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. aaron

    hell is just something created by man to scare people into following the rules.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      Hell is the original horror movie. Its like "friday the 13th" for the Iron Age. Scare the teens into not drinking and not doing drugs.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • LtMacGowan

      Wait? You think that using drugs should get you thrown in Hell? assuming you believe in fairy tales.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:37 am |
    • End Religion

      you assume too much

      September 25, 2012 at 1:48 am |
  2. Reality

    Only for new members of this blog:

    There is no god, no hell and no heaven so enjoy your life while practicing these three powerful words: DO NO HARM (to yourself or to others) !

    Only for new members of this blog and for those who still believe in god:

    Father Edward Schillebeeckx, the famous contemporary theologian, had a different take on hell. He reasoned that his god does not tolerate imperfection in his spiritual realm. Therefore, any soul dying in mortal sin will simply disappear since hell the imperfect state does not exist.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • 2357

      Hell is the experience of suffering in its fullness of meaning. Hell is the very meaning of harm, as you may very well discover. And the One who casts into hell, is the One who is holy and sovereign, exempt from all rule.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Richard

      What you think is reality, Is Totally False! Mankind has a bent in the core of their being / natural doubt in God / Creator.

      People must be "Born Again" In their spirit...Connect To God's / Holy Spirit! Even to begin, To understand The Meaning of...

      ...Creation and Their Creator...Your not able to see and understand This Truth! The natural mind of people cannot grasp...

      ...The Reality of Almighty God...Eternal Creator! Pure and Simple TRUTH!

      1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

      3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.a”

      4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

      5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spiritb gives birth to spirit. 7You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘Youc must be born again.’ 8The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

      9“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

      10“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? John Ch. 3

      September 24, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • 2357

      Hell is the perfect hatred, perfect anger, perfect vengeance and pain dealt out by the white-hot glory of YHWH. He burns with hatred against all who lie about his character. He hates sin, and all those who love sin. Do not be deceived. Annihilation is a Myth created by Satan. Satan wants all children of God to join him in eternal torment. It's his only remaining joy. For all spiritual creatures, there is absolutely no escape from God. He is everywhere. Hell is the eternal separation from the grace of God, but it is also eternal exposure before the wrath of God.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      @ 2357: were you abused as a child? Seriously. You clearly have some real mental health issues dealing with guilt and punishment that you need to get resolved. You are sounding like – well, like a militant Islamic fundie. Get some MH help. Soon.

      September 25, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • sam stone

      "Hell is the perfect hatred, perfect anger, perfect vengeance and pain dealt out by the white-hot glory of YHWH."

      Hell is a myth designed to control people through fear

      September 25, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • sam stone

      2357: Your god is an impotent pretty pr1ck

      September 25, 2012 at 8:38 am |
  3. jackhudson


    Nice try – the only concept being considered here, the one Christans proffer and atheists acknowledge. Not the only concept that ever existed. Obviously all sorts of religions consider various concepts of God and he'll. And my point, which you have avoided, still stands – atheists believe all men are separated from life, love, joy and meaning at death – Christians believe God gives men a choice. That is the only concept being considered *here*.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • JERRY

      like i said you ill spend eternity somewhere its just a matter of time

      September 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Reality

      Think infinity and recycling with the Big Bang expansion followed by the shrinking reversal called the Gib Gnab and recycling back to the Big Bang repeating the process on and on forever. Human life and Earth are simply a minute part of this chaotic, stochastic, expanding, shrinking process disappearing in five billion years (or sooner) with the burn out of the Sun and maybe returning in another five billion years with different life forms but still subject to the va-garies of its local star.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • jackhudson

      The Big Crunch notion of a collapsing universe has actually fallen out of favor with cosmologists since the expansion of the universe is expanding. It fun to pretend though!

      September 24, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      universe is considered flat, expanding and slowing, never stopping. how the universe will end:


      September 25, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Reality

      o "In the 1930s, theoretical physicists, most notably Albert Einstein, considered the possibility of a cyclic model for the universe as an (everlasting) alternative to the model of an expanding universe. However, work by Richard C. Tolman in 1934 showed that these early attempts failed because of the entropy problem: according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, entropy can only increase.[1] This implies that successive cycles grow longer and larger. Extrapolating back in time, cycles before the present one become shorter and smaller culminating again in a Big Bang and thus not replacing it. This puzzling situation remained for many decades until the early 21st century when the recently discovered dark energy component provided new hope for a consistent cyclic cosmology.[2] In 2011, a five-year survey of 200,000 galaxies and spanning 7 billion years of cosmic time confirmed that "dark energy is driving our universe apart at accelerating speeds."[3][4]

