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Old 06-03-2010, 01:55 PM
 
159 posts, read 146,553 times
Reputation: 46

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hello everyone

I am just a non-Christian non-Atheist interested in some religious discussion. I decided to post here because City-Data seems like casual place with pretty liberal posting policies (jugging by some unconventional beliefs expressed by some posters) so I don't have to worry about being silenced for my opinions.

By 'party line justifications for hell', I mean things generally found on fundamentalist Christian places. Something along those lines:
Quote:
- God is not just loving, He is also perfectly just, and perfectly holy,

- God cannot allow sin in His presence

- every sin is actually an offense against infinite being and thus requires infinite punishment
There might be better justifications out there, but these are typical. Feel free to submit your own if you think that I am just beating down strawmen.

First of all, none of us can really know what is a being with infinite (or perfect) attributes going to look like. Frankly I am not even really convinced that someone like that even exists. There's plenty of speculations on all sides but ultimately we know very little. Most justifications hell are founded on certain (and in my opinion badly thought out) interpretations of what those attributes might be like.

What does perfect justice mean? If it just means more punishment, then sharia law is more just than all European and American laws, because punishments are far more severe. I think perfect justice should mean finding perfect balance of things like deterrence, satisfying victims and (if possible) rehabilitation of offender. I also think that societies today are generally more just than they were before. Maybe we went too far with mercy (I happen to be pro death penalty) but all in all I believe we are pretty good. Those in favor of torture today agree that it should only be used as means of getting information, not as punishment. And yet at the same time many seem to somehow believe that perfect punishment is going to include infinite torment.

I don't know what perfect or infinite holiness even means or what does it look like, so I would let this slide.

As for God not allowing sin in his presence, this seems a little strange. Firstly, if God is everywhere, that means that he allows sin in his presence RIGHT NOW. Secondly, why should God not allowing sin in his presence mean that everyone who didn't accept Jesus during their lives are going to be punished forever? Why doesn't God simply leave the door open for people to accept the offer later? This self-imposed deadline only swells the ranks of hell even more, and does not seem to have any other purpose.

Why should offense against infinite being require infinite punishment? Firstly, if God is infinite being, that means that mortal CAN NOT harm him at all. Offense might be against infinite being, but harm is zero. It's like an ant biting an elephant and elephant being eternally pissed. Secondly, we no longer believe that law should punish more if you harm someone on higher position than yourself. In middle ages they saw offense against king as much worse than offense against peasant, but we no longer think that way.

Also, the whole "accept Jesus as you personal lord and savior" concept is very problematic. Are you sure you thought it trough? We all think Hitler was a very bad guy for torturing and killing many Jews, because those Jews did nothing to deserve that. At the same time some of us think that all those Jews did deserve to be tortured forever for not accepting Jesus.

So what do you think? Does any of this make sense to you?

Last edited by python87; 06-03-2010 at 02:45 PM..
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Italy
6,387 posts, read 5,110,371 times
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You bet it does.
Man has a natural inclination to destroy and kill for his own needs. Sometimes this need is "transferred" to God as His needs, even though God is indeed higher than this.
We need to believe in the Power of Love.

With me, you're preaching to the choir!
Thanks for posting!

Blessings!
brian
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Old 06-03-2010, 02:32 PM
 
6,221 posts, read 6,406,571 times
Reputation: 682
Quote:
Originally Posted by python87 View Post
hello everyone

I am just a non-Christian non-Atheist interested in some religious discussion. I decided to post here because City-Data seems like casual place with pretty liberal posting policies (jugging by some unconventional beliefs expressed by some posters) so I don't have to worry about being silenced for my opinions.
Hi Python,

Welcome! You are right about city-data. As long as you are respectful and on-topic, most any discussion will be allowed. It makes this a good place to hash out tough ideas without worrying about being "silenced for my opinions" like you say. You can check the rules at the top of this forum to be sure.

