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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. Sick

    God made me an atheist, how dare you question him?

    September 24, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  2. truth be trolled

    The Problem With Miracles (Sam Harris) .

    September 24, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • truth be trolled

      ok that's not sam harris – will repost with good match-up

      September 24, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  3. jim

    What a joke. It astounds me that people believe that this junk is actually real. I mean really? Ive got a bridge for sale if anyone is interested :)

    September 24, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • True born again believer

      Really? how much? Oh, never mind how much – I'll take it!! Wait – do you have more than one? I'll take those as well!

      September 24, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Is it the bridge Zoroastrians have to cross in order to get to their Heaven?
      If you lived a sinful life, the bridge gets very narrow – increasing the chance that you'll fall into the depths of hell.
      If you've been particularly bad, the bridge will be smeared with feces to make is extra slippery.
      Zoroastrianism is a great religion for tight rope walkers.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  4. jill

    To say Hell does not exist is to say Jesus didnt die on the cross. Another lie from the enemy. If there is no Hell what did Jesus die on the cross for? To save us from what?

    September 24, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      To save you from having to think for yourself, apparantly.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • SB1790

      People who like to argue with scriptures missed their legal calling. Hang it up, go take the bar exam, become a lawyer. It's just words. It's so ironic that religion argues for something based on blind faith, yet it scrutinizes loosely translated words looking for loopholes and technicalities. Watching Christians (and Muslims too for that matter) argue about scripture is like watching Star Trek geeks argue about Klingon grammar or episode continuities.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • nicmene

      Jesus didn't die on a cross. Do your own research of the translation of the original Greek word.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • sam stone

      Jill: Perhaps Jesus died on the cross because he pi$$ed off the Romans. He was neither the first nor the last

      September 24, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  5. truth be trolled

    Why the Bible is Essentially Useless and Irrelevant
    (music by Randy Newman) ....

    September 24, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  6. SLTsherey

    "Keep in mind that Jesus’ words come in the context of the rest of Scripture" – touché! (this guy might likely be a closet atheist after all!)

    September 24, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  7. truth be trolled

    Penn Jillette on God, No!, Atheism, Libertarianism, & More .....

    September 24, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  8. truth be trolled

    Christianity is False and Immoral. (Christopher Hitchens) .....

    September 24, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  9. Maryanne

    I live in a real world. Fantasy and emotional blackmail serves a purpose–financial profit.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  10. NorthVanCan

    I believe we are witnessing the end of religions grip on the masses . The information revolution is speeding us to " true enlightenment ".
    Not a minute to soon I say.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  11. joe12234

    "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.""

    Again, this is another misunderstanding and errant view of God. Mr Frank Schaeffer has been taught a very false Christianity.

    God is loving, holy, just, righteous and perfect. He is omniscient and omnipresent and everlasting. He must hate sin for Him to be perfect and just. We have merely strayed from God. We are in complete armed rebellion against Him. In all of our ways, we reject Him and believe that we know what is best for ourselves and have failed in every way to meet His perfect and righteous standard. God is not merely seeking retribution, He is executing divine, perfect and righteous judgment.

    God is not all-forgiving and the Bible does not teach that God is "all-forgiving". If you do not abandon your sin and put you complete trust and faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ, He will not forgive you of your sins against Him, because you have rejected the only one who can make you right before Him.

    God is merciful and full of grace to those and only to those who will repent and trust in Jesus Christ.

    Hell is not about revenge. It is about perfect, divine and holy justice. God is of infinite value, honor, worthiness and holiness. If God did not punish those who reject Him with eternal Hell, then He would not be perfect and not worthy to be worshiped.

    Bottom line: We don't have the option to abandon the idea of Hell since it is the truth. The truth is not dependent on whether or not people believe in it. Those who reject Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord are choosing to remain dead in their sins against the holy, perfect, just and righteous God and are choosing Hell of their own free will.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      He is reading the same bible as you, and basing his arguments on the same paltry evidence as you. And yet you (and every other believer) presume to know with such specific certainty what God is and exactly what He wants. Interesting.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Joshua

      "the only one who can make you right before Him".

