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. End Religion

    Will be watching "Walking Dead" on AMC tonight, which is all about the minority's resistance against religion. The religious are the mindless undead ones who shamble around trying to kill intelligence and thought by devouring our brains. The undead want to force their "Truth" onto us by killing free thought. Join the resistance. End religion now!

    OK, maybe I don't believe any of that. It's just a good zombie show. I just needed a reason to post it "on topic" in the religion section.

    October 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • correctlycenter

      The butcher gangsters who outlawed Christianity (Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and others) thought like you also! Tens of millions died at the hands of people who outlawed God because they were their own little gods of totalitarianism. And no, Hitler was not a Christian. A true follower of Jesus Christ is humble, not hungry for absolute power, obedient to the Lord and is salt and light in a dark world. These murderers listed above thrived on murder, intimidation, and all out fear...

      October 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, stop your hyperventilating, Violetta. No one is "outlawing" anything, you moronic ninny.

      October 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "correctlycenter", but your assertions regarding atheism and Hitler are unfounded. For example, Hitler was in fact, a Christian. The degree to which your assertions may represent truths is 0.0. To help you understand the degree to which your assertions may represent truths, I will access my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE). Using my IEE module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      October 14, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Satanluv

      End, why don't they just lure the zombies in and kill them all...it makes me nuts...put a tape recorder of a baby crying in a big house and when it is full of zombies, burn it to the ground...or in a ship and sink it in the Marianas Trench...lets see em get out of that one...or get em all into Giants Stadium and hose them down with gasoline...at least, at least get all Vietcong on them...did some punji pits, set some IED's and stop sleeping on the f re akin ground...oh and god is fake

      October 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • J

      As a human I am ok with killing in the name of god. We should all just give up the quest for peace and just kill infidels. Let's just agree once and for all that's what we want. Christian and Muslim. Boy it's gong to be a rough one.

      October 15, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  2. End Religion


    October 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  4. correctlycenter

    Matthew 7:13-14
    "Jesus said, You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and it's gate is wide for the many who choose the easy way. But the gateway to life is small, and the road is narrow, and only few ever find it."

    Luke 16:19-31
    " Jesus said, There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed and who lived each day in luxury. At his door lay a diseased beggar named Lazarus. As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man's table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores. Finally the beggar died and was carried up by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried, and his soul went to the place of the dead. There in torment, he saw Lazarus in the far distance with Abraham.

    The rich man shouted, Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in anguish in these flames. But Abraham said to him, Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish. And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. Anyone who wanted to cross over to you from here is stopped at it's edge, and no one there an cross over to us.

    Then the rich man said, Please Father Abraham, send him to my father's home. For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them about this place of torment so they won't have to come here when they die. But Abraham said, Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read their writings anytime they want to. The rich man replied, No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins. But Abraham said, If they won't listen to Moses and the prophets, they won't listen even if someone rises from the dead."

    October 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • mama k

      More worthless junk from Gullible's Travels. Did you ever try coming up with an original idea in your life?

      October 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      cc, you do nothing less than promote intellectual slavery.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • sam stone

      wow, CC, quoting a book! you don't get any more convincing that that, nosireeebob.

      jesus is waiting, what are you doing down here?

      a little cowardly?

      October 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Satanluv

      Blah blah Blah..."the bible says lots of things"- Chief Wiggum...you get more truth and wisdom from the Simpsons than you'll ever get from the bible: a mishmash of contradictions mixed in with the moral codes from a dozen or more cultures with a lot of mythology and myth thrown in on top written by goatherds who would have been hard pressed to explain why the sun came up in the morning or what was over the horizon but amazingly understood the mysteries of the universe which they didn't know existed...I think Paul said something similar to the Corinthians btw

      October 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  5. Kindness

    For you.
    My personal testamony
    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    October 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      as if the value of choosing to live in ignorance is to be cherished... You may as well reword this "I am so so stupid and proud of it that I do whatever I can to remain stupid and even seek ways to increase my stupidity."

      October 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      Is it closing time at the church? So you've decided to spew your nonsense here. If we wanted to read the bible we could manage on our own.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  6. correctlycenter

    The Wisdom of God
    The Apostle Paul tells us in 1st Corinthians 1:18-21:
    " I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being saved recognize the message as the very power of God. As the scriptures say (Isaiah 29:14) I (God) will destroy human wisdom and discard their most brilliant ideas. So where does this leave the philosophers, scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish praching to save all who believe."