Quote:
...
So what do you think? Does any of this make sense to you?
Yes. Very good questions, many of which I had myself. Ultimately it led me to learn about the idea of Christian Universalism - the concept that Jesus Christ is the savior of all men, and He will indeed save all men. You will notice the numerous ET vs UR threads on this board.

ET = doctrine of eternal torment (eternal hell)
UR = belief in Christian universal reconcialiation or universal salvation through Christ

Look around and join on in!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:29 PM
 
1,897 posts, read 1,721,380 times
Reputation: 263
Quote:
Originally Posted by python87 View Post
hello everyone

I am just a non-Christian non-Atheist interested in some religious discussion. I decided to post here because City-Data seems like casual place with pretty liberal posting policies (jugging by some unconventional beliefs expressed by some posters) so I don't have to worry about being silenced for my opinions.

By 'party line justifications for hell', I mean things generally found on fundamentalist Christian places. Something along those lines:


There might be better justifications out there, but these are typical. Feel free to submit your own if you think that I am just beating down strawmen.

First of all, none of us can really know what is a being with infinite (or perfect) attributes going to look like. Frankly I am not even really convinced that someone like that even exists. There's plenty of speculations on all sides but ultimately we know very little. Most justifications hell are founded on certain (and in my opinion badly thought out) interpretations of what those attributes might be like.

What does perfect justice mean? If it just means more punishment, then sharia law is more just than all European and American laws, because punishments are far more severe. I think perfect justice should mean finding perfect balance of things like deterrence, satisfying victims and (if possible) rehabilitation of offender. I also think that societies today are generally more just than they were before. Maybe we went too far with mercy (I happen to be pro death penalty) but all in all I believe we are pretty good. Those in favor of torture today agree that it should only be used as means of getting information, not as punishment. And yet at the same time many seem to somehow believe that perfect punishment is going to include infinite torment.

I don't know what perfect or infinite holiness even means or what does it look like, so I would let this slide.

As for God not allowing sin in his presence, this seems a little strange. Firstly, if God is everywhere, that means that he allows sin in his presence RIGHT NOW. Secondly, why should God not allowing sin in his presence mean that everyone who didn't accept Jesus during their lives are going to be punished forever? Why doesn't God simply leave the door open for people to accept the offer later? This self-imposed deadline only swells the ranks of hell even more, and does not seem to have any other purpose.

Why should offense against infinite being require infinite punishment? Firstly, if God is infinite being, that means that mortal CAN NOT harm him at all. Offense might be against infinite being, but harm is zero. It's like an ant biting an elephant and elephant being eternally pissed. Secondly, we no longer believe that law should punish more if you harm someone on higher position than yourself. In middle ages they saw offense against king as much worse than offense against peasant, but we no longer think that way.

Also, the whole "accept Jesus as you personal lord and savior" concept is very problematic. Are you sure you thought it trough? We all think Hitler was a very bad guy for torturing and killing many Jews, because those Jews did nothing to deserve that. At the same time some of us think that all those Jews did deserve to be tortured forever for not accepting Jesus.

So what do you think? Does any of this make sense to you?
These are very good questions, and many Christians wonder about these same things! For me, it is the same as Legoman. I believe in Christian Universalism. That means Christ died to save all people, and He will. It doesn't mean there are many paths to God. I came to this belief after finally admitting that the type questions you are asking are very valid. I prayed and asked God to help me make sense of it all, and He led me to the truth of His true character. He will not torture anyone!
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Old 06-04-2010, 11:38 PM
 
Location: Salt Lake City
21,278 posts, read 20,883,681 times
Reputation: 9959
Hello, python. I really enjoyed your first post! I'd comment in more detail, but it's getting late, so I will just make a couple of quick comments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by python87 View Post
As for God not allowing sin in his presence, this seems a little strange. Firstly, if God is everywhere, that means that he allows sin in his presence RIGHT NOW.
God isn't everywhere. He's in Heaven.