      One new cyclic model is a brane cosmology model of the creation of the universe, derived from the earlier ekpyrotic model. It was proposed in 2001 by Paul Steinhardt of Princeton University and Neil Turok of Cambridge University. The theory describes a universe exploding into existence not just once, but repeatedly over time.[5][6] The theory could potentially explain why a mysterious repulsive form of energy known as the "cosmological constant", and which is accelerating the expansion of the universe, is several orders of magnitude smaller than predicted by the standard Big Bang model."
      A different cyclic model relying on the notion of phantom energy was proposed in 2007 by Lauris Baum and Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.[7]"

      September 25, 2012 at 8:05 am |
      • jackhudson

        Hey, if you are going to mindlessly past Wiki texts, you should keep reading:

        "As Richard C. Tolman showed, the earlier cyclic model failed because the universe would undergo inevitable thermodynamic heat death. However, the newer cyclic model evades this by having a net expansion each cycle, preventing entropy from building up. However, there are major problems with the model. Foremost among them is that colliding branes are not understood by string theorists, and nobody knows if the scale invariant spectrum will be destroyed by the big crunch. Moreover, like cosmic inflation, while the general character of the forces (in the ekpyrotic scenario, a force between branes) required to create the vacuum fluctuations is known, there is no candidate from particle physics."

        So sorry no bounce. And no circle of life in atheism – just annihilation.

        September 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      You did not make that distinction, nor did you imply that distinction. And why would it matter when it comes to the concepts of hell that you are only willing to discuss one here? I really could give less of a shit what your particular concept is, because it's just one of thousands, and has the exact same evidence supporting it, zero.

      September 25, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Reality

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
      • jackhudson

        Let's try this again:

        Does conciousness end with death?

        September 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Hey, Jenn! Didja grow a brain yet? What is the hold-up, dear? Or are you satisfied with being the consummate dumb-azz sorority chick?

    September 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
  5. JERRY

    """"' YOUR CHOICE """"""""" have a nice night

    September 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Athy

      How about your punctuation keys? Those are the funny little marks on the lower right-hand part of your keyboard. Actually, don't bother. Your post would be nonsense even if it were written perfectly.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • End Religion

      my new "10 favorite words"...

      September 25, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • LtMacGowan

      I'll mock your god all I want. Kthnx

      September 25, 2012 at 1:38 am |
    • sam stone

      F you and F your god.

      how's THAT for mocking, cvnt?

      September 25, 2012 at 3:42 am |
  6. Colin

    While we're thinking about dropping big daddy badie, let's drop biggy daddie goodie. They are the functional equivalent. They both need each other to justify their existence and neither would make sense without the other. In this sense, Christianity is a classic dualistic religion.

    September 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • JERRY

      ya i am dropping big daddy bible in fact its big GODs bible accualy but thanks for noticing

      September 24, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • JERRY

      see thats because i dont believe in religion i belive in having a relationship with GOD through JESUS CHRIST and thanks again

      September 24, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      I don't know, Colin, you may have met your match in Jerry. There is a subtle nuance and sophistication to his arguments...

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

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      September 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • I wonder

      "a relationship with GOD through JESUS CHRIST"

      Oh really? Do you call each other on the phone (I'll bet you yell on there too)? Do you write emails to each other (does he fuss at you for using ALL CAPS?)? Do you run into each other at the mall? No - this "relationship" is in your brain - it's called imagination.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • I wonder

      Rufus T. Firefly,


      September 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • JamieL

      You believe in and worship Jesus Christ, a god, which qualifies as a religious belief no matter how much you protest it isn't.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      jerry, a personal relationship with invisible beings is known as insanity. Check your meds. Call a friend if you need to talk, just make sure that friend is real.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:15 am |
  7. JERRY


    September 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Athy

      Turn off your caps lock, Jerry. We might at least read your post. Of course it'll still be nonsense, but at least it'll be readable nonsense.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Later that year, Jerry discovered lowercase letters and sentences....

      September 24, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Athy

      It appears that the only punctuation mark he uses is quote marks – and those are used improperly.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      Maybe he was reaching for a tiny cross laying in the road one day, and got run over by a bus leaving him as a quadriplegic. So now, he's just angry all the time and Siri just has a hard time keeping up with his screaming.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
    • Reality

      (from Professor JD Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      September 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      Jerry: Your god is a vindictive, petty pr1ck. Now, get back on your knees before god sees you trying to be a man

      September 25, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  8. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    @Jenn: I wonder, dearie, what are you qualifications as a poster here. Can you post them for us? Us poor proles are all agog at your incredible intellectual prowess and wish to know how you achieved your incredible store of wisdom and knowledge! Do tell us all what degrees you possess and what position of prominence you hold in business or education or religion. We are simply dying to know!