    October 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • End Religion

      what is foolish is basing one's life on a proven lie. The jesus you believe in never existed. The bible and all religion is a fraud.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Satanluv

      blah blah blah..I can think of 10 books that have more to say and make a heck of a lot more sense...how you can base your life on a bunch of contradictory nonsense is beyond me..there is no deeper meaning in your bible...no secret mysteries..its just a book written by people who had no idea how the world or the universe worked..a simple ignorant people who knew less than my children know...

      October 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Satanluv

      I took Pop N Fresh as my personal savior once..It was delicious

      October 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • sam stone

      The arrogance of purporting to speak for god

      October 15, 2012 at 7:54 am |
  7. Kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    Truth... Is exclusive.

    October 14, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      @kindness: "The world denounces truth"

      The world seeks the truth through science. Your delusion is the surrender of truth, which is ignorance.

      "You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you."

      It is this way because it is an emotionally delusional response to ignorance and fear. Nothing more.

      "We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter."

      Your sentence makes no sense. Dark matter is a hypothesis, not scientific theory.

      "Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners."

      False. Sin is a concept derived from your religion, which is a fraud. There is no such thing a sin.

      "It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said."

      The hardest thing to do, perhaps proven by the need for religion, is to accept we are born and die and that's it. There is no point to existence. There is no afterlife. Many humans simply can't accept this truth and find they need a christ buddy to hold their hand and whisper lies to them about life everlasting – just to get from day to day.

      "the rullers that rule you through deception."

      You compound the problem by furthering the fraud of religion, the best deception by which to keep you under someone's thumb.

      "Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment."

      AT least in this you seem to have found success.

      "Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive."

      Obviously this fictional movie had great impact on your fictional religion.

      "I tell the truth."

      No, you try to explain your delusion. Describing emotions is tough.

      "Truth is.. exclusive.

      Belief may be exclusive. Truth is universal, and religion is not in the realm of truth.

      October 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..."

      So, if you believe in it, it must be true?

      October 15, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  8. Kindness

    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    October 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, sweetie. There is no evidence of your anvil being anything but a delusion and there are more hammers than ever.

      October 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  9. eyeswideopen

    Google " Lanciano" and read about what happened there. Everybody tell us your thoughts on that. Keep in mind that the Catholic religion does not take miracles lightly. Please......no attacks about "stupid" "ignorant" etc etc. An adult response would be nice.

    October 14, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • End Religion

      "an adult response"
      That's just the problem isn't it? An adult response should be that magic doesn't exist.

      October 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Chad

      Magic: The power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
      Supernatural: Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.

      using that definition, multiverses are "magic".
      which is why it's a spurious thing to say..

      October 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • End Religion

      @chad: you are the king of the strawman defense...
      The multiverse is a hypothesis not a scientific theory. Even many scientists aren't on board with it because it cannot be tested. So having shown even your strawman is presented in ignorance, we go back to the topic, wherein the OP wanted to know our thoughts on a priest from 500 years ago who suffered a delusion.

      October 14, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    We should never abandon the idea of Paradise for good people;

    because GOD is real, and His Promises are absolutely True:



    October 14, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • midwest rail

      Translation – We can't get anyone to visit our website and buy our B.S. unless we steal free advertising.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:57 am |
    • DC

      Which God is real? What proof do you have that your God is real. What about other Gods?

      October 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  11. correctlycenter

    Atheists should abandon their vain and foolish attempt to disprove God. Silly comments and the belief that we came from monkeys is totally ridiculous...

    October 13, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • rick


      no one is attempting to disprove god

      no one is saying we came from monkeys

      if you were more aware of the above, you wouldn't come off as such a moron

      October 13, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      October 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • DC

      Atheist are not trying to disprove God, they simply do not believe God exists. Came from Monkeys?

      I assume you are talking about the theory of evolution. If so, you simply do not understand it, because it does not advance the idea that we came from monkeys. It says monkeys (and apes) and humans share a common ancestor.

      October 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Steven

      Atheists claim that they believe in a God because the notion that there was a creator is preposterous. Yet they try so hard to disprove God like my sister, that they have an absolute hate and disgust for God. They hate anything dealing with God and scoff at the idea.

      October 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • LinCA


      I don't hate your imaginary friend, I simply have no reason to believe it exists. Unless there is a rational case to be made for gods, any gods, not just yours, they simply are no more likely to exist than the Tooth Fairy.

      It appears that there are quite a few believers, like you, who can't comprehend that there are people who don't share your infantile beliefs. Not sharing those beliefs isn't hate.

