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. Ben Welliver

    The curious thing about libs is, they all seem to be experts on the Bible without having read one word of it. They seem to know exactly what the "real" God and "real" Jesus are like, which is about like my three-year-old nephew claiming knowledge of quantum mechanics. Come to think of it, my nephew likes to shoot his mouth off too, and no adult thinks his opinions matter in the slightest. He's not malicious and spiteful, though, so he wouldn't make a good liberal.

    September 30, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • cblogz

      If you want to meet some liberals who have read the Bible, go to the Religion department of any university or college. You probably won't agree with their scholarly views, though.

      September 30, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • Seyedibar

      I'm not sure what you mean by "libs". People who support freedom? People who are atheists? Do you even now yourself what you mean? if you mean atheists, then you should be aware that recent polls and studies proved that most atheists were far more well-versed in biblical literature than their believing counterparts. Perhaps their reluctance to believe is based on actually being able to comprehend the huge amount of fiction in the bible, torah, and koran.

      September 30, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  2. Geff

    The famous Christian author C.S. Lewis once wrote "The concept of infinite punishment for finite crime is inconsistent with the idea of a loving God.

    September 30, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Anthony Zarrella

      The very same author (whom I greatly admire) also did believe in Hell (there's a whole segment devoted to it in Mere Christianity – one of his best-known theological works – and also a whole extended metaphor for it in the last book of The Chronicles of Narnia).

      His works are actually the principle source of my explanation a few posts up (not the source of my *beliefs* – that would be the Bible and the Catechism – but the inspiration for the way I express them). Namely, Hell isn't God's punishment for sin – it's the ultimate expression of His gift of free will. We can choose to serve Him and love Him, but if we instead choose to reject Him, He will respect that choice, and give us exactly what we chose: eternity apart from Him.

      In the Narnia example, when Aslan (a.k.a. lion Jesus) appears at the end of the world, and transforms the entrance to a mere stable into a doorway to Heaven, everyone present (and presumably everyone living) is called before him. Those who look upon him and are struck with reverence and love are sent through the doorway into Heaven, but those who look upon him and are struck with fear and hatred are sent into shadow (and while we're not told what exactly happens to them, oblivion would be the *best* possible outcome). A group of dwarves, who were already in the stable, steadfastly refuse to acknowledge anything supernatural happening, insisting that they "won't be tricked," and they are therefore unable to see it as anything but a dirty stable (and are presumably also left behind in shadow when the world ends).

      In Mere Christianity, Lewis makes the choice argument far more explicit, and makes it clear that he *is* talking about Hell, not just cessation of existence.

      September 30, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  3. Mark Ramsey MD

    If one believes in a Supreme Being that is the creator of humanity, it absolutely bewilders me thatone could believe in hell. It is undeniable that man has free will, and that man is fallible. If we are to believe that this Supreme Being is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, then it was known beforehand that man would fail, and a place of eternal torment was created to torture untold billlions of these beloved children. Does this make sense to any parent? We are told we are created in God's image. Can any parent imagine their child committing an act so egregious that you would choose to condemn them to eternal, ETERNAL, suffering? Any person who has ever cared for and loved a child, or a pet, or a parent, or anyone, knows that this concept is simply unfathomable. Theists (of which I am one) must ultimately come to the conclusion that a Creator loves us unconditionally, and forgives us unconditionally, in a purity that the limits of our humanity cannot imagine. Hell is a creation of the human mind, not of an infallible Creator.

    September 30, 2012 at 8:16 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      For Christians, 'Jhn 14:17 [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.'

      September 30, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      '2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.'

      September 30, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • jade

      I agree wholeheartedly. i also find it amazing how little people know about the HISTORY of the creation of the bible. The fact that the information that did not suit the leaders of the time was conveniently omitted. Must be nice to take out major portions that basically reject all the parts you kept in. But people are taught never to question and to believe that those who discovered the scrolls and developed the bible would have gone to hell had they changed anything from it. Yet the keep developing new editions to the bible and remaking it as the views and opinions change. I lived many years in fear as a "christian" fearing god will come back and take away my privileges if I did not believe in what I was being taught (out of over 8000) christian religions I better have the right one. Finally after being threatened constantly by these people (I will not name) I said to them if god is this way I'd rather not serve him because I refused to be bullied into worship. I will deal with the consequences.

