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Lets talk about hell. - Page 8

post #141 of 157
i think there are probably things (definitely things) we don't understand. i am not sure about demon possession.. i suppose it is possible. i have a good priest friend who firmly believes it is possible.. and he is pretty level headed.
post #142 of 157
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Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
I believe in Hell as it is portrayed in the Bible.
ditto
post #143 of 157
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
i hope not : i really don't understand that perspective.
I wasn't saying genifer did. That's kind of what I got from reading her last post, so I wanted clarification. Just wanted to say that I wasn't "accusing" her of believing that. I certainly don't believe it, but I have had a number of evangelical Christians of various denominations tell me that mental illness is really a spiritual illness and that it doesn't really exist.
post #144 of 157
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Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Absolutely not, Ive suffered from depression myself and that is considered a mental illness. I was simply trying to say that while I dont understand ALL the ins and outs about mental illness, its not something God created an individual with. I was saying that I am convinced that God didnt make then to be that way....
Why are you convinced that God didn't make them that way? I'm talking here about serious mental illness. I don't want to discount unipolar depression. Certainly that's debilitating when people are going through it, but I can understand your argument more when it comes to those kinds of problems.

I'm talking about severe cases of bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder, and schizophrenia in particular. Why would someone begin to hallucinate and have paranoid delusions if not for a mental illness?

(And I suppose to a bigger degree, if you believe that physical illness exists, why not mental illness? I'm assuming you believe that a child born with CF, for instance, is that way because God made him/her that way. If that's not your religious philosophy, then obviously this question doesn't apply.)

I've heard this argument before many times but always just placed in cutesy terms like "mental illness is a spiritual illness" and left at that. I'm curious as to what the expanded argument is. I've been diagnosed bipolar since I was 13 and can trace back elements of the illness to around age 8. Now, I was raised in an abusive environment, and I do believe some of my problems are related to the abuse. My son, however, is 4 and has a really wonderful, stable home. He also displays almost all of the markers of juvenile BP, which makes sense (from the science) given my history. If God didn't make him that way, then what? I can't believe in cases like his (where there's no abuse and a loving, stable - and might I add religious - family) that the disorder is a manifestation of spiritual or other problems. I can't believe, in essence, that it's not real.

Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Im obviously coming from a Christian perspective so Ill be using the bible. Hell is something you are taught to believe from the word 'go' when you become a christian. You are actually taught to accept it and often times I think we do just bc well, its what you are supposed to believe.
And it's freakin' scary. I remember as a child being reduced to tears because I would do something (perfectly age-appropriate) and believe I was going to burn in hell or believe that people I knew would burn in hell (and was told this by Sunday school teachers and other adults) because they weren't Christians. That's a lot to put on children at 5 years old. I've known about the evangelical conception of hell since I can remember. Even now, when I've accepted that the Bible doesn't support all of the things I was taught, I still have this unfortunate lingering fear that I'm doomed for an eternity in lakes of fire because it's just so ingrained in me.


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Originally Posted by genifer View Post
Someone asked in a pp if there was a religion that takes into account the fact that some people are incapable of making ..decisions... bc of mental illness.. Is that the question in a nutshell? (I cant find the post now). But that struck me bc I started my bible study on Hell with this as one of the questions in mind... Ill let ya know what I come up with.
It wasn't my question, but I'll be curious to learn what you discover.
post #145 of 157
I don't see why people wouldn't suffer mental illness as much as from cancer or diabetes or having no legs. All of them have a physical origin, and I don't really see the difference. All are, I suppose, for the greater glory of God, though in my experience that is not how people usually feel when experiencing them.

Now, I think there is spiritual illness, and physical and spiritual illness can be closely related. And in some cases spiritual illness may look a lot like mental illness, I suspect. I've also found that those people who work with mental illness tend to neglect the spiritual effects it can have on the person who is suffering, more so than with more obvious or outward forms of physical illness.

And, if a person was possessed by a demon, they might well appear to have a mental illness, though I would say that in many cases they also seem to suffer other physical effects too. But I haven't seen this to be very common - I've never met anyone I had reason to think of as possibly possessed.
post #146 of 157
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I'm talking about severe cases of bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder, and schizophrenia in particular. Why would someone begin to hallucinate and have paranoid delusions if not for a mental illness?


BrandiRhoades,

I typed out a response that I know wouldnt be satisfactoy. I do want to clarify that I do NOT believe these mental illnesses arent real and I didnt think I suggested that, so maybe Im misunderstanding your question. See, I havent suffered from a severe mental disorder, nor has anyone else close to me, so I am actually not qualified to answer that. I was trying to say that it wasnt God's intention, upon creating everything, that we should suffer these things. I know I dont have a satisfactory answer so Im not going to try. I will get back to you when I discover anything.


Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer
Someone asked in a pp if there was a religion that takes into account the fact that some people are incapable of making ..decisions... bc of mental illness.. Is that the question in a nutshell? (I cant find the post now). But that struck me bc I started my bible study on Hell with this as one of the questions in mind... Ill let ya know what I come up with.

Quote:
It wasn't my question, but I'll be curious to learn what you discover.
When I read about Jesus Christ, the Gospels, I dont count anything apart from what's in the bible as valid, thats my decided stance on that issue, no extrabiblical stuff qualifies for me, so when I talk about Jesus Christ, Im talking about the Christ I know from the bible... When I read about Him, He is so different from how His 'disciples' depict Him. He is compassionate, and whenever I read what he teaches, as opposed to the way his 'followers' teach about Him, I cant help but see such a contrast. Jesus had mercy on those who even hated Him, He loved those people who reviled him, he healed, and had compassion on those who did suffer all sorts of illnesses, mental, physical, spiritual etc. Even those who werent thankful. The only people I see Jesus having a REAL issue with were those who thought they were spiritually superior to others, hypocrites. So my take on that is that Jesus Christ, therefor christianity as a religion really does take these things into account. I think Christians have gotten it wrong along the way. Misrepresent Him. I think the heart of Christianity, first of all is obviously Christ, but our responsibility is to be humble, accepting that without God, we are quite hopeless. And I believe Jesus is the one who made the way very easy to see God, have a relationship with Him. I dont really care if it sounds like Im evangelising, If it sounds like that I just cant help it, this is what I believe. I wonder if perhaps we are victims just as much as we are sinners. Victims in that we are held captive to something, and most of the time we dont even know it and I believe Jesus did what he did to set us free, even if it doesnt seem like it, there is a spiritual freedom. See, Im afraid Im rambling now, and Ive got a lot of housework to do, not that I want to do it, but Ive spent a little bit too much time on the computer at this stage, and Ive still not given a satisfactory answer! I guess these things are just hard to answer. I apologise for the misunderstanding about mental illness not being real, I was genuinely NOT trying to say that.
post #147 of 157
Well, certianly most Christian groups would say that there are a number of circumstances under which a person might not be responsible for his or her own actions. It might not always be totally clear to others, or even to the person involved, but it would be to God.

A good example of how the understanding of mental illness has changed can be seen in how the church treats suicides. My uncle,, a Roman Catholic, killed himself a number of years ago, and was given an RC funeral and buried in an RC cemetery. At one time, that wouldn't have happened, but the general view now is that people who commit suicide are ill, and not responsible for their actions. Again, it is impossible for us to know exactly how much real choice the person had, but the Church gives the benefit of the doubt. This is also the case for other problems/actions related to mental illness.

C.S. Lewis, an Anglican - but not a modern one - suggests that very likely, there are any number of things in a persons life that affect their ability to make good choices. Upbringing, temperament, circumstances around them. When we go to be judged, all that will be stripped away, and we will see our choices in perfect clarity. A relief for some, perhaps, and rather terrible for others.

Mind you, he also suggests that we are always inclined to make up excuses and special circumstances for our own bad choices, and overlook those things with regard to the poor choices of others. The best answer, he says, is not to bother with excuses for ourselves, as God will make all the real ones, and we need only bother with apologies. And with others, to refrain from judging unless it is really our duty to do so.

I would say from my own experience, having a lot of mental illness in my family, it is not any clearer with the mentally ill, often, than with other people. I think the same principles apply.
post #148 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by genifer View Post
BrandiRhoades,

I typed out a response that I know wouldnt be satisfactoy. I do want to clarify that I do NOT believe these mental illnesses arent real and I didnt think I suggested that, so maybe Im misunderstanding your question. See, I havent suffered from a severe mental disorder, nor has anyone else close to me, so I am actually not qualified to answer that. I was trying to say that it wasnt God's intention, upon creating everything, that we should suffer these things. I know I dont have a satisfactory answer so Im not going to try. I will get back to you when I discover anything.
I didn't think you were saying they aren't real, as if the people who have them don't really suffer from them. I'm just curious more about the comment that God wouldn't have intended anyone to suffer from severe mental illness. In saying that, do you believe they're entirely human-induced or that there are other factors in play?

I *have* been told a number of times that mental illness isn't real. Sometimes that's from people who've suffered a bout of depression and overcome it and have come away with the idea that prayer and correcting sin in our lives will solve all mental illness. At least that's how that position has been relayed. I don't believe that explanation deals with severe mental illnesses, but no, that's not what I meant to suggest that I thought you were saying.
post #149 of 157
it seems strange to me that god would intentionally create someone with any debilitating disease but especially severe mental illness. mental illness can really cut someone off from the rest of the world. i don't understand why god would intentionally create someone with a mental illness like schizophrenia, it generally manifests in young adulthood often unexpectedly, the medications can be worse then the symptoms themselves, and its just a horrifying and confusing experience for everyone involved. it is possible to live with, keep under control etc. but it is definitely not an easy life. not to mention the stigma attached to it which is not really deserved and makes the whole thing worse.

