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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. John Chapman

    We as humans have free will. So we are free to believe what we choose. Does not every story in the Bible allow man a choice? Part of Gods nature is he is unchangeable. He will not rescind our free will, therefore leaving us free to believe what we choose. When we come into agreement with God we come into a wonderful new life. How so? Well more often than not disagreement breeds conflict. That conflict is of our own doing. God is unchangeable and humans are, so the path to least resistance is obvious. I'm not going to tell you what to believe nor more than God is. I ask you take a few seconds to look up Joshua 24:15 and come to your own conclusions on this matter.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • JayJ7

      Why don't you believe in Zeus, Apollo, Isis Ra, Odin, or the white Buffalo. If you will just take a few seconds to read their texts I am sure you will see the error of your ways.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • John Chapman

      Zeus was not worshipped by mainstream Minoans, rather in small cults that thought of him as a mortal demigod that was eventually killed. "Wikipedia. Zeus is dead why would one believe in dead gods. My earlier post encouraged those to draw their own conclusion. White buffalo's die as well, again wikepedia They may be albinos, in which case they will remain unpigmented throughout their lives. The God of Abraham is all powerful. Others can only do certain things or rule over certain realms. Why would one follow a God that has limited power? I see no error in avoiding dead and limited Gods.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      It's not about free will. It's about the contradictory notion that an all loving god would create or permit a place like hell. Eternal suffering for any finite crime is unbalanced and immoral. A god that allows such is ruthlessly evil. Also it isn't really a choice either. God apparently offers infinite reward for obedience or infinite suffering for disobedience which makes it coercion. That's also immoral. The idea that someone could willingly choose damnation over salvation makes absolutely no sense if it was unambiguously obvious that those were real choices or consequences.
      All of which becomes moot if you believe absolution for any transgression is possible up to the moment you die.
      Atheists or non-believers do not reject belief in a god to pursue wanton disregard of scriptural law but because the veracity of the claims made within those writings don't hold up under scrutiny.
      -The Bible doesn't validate the existence of God, it merely asserts it.
      -The scriptures were written by men but nothing demonstrates that they were conduits for messages from a god, just more as<B.sertions.
      – The idea that some part of our conscious being will continue to exist after we die is another assertion. Every indication points to consciousness being a brain state which ends when the brain completely stops functioning.
      A believers desire to gain entrance to heaven(greed, ego) or (fear) of being sent to hell is the trap. Once you're there it's very difficult to free yourself, believe me I've been there. I know that many who deconvert from theist to atheist continue to worry about hell long afterward. That's how powerfully poisonous these ideas are. It's psychological terrorism.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  2. Valerie

    Jesus IS Lord.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • CMDog

      Sheep.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Patrick

      The ONE and ONLY

      September 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • FifthApe

      Delusion.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • CMDog

      Yes he is Lord. Now go read your Bible and home school your kids, teach them that electrons are magic!

      September 23, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      Jesus is Lord of Messianic Kingdom and the urim thumim as king david used too seek for justice and Guidance

      September 23, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • CMDog

      Born again Christians:

      -Mostly unimpressive lower income people
      -Mostly uneducated
      -People who MUST have a concrete answer for everything they cannot tolerate ambiguity
      -Their religion imparts a sense of power to them, a people who are essentially powerless economically and socially. To me it seems less like a love of god than a smugness and self-satisfaction that they know something special and are part of a special club.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  3. JonJ

    What a silly article. The idea of Hell is arbitrary. First off, a loving god would not create a place such as hell. Second, "eternal punishment" is pointless. Isn't punishment supposed to teach a lesson or modify behaviour? How is eternally punishing someone doing any good for anyone? Do billions of people just burn forever? What's the point? Thirdly, how can a god who is "just" have only one punishment in the afterlife? This implies that a serial killer/rapist would get the same punishment as an atheist who's only crime was not believing and was otherwise a good person. That is not "just" in the least bit.