      October 14, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Atheists claim that they believe in a God"

      No, we don't

      "because the notion that there was a creator is preposterous."

      No, we simply do not see a reason to believe

      "Yet they try so hard to disprove God"

      It is impossible to prove a negative. Try logic instead of subservient snivelling. You might learn something, but likely not.

      "...that they have an absolute hate and disgust for God."

      People cannot hate (or love, or fear) a being in which they do not believe. Can you fear Odin, or love Baal, or hate the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

      "they hate anything dealing with God and scoff at the idea."

      No, but we are tired of the santimonious believers who use their beliefs to deny other citizens their civil rights.

      You, sir, cannot make a rational argument to save your lives. In that respect, you are well representative of what passes for Christianity.

      Get back on your knees and beg

      October 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Ben

      Humans have been making up gods for thousands of years as a way of explaining things they don't understand, because they are afraid of dying and as a means of controlling people. I suspect you are a product of childhood indoctrination, where you were force-fed religious lies & fear and guilt were used to coerce you to believe it. And you only happen to believe in your god because of where you were born, had you been born somewhere country, you'd believe in another god. Luckily, religion is becoming more & more obsolete as science increasingly closes the gaps in knowledge that the religious like to attribute to the work of a god.

      October 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  12. Saved

    I do believe what Mark Driscoll quoted is correctly intepreted according to the Spirit of revelation from the new testament. One could debate on this subject without ceasing. The main difference between Christianity ( I am talking about the gospel which Christ and his followers or disciples preached ) and Islam is, " Radical Islam kills in the name of their god " however "Christians get killed for professing and preaching their God through Jesus Christ being the only way " As is always the case, there has and will always be people who use Christianity for their "own political and greedy motives" just as in the days of Paul from the New testament. When Paul was in prison, read what Paul said, " It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel" Now getting to the main TOPIC in regards to hell, to go and spend eternity in hell, you don't have to do anything much. All you have to do is just keep on denying that Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price for your sins and refuse to follow Christ as personal Lord and Saviour by Grace through Faith. Once you are born in the flesh that is your earthly nature you are already bound for Hell but once you get born again in the Spirit, your are bound for Heaven. Read what Jesus told the people of His days who did not believe in him. "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am he, you will indeed die in your sins.” These words are still alive in our generation and the generations to come, because Jesus Christ is Alive

    October 12, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • person

      Whatever helps you sleep better at night.

      October 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      if religion is meant to be interpreted then it is open to any and all interpretation. However my interpretation is the only Truth, and I say it's all bullshit.

      October 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      I guess you're ignorant of the history of your own religion – crusades, inquisition, catholic v protestant wars.

      October 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  13. person

    I already posted, but I feel I have to say one more thing. I know this is a stupid comments section, but I really hope Mark Driscoll reads this. You're a horrible human being. You understand that you get off on that fact that you inject mass amounts of fear into peoples hearts everyday right? You love the fact that you have a flock that will listen to every, single, solitary word out of your mouth because you manipulated them to simply fearing the everyday reality that surrounds them for absolutely no reason. You inject the fear, they come to you for solace. YOU are these peoples answer, YOU are like these peoples equivalent of Jesus. What you say is no different than an Islamic extremist saying nonsense about how they obtain their afterlife, get rewarded by god, etc. You're a seriously foul, wretched human being under a guise of light.

    October 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I just read this, and I agree with you. My first taste of disgust with fundamentalist Christians occurred when I was in high school and our chorus performed at a church service at a local fundie church. I watched as the minister (who completely embarrassed himself and evoked guffaws from high school juniors and seniors by pronouncing "Beethoven" as "Beth hover") proceeded to call his congregation to confess their sin publicly and beg forgiveness. I watched people who were so elderly they could barely walk unassisted come down the aisle to "confess their sins." They were in tears and completely distraught.

      I never again believed in a good God.

      October 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  14. Bill G

    Not just fairy tales, but scary tales, lol. One has only to read the Bible with a trace of critical thinking and you'll see that it contradicts itself over and over again. There is absolutely no reason to believe in God, much less hell. Think about it, what God (I'm talking theoretically here), would cause his creations to suffer infinitely for a finite amount of wrong doing? Does that sound like a just God to you? What God would be so insecure as to demand, not just belief, but worship without providing even a shred of evidence for his existence? Its such an insane idea, but, sadly, one which is both self propagating and deficult (because of the societally ingrained support system) to dispell.

