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. jackenstien

    We will all KNOW at the LAST ROUND-UP!

    September 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • snowboarder

      last round-up? not so much.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Jose

      Last Round-up? I loved that episode, before they changed Derpy's voice.

      Chimi-cherry? Or cherry-chonga?

      Pickle Barrel, Kumquat!!
      Pickle Barrel, Kumquat!!
      Pickle Barrel, Kumquat!!

      September 24, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  2. The truth.

    Good article if your facts were complete. U failed to highlight that the doctrince of hell as a place of burning torment and an immortal soul entered christianity from pagan sources long after the bible's completion...I'm not a hater..but your facts are based off what you were taught to belive...Hell is just the common grave...the bible teaches that David, Job , and Jesus all went to hell (DEATH)

    September 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  3. Monette Smith

    It's so very sad to me that so many people are denying their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The Bible is very specific on the fact that there is a hell and that many people will go there simply because they choose to shun and deny their only Savior, Jesus Christ. The very people who are posting responses to this article denying their Savior are the ones who will not make it to live an eternal life in heaven with almighty God if they continue to deny that Jesus died on the cross for their sins. God is a merciful and loving God. God does not want you to perish. He loves you! The only requirement to get into heaven is to believe that Jesus Christ exists and that he died on the cross to take the place for your sins. Is that so much for our creator to ask?

    September 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Scorp

      Nuts, that's what you are, stone cold nuts. None of what you said is true, just parroting stuff you have heard since you were too small to think for yourself no doubt.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I find it disturbing that so many Christians are choosing to die of old ago like cowards instead of gloriously in battle.
      By denying Odin, they are missing out on the bliss that is Valhalla.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      "He loves you! The only requirement..."

      That thought is the basis for every abusive relationship. Love with a condition to avoid punishment is manipulation. My love for others is unconditional. My loved ones have hurt me and turned from me and I haven't wished them harm, let alone eternal torment.

      This means one of two things:
      1) I am more capable of Love than God.
      2) The Bible was written by wandering goat herders and edited by politicians with an interest in controlling people, and it's false.

      I'm not arrogant enough for 1, so I chose 2.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  4. What a load .......

    Anyone know that Revelations was put in 800 years or so after the Bible was written? A Greek church has an original copy.
    Why does't the Torah speak on Hell? Not much in the Quran either, except if your not a Muslim!
    Let's face it WE put that crap in there to scare people and force them to accept the teachings of the Church, true or not.
    Read Buddhism, it makes since and does't try to force any specific morality on anyone.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      "it makes since and does't try to force any specific morality on anyone." - If you want to sell something to people then there's always that approach. Read and see what sounds good to you. But if you want to know what is real, start with the big three religions and study the heck out of them. I'd personally like to try and put nails in the coffin of a religion that says there's only one way, and there's a hell for suffering. If you can't put it to a solid rest, you'll have to decide to either accept or cover your years in denial. Don't just try and find out what makes you feel good... first try and figure out if you are really in trouble with what is being said, will you go to hell or not? The choice is yours, and there is an easy way out made by God for each and every person that wants a way out. Choose everlasting life providing by Jesus and have all sins and guilt removed. Choose life, life more abundantly!

      September 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  5. The Myth

    Like I tell all atheists...... "When you're dead, you'll have your answer!" (TM)

    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Gorp

      So will you and it has nothing to do with robes, candles and a money basket floating down a pew

      September 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Like all rational beings, I understand that the only answers that will ever do me a lick of good are the ones I get while I'm still alive.

      Like all deluded suckers, you think the ones you'll NEVER get are worth more than using the brain you think God gave you.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  6. EasyPeasy

    Think of what beautiful music an orchestra can make, and now tell me that a truly random EXPLOSION is what gave birth to the mathematical genius behind music. Even though the world is in decay, and things are getting worse... You can only put your hands over your eyes, cover your ears, and chant loudly to ignore the beauty that still exists on this beautiful planet. I know, I know, come and try to tell me that fables and comic books are what the bible and other religions are made of... But really, the thought that you can do what is being done on this earth everyday by the biggest creature to the microbes screams design and a creators signature. To those that will, they'll find Him. To those that are scared of that they'll continue to scream against the idea of a creator. Jesus is Lord, knock and the door will be opened, invite Him into your life today, he'll take you back no matter how far you think you're gone.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      This is but a variant on the argumentum ad ignoratiam, which may be summarized as "I'm too stupid, ignorant, or unimaginative to understand how something can be true, therefore it must be false." In place of scientific explanations or honest admissions of ignorance, then, you prefer to subst¡tute some ridiculous fairy tale that's only respectable because it's old and full of happy la-la words. For a more satisfying life, try adulthood.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Jose

