Tuesday, September 6, 2011


It has often occurred to me that what keeps the doctrines of hell going in the Christian church has less to do with scripture than hell's proponents would have us believe.

It may be a matter of simple hate, of a desire to see some people unforgiven and roiling in the gulf of fire forevermore.

But perhaps even more significantly than the hate, belief in hell comes from a lack of faith in God. Under the guise of saying that God has such authority that he must somehow have the right to torture certain people forever, the hell-believer actually has inadequate trust in God's power.

The hell-believer, with his lack of faith in God's power and God's realm, projects this world into the beyond, convinced that the limitations we know in this earthly existence are binding everywhere else and for eternity. In this world, for example, there seems so often to be a downside to everything. So much of what is good must be paid for. In fact, this is so much the case that we can't even IMAGINE paradise. Any writer who has tried to portray a perfect world knows that what she comes up with is boring and insipid. Some kind of evil or difficult conflict must be introduced.

Therefor, if we make the mistake of assuming that the world beyond this one must be limited by this one or limited by the imaginations of people in this world, we have a hard time believing EVERYONE shall know forever the bliss of God. Surely there must be losers for winning to mean anything!

The hell-believer is loyal to a particular interpretation of scripture, but becomes so at the price of putting this interpretation above faith and God. It seems to me that those fundamentalists who think themselves particularly pious are actually idolatrous.

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