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. Sane Person

    It is amazing that sane, otherwise rational adults could not only believe in these fairy tales, but kill other humans in support of them.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • Frank Schaeffer

      Hi Sane Person, thanks for reading my article and the sane response, to which I say Amen! I think certain beliefs actually "snap" parts of our brains. There are people who have actually changed their brain functions by embracing retributive "justice" as the way to go. They are still functional but actually crazy. I view all fundamentalists as snapped. Thanks again, est, Frank

      September 23, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  2. Sarah

    "who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell"- actually that is not a tennet aof chirstianity but it is of Islam.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • pantokrator

      I wish the author would actually provide evidence for Christians believing that God is delighted when they kill them and send them to Hell. It sounds like something from the Westboro Baptist Church or the Middle Ages. I am unaware of any Christian who believes this.

      September 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  3. FoundTheTruth

    Forget "religion", search for God Himself, yourself. I've spent almost 58 years wondering if He is, what I believe and why. I don't want "religion", I want the truth. A few months ago, I read a book called "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist" by Norman L Geisler & Frank Turek. It answered all my questions, you are welcome to your own conclusions.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  4. Caz in BOS

    I am happy to report that the world earned another atheist these past few weeks. My wife finally came out of the faith closet. "It is a load of rubbish, isn't?" she asked. "Yes, honey. It is. Welcome to the enlightenment."

    September 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • saggyroy

      Congratulations! My wife has a hard time letting go, but at least she is at the agnostic phase.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Christopher

      Welcome to to the world of relativistic morality! Wanna kill someone and think you can get away with it? Why not? Who's gonna punish you? Your Sky-Daddy?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Glad she came to the true freedom that is Atheism, the ability to live a good, moral & ethical life by choice without the threat of eternal punishment. Only as an Atheist will anyone feel true freedom!

      September 23, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      @saggyroy – It is a hard path for those indoctrinated at a young age. I was brought up a rationalist, so there never was any 'letting go' for me. My wife took eight years to give up those false promises and all the social approval it incurs. I am so proud of her. Best wishes to you, your wife, and kids.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Christopher the law? the courts?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Christopher

      What is good as an atheist? To kill those you disagree with. After all, it's only a matter of who you can get to side with your views. Good for atheism has little to no meaning because it is completely relativistic.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      @Christopher..."Wanna kill someone and think you can get away with it?" Um,.....no. Do you? Try reading the first part of article again.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Dugger Dog

      Congrates to your wife. The longer you're out the more silly the Bible becomes. If you re-read the Bible you can acutally have some good laughs at the wild ass stories that Christians still believe. We all need reason, not religion.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Christopher

      Why not , Cuz? If you can get away with it or change the government to kill people of religion because you hate it so much, then why not? And if you have blinders on, then I guarantee that not all atheist share your irrational and subjective view of what is good.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • MalcomR

      @Christopher: I was going to be sarcastic, but I feel pity for you. I think you are an atheist at heart but are afraid to embrace it because you are also a psychopath and know that you, personally, will commit atrocities. Stay religious. It takes a stronger mind to accept the truth of the universe and live a compassionate life without the guidance of self-generated fairytales.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Caz in BOS

      @Christopher – But my ethics are not relativistic. They are absolute. Don't hurt people. Everything stems from that.

      Why do you think we want to kill religious people? We don't. We just want them to give up their desire to control others. In my experience, atheists are far more ethical, considerate and law-abiding that their religious brethren. Prisons have scarcely any atheists. We just want peace and prosperity.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • saggyroy

      @Christopher and the atheists are rioting because some one drew a cartoon of Richard Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris. Atheists are raping altar boys. Atheists are flying planes into buildings.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Christopher

      Many new atheists don't recognize their freedoms without God(s). They arbitrarily choose to continue defining good as the majority of religious folks around them whose moral base is found in their moral authority, that is, religious texts. Those new atheists don't want to be seen as bad in the religious society that surrounds them. Atheists can't point to any overarching moral authority and are perfectly free to kill without fear or regret.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Christopher

      A few smart atheists recognize their freedoms. That realize they must lie to the religious folks around them or they will look bad to the majority of religious society.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • pantokrator