      September 30, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • IdI Aminni

      I say that all the time.. What gowould create a child , knowing that he/she was going to hell forever. Better yet why doesnt "God" just kill the "devil" and rid us of evil

      September 30, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • april8992

      Absolutely makes no sense at all. I agree, as a parent I don't care what my kids did, I would NEVER stop loving them and I certainly would not send them to a place of hell to burn for eternity. Heaven and hell is just a state of mind. What you believe is very powerful. Do you believe in a loving God or spirit that allows us to live life and grow? Or a vengeful God that says, "Get it right, or burn for eternity?" That just doesn't resonate with me at all. I have always felt loved and powerful, knowing that I am cared for, I chose this journey to live life and learn from my experiences. I know that it isn't so much what happens to me, but how I choose to see it. My most difficult times in life have caused me to grow so much, to learn, to seek the higher truths. The highest form of love is unconditional love. God does not demand, but lovingly guides around and within us. We are part of that power.

      September 30, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Anthony Zarrella

      I don't know about you, Mark, but my parents (who I consider to be the best parents a kid could have asked for) never let me out of timeout (or grounding, or whatever other punishment) until I apologized and they were convinced I was sincere.

      If by "forgive unconditionally" you mean that no sin is too great to be forgiven, then sure, I agree 100%. As you say, God knows we're imperfect beings, and that we *can't* live up to perfect justice of our own accord, and so He *certainly* doesn't keep some sort of cosmic ledger and damn anyone who's in the red.

      However, if by "unconditionally" you mean "*absolutely* no conditions, *including* repentance" then I couldn't disagree more. The worst monsters in history – the Hitlers, and Jack the Rippers, and Bin Ladens – are not too far gone for God to forgive... *if* they wish to be forgiven (which by definition entails an acknowledgment of wrongdoing). If Hitler appeared before God and said (or thought, or felt – sincerely, of course) "I'm so sorry, Lord. I'd take it all back if I could. Please forgive me!" then I have no doubt that he was forgiven. On the other hand, if Hitler appeared before God and still clung to the belief that he had nothing to apologize for, and that if God thought differently, then God was wrong – well then, God didn't damn him, he damned himself by refusing to accept the redemption God offered.

      September 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  4. eyemakeart

    is this a joke? future is dying while you argue the semantics of hell! you should be ashamed of yourself!

    September 30, 2012 at 5:06 am |
  5. Cantard

    Yech. Mark Driscoll. I have a cousin that fell in with Mars Hill. We're fairly certain it's the next thing to a cult. That being said, God loves us so much that if we do not acknowledge his total merciful love then we are banished to a lake of fire to burn for all eternity? I have little patience or tolerance for this particular branch of theology and none what so ever for Driscoll. I will concede though that Driscoll does not speak for Christianity on the whole and represents his own unique segment of Christianity.

    September 30, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      You like zero tolerance policies? Makes it hell on the kids.

      September 30, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  6. Ed

    So many people, so many religions. If any particular one is true, a majority of earthlings are gonna feel the heat because they didn't board the proper bus, or weren't born in the proper place. Every religion, demonination and sect thinks they have it right, but how inept God must be that the message was so muddled, that He couldn't even manage a majority. The message so confused and contradictory, that people fought with furvor over their interpretations, even torchering to compel belief. God may be the most common excuse for war. Why would anyone worship such an inept and cruel being?

    September 30, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Your dog ate your homework. The battery exploded. A tornado leveled your house. Your mom committed suicide.

      September 30, 2012 at 3:30 am |
  7. Paul

    What is the Bible Hell?
    Hebrew, she’ohl’ and Greek, hai’des. Both these words refer to the common grave of mankind.
    Another Bible word that appears in Greek, ge’en-na which is used as a symbol of eternal (total) destruction is sometimes misapplied to the above Greek and Hebrew words.
    So what happens to a person that dies, Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all . . . All that your hand finds to do, do with your very power, for there is no work nor devising nor knowledge nor wisdom in Sheol, the place to which you are going.”
    This word “sheol” (Hebrew) is translated in various translations as, “the grave”, “hell” and “world of the dead”.

    Think about this then, if a person is “conscious of nothing at all”, how can they feel pain?

    September 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      '1Cr 3:19-20 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.'

      September 30, 2012 at 3:42 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Mr. Paul, God took you by using Solomon. You are dead meat, along with your pals at the Watchtower.

      September 30, 2012 at 3:46 am |
  8. Tim Tebow

    We do not make a choice to accept Christ as our savior. That decision is already know to God before you are born (I am the Alpha and the Omega; as well as the Book of Revelation telling future events). If God already knows your afterlife before you are even born (name written in Book of Life before birth), then you are not making a choice; your acting out your roll that God already set for you. Original Sin – the Bible left out the start of his command to Adam and Eve..."I know your going to eat the fruit of life but do not eat it or you will doom future human generations to internal damnation." God already knew Eve would eat the fruit which means she did not make a choice.

    September 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      So being an atheist would be perfectly in line with your god's plan then – if there were any gods....

      September 29, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      TT, knowing beforehand a choice someone makes is in no ways agreeing with it. You are a cluck.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Anybody know...

      Why are you trying to sound reasonable in this post when all Tim Tebow has to do is look at your other posts for evidence of your disassociation with reality?