Quote:
Secondly, why should God not allowing sin in his presence mean that everyone who didn't accept Jesus during their lives are going to be punished forever? Why doesn't God simply leave the door open for people to accept the offer later? This self-imposed deadline only swells the ranks of hell even more, and does not seem to have any other purpose.
Good point. He's not going to punish people forever who didn't accept Jesus during their lifetimes. The final curtain does not fall at death.
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Old 06-05-2010, 05:45 PM
 
7,860 posts, read 6,668,091 times
Reputation: 1371
No one can stand in the presence of the Spiritual Lord God Most High in Heaven or they if of sin would burn up and be gone for God created light because the darkness was not good and the light was good,,, so the Lord God got the light of Goodness.......... he cannot come into the presence of the earth but through the Honor Given to Jesus at the Cross the Lord God sent his Holy Spirit and now can be everywhere with Jesus the Son of man,..... As the result of the purpose of Hell is that Hell was created will the heaven as a place where the Lord God and send the devil and his fallen angels there to regulate the earth of evil......... And if man rejects the Lord and is purpose and or calling and his ways make no diffrent if customs of nation push you away, family pushes you away, friends influence you away from God, logic of the natural mind and unbelief whatever makes no diffrent. if you die rejecting the Son of God Jesus Christ and his Holy Spirit then the devil will grab you and the fallen angels will send these people to the pit of hell, even the Muslims religions people who die and still have not payed all their debts they believe they will be rejected at Their heaven and must try to go back to pay their debt.......... Where Christianity Jesus payed our debts at the Cross at Calvary and this is not a issue.........Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior is a beautiful thing to do, all you need to do is talk to Jesus and continue to talk and pray to him and learn about his ways and commands he can and will fullfill all life blessing far beyond the blessing the world can even think it has to give....
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:29 AM
 
Location: Germany
1,647 posts, read 1,708,182 times
Reputation: 842
in my opinion the teaching of endless torment can NOT be defended both by scripture and sound reason

I have stated my opinion in these threads for example

Free will and hell

The god of everlasting torment and the tyrant Antiochus an analogy


God's holyness and everlasting punishment

btw a belief or disbelief in hell doesn't determine wether one is a liberal or not, there are very conservative Christians who are universalists and also very liberal people that believe in everlasting torment though.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:26 AM
 
Location: East Coast
30,195 posts, read 19,981,427 times
Reputation: 2107
Quote:
Originally Posted by svenM View Post
in my opinion the teaching of endless torment can NOT be defended both by scripture and sound reason

I have stated my opinion in these threads for example

Free will and hell

The god of everlasting torment and the tyrant Antiochus an analogy


God's holyness and everlasting punishment

btw a belief or disbelief in hell doesn't determine wether one is a liberal or not, there are very conservative Christians who are universalists and also very liberal people that believe in everlasting torment though.
True i am Conservative in my thinking and i believe Universal reconcilation is God's plan for His creation .
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:21 PM
 
159 posts, read 146,553 times
Reputation: 46
Thanks for replays people

I certainly didn't expect that so many will agree with me here, though I must restate that I am not universalist (Christian or otherwise) and I am not persuaded that there is heaven. My post was primarily about the way people are describing properties and attributes of a being that we never really saw and make up wild extrapolations like they know what they are talking about. Nevertheless, I really wanted someone to challenge something that I wrote but no one seems willing (except rather confusing post by hljc that I don't really get)

Also there still might be some sort of eternal 'hell' (but I am not betting on it), although the criteria for getting there and the type of it almost certainly have little to nothing to do with what fundamentalists are saying. My post was primarily about standard justifications for hell, not necessarily against something more abstract.

Katzpur, I am looking forward to more thorough replay .

svenM, thanks for the links. I am not very Conservative, I am more of a Centrist, I think and I am glad that there are conservatives that dare to challenge standard beliefs.

regards,

Python

Last edited by python87; 06-07-2010 at 03:29 PM..
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Old 06-07-2010, 02:22 PM
 
6,231 posts, read 9,517,266 times
Reputation: 7523
Who brought this post back to life?!
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