      The problem is that all people hate and kill others. Religious and non-religious people have been responsible for mass killings. To suggest that atheism will "enlighten" people is ridiculous. Religious people seek external authorities for their beliefs. Atheists are their own authorities. What is “reasonable” to one person is not reasonable to another. People often point to laws and say how the law will keep people civil, but what happens when the laws change? Hitler was completely legal in what he did to the Jews. Stalin was legal in killing and exiling political prisoners. John Calvin was legal in approving Michael Servetus’ execution for heresy.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  5. plato101

    The existence of hell is not dependent on a belief in it. Like a cancerous tumor, you can deny it's there, but that will only make it worse for you.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Kate

      Pascal's Wager.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Damocles


      Again, I can gather up evidence to support the tumor.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  6. fernace

    As a spiritualist, I find these semantical discussions frustrating & distracting! I've been agnostic, Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, interdenominational & am currently non-denominational! I've read the Bible page to page in 2 languages & took religion in school, to familiarize myself w/other religious texts! What I have found is a)I can't be an atheist because there are too many similar stories from too many civilizations, b) I can't be a religion/denomination because 1) they're too judgemental, 2) & too limited! I've chosen to embrace everything & discount nothing, because there seems to be a continuum in all the texts & stories! Popol Vu, The Epic of Gilgamesh, the similarities of Horus/Osiris/Jesus, Heaven/Valhalla etc., etc.! There's something undeniable that connects all that, but we'd rather get in a spitting contest than trying to figure it out! It's not about heaven or hell, but how we live our lives! That's the Universal lesson!!

    September 23, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • saggyroy

      Reading the bible end to end is what convinced me to be atheist. God is an a$$.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      At least you recognize the similarities among world religions and are not monomaniacally devoted to one....one that claims to be exclusive, for instance, like Christianity. Yes, of course virtually every culture on the planet has developed its own belief system. We all face death. We all search for answers to the unknowns and it is undoubtedly comfortable to believe that your "spirit" will live on after this lifetime instead of accepting that you will return to the void of nothingness from which you came. Thus, the concepts of heaven and hell were manufactured. But what about those cultures who only have something like a "happy hunting ground" to go to and no "fiery pit for the bad ones"? Why did some cultures leave "hell" out of their mythologies? And other @$$h0les just couldn't resist putting "hell" in theirs? Were the people in some cultures harder to control and thus their leaders felt they needed to lead them by guilt and fear?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Bill the Deist

      Embrace deism. There was too much evidence for an omnipotent, intelligent designer for me not to believe in God, but too much BS in the religion business for me to label myself as a particular denomination. Deism: Believes in an God who set creation/evolution in motion, then chose to step back and observe. Does not believe in the legitimacy of any religions or the bible for that matter (as it was written and edited by man). There are varying takes on whether or not Jesus existed or if he was just a man or truly the son of God. Either way, Deism works for me.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  7. Rob

    People do not realize that religion is an invention of people, not monkeys or Martians!! Bibles, Koran's etc are all written by humans. In outer space they never learned to write. There is no afterlife, heaven nor hell. we all die and turn to nothing.
    Repeat all religion from the start of humanity is only created by humans alone because of fear of death, nothing else. Earth is nothing at all in the universe less than a microbe; people do not dictate the universe; the universe itself does not even know the existence of humans and does not care what humans believe..

    September 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      The urim thumim is real as real as the roman empire and ethiopian empire once was,but the urim thumim are still around

      September 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • pantokrator

      The problem is that atheism provides no eternal hope. At least every religion that I know of provides some sort of hope. If there is no afterlife, then it is easy to see why someone would want one. Atheists always trump about proudly about their superior view and about how childish religion is, but religion gives hope, atheism really doesn’t. When someone has their 2 year old die, how can an atheist provide comfort? “Well, sorry. Just go have another one.” Even if atheism is true, who wants to believe that? Better to have a false hope than no hope at all. At least religious folk can entertain notions of seeing their loved ones again.