      September 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Moby Schtick, perchance TT is not a stalker like you and your daddy, Uncle Sugar.

      September 30, 2012 at 3:59 am |
  9. Think-About-It

    About Frank S. who wrote this pathetic article.... This poor delusional man should refresh himself by reading his own father's "Escape from Reason: How the rejection of the biblical God causes man to lose contact with reality and reason"

    September 29, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • moi

      If you were intelligent, you would realize that this is a two part article with two authors. If anyone was reaching far into fiction and fantasy it was the later contribution.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      My, my! Don't you just love to show your a$$ by attempting to discredit someone else's intelligence. But that's just the very tactic that those with a complex of inferiority love to use! All washed out, eh!?

      September 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  10. gstlab3

    Check out the F O X video they rae trying to hide now of the guy killing himself on live T.V.

    It happened yesterday the 28th.

    Car chase a short run and then blamo!!!!

    Darwin wins again!!!

    September 29, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • niknak

      What insults have we barked?
      We are mearly pointing out that you have no facts to support your god hypothesis.
      I have never insulted anyone on here, and I have not seen any other non believers insulting anyone.
      We are just tired of having you "believers" trying to push your beliefs on us and our families.
      Please take note of this, we don't care that you want to believe in fairy tales. It is your wasted time, not ours.
      But stop trying to interject that fairy tale into our bedrooms, our classrooms, our courtrooms, and our congress.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • niknak

      Hit the wrong reply button, that was to you Think about it, in the following comment.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  11. Eric Lytle

    Schaeffer's comments about belief in hell are totally absurd. "Believers in hell believe in revenge." "Revenge" has no connection with the doctrine of hell, none, period. People reject God and his presence, hell is being away from God's presence, so God "sends" no one there. Schaeffer says the "real" God is "all-forgiving" – not so. He does not forgive unless a person asks forgiveness. People have free will.
    Schaeffer is a very angry, bitter creature who never got over being the son of an evangelical superstar, so he will spend the rest of us life throwing a extended hissyfit at Christians. Obviously he cannot be trusted to speak the truth about what Christians really believe. I found it amusing that he says people who believe in hell are bent on revenge – I think psychologists call that "projection." Let him spew his hate, he is like an annoying little Yorkshire terrier, not frightening, just funny.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • niknak

      Seems to me, from what I read from you fundies, that people only have free will to do bad things.
      When someone does something good, you fundies all say how that came from god's grace and not free will.
      If you believe in god, then I guess you have to go all the way and believe in this hell concept too.
      And since you fundies just make it up as you go along, then it is exactly what you say it is.
      Until that changes, like it always has in the history of religions.

      September 29, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Judgmental person worships a judgmental god, huh?

      September 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      "Let him spew his hate, he is like an annoying little Yorkshire terrier, not frightening, just funny."
      Yep, Eric you've got it right! That's what he is. And that's what those who come here barking their insults, also are!

      September 29, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
  12. Moby Schtick

    Hell is an evil, disgusting concept. If you think it's a righteous idea, then you think extreme, horrifying evil is good.

    September 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • niknak

      You and both know hell is just a concept to keep the sheep comming back and giving the scammers their hard earned money.
      Nothing motivates better then fear. Religions the world over have perfected that to a T.
      Religion, the best and longest and most lucrative ponzi scheme ever invented.....

      September 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  13. Tom Sinclair

    "And nowhere on earth have conservative Christians been closer to controlling foreign policy than here in the United States.", writes Frank Schaeffer. The reality is, that nowhere on earth is the bulls**t so thick. George Bush may have honored Jesus Christ with his mouth, but his heart was far from him. Let's get two things straight: you cannot swear oaths to secret societies and advocate for war and be a Christian. It just does niot fit and you can find zero justification for war in the new covenant. ZERO. Secondly, Christians should immediately divest themselves of politics. You belong to a King and a Kingdom, not of this earth. Your business, your duty, your privilege, is in the prayer closet, not the ballot box. You play the fool to think your vote counts for anything and that you can bring about change this way. God will truly give you what you deserve. Whatever we have sown, that will we also reap....and I'm talking about you church, not the world.

    September 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Cantard

      'you cannot swear oaths to secret societies and advocate for war and be a Christian.'

      Really? Can you quote the chapter and verse where Jesus says this?

      September 30, 2012 at 4:21 am |
  14. Laurence Bourbon

    Hell is the invention of psychotic religious fanatics and sadists. They aren't content with seeing their enemies punished on Earth so they wish to be assured that the "lost" will burn for all eternity and be tortured in the most gruesome of ways. This sick wish for vengeance seems to go against all of the high-minded Christian talk of a "loving" God. In the end, Hell and the efforts to save one from it, is so often used to justify the most horrific atrocities ever committed by human beings. Wake up people. All religion is a lie and the world would be better off without it.