    September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  9. 2357

    My my, I come back night after night and it's the same old parlor full of sunshine. Please tell me you "atheists" work for CNN, that you're just posting inanity for Starbucks coupons. Do they give you one extra if you wear your goth garb while you post?

    September 24, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Awww, you poor, pitiful little dork. Too bad you can't seem to come to grips with reality, honey.

      Better luck in your next life.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • 2357

      I thought I told you guys to abduct a Christian kid, or burn down a church. Well?

      September 24, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • mickey1313

      THe fact that any educated adult believws in judeo-christianity, is sad, so sad. Thiesm is the most re tar ded thing ever.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What, you thought anyone cared about your say-so? Ahehahhahhahhhha!

      September 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      I suppose when you can no longer afford the upkeep on the trailer, 2357, you can get some help from you new mormon pals. You know, maybe apply for a writing position. But I would strongly advise you not include any of your old evangelical fortune cookie fortunes as samples of your skills. I don't think that will go over too well.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @2357, huh?

      September 24, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • 2357

      I knew it. What are they giving you, free iPhones? Yoga classes? Dinner vouchers at zen palate? I know my writing sucks, but at least I'm not pimping myself for pay. It must be touring though, being a petulant prlck day after day.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      @2357, Yes then... I'll be the first to admit that we're all apart of a grand left-wing conspiracy. I'm mean, sure we get free iphones, ipads and startbucks coffee, that goes without saying. However, CNN is only a pawn orchestrated by our true lord and master, Satan, a.k.a., Mr. Big.

      It may surprise you to know that he looks just like us and walks around pretending to be a run-of-the-mill healthcare worker who is promoting healthcare for all.

      So yes, we get all kinds of wonderful free stuff from our overlord including free healthcare. My next question is, what is your overlord giving you and would you be interested in a job working for our side, or can you make me a better offer to join your side?

      September 25, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • 2357

      My Lord gave me this life, and he gives more life to all those who love him.
      Because this life is not nearly enough.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • GodFreeNow

      @2357, Sure, but does he give you free iphones, ipads, coffee and healthcare?

      September 25, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • End Religion

      CNN pays the lease on my Prius. All I need to do is refute dimwitted religious people all day. It is the easiest job I've ever had.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:54 am |
  10. What da U think

    Not sure if this has been addressed, but what do all the RC priests ( and all those other religious heads who make a mockery of their preaching) believe in, those that have destroyed all those innocent childrens lives? To me, one who has followed such a religious regime,turns it into their own morbid fantasy, one would think would be afraid to face Jesus? And what about those fellow priests who ask forgiveness of their peers? Or could it be Jesus forgiving Jesus in the name of Jesus....just saying!

    September 24, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Jenn

      "what about those fellow priests who ask for forgiveness from their peers"
      This is one of the many ways where the Roman Catholic tradition has missed the mark.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • 2357

      Priests don't believe in Jesus. They worship Jesus' mom, and the man with the funny hat who carries the corpse of Jesus on a stick.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot


      I have as many, if not more, arguments against the Catholic Church as you do, but I will stick to factual slams. You should too. You are either totally unaware of their teachings or you are lying for some perceived dramatic effect.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • 2357

      Catholic doctrine is such that you can have profound unbelief in the deity of Jesus and yet remain an outstanding catholic. As long as you obey the church ordinances, they don't care what you actually believe in. They believe faith grows out of willful obedience. This is why along with the Anglican counterpart, they've spawned so many famous atheist luminaries.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      ... the infamous battle over who's fairy tale is most "true" ... fight on!

      September 25, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • End Religion

      or whose, as the case may be

      September 25, 2012 at 1:57 am |
    • Ann

      As a recovering Catholic (gave it up for Lent!), I'd say those priests just feel that they've failed their temptation, but will ultimately be forgiven if they pray enough. Anything can be forgiven if you pray enough. I know, I think it's ridiculous, too.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  11. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    What happened to you, Primal Numbskull? Did you get beaten to a pulp by your mama? You poser, you pretender, you phony! You don't even own your own computer, do you?

    Really, what a complete disappointment you are.

    Except to those of us who revel in your complete disgrace. We're ecstatic.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  12. Vizier

    Hell doesn't exist and was only a fear mechanism introduced by European societies that wanted to dominate societies that they were too frail physically to control.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  13. Bob Zanis

    LOL This article's comments could keep some one laughing for hours.....