      I think your argument basically adds up to – we can't explain it so it must have been done by magic.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      @RichardSRussell "subst¡tute some ridiculous fairy tale that's only respectable because it's old and full of happy la-la words." - Into hypotheticals for you for a moment... I would imagine that if someone made you an offer to live for ever, that you'd have God ruling over you, you'd say no thank you. Even if you knew it to be truth. It's not about what is reasonable and rational to you, it's about avoiding any type of control that the idea of a God would put on you. Yeah that sounds convenient but it's just simply not where we're at. That reminds me of a quote from the late great J Vernon McGee, “This is God’s universe and He does things His way. You may have a better way, but you don’t have a universe.”

      September 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      @Jose "I think your argument basically adds up to – we can't explain it so it must have been done by magic." - The Bible is what science catches up to. How many years did it take for science to prove that the earth was not flat? The Bible was ahead of science, science just had to catch up Is. How many years did it take for science to prove the universe is expanding? The Bible has that as well. How many years of science took to prove one verse. Isaiah 40:22 "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in."

      September 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  7. snowboarder

    it takes a truly weak mind to fall for this heaven and hell mumbo jumbo.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      On the contrary, it takes a weak mind to not want to seriously reason through the argument for the existence of a creator.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      easy – very untrue. it takes a weak mind to allow themselves to cede responsibility to just another of the innumerable deities created by man.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      @snowboarder God has came and proven himself to the world. He's coming again and you clearly haven't spent time researching what the Bible says and if it is true. He stands at the door and knocks, take some time to prove the Bible wrong on a serious rational level. You'll find out that you seriously can't, only denial through mockery will allow for you to move away from the Bible. Deal with the assertions or not, if you don't want to investigate you're missing out on life more abundantly that you can have right now.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • MDAT

      How?The bible does not deal in recorded history.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • EasyPeasy

      @MDAT "How?The bible does not deal in recorded history." - ***IF** you cared the historicity of the Bible is overwhelmingly there. http://www.toptenproofs.com/product_bib.php

      September 24, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  8. Cipherguise

    I appreciate the comments that Mark Driscoll made.

    As unappealing as it may seem, TRUTH is not relative, TRUTH IS. It makes no difference what we choose to believe, it cannot ever change what IS.
    Jesus said I AM the way, the truth, and the life, NO man comes to the FATHER except by ME.

    Some are enraged at Jesus for claiming to be the only way of salvation instead of being thankful that there IS any way of salvation. Christians are not arrogant, self-absorbs persons thumbing their noses up at unbelievers. We are compassionate individuals exercising compassion for those who are lost and in danger of being eternally separated from GOD.

    Don't be angry if you choose not to believe and we won' be angry if you don't, but we will be saddened because we want all to be saved.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I appreciate the comments Mark Driscoll made, too, because it demonstrates that no matter how incoherent, irrational, or full of BS you are, there's always someone willing to buy what you're selling. Gives me hope for the future of the economy, because it sure looks like he's got an endless supply of vacuum-skullery that people are eager to snap up.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Monette Smith

      Amen. Very well put.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • snowboarder

      there is no truth in driscolls remarks. just more religious drivel.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • TheSchmaltz

      "Some are enraged at Jesus for claiming to be the only way of salvation instead of being thankful that there IS any way of salvation."

      No, I'm enraged at his followers for claiming I need to be saved.

      "Christians are not arrogant, self-absorbs persons thumbing their noses up at unbelievers. We are compassionate individuals exercising compassion for those who are lost and in danger of being eternally separated from GOD."

      Some of you are. Many fit the first description perfectly. They're the ones who say they'll look down from heaven and laugh at my suffering. They eagerly await the torment of others who dare to disagree with them, and they claim to be good people.

      "we won' be angry if you don't"

      The internet is full of people you shouldn't be claiming to speak for.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  9. No Proof

    I really don't see a difference between religious people and atheists. They both claim something that can't be proven, and call other people idiots because they don't believe like them. I think god's light is just in an electromagnetic spectrum that our optical instruments aren't able to detect yet.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      Not all atheists claim there is no god. Many claim they see no proof of a god.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • The Truth

      "They both claim something that can't be proven," Yes, you are correct, everyone should stop making claims they cannot prove.

      "I think god's light is just in an electromagnetic spectrum that our optical instruments aren't able to detect yet." Doh!! I thought we just agreed not to make claims you cannot prove...