      September 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. MalcomR

    One of the things that most surprises me after 5 decades of life, is that adults, in fact billions of adults, believe this nonsense at all.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:03 am |
    • Christopher

      It's even more amazing that there are people so non-introspective as to give up on religion and find themselves living with a complete lack of moral authority and an anything goes lifestyle. Scary.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • MalcomR

      Moral authority? A god that created Hell? Eternal torture? Are you f'ing kidding me? You have a finely tuned sense of right and wrong developed over millions of years of evolving as a social primate. You're welcome.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Kate

      Christopher, it's scary that you are that stupid.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Damocles


      Morality can not come from a deity that believers try to paint as 'everything'. I think that believers forget what 'everything' means.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • dale

      What is really scary is that delusional people like Christopher walk the planet thinking that morals came from religion and that you must believe your childhood brainwashing or else. Why read or think when you can just continue to go along with the status quo and not questions the ridiculousness of religion?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  9. lilyq

    One's belief of hell is not a prerequisite to go there.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • MalcomR

      There is no "there".

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

      Humanities long hunger for justice and ethics seems to say otherwise.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • thoughtsjustsome

      Humanity's long hunger for justice and ethics seems to say otherwise.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Damocles


      Oh, ok, well I believe you are going to a place called 'Zo' and since you say it doesn't matter if you believe in a place or not, 'Zo' is actually where you are going to end up.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  10. JB

    Religion has lost all authority in the modern world. Those who choose may still cede their opinion on Sunday morning but the modern church may not jail you, tax you, or have you killed. This apparently is not so in societies that have never gone through the philosophical stage of enlightenment. and there lies the rub. The clash of secular societies run by logic and thought against those who still let their religious leaders govern and decide the fate of their peoples. Christianity was defanged years ago and I and my family are much better off because of this. I wish I could say the same for other peoples of the earth. Live in peace.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Gezus

      I agree..My family worships the soccer ball on Sunday ( all year around). We follow it around the state to let our children follow it around the field. If we pray hard enough the ball goes into the opponents goal more then ours and we win. If it does not, then we did something wrong this past week (usually not train hard enough). We take our kids three times a week to the man that is going to make this happen and make us happy on the weekends- the coach/trainer. We will even follow him to other states for tournaments. Our children learn how to play well with others, stay in shape, and hopefully a legal slide tackle without hurting the opponent and drawing a yellow card. Our life is full, and happy, long live the soccer ball.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • jd

      No its only lost authority in you world – Its simply a choice to believe in something greater than you – in my opinion that's extremely easy to do.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  11. Alyson

    The second article is very similar to the quotes we read from Puritan books in my AP American History class.

    Hell is disgusting. It's the worst idea that humans ever came up with to scare people into believing what they would normally not believe. It's simply disgusting. "I want to extinguish the fires of hell and destroy all the rewards of paradise." -Muslim saint who believed that loving God was the most important thing and it angered her that people would try to be great religious people just because they were afraid and wanted rewards. I don't believe in God but I respect her so much for that quote. I was torn between whether I thought religion is a good thing or a terrible thing and I realized the difference was fear of hell or desire for heaven. After seeing my devout boyfriend cry in fear of where a recently deceased and very close friend of his went after she died I couldn't help but despise hell.

    Believing in God can be a beautiful thing. Belief in hell just causes sadness and we honestly have no idea who will be going there.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Damocles

      I'm confused..... first you say that hell is merely a tool used to try and make people afraid and then you say at the end of your post that you can't know who's going to hell. It's like you are saying it's not real, but people go there.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
    • michael

      My thought and it is somewhat biblical, is our God loves us and forgives us for our wrongdoing.. I cite the Prodigal Son as an example as I had it happen w/ my daughter.. it gets lengthy , so I won't go into it here.. in a nutshell she told me she wanted nothing to do w/ me... and left.. and after being away, realized her wrongdoing, and asked to come back home.. WITHOUT HESITATION... I said " of course" If I as a human can do this, what can our God do for us? I will admit that I wrestle w/ the consept of heaven and hell... and what about the " bad" ppl ( right now can't come up w/ a word) ... but even " bad" ppl are here for a reason.. the atrocities of Hitler.. no one wants to see that happen again.. He served his " purpose" ... am only guessing.. but the friend your boyfriend is upset about and her going to hell.. is a suicide... If we " believe" in an " all loving all knowing' God don't you think that He/She knows what they were going through? You may derive more if you look at our God as a loving parent... Mom Dad... Jesus taught us to call God, ABBA... literal Latin translation.. Daddy... sounds vicious to me ... ( sarcasim) I hope I have given you comfort, maybe another way to look at things ... as long as there is human life on this planet ( and elsewhere) there will be debates on the existance of God ,I will just say... go ahead and " believe" there is no God.... but what if there is???