    September 24, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      So a representative from each religion walked into a bar, each with a monkey. The bartender says, "hey i don't serve their kind in here." The monkeys say in unison, "Sorry, we forgot it was an atheist bar."

      September 25, 2012 at 2:00 am |
  14. Richard

    "Former Atheist Howard Storm shares his near death experience (NDE) and out of body experience (OBE) and what was revealed to him"


    September 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • End Religion

      nothing was revealed to him. He simply experienced his own brain grasping for life while the his body was near death. SO many have experienced it because we all have brain. We probably almost all experience zany stuff right before we die as our brains fire crazily, its just that a lot of us don't come back from that point: we die. Those that do claim something mystical, but its just like anything else with religion - they do not understand what happened so they fill that gap in their knowledge with "god did it".

      September 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Hmm mm. Yep – I've seen things too when my body was pumped full of all kinds of toxic cr ap when they were trying to stay alive. Maybe I should have tried to make some dough from it like some people.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Maybe I'm one of the only people here who have had 2 near-death experiences. And yeah, they're trippy... I'm still an atheist As I didn't see anything that was outside of the scope of my currently reality. Meaning, there was nothing to see that didn't already exist in my mind in some form. All this is evidence of is how perceptions are formed and recalled.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • tallulah13

      The same symptoms as "near-death experiences" have been reported by perfectly healthy astronauts and pilots training at high Gs. It's funny what your brain will come up with when it's under stress.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • That guy

      It's hypothesized that the cause of near-death experiences might be a massive release of dimethyltryptamine, a psychedelic compound that occurs naturally in the human body. We really don't know exactly what role it plays in the human body, but it is thought to have something to do with dreaming. Tests show that it does cause NDE-like hallucinations. Some people also hallucinate alien abductions.

      September 25, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  15. Paul Wilson

    Mr. Driscoll, I can't recall where I read your name before, but I reject this hell nonsense. I also reject Jersus because he has waited far too long to hurry up and come back, I believe in an afterlife, but I reject this hell nonsense. It's because we didn't KILL all who preached it that the belief and fear persists.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  16. PrimeNumber

    Atheists insist that god does not exist. They are right, but in a sense that they wouldn't like. Everything that "exists"has the quality or property of Being. Everything – trees, atheists, stars – are numbered among the things of the universe. But god does not possess the property of Being, is not numbered among the things of the universe, and therefore does not "exist" as atheists understand it. Instead, God is the very source of all Being. Atheists want evidence that can be discovered among the things of the universe using instruments and their senses, and the processor called the brain. None of this is any good when trying to discover the Source of existence itself.

    This Source (God) is so vast that the universe cannot contain Him, yet is entirely present on the point of a pin. Atheists cannot be under a microsope and at the same time looking through it. So they cannot even understand themselves. And God is closer to the atheist than the atheist is to himself. No wonder the atheist cannot see God.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Atheists do NOT universally "insist" anything of the sort, you retarded azz.

      Let us all know the moment you decide to be intellectually honest, you dolt.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Looks like PrimeNumber is turning into PrimeTroll.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      As you only have a human brain how did you discover this source of existence? How did you discover that god doesn't count as being? Your post doesn't in any way address the issue – what evidence is there that your god exists?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's truly hard to imagine anyone as intellectually dishonest as PN having an income sufficient to render the purchase of a computer realistic.

      I would guess the azzwipe lives in his great-gramma's basement.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      PN is nothing more than a little twerp who never got out of his mama's house. He still goes to the store to buy her groceries and she smacks him silly if he doesn't use the coupons before they expire.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Jenn

      I've not read an intelligent comment yet by you Mr Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      September 24, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ooooh, ahh! How hurt am I that the august JENN doesn't like my comments! Woe is me. However will I recover from such slings and arrows?

      Get fvcked, Jenny.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • mickey1313

      what an untenable argument. If theat were true, the is (YHVH) could never manifest, as the bible claims he did in the past, ut strangly does not now. If there was a god, and he granted free will, he would not punish the use of said free will. And would not require one to bown down to him.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • End Religion

      @prime "Atheists insist that god does not exist."

      we don't universally claim that. Generally we claim it is highly improbable however there is a slim chance there is a creator. Some feel its so unlikely we may as well just say there isn't one but we're all individuals and so feel differently about that. We don't know any more than you know about the fact of the matter.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      @prime "Atheists insist that god does not exist."

      Some of us, like me, say "there is no god" because there isn't one in the sense of how most people believe it, in an Abrahamic religion sort of way. The bible, qoran, et al have been repeatedly shown as contradictory, false and/or based on unreliable "evidence," therefore a god such as what you believe in cannot exist. The books and documents that claim it are manmade rubbish inspired by delusion, fear and ignorance.

