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Hell

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Hell is a concept in some types of Christianity and in some other religions notably Islam. Most christians dont actually believe in hell, even many exclusivists don't believe in hell, as they believe in the death of the soul instead (eternal sleep - annihilationism)

Christian concept of Hell

Christians generally believe that Hell involves eternal torment, generally there's lots of fire and sharp pointy objects, the fire's worse.

Hell is a punishment for sin or for sinful unbelief:-

  1. Sinners who don't repent before they die risk Hell.
  2. Unbelievers who don't become Christians before they die go to Hell.
  3. Some sects of Christianity teach that only believers in their sect can escape Hell.

Incidentally the God who causes Hell is also a God of love. Not all Christians believe in Hell fortunately and the Bible is contradictory over whether hell is eternal. [1]

Memeplex

Hell is part of the Christian Memeplex. Sometimes belief in Hell reinforces Christianity.

  • Christians who believe in Hell dare not examine any doubts they have.
  • Christians who believe in Hell dare not let their children grow up to think for themselves. The prospect of their children going to Hell terrifies anxious Christian parents. Children as young as 4 years old can be taught that are sinners deserving of Hell, see Teaching Christian Children They Are Sinful, Worthless And In Need Of Redemption.
  • Christians who believe in Hell often proselytize.
    • Partly they do this to increase their own chances of getting to Heaven and escaping Hell.
    • Partly they do this to save the souls of the sinners whom they try to convert.
  • Some Christians who believe in Hell see Atheism as something terrible that leads to damnation. Websites like this are ...
  • Christians who believe in Hell tend to think causing considerable suffering in this world can be morally OK. Preventing a soul being damned eternally hereafter is of paramount importance.
  • Former Christians who once believed in Hell can have nagging uncomfortable feelings after they deconvert. This is specially true when they were taught to believe in Hell during the formative years of their childhood. Christian evangelists know how to play on irrational hellish fears. They work at worsening fear because they hope they can bring a former Christian back to Jesus that way.

The concept of Hell can also weaken Christianity.

  • Many Christians want to see God as a friend supporting them during life’s troubles. They also want to believe God is looking after deceased loved-ones and that they will be reunited with their loved ones in Heaven.
  • The idea of a tyrant who sends souls to Hell for minor sins or unbelief doesn’t fit easily with the idea of a God of love.
  • Some Christians just don’t let themselves look closely into what type of God they worship. Liberal Christians try and argue that God is love.
  • Christian Universalists argue that Hell does not exist and that passages referring to Hell in the Bible are symbolic of something or other in some way or other. Christian Universalism causes far less suffering than types of Christianity that believe in Hell cause.

Some religions believe that Hell is not for eternity, and everybody will eventually be forgiven (including Satan).

The Catholic hell

According to the official website of the holy see:[2]

"The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God (wait- isnt god everywhere - so that can't ever happen), in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs."[3] This rather suggests that hell includes:

  • Eternal fire
  • Eternal separation from God.

The writers of the article seem to assume that the "eternal separation" is worse than the "eternal fire". This is probably a matter of opinion, but given that the place obviously doesn't exist it's nothing to really worry about either way.


There is a good and a a bad side to Christianity, see the category page

See also

Sometimes religion is so unreasonable it almost becomes laughable.

References

  1. Hell
  2. Vatican webiste
  3. Official Catholic hell

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