    So there we have a few logical fallacies that show why hell does not exist. If that doesn't do it for you, how about the fact that "hell" is a complete mistranslation? The words that hell is translated from, such as "sheol, gehenna, etc." do not mean hell, or anything similar. Also consider the fact that it is a direct rip-off of the Norse Mythology of "Hel", and I think it's pretty clear that this is a silly idea and a scare tactic being used by christians for centuries to scare people into believing. And now you can sleep peacefully at night knowing it doesn't exist. You're welcome :)

    September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  4. Christopher

    Without a Hell, why believe? You'll go to an ok place either way.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  5. Patrick

    For those of you who don't believe in Hell, are not believers in the truth that is in the Holy Bible, and you WILL know that HELL is REAL when it's too late, and you are there. You can mock and argue all you wish, but it doesn't change a thing.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • FifthApe

      The bible is nothing but bronze age myth. Grow up.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • CMDog

      Hell is for real and it's where all of the born again cuckoos go when they die. I grew up in a divorced household, my father and stepmother became 'born again' and tired to brain wash me when I was young, here is what I know about them:

      -Mostly unimpressive lower income people
      -People who MUST have a concrete answer for everything they cannot tolerate ambiguity
      -Their religion imparts a sense of power to them, a people who are essentially powerless economically and socially. To me it seems less like a love of god than a smugness and self-satisfaction that they know something special and are part of a special club.

      I like the New England brad of religion more, it's a quiet, personal thing and considered rude to discuss with other people.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Athiest

      So those people that live in the Amazon jungle, you know the ones, those who have little to no contact with the outside world, I guess they're going to hell?

      September 24, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  6. MormonChristian

    I believe that Hell is both a physical place, separated from the light and love of God and Christ, but also a state of mind, where we feel regret and pain for the people we did not love or help, the time we wasted and things we did not do to make the world better. There are degrees of that experience according to how far we have removed ourselves from God and our fellow man. For that matter, we can experience Hell here on Earth. That said, many of the images of the place, the Devil, etc. have been borrowed from Greek mythology, etc. and Medieval ideas added to the concept so that many people today reject it on its caricature. But make no mistake about it, you cannot end up in a place of happiness, peace, love and light, if you have not chosen those things on this Earth.

    I also firmly believe in an equal opportunity God – that many, many people who have chosen the better part, even if not baptized Christian in this life, will have access to Heaven in the next.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  7. CMDog

    Hell is for real and it's where all of the born again cuckoos go when they die. I grew up in a divorced household, my father and stepmother became 'born again' and tired to brain wash me when I was young, here is what I know about them:

    -Mostly unimpressive lower income people
    -People who MUST have a concrete answer for everything they cannot tolerate ambiguity
    -Their religion imparts a sense of power to them, a people who are essentially powerless economically and socially. To me it seems less like a love of god than a smugness and self-satisfaction that they know something special and are part of a special club.

    I like the New England brad of religion more, it's a quiet, personal thing and considered rude to discuss with other people.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  8. Veritas

    It is so hard to understand that adults above the age of 5 actually believe in this kind of nonsense. It's actually mental retardation. H0m0 Sapiens will hopefully evolve beyond this one day...

    September 23, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • JayJ7

      You beat me to it. These are grown people talking about the bogyman! They get indoctrinated into these fantasies as children, and if they are unintelligent enough they never learn enough to recognize reality from fairy tales.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  9. Anti-Violence

    If you believe God is all-powerful, you believe he has the ability to save you from Hell.
    If you believe in the Christian God, you believe he loves humankind.

    So, if you are a Christian who believes in Hell, then you believe this God, who loves you, is willingly condemning you to Hell on the basis of a book that billions are taught from birth is false.

    If anyone truly loves someone lse, they do not hurt them unless it helps them. God sending people to Hell to teach them a lesson fits with the "God as father" tent of Christianity, even if it involves corporal punishment. Throwing someone into a pit of torment for trillions upon trillions upon trillions of years with absolutely no recourse is someone only a sadist would do.