      The bible has numerous instances of God forgiving sin without the intercession of Jesus. Read the books of Samuel, Kings, Jonah, etc. God will forgive repentant sinners. He does not forgive unrepentant sinners.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • open cinnamon shoe

      I agree he has the same bible but I would suggest that the author has a very skewed view of Christianity. Simply claiming to be a Christian (think Westboro Baptist Church) doesnt make you an authority on it. Any pastor who suggests we need to lessen the teaching of hell is extremely suspect considering its not up to the pastor which parts of Jesus' word is relevant. To actually suggest he, the pastor, is more knowledgable about what people need to hear than the object of his worship is a bit arrogant.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • open cinnamon shoe

      God forgives those who ask for forgiveness through Jesus Christ. "None shall come to the father except through me". Jesus came 2000 years ago. How people were forgiven prior to Him is irrelevant to our existence today.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Marc

      If GOD is perfect explain teh Holocost, the Tsunami and 9/11? If he is perfect then he is not All Good. He can't be both. And I am OK with that.

      September 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  12. mattski

    God could end this in a second by simply coming down and giving us all a rousing speech.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  13. truth be trolled

    Welcome to this World (baby born to silly religion)

    September 24, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • joe12234

      I feel really sorry for anyone who produced the video you posted and anyone who believes in the video. It has numerous errors and half truths that will lead many people away from God and His truth.

      No one is born "worthless" nor does Christ, the Bible or Christianity teach this.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You're right Joe, "worthless" isn't accurate – it's worse than that. You are born guilty and doomed to hell, unless you learn and accept the right religious teachings.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  14. wisdomVS

    BELIEF is far from EVIDENT in the case of religion. Belief is what one thinks is the case, whereas EVIDENT is what has solid proof. The Bible is a great book but it should concern the dogmatic types that historical records do not exist to support it as a book of fact.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  15. Jim Bob

    Mark Driscoll is a man who pretends to know things that one doesn't know all under the cowardly label of, as he describes, "a pastor" whose "job is to tell the truth". Well, Mr. Driscoll, what you really are is delusional.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  16. 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. Another example is the robin: it is a symbol of spring. Many may be surprised to learn but the words ‘Six hundred threescore and six’ are also symbolic in nature (Rev. 13:18).

    When a person dies they do not go anywhere and float in space somewhere as most people have been made to believe.

    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 24, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "AvdBerg", but all of your assertions are unfounded. The degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent correct statements is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 24, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • AvdBerg

      hal 9001

      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 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Benisrael

      Well said. Obviously you have done your own research. Hopefully others will do there own.

      One point to all. Christ was born Hebrew and had a Hebrew name – "Yahshua". In English, it would be translated Joshua.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Which God?

      @ Avd. God is a spirit? He's a spo.oky ghost? I know some spirits: Johnny Walker, Captain Morgan. Very friendly spirits :-)

      September 24, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Hubley

      Andy,
      We are tired of you and your hate, both online and home in Hubley. If you don’t stop posting immediately, we will post your full malling address as well as your number again. We will also notify the authorities of your dark secret that isn’t as secret as you think it is. Got it!

      September 24, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Mark

      I am a Roman Catholic. And I can only speak abou that religion. I agree with you. I have looked at the Catholic Religion closer, and have found that many of the practices are contrary to the Bible. I am in the process of not being affliated with any religion at all, and just study God on my own with prayers to him to guide me. The Catholic religion is full of idolitry and hypocritism. The Catholics makes the fathers, bishops, saints, mother mary, and pope someone to be revered, thus taking the focus from God. Even the understanding of Jesus's role is misunderstood. He is a perfect sacrifice (Deutreronomy 17:1) for all sins for anyone that wishes him to be their sacrifice.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  17. Treadhead194

    I, myself, believe that it doesn't matter what religion you are in order to be a Christian. Woship God as you wish, as long as it doesn't infringe on any one elses worship and is not distructful and does not take life. What does matter to me is when another religion says it's the only true religion and tries to force you to believe in their ways and beliefs. God gave us the ability to choose for ourselves and that means religion as well. Jesus did not say, at any time, what religion we had to believe in. He did say that " Those that believe in Me shall not die" (paraphrase). So if you believe in Jesus Christ, then you're a Christian but just because you don't believe in Jesus, but do believe in God, does that mean you're not a Christian?
    Religion is like politics, everyone has their own opinion and we all and I underline ALL have to respect that.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Baloo

      I refuse to respect schizophrenic nonsense. Got a problem with that?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ baloo – well, I don't have a problem with that, but i do

      September 24, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Bibletruth

      This idea that if you believe in jesus that is all that matters is true in this sense: that you believe in who he is, what he said, his gospel, etc. However, just to have a mental ascent that Jesus existed and was/is the Son of God is worthless...less than worthless.