    September 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Athy


      September 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Lay off the sauce, Bourbon. Try Scotch and the KJV for a change. James was Scottish. Do ya some gud.

      September 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agreed. A "loving" god who "casts out all fear" would not allow hell. Obviously.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • moi

      of course, agreed.

      September 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Voting means zip, in a patriarchy. You are patriotic, right?

      September 29, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Agreed belongs in the same category as greed.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  15. Holdon McGroin

    I for one will never abandon the concept of h e l l. There are two many politicians and dictators whom I wish to spend eternity there.

    September 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So you want people to suffer forever and ever because you have different ideas than they do? How disgusting.

      September 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Wanting justice is not evil. 'Rev 6:10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?' As long as you let the Father do it, not like the muslims.

      September 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Athy

      To hell with vou, Holdon.

      September 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Anybody read

      Of course not. Allowing eternal torture is the only evil deserving of eternal torture; thus, a hell-creating and allowing god is the only one evil enough for hell to be just punishment.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Kill another baby, Moby Schtick. I know how you love the wurld, and the song 'We r da wurld'. So sing a verse, 'And their lives will be stronger and free.
      As God has shown us by turning stone to bread'

      September 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Anybody know..

      Is insanity fun?

      September 29, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  16. David N

    I watched all 30 seconds of the video. Some guy named Brian D McClaren smirking and a catholic mass in the background, or some type of quasi-mass anyways. The video told my zero that I did not know already. McLaren is just another Emerging Church guy trying to round people up into the left wing of the Roman Catholic church.

    September 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Think-About-It

      "McLaren is just another Emerging Church guy trying to round people up into the left wing of the Roman Catholic church."
      Yeah, emerging from hell!

      September 29, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Church is not capitalized in the KJV. Ya think those guys knew something? 'Specially since the Greek is all capitals? The pharisees in ye olde USA inc'd em with capitals! BOW Down Churches! Time for your discipline.

      September 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
  17. John

    Francis Schaffer, Im kind of curious where you get this idea that any major christian branch believes God "smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell." Centuries of persecuted missionaries who spent their lives evangelizing might like a word with you. And quoth the bible: "Vengeance is mine, I will repay; says the Lord".

    Youre either some kind of epic troll, looking to cause a controversy for controversy's sake, or you are remarkably ignorant.

    September 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  18. Kirk

    Hell fire and brimstone, scare tactics used by false religion to keep people coming back to church and pay the clergy. Jesus spoke in illustrations, lake of fire symbolic of everlasting death, what happens when your burn something? It is destroyed. Hum, lets see, my child did something so bad I will put his hand over a fire to show how I disproved his actions. The wicked will be destroyed & go back to dust, those who choose to be meek or teachable will by God's grace enjoy paradise. Eccl. 9:5, "The SOUL that is sinning it itself will die." God did not give Adam a soul, He breathed into Adam the breath of life & Adam became a living soul. The immortal soul was adopted by apostate Chistians from Greek philosophy.

    September 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Solomon gave the world the star of Molech with the 6 points. The Jews are proud of it and put it on their flag. They pin the deed on David. You do know that Solomon is the author of Ecclesiastes. He was a very very smart man, but not much on Believing God. BTW, God recorded the story for your learning.

      September 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  19. David N

    Now to address Frank Schaeffer. You make this absurd blanket argument that christian people who believe in hell fire want to send people there. The argument is so ridiculously tainted wth bigotry its hard to know where to begin. First off, lets cover some basics. George W Bush not only takes communion in Catholic churches, he said he saw God while looking in the Pope's eyes. Now I ask you, is Geo W Bush a conservative evangelical chrstian, or is he a a papal supremicist pretending to be a christian? The answer should be so obvious a 5th grader could figure it out.

    September 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Seyedibar

      He's merely a fool for believing in gods and magic.

      September 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      In my view, the hell-believer is culpable because he worships a being he consider holiest and best of all who allows people to be tortured forever. If somebody worships Hitler's way of doing business, it says a lot about him.

      September 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      One who believes in and worships evil is evil.

      September 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  20. Rev. George E. Rittenhouse

    Thank you, Mark, for your clear, concise outline of the Gospel and the consequences of unbelief.

    Frank I'm sorry, but you missed the boat. In fact, to do what you suggest – abandon a belief in hell – is tantamount to calling Jesus a liar. Basically you counsel us to create our own Jesus. That's idolatry.

    September 29, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      I bet it scares you, Rev., when people question your bread and butter.

      September 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

      Rev, jesus is not a liar, but only because the supernatural jesus story is a lie. isn't that what you call myths that have no proof, despite thousands of years of charlatans claiming otherwise?

      September 29, 2012 at 1:51 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.