual knowledge. ..And hence we're back to the reason for this original article - confusion about *basic* things.

      I suppose I'll suffer a 'web lynching' for referencing a scripture now from the "Book of Mormon" but it seems appropriate here. Concerning the churches of these 'latter days"....

      2 Nephi 28:4
      4 And they shall contend one with another; and their priests shall contend one with another, and they shall teach with their learning, and deny the Holy Ghost, which giveth utterance.

      5 And they deny the power of God, the Holy One of Israel; and they say unto the people: Hearken unto us, and hear ye our precept; for behold there is no God today, for the Lord and the Redeemer hath done his work, and he hath given his power unto men;

      6 Behold, hearken ye unto my precept; if they shall say there is a miracle wrought by the hand of the Lord, believe it not; for this day he is not a God of miracles; he hath done his work.

      I've not yet seen a response to my points... but I did just think up a new term that some may like - "fiat evolution". :)

      @fred, I actually enjoyed a friendly conversation yesterday with a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses who came to my door. I was suprised by thier insight about the future of planet Earth. They referenced the 37th Psalm: 29 The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.

      The talk I see on the internet (elsewhere) about us is often as shallow as a mud puddle but sadly deep enough to prevent most people from actully hearing with their own ears what it is we have to say. There is always someone there to say 'nothing to see here folks, move along!". And you see above that there are not references to thier own litmus tests are but instead a reference to some either untrue or suprememly fringe issue that's completely misunderstood so as to scare people away with something that seems unusual. (Does that mean that 'usual' is a good litmus test? Itching ears?). Would you expect less? :)

      September 24, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • fred

      Jarad
      It is not easy to get a real understanding of some of the LDS doctrine so I rely on the bits I pick up. When it comes to say Catholics they have been the target of those who are attempting to bring about a godless society. Many of their sacraments and traditions have been added since Christ yet the core doctrine is Bible centered so I give it a pass.
      LDS has not been under heavy attack until politics begins to exploit the faith for its own purpose. A key point would center on Jesus. Was Jesus the Christ and was Jesus “God”? Ignoring the complexities of the Trinity God has revealed Christ and the Holy Spirit as being God. Do you believe Jesus was God?

      September 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      Although many would love to see the delusion of religion abandoned, I don't know of any concerted effort to end religion, at ;east I don't know of anyone that has that as a stated goal. I'm not a member of any atheist group or anything.

      We don't really need a coordinated effort anyway. It's happening because humans continue to grow our knowledge base. There's a reason religion wants you to stay ignorant, since for most knowledge helps one see through the fraud. Especially with the internet, we can now share knowledge and ideas faster, and while this means religion can also spread faster, the fraud of religion becomes much more apparent more quickly. Religion is in decline and that's a wonderful feeling. It brings some hope for the human race. There's still a bit of despair in seeing so many people simply believing a lie and taking it as truth. I guess people do have a naturally trusting nature overall, and so they get fleeced by the church.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • fred

      End of Religion
      Well I have yet to find any fault in the things Jesus said and did, sorry you think that way.
      Rethink the "keep em ignorant line" as most of the universities in this country were established by strong believers.
      Simply because we are open to all the good that God desires for humanity does not relate to ignorance or hate. Evil people will always do evil and twisting the truth of the Bible is just one of them

      September 24, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  14. kme

    Hell does exist! You can choose to live there NOW by denying life's present beauty, suppressing the natural human need for joy and intimate contact, and frittering away the precious hours of your one-time existence praying to nothing for forgiveness for doing nothing but wanting happiness in your life.

    These men (particularly the second) have NO WISDOM to offer. They are remnants of an iron-age philosophy that sought to crush the souls of humanity to preserve fear and power.

    Stop listening to this nonsense and go have a drink, hug someone you love, and do something for your fellow man.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  15. Beelzebubba

    ...I'd rather laugh with the sinners...than cry with the saints~

    September 23, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      ...the sinners are much more fun...and darlin' only the good die young.

      September 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  16. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Jew' means, self centered, secular or a hindu, denier of truth absolute 180*, six times filtered, and M.U.S.L.I.M means follower of M.O.H.A.M.M.A.D. T.H.E. M.A.D. M.A.N.

    September 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  17. truth be trolled

    why follow the lord when you can follow a king??
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVkoQHCXSK8&w=640&h=390]

    September 23, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  18. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    He just can't seem to get that logorrhea under control:
    Christlink:
    Hey Whinny Tom: What's up? I guess not you little willy. You are such a loser & you won the idiot ontest this season, didn't u? Are well, I won't tell you tale to the world. Goodnight & enjoy looking for your wil.....Cheers

    September 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
  19. Over the Moon

    "The invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money."

    -George Carlin

    September 23, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Yet more proof that fundies are morons:

    Christlink:
    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son: Here we go again...little whinny Tom. no willy to pull. Rejected again,awhhh

    September 23, 2012 at 10:48 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.