      As we've gained real knowledge about our world, this manmade god was pushed further and further back into the gaps of our knowledge. In the Iron Age his "miracles" were a dime a dozen, except now we know those as naturally occurring events. We see a pattern, and that makes it more probable to us there is no god.

      "Instead, God is the very source of all Being."

      Perhaps there is a creator. It simply cannot be the one you subscribe to.

      "Atheists want evidence that can be discovered among the things of the universe using instruments and their senses, and the processor called the brain. None of this is any good when trying to discover the Source of existence itself."

      And finally we arrive at your reasoning to live your life in ignorance. "We can't know the answer so why bother trying?" Pitiful...

      Beyond your pathetic worldview, without your god of guilt, hate and violence, we are discovering the source of existence a bit at a time. We've come a long way and have quite some distance yet to go. We live in the golden age of our universe. Its a wonderful time to be alive.

      "This Source (God) is so vast that the universe cannot contain Him, yet is entirely present on the point of a pin."

      All you need to do is show some empirical evidence to support your claim, otherwise it will continue to rightfully be written off as delusion.

      "Atheists cannot be under a microsope and at the same time looking through it. So they cannot even understand themselves. And God is closer to the atheist than the atheist is to himself. No wonder the atheist cannot see God."

      We do understand ourselves pretty well now. Of course we have much learning to do. Your gibberish about microscopes makes no sense and is obviously proof of nothing. You keep repeating this stuff and it gets refuted over and over. I guess you don't have any interest in pulling through your veil of ignorance but at least its nice for others to keep seeing this. Hopefully they have a more rational view.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  17. Richard

    Romans 10:13 " for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”


    September 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Peteyroo

      Knock it off, Dickie.

      September 24, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • End Religion

      False. According to your own contradictory rules, those who've denied the holy ghost will not be saved even if they later ask forgiveness.

      September 24, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      @End Religion: So i see you are quite religious and think your religion is the final end religion.
      Are you muslim or Rasta?

      September 24, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      b4bigbang i subscribe to no religion.

      September 25, 2012 at 12:00 am |
    • b4bigbang

      No subsciption, so must be small group if not enough members for magazine?

      September 25, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • End Religion

      we have lesions.
      ...rats, i mean "We are legion!"

      September 25, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • b4bigbang

      @End Religion: Legionaire eh? I can respect that. First you guys suffer, keeping us free, only to get infected with some disease in a Vegas casino. Don't seem fair.
      Yeah I can understand attending the meetings religiously. It's a band of bros, right?
      But I've always wondered what you guys do at the club building. Is it as cool as the Elks and Shriners, you know, with a keg and stuff?

      September 25, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • b4bigbang

      But I thought you guys had a magazine. Prob had to take it out of circulation, what with the recession and all huh?

      September 25, 2012 at 1:12 am |
    • b4bigbang

      It's just as well, cause paper and ink is sooo 20th century.
      Internet mags are where it's at now.

      September 25, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Btw, is the legionaires disease where the lesions that you mentioned come from?
      And if so, is it painful?
      What's the cure? I can't remember Dr House ever tackling it, so it must not be a big challenge anymore.
      And that's a good thing for sure!

      September 25, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • End Religion

      we definitely got the short end of the stick, but hey, we're here for you

      September 26, 2012 at 12:44 am |
  18. PrimeNumber

    "Why does our view of hell matter? Because believers in hell believe in revenge" Sounds very simple, doesn't it. Schaefer, like Dawkins, is another apparent authority on religion and religious people. A good position to be in – an expert without having to know a thing about theology.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      He's even with you, then.

      Oh, wait. Nobody is asking you to publish an opinion. So sad for you.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • End Religion

      Numbers 35:19, 21 "The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him."

      September 24, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  19. PrimeNumber

    "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?" Schaefer has it wrong. 9/11 was the culmination of eighty years of western secular meddling in and exploitation of the Middle East. Schaefer may want for this to be a religious war but he'll have to work harder.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      "Scular meddling"? Examples and sources?

      September 24, 2012 at 9:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, THIS should be entertaining. Watching PrimeNumbskull present evidence for his asinine beliefs will be most interesting. Or most comical. I'm betting on the latter. It's always hilarious watching religious fvcktards skewer themselves.

      September 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  20. Peteyroo

    I left something off the list of things that simply don't exist in spite of protestations to the contrary: non-judgmental evangelicals.

    September 24, 2012 at 9:28 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.