      To believe (per the bible) means to have faith ...the faith of Jesus...which always manifests itself: 1) in heartfelt appreciation for the life and death (the cross) of Christ; and 2) by Christ within, via the Holy Spirit, an ordered life which always includes being a keeper of the ten commandments.

      This nebulous beleif/faith so many speak of produces nothing in the life

      September 24, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Maria

      The bible didnt say be of any religion at all. This is where some get confused. Putting a label on something or someone does not mean it is correct. God would never want us to be walking around here claiming all these different religions because GOD is not a GOD of confusion and chaos. Satan orchestrated religion so that man would be confused and so that it will be hard for people to believe in GOD and his son Jesus Christ and that there is punishment for sin.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Jimi

      You can not call yourself a Christian if you do not believe in Jesus Christ. Christianity means being "Christ Like" a follower of Jesus. Jesus said "That I am the Way, The truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. This was the whole point of Jesus dying for our sins. So to answer your question No. You are not considered a Christian, unless you believe in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Not my words, these are Jesus's words. Don't take my word for it or anyone eles's, check it out for yourself, you'll be glad you did. I know I am. God Bless.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Steve

      Let's get to the point, folks.

      The most important thing is to have faith. You must put all logic aside, and just believe what was written down. That's the key to making sure you'll be forever peacefully residing in the clouds with the Lord and his only son, begotten of a virgin, instead of burning in the fires for literally countless googolplexes of eons.

      It was written. Thus we must believe. There's clearly no other reasonable choice, people.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  18. Lisa

    I try not to be disrespectful but the pastor's statement that death is not normal or natural is clearly bunk.

    From there, how can one even consider his other arguments? Once again affirms how glad I am that I was not steeped in religion as a child as, in his case at least, it seems to adversely impact ability to reason.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • ME

      Lisa, with all due respect, there is a lot to his statement that it (death) is unnatural. When God created everything- it was without sin. It is when sin entered in, that death became a reality for us. It is a very long and complex dialogue, one I hope you will take the time to research yourself (read and study the bible), before deciding it is rooted in religion, so to speak.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Dave

      ME – please elaborate. Where does it describe what life would be like, today, in the year whatever it would be, if man had not sinned and therefore there would be no death. Would every person ever still be alive, living in a paradise on earth? Would all the animals and plants and micro-organisms die or would they all live forever too? Would we have some high security fence around the tree, but the moment someone penetrated it, and ate the fruit, genocide? Would we have just killed that snake by now? Would we have no science simply because all of our needs were otherwise met? Would we ever know there is a Jesus since we wouldn't need the redemption? Really, what would life be like without that sin?

      Or is it just possible that a group of people who had no access to biological sciences were trying to figure out why people die, and came to the most logical conclusion available to them?

      September 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  19. Johnny 5

    Hell is as real as Hogwarts. Concentrate on this one and only life and be the best person you can.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Being the best person you can be, without Christ indwelling the person via the Holy Spirit, may be summed up in two words: abject selfishness. And that – being the best person you can be (really????? based on whose criteria?) is what has caused and continues to cause every problem, vile activity, horrendous activities, etc. in the world.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:02 am |
  20. Steve

    Well, I sure am happy to know that when you die, you're not actually going to be dead. Whew, I was worried there for a minute, but it's got to be that since it got written down somewhere, it's fact.

    September 24, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Bibletruth

      Death means non-life. When a person dies that person is in the state of non-life and would remain so forever, unless resurrected. The cross of Christ has guaranteed every one a resurrection. You get to decide which resurrection you want. The choices are: 1) if you decide to remain in Adams race, which is a fallen race, you will take part in the second resurrection which after a very brief time (in which some interesting things happen including all the lost vindicating God) culminates in the second death (the lake of fire), from which there is no resurrection...in other words dead forever. The other choice is 2) that you choose the second Adam's race (Christ's race) which is the race of the just and rightous and which take part in the first resurrection which is the resurrection unto eternal life (life forever). Friends, when the bible says death as in eternal death it does not mean eternal life in a different place. It mean eternal non-life, which, if you want, can be termed eternal annihilation...meaning to be annihilated (made to be non-existant) for all eternity. When the bible says eternal destruction, it does not mean being in a state of being destroyed eternally, but rather that one is destroyed/annihilated and there is no future beyond, i.e. the effect of that is for all eternity.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Steve

      Must be true. After all, it was written down. Thanks!

      September 24, 2012 at 10:18 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.