      September 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      As an atheist, I not only CLAIM that I can prove God doesn't exist, I already did so, 3rd from the bottom on Page 100. Go take a look.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • The Truth

      Atheist = One who does not believe in any Gods.

      Agnostic = One who does not believe in most God's without proof.

      Aunicornist = One who does not believe in any Unicorns.

      Aghosrtic = One who does not believe in most Unicorns without proof.

      Theist = One who believes in believing in things without proof.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • No Proof

      RichardSRussell that only shows that our understanding of god isn't correct. It doesn't prove that he doesn't exist. I don't know if there is a god which I guess makes me Agnostic.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • snowboarder


      religionist to atheist "you will go to hell if you believe differently than i and i will make laws to force you to live by my beliefs"

      atheist to religionist "you're an idiot and i will oppose your stupidity."

      September 24, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  10. snowboarder

    christians using fear of hell as a recruiting tool is the worst kind of pathetic.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  11. GaynLovedbyGod

    These religious leaders fail to grasp the culture of the time. These scrolls were hand-picked by the early Church and others were discarded. Not one scroll was written by Muhammad (PBUH) nor Christ, but by MEN. Our true test is to coexist and learn from each others' truths. All religions of the world preach the same thing, just in different words. If you can shut out the fundamentalist noise, you can hear true harmony.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  12. getalife

    AvdBerg is in serious need of medication and therapy. I vote we "pass the plate" to get him some much needed help. I was conviced hell did not exist until I tried to read his first and then had to scroll through his MULTIPLE posts. Then I knew hell was real and it exists on CNN's comments forum.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  13. Fernando

    Hell, or the threat of Hell serves a couple purposes; It helps to control the peasantry as it threatens punishment for crimes that go undetected by the mortal king and it provides vicarious satisfaction for those impotent to exact genuine revenge on their enemies – which also contributes to the social order.
    Investing your hopes for vengeance in Karma may seem more progressive because it’s Eastern, but we’ve all seen too many cases of our enemies continuing to thrive in spite of this universal law. Frank Sinatra’s recommendation for revenge was “massive success”, but that requires us to be massively successful at something which isn’t practical or possible for everyone.
    I’ve found that the most satisfying, modern alternative to exacting Hell on an enemy is to hire a very nasty lawyer.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  14. La Chatte

    I'm so sick of crap like this. Really? Debating fairytales? Get a life.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  15. L. Harley

    Heaven & hell are right here on earth. If you "do into others as you'd have them do unto you", then you should have no concerns about going to hell!

    September 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  16. Joe

    This is absolutely ABSURD. So anyone who happened to not be born a Christian is destined to eternal punishment? Get real. the true test of humanity is whether we can coexist and learn from each others' truths. Unfortunately, most religious leaders' understand of liturgical scripture is only skin-deep and fails to grasp the concept of the culture of that time.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Bornagain7

      According to the Bible you, Joe, are wrong. The Bible says that we are all born as unbelievers and therefore, after our physical death, are destined to be judged by Jesus Christ for all of our sins and punished by being sent into the lake of fire (hell). If, while we are living, we 1) acknowledge that we are sinners 2) acknowledge and believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and 3) ask Him to forgive us for our sins then we are then born again as Christians, endowed with the holy spirit to help us stop sinning and destined to live in heaven after our physical death. There is no permanent or spiritual death for born again Christians or for unbelievers. Unbelievers will be judged and then sent to hell. Born again Christians will be judged and sent to heaven to live with God and His Son forever.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  17. Russ

    Interesting that a place that is metaphysical, has sulphur. These people didn't know anything about anything. They are all stories passed down from one generation to another. Mixtures of folk tales and imagination.
    Also consider this. They thought the earth was flat, and the sun and the stars moved around it. They believed stars moved over small towns to portend important events. An eclipse could mean the world was ending or some other event was going to happen. They believed feelings came from the heart, not the brain. You can't believe anything they wrote, not even the Greeks, who were some of the most intelligent and educated.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • P