I can understand something like DID which is a coping mechanism that can be worked through, learned to live with, etc.

i don't know if i am making sense.. so sorry if this is disjointed. i don't understand why god would great a person with a disorder that makes their life so terribly difficult. i am sure there are people with these disorders who live wonderfully fulfilling lives but there are also people who don't or can't and it's sad that they have to suffer.
post #150 of 157
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
it seems strange to me that god would intentionally create someone with any debilitating disease but especially severe mental illness. mental illness can really cut someone off from the rest of the world. i don't understand why god would intentionally create someone with a mental illness like schizophrenia, it generally manifests in young adulthood often unexpectedly, the medications can be worse then the symptoms themselves, and its just a horrifying and confusing experience for everyone involved. it is possible to live with, keep under control etc. but it is definitely not an easy life. not to mention the stigma attached to it which is not really deserved and makes the whole thing worse.

I can understand something like DID which is a coping mechanism that can be worked through, learned to live with, etc.

i don't know if i am making sense.. so sorry if this is disjointed. i don't understand why god would great a person with a disorder that makes their life so terribly difficult. i am sure there are people with these disorders who live wonderfully fulfilling lives but there are also people who don't or can't and it's sad that they have to suffer.
This is really the same question as why does God allow natural disasters, or people to be born with all kinds of disabilities, I think. Or even born with diseases like childhood cancer. All these things can seem cruel and pointless, and so far as I know, there is no one who really understands why. Even atheists, who say there is no reason, seem to find these things difficult to deal with on a personal level.
post #151 of 157
I don't think it's the same as natural disasters, etc..All people, religious or not, understand that we are only here for a finite period. So, our lives have to end somehow, from accident, violence or disease. For the Christian, though, our life here is just basically a test which will determine where we spend eternity. So, a person who dies in a storm isn't really any worse off than a person who dies from an illness...you could argue that a person who dies as a young adult may have less time to, say, repent and come to Jesus, than a person who dies of an age related illness, but on the other hand a younger person may have less sin and less doubt.
A person who is born with a mental illness that causes them to commit crimes doesn't have a chance in the typical Christian heaven/hell afterlife scenario, however, as in the case of a sociopathic killer. I can see why this is a difficult thing to understand.
post #152 of 157
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Originally Posted by athansor View Post
I don't think it's the same as natural disasters, etc..All people, religious or not, understand that we are only here for a finite period. So, our lives have to end somehow, from accident, violence or disease. For the Christian, though, our life here is just basically a test which will determine where we spend eternity. So, a person who dies in a storm isn't really any worse off than a person who dies from an illness...you could argue that a person who dies as a young adult may have less time to, say, repent and come to Jesus, than a person who dies of an age related illness, but on the other hand a younger person may have less sin and less doubt.
A person who is born with a mental illness that causes them to commit crimes doesn't have a chance in the typical Christian heaven/hell afterlife scenario, however, as in the case of a sociopathic killer. I can see why this is a difficult thing to understand.
But all are part of the problem of suffering, and in a natural disaster scenario, it creates immediate and long term suffering that comes through no fault of any person.

I'm not convinced that those who are mentally ill or damaged somehow, and therefore commit immoral acts, do miss out on Heaven, so that's really not an issue for me.
post #153 of 157
I'm Jewish. Not all Jews believe in hell. There is the concept of sheol, which is more similar to the Greek underworld than the Christian hell.
post #154 of 157
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Originally Posted by benj View Post
I'm Jewish. Not all Jews believe in hell. There is the concept of sheol, which is more similar to the Greek underworld than the Christian hell.
this is what we learned in my 9th grade theology class in Catholic school. i have always wondered whether it was true or not.
post #155 of 157
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Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
this is what we learned in my 9th grade theology class in Catholic school. i have always wondered whether it was true or not.
Yes, but it isn't something that is necessarily taught. A lot of things that Christians adhere to about God (Heaven, Hell, etc) are up for interpretation in the Jewish community.
post #156 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by benj View Post
Yes, but it isn't something that is necessarily taught. A lot of things that Christians adhere to about God (Heaven, Hell, etc) are up for interpretation in the Jewish community.
this is probably the biggest thing i have learned by reading this bored. well.. this and and how (rightfully) offended many people are by common misconceptions and judgements about their religion.
post #157 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1littlebit View Post
this is probably the biggest thing i have learned by reading this bored. well.. this and and how (rightfully) offended many people are by common misconceptions and judgements about their religion.
That mostly everything is up for interpretation?
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