    I am not trying to insult God here, but simply stating a percieved contradiction. Hell simply does not fit with a kind, loving, benevolent God.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  10. Bob

    If the Christian god is real and all the things in the bible are true, I'll take my chances in hell. It can't be any worse than spending eternity with an all-powerful psychopath.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  11. El Flaco

    When I was a boy, my family attended a Southern Baptist church in Fort Worth Texas. The preacher was from the hell-and-brimstone school of theology. He said in a sermon that the book of Revelation tells us that only 144,000 souls will be in Heaven and the rest of us would go to hell.

    My sixth grade arithmetic helped me realize that it was pretty unlikely that my family and I were among the best 144,000 people out of all the people who had ever lived.

    From then on, my worst nightmares were about Jesus. Jesus was the monster who would condemn my family, my playmates, and me to live in eternal, endless intense inescapable pain.

    Jesus was the monster from whom I ran in my worst dreams.

    At the end of the dreams, Jesus would finally, inevetably catch me. I could feel His giant icy fingers grasping me – and then I would wake up trembling, gasping, and terrified.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • youpeople@

      @ELFACO- That is so sad.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • gnoll

      Oh? I beg to differ, that is hysterical....eat an extra scoop of ice cream tonight as a reward for a most excellent statement @El Flaco.

      September 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  12. jess

    JESUS= FALSE GOD
    MARY= NON VIRGIN

    September 23, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • mcp123

      Religion=A false construct created by primitive man to control other men and subjugate them. Explaining the natural world through science rather than magic has begun to free us.

      Free.... your mind.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:55 am |
  13. Stop it

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

    What's not normal, or natural about death? What a foolish man.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • yang

      why else do you think everything dies? all those bunny rabbits, baby seals, spring lambs..... sinners, the lot of them.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • bsbccommservice

      I think what Pastor Mark is trying to convey is the idea that death came in as a curse in the beginning through the first man Adam. Because of Adam's sin, death reigned until Christ accomplished his mission through his life, death, and resurrection. When we experience death, it's because we're experiencing the results of our sinful nature. He is simply reflecting biblical concepts. Death is not natural. Life is natural. Sin resulted in the curse of death. Christ overcame the curse through his resurrection.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Stop it

      That's my point...the Bible is a nice story...but, there's no truth to it....just foolishness.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  14. MalcomR

    God damned CNN word filter. I have a long post and cannot figure out which words or parts of words are being censored by the idiotic filter.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Fink

      Nobody reads long posts anyway

      September 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • MalcomR

      You're right. What was I thinking?

      September 23, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  15. yang

    what is wrong with you, jim? you sound a little dogmatic, there. time for a vacation, don't you think?

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  16. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Brandon

      children are atheist from the moment they are born, you have to ram religion into their brains while it's still mush for it to actually stick.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • TomCom

      LOL, going through life thinking a god will forgive everthing is? Do Christiams take responsibility for any of thier actions?

      September 23, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • truth be told

      All children come direct from the throne of God with an inner knowledge of God. They are given the opportunity in this life to choose God in love and return to God and the wonderful eternity He has prepared for them. Woe to the fool that denies a child eternal life.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • (Albert Einstein, 1936)

      Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of Nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Veritas

      Nope, prayer is simply mentally retarded people talking to themselves.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • truth be told

      @tom
      No one can change what they have done either good or bad. The wages of sin is death, one sin in a lifetime carries the death penalty and we all sin more than once. Salvation is recognizing that we are unable to change our sins in any way and need a Savior.Thankfully God has provided a way. Jesus has taken the penalty for for sin upon Himself on the cross and we have a pardon available to us,we need only sincerely apply in prayer and we will be as acceptable to God as Jesus is. To do this we must accept full responsibility for our sins and ask forgiveness, pardon of Christ.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • truth be told