      September 24, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  12. Christopher

    No Hell? Or temporary punishment and then you're done? Why bother with faith if you're gonna live forever no matter what you do, no matter how heinous. No Hell? No sense.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • JB

      So Heaven is knowing that others are in hell but your not? thats not heaven brother, thats just plain old bitter meanness.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • jd

      JB – Yeah I know – it will really break my heart to know jeffrey domer – hitler, stalin, the theater shooter are all in Hell and I'm in Heaven.
      Read a book – I recommend starting with Genesis Chapter one

      September 23, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  13. thoughtsjustsome

    The doctrine of hell is important in our age because it brings into clear focus the weight that God puts upon our choices, the dignity that he grants to our decisions. We all choose to reject the path we know is right and in doing so we freely walk away from God. We are then free, truly free to choose to follow Christ as forgiver and leader of our lives or we can freely choose to reject his offer of forgiveness. We can choose to live in denial about the Truth as long as we please and only death closes our window of opportunity. Our free will choices are as powerfully important to our lives as Adam and Eve's decision about the apple in the Garden of Eden. Our choices have consequences, in this life and the next. God is loving, but he is also the honest judge of the Universe who will bring Hitler and Bin Laden to account for their sins as surely as you and I will be held accountable for ours.

    September 23, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  14. SirDanielleFortessq

    Mark – you have got some points right, but the non-catholic view that you can "simply believe that Jesus is the son of God, and died for your sins" – will get you to heaven is weak link in the protestant viewpoint. The Bible says "faith without works is dead"; Your actions in this life will be examined by God in judgement, and if you simply believed, but were a lazy sloth, then that uphill battle will become a slippery slope into the abyss.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      the urim thumim is more real then man made catholic religion,the urim thumim is what king david used too seek the Messianic Kingdom on issues also king solomon and many jewish people in the bible

      September 23, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  15. If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

    Without hell there is no point in heaven. 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 8:59 am |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      and the goal is .. ? You took many words to say nothing, again .. what is the point or purpose, what is accomplished, why be a whole being in heaven for eternity?

      September 23, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  16. nal1010

    Yes, hell is for real....we are living in hell as we speak

    September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • 200 TON HAMMER

      urim thumim is real as also hell is real

      September 23, 2012 at 9:00 am |

    Hell is definitely for real.

    Americans live it everytime republicans take control of government.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • MalcomR

      Maybe not hell, but certainly a cold-hearted, business-centric, winner-take-all dystopian purgatory that takes a moderately liberal effort to recover from every time. And people keep voting these elitists in. Stupid people.

      September 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
  18. Brooklyn Boy

    I wished we lived in a world where people of faith (I.e., delusional) would stop trying to shove it down everydody's throats and to dictate how they should live their lives.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  19. GodisNot

    One need not be a scholar of philosophy to understand the infantilism of man made religion. Your appeal to 'authority' merely exposes your own simple-mindedness.

    September 23, 2012 at 8:58 am |
  20. Gregg

    If hell exist's or not is an oxymoron , to exist you can only imagine what it is , to not you can only imagine what it might be.
    Either way it's imaginary and only exist's in the human mind, some people will live their lives blindly trying to avoid it.
    The same is with ANY religion that controls a person's actions throughout life, It's all in the human mind and has nothing to do
    with the true creator who lacks the imaginary word "religion" Imagine that !!!

    September 23, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • AvdBerg


      It is not imaginary but symbolic. Please read the post below.


      September 23, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Gregg

      To: AvdBerg
      Whatever, I choose to never be lost in another human's words which are object's.
      You cannot worship objects ,words are objects because they point to something imagined or of mass that is not real.
      The words you see me typing on this comment are objects, the creator is not an object. It's all in your head !!!

      September 23, 2012 at 9:18 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.