    October 12, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  15. Bill G

    'Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.'

    -Marcus Aurelius-

    October 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Joey Navis

      oh but marcus, don't u realize that if ur not a christian (aw hell, it wasn't that big a cult back then, huh), not a born again christian, that u are destined to burn in the lake of fire. too bad u aren't one of the chosen, u would have been interesting to meet on my street of gold, we could have had a drink in my mansion and swam in my pool of holy water

      October 12, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Apparently there is some dispute that Marcus Aurelius ever said this.

      October 12, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • eyeswideopen

      How do you explain Lanciano? Look it up. Remarkable what happened there.

      October 14, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • End Religion

      @eyesWideShut: you are an incredible imbecile. I wouldn't expect anything more from a nutter who believes in talking snakes to begin with.

      October 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  16. Steve

    As once stated by Einstein;

    "If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."

    Idiots. I hate "turn or burn" nuts like Mark Driscoll.

    October 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  17. person

    Mark Driscoll, you're a certifiable nut.

    October 12, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  18. Brandon

    Man is not given a soul, he is a soul and animals are souls – Gen 2:7, Gen 1:20-25

    Soul that sins, dies; wages sin pays are death. – Ecc 9:5,6, Ezek 18:4, Ps 146:4, Ro 5:12, Ro 6:23

    Hell is the grave, also called Sheol (Hebrew) and Hades (Greek) – Ho 13:14, Job prayed to go there. – Job 14:13

    The second death (Gehenna, Lake of Fire) is permanent destruction, and described in vivid symbolic terms throughout the bible; it was a fiery garbage dump outside of Jerusalem where criminals were tossed when not deserving of a burial – even death and the grave itself are tossed into the "lake of fire" – Rev 20: 13,14

    Resurrection is to heavenly reward or earthy paradise – 1 Cor 15:35-40, Php 3:20, 21, Rev 20: 4-6 and 21: 3,4

    Torment – This is the condition of those that are permanently destroyed. The opposite of those worthy of a resurrection, not to a literal "fiery hell". When someone dies we say "rest in peace" hoping they are resurrected, can the same be said of someone that would not be resurrected? Would they "rest in peace" or "be in torment forever", never to be resurected? Symbolism – Metaphoric.

    The concept of a fiery hell of torment is a combination of pagan beliefs of an underworld ruled by different gods from all over the world non judeo-christian religions, the belief that the soul is immortal, and that punishment is eternal, not balanced and just. This belief is also enhanced when artists depict hellfire in paintings and poems throughout the ages. How does 80+ years of life as the most vile human to ever exist balance out to an eternity (billions upon billions of years) of punishment and torture? It doesn't, death is perfect punishment. Jas 1:13-15

    October 11, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Brandon

      *Contrast Symbolism/Metaphors – like an athelete is "Ice cold" or "on fire" – "resting in peace" (waiting for resurrection) or "tormented forever" in eternal death

      October 11, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I want a toke of whatever you're smoking, you idiot.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
    • Brandon

      *Executed criminals bodies were not fit for burial, so the dead bodies were tossed into Gehenna outside of Jerusalem. Completely destroyed, not buried to RIP.

      *The ransom sacrifice of Jesus provides a resurrection hope.

      October 11, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Brandon's god isn't a total azzhole, so neither is Brandon. However, I still think it's stupid to believe in the god of the bible for a whole host of reasons. For one, why doesn't god clear up all the confusion about his nature and will? He managed to communicate math and chemistry to the point that you can't "do them" wrongly, so why does he allow so many people to "do him" wrongly? God, if he exists, is the author of confusion.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • free

      @moby schtick because a head full of ' azzholes' needs to be roasted empty first.

      October 11, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • Boosky

      Oy Gevalt!

      October 12, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Moby Schtick


      Sorry, I don't understand what you're attempting to say.

      October 12, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      brandon: you do realize that quoting a book to those who do not accept the supposed authority of the book is only so effective, don't you? or, do you just like to hear yourself preach? make you feel a bit godly?

      October 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  19. Kirk

    no hell fire, scare tactics used by clergy. jesus spoke in illustrations. (Matthew 13:34, 35) . . .All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds by illustrations. Indeed, without an illustration he would not speak to them; 35 that there might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet who said: “I will open my mouth with illustrations, I will publish things hidden since the founding.”

    October 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  20. realbuckyball

    Of course we should. St. Paul said only the redeemed had eternal life. The rest can not worry so much.

    October 11, 2012 at 1:42 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.