      Albert Einstein credited his theory with observation of God, saying in I am wrong then almighty God is wrong. If at one time in his life Albert did not understand the importance of prayer, we may hope that he found prayer significant later in life.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Seriously, what's the point of going to heaven .. to spend eternity in blissfull worship of God(s)? Spending eternity doing one thing, worshipping a super being & it's ego .. that sounds like hell.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  17. barfly

    stupid humans being just that

    there is no fantasy land, good or bad

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • truth be told

      It is not fantasy it is real.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Just A John

      @tbt
      You have convinced your self and have unshakeable faith it is quite obvious. Why are you not satisfied with having that opinion and leave the rest of us that are not of your view to muddle along on our own?

      September 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Frank

      Who are you to refer to people as "stupid"?

      September 23, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Frank

      "It is not fantasy it is real."
      Real in your own mind.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What "mind"? TuBeTop doesn't have a mind.

      September 23, 2012 at 10:00 am |
  18. Brandon

    you have to be atleast mildly retarded to believe in heaven and hell

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Frank

      The world does not revolve around you.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • yang

      you have no way of knowing that, Frank. i happen to believe that world DOES revolve around Brandon. which means you must be mildly retarded. Brandon said so.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Frank

      Indeed. Let us pray to the all knowing Brandon.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Joe M

      I don't believe in these ridiculous fairy tales either. The bible is just some stuff that people from thousands of years ago wrote down (oh yeah I forgot, people were so much smarter 2,000 years ago than they are today). Just because something is written down doesn't mean you should believe it. Hmmmm, does that mean the world revolves around both Brandon and me?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • yang

      yes it does! i just have one question. will you send me to hell for eternity if i decide not to worship you?

      September 23, 2012 at 10:20 am |
  19. Jim

    Most who trash the Bible have never read it as adults. Most have not even read the Gospels to see what Jesus said for themselves, yet they rail against God in the ignorance they have chosen. There is great wisdom in the Bible for those willing to read. Why are you so afraid to look for yourself. For non-believers whose hearts are hardened against God, I pray for you daily.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • Brandon

      actually, many that have actually read the Bible, in it's entirety, tend to be atheists. That's why they test so high on subject material

      September 23, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • truth be told

      @brandon
      I will match any so called atheist on Bible knowledge and show them to be the frauds they are. The youngest child of God has more common sense and God knowledge than any two bit university educated atheist wanna be.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • DC

      Actually, reading and studying he Bible is what gave me doubts.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • erick

      Reading and remembering is one thing. Reading and remembering and understanding is different. Many can read economics books and recall the information, but clearly many don't understand the subject well. Add to that example the element of the fact that the bible is a book and the living word that God opens up with his spirit to those that fellowship with him and one can see how it is possible to read it and know it and yet not fully comprehend it.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • TomCom

      That's your belief

      September 23, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Just A John

      I too was brought up in a religious enviroment but even as a kid I could not get my head around the silly stories that the bible contained. It did not take me long to realize the whole idea of religion was just BS for profit and is even more so now with all these phony evangelists and faith healers sprining up.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • mcp123

      "I will match any so called atheist on Bible knowledge and show them to be the frauds they are."

      If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. - Deuteronomy 21:18-21
      The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it. - Proverbs 30:17
      And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and ... offer him there for a burnt offering.... And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. - Genesis 22:2,10
      The LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon.... And there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. - Exodus 12:29-30
      Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. - Psalm 137:9

      SO...Bible scholar..... kill your kids... bash them against or with stones. Engage in genocide.... what a NICE lot christians are.

      September 23, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Joe M

      Thanks Jim, but I don't need to believe in a supernatural god to have access to wisdom and good values. I've read the bible plenty, both old and new testaments. I am a free individual, and that means free to make up my own mind about any and all things. So save your prayers, i don't need them.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  20. Patrick

    You should seek the Truth, instead of seeking an argument.....

    September 23, 2012 at 8:35 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.