      While people at that time the Bible was written (and for many years after) may have believed the world was flat, there was a clear indication in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, that the earth was not: "He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth',(Isaiah 40:22). It is was also noted in the Bible long ago that the earth is suspended in space, that the earth is suspended in space:' He spreads out the northern [skies] over empty space; he suspends the earth over nothing' (Job 26:7) – something Copernicus would discover in 1475. To condemn the Bible as something not to be believed simply because the Bible existed when people believed the earth was flat (even though the Bible clearly said it wasn't) is to not be aware of all that is offered in the Bible.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Bible posits a flat Earth,
      He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in."
      NIV Bible, Isaiah 40:22
      The Hebrew word used in the original text is "Chug", which means a flat circle, like a coin.
      The word for orb/ball is "Dur".
      The bible posits a flat Earth.
      It also referes to the four corners of the earth in several places like Isaiah 11:12 and Revelation 7:1 .
      It also appears that the concept of orbital rotation was unknown to those who wrote the Bible given that they state the earth is immovable and inert.
      "He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved."
      – Psalm 104:5
      "The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved."
      Psalm 93:1
      "Say among the nations, "The LORD reigns." The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity. Psalm 96:10
      "The sun rises and the sun sets, and hurries back to where it rises." Ecclesiastes 1:5

      And don't forget that Copernicus was branded a heretic.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • P

      Hey Doc,
      As I'm sure you're aware, Psalm is book in the Bible heavy on poetry. The notion that earth can never be moved references that earth is built on God's foundations and cannot be moved by anyone other than God (thus, the 'Lord Reigns' phrases in several of the Psalm you referenced).
      Also, it is my understanding that Hebrew at the time did not have a specifc term for 'sphere'. To your point, there is Dur which is used in He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball (Dur) into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord's house. (Isaiah 22:18). But Dur is also used in Is. 29:3 And I will camp against thee round about, and will lay siege against thee with a mount, and I will raise forts against thee. A soldier would not camp around a sphere but encircle the city. To the 'four corners' reference, this should be viewed as North, South, East and West.
      But the go back to the original question of is hell legit – what's your take?

      September 24, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Zach

      Hey P, think of any new info yet, or did you exhaust all of the bible verses that might help you out to try to logically explain the Bible? You replied the same thing to my comment. My point exactly that Christians will pick and chose what verses they would like to use or not.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Evangelical Rule of Thumb

      Evangelical Rule of Thumb:

      If a Bible verse furthers the cause, it is to be taken literally.

      If a Bible verse is detrimental to the cause, it is either: taken out of context; is allegorical or metaphorical; refers to another verse somewhere else; is an ancient cultural anomaly; is a translation or copyist's error; means something other than what it actually says; is a mystery of god or not discernible by humans; or is just plain magic.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • sally

      bible verses are dumb under any thumb

      September 25, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  18. bob

    Funny Religious people will not believe in evolution, but at same time embrace we descended from inbreeding.

    ( yes if the bible is true, then adam and eve's kids did the nasty with each other )

    BTW if you dont think things can evolve and change look at your pet poodle it did not exist in nature.

    September 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Evenstar13

      Evaloution and creationism are opposing sides of the same coin. They are the same, you just have to look and see.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Gorp

      7 days of illogic vs years of scientific study and work . i dont think so

      go back and finish high-school!!

      September 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  19. dowdotica

    vote for mittens and it will be!

    September 24, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Chris

      If your religion is real then you can't just change what you believe in. But then, if it's all an elaborate hoax, which would certainly explain why there is no proof and it is impossible to test (unlike science which is all predictable and provable) then believe what you like. Might I suggest the Flying Spaghetti Monster who is much more benign and amusing.

      September 24, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Jose

      It's already hell, with the current moron we have now. It can't get much worse.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  20. USDude

    This just in.... here are the next featured stories and headlines from CNN until the Nov 6 election: (Feature story 1) Why are Christians so mean? (Feature story 2) If you don't already hate Romney, you really should. (Feature story 3) Islam is such a wonderful religion (Feature story 4) Muslims are so peaceful – no really, they are (Feature story 5) None of us pay the same capital gains tax rate as Romney – he pays far less (Feature story 6) Two headed snake found in Antarctica. When asked about what's going on in Lybia – CNN responded – Lybia? What about Lybia?

    September 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • NiceTry

      Your snarky comments work better when you know how to spell "Libya."

      September 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • USDude

      Thanks for the spelling lesson

      September 24, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Sodomite

      I think the spelling of Libya was Freudian – possibly sub-consciously thinking of "labia".

      September 24, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • USDude

      I do like women – it's obvious which way you lean. Once again, these comments prove my point that liberals have a need to redirect the real discussion – in case you didn't get that from the OP. You fell for the Lybia bait hook line and sinker – you guys are so predictable!

      September 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Sodomite

      These comments have proven nothing.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • OneTruth

      So Lybia is your dinosaur bone – left to trick the unbelievers into thinking that you can't spell and have little knowledge of geography.

      September 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.