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Hell.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone,

I am hoping you will share with me your religious viewpoint on hell (or if there is a similar place in another religion).

 

How do you get there?

When do you go there?

Is it forever?  Can you get out?

What is the basis for this belief in your religious tradition?

How moved are you to help others avoid it, to what extent would you go?

If you believe people you care about are going to be there, how does that impact you?

When in heaven are you aware and saddened that someone you loved and cared about is in hell?

 

I hope to hear from a variety of religions as well as from the different Christian traditions.
 

I personally do not believe in hell.  I have a hard time understanding how a perfect, powerful, loving God could send its creation to such a place for eternity.  If I am created by God, who knows everything I have done and will do, why would he create me (or anyone) in such a way that I will be tormented for eternity?

 

Religion fascinates me.  I would love to better familiarize myself with who believes what and why.  :)

 

SJ

post #2 of 13

I don't believe that hell is a place.  It's not somewhere you go, but rather a state of being.  I was always taught that hell is being apart from God, not feeling his presence. 

 

The way my father teaches it is that hell is what you feel when you have not fulfilled your destiny, lived to your potential, done the right thing.  Hell, from that perspective is more like shame.  If God is a light that shines on us when we are fulfilled and know we've done our best, we feel good and rejoice in that light.  However if we know that we have done wrong, the last thing we want is light to be shone on that fact.

 

I don't believe people who are "saved" necessarily go to a different place.  I think that it's all the same and we experience it differently.

 

I believe that every moment on earth you have choices and that until the moment of your death you can shift your experience.

 

I am moved to help people live their lives to the fullest, be as whole and fulfilled as possible from a not-necessarily-religious perspective.  I feel that being in tune with ourselves and giving back to the world around us, living a life full of love is what has the potential get you there.  I do not, nor have I ever lectured people about religion.

 

In terms of God knowing everything you will or won't do...I'm not sure I follow that reasoning.  He wants us to behave in a certain way, but we all have free will.  We all have the potential to be amazing people or not...each and every day.  He doesn't create people knowing they'll be terrorists, murders etc.  He creates people, lays the framework and hopes for the best, like any parent.  In my book anyway.  Someone behaving badly is not a reflection on God in my eyes.  God can forgive them if they ask, but he does not control them.

 

Running around so this is not terribly cohesive.  I'll be back because I'd like to hear what others say as well.

 

I am Lutheran, btw.

 

ETA: it's not something I think about on a regular basis either.  Like the following poster, I spend my days trying to do the best that I can, which is how I feel the grace of God.  I don't fret about small mistakes sending me "to hell."  Agree about being in the here and now.


Edited by Panserbjorne - 1/19/11 at 4:00pm
post #3 of 13

I don't believe in hell or Satan for that matter.  Of course I'm not so sure about an after life at all.  There may be a heaven, maybe not, I don't know.  It doesn't really matter to me.  What matters is how I live my life here and now. 

 

I'm Jewish.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

To clarify this: I have a hard time understanding how a perfect, powerful, loving God could send its creation to such a place for eternity.  If I am created by God, who knows everything I have done and will do, why would he create me (or anyone) in such a way that I will be tormented for eternity?

 

These are things I have heard growing up in church and have heard since by Christians.  It is something I've always had a hard time rectifying with the concept of hell.  I do understand that beliefs amongst Christians vary and not all believe the above. :)

 

Thanks for the responses so far. 

post #5 of 13

I don't think Heaven or hell are places.  We all have immortal souls and are in God's presence after death, and god loves us all.  But if we have set ourselves against god, we experience his love as a kind of consuming fire.

post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

I don't think Heaven or hell are places.  We all have immortal souls and are in God's presence after death, and god loves us all.  But if we have set ourselves against god, we experience his love as a kind of consuming fire.



you're so freepin' concise.  LOL.  I need your skills.

post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panserbjorne View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

I don't think Heaven or hell are places.  We all have immortal souls and are in God's presence after death, and god loves us all.  But if we have set ourselves against god, we experience his love as a kind of consuming fire.



you're so freepin' concise.  LOL.  I need your skills.

Thanks.  Sometimes I really fail on this though.

 

Did you ever see "A River Runs Through It"?  It was an ok movie, a great book.  But in the movie the father is teaching the son how to write.  He has him write an essay, and then condense it down to two pages, then one, then a paragraph, then a sentence.  A great writing exersize IMO.
 

post #8 of 13

I think the easiest way to explain a Christian biblical viewpoint would be this.

God is Holy and perfect, and loves all of His creation.  Being so Holy, God cannot tolerate sin and sinning harms our relationship with God.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are promised forgiveness, even from the sins that we commit.  What is required is a belief in Jesus as the Son of God and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Upon receiving this gift, it is important to give your life to God, in that you willingly lay down your own life and follow Jesus as He commanded the disciples.  He requires us to love God with all of our heart, mind and soul and to love others more than we love ourselves.  Do we fail?  Of course, but we must pray and confess our weakness to God and ask him to fill us with His Spirit, so that we may show the love of God to those around us.  Hell is believed to be the complete separation of ones self from God.  While living on earth, we are still in the presence of God, even when we do not believe, He created the Earth and each person, so being his children, even if we are far away from him, we have not experienced a complete separation.  He loves us completely and totally and will go to any lengths to forgive and restore His relationship with his children.  But He is not a puppet-master, he does not force us to believe or to love him.  He wants it to be our choice.

I am moved to help others, but I don't usually think in terms of avoiding Hell, that would not be my emphasis, rather I feel motivated to encourage discussion about personal faith, to encourage a personal relationship with your creator and to keep lines of communication open between people of all faiths in a respectful and caring manner.  The Christian faith teaches that no person can know how another person will be judged.  So any time you have heard a Christian condemn someone to hell, they are misrepresenting the Christian faith and playing God.  Christians believe that we all sin, even Christians, and that we will all stand before God, both believers and unbelievers.  In fact, Jesus said, that some religious people who "have done great works in my name" He will say to them "I never knew you."  So it is impossible for anyone on this Earth to tell you whether or not another person will go Hell,  God is merciful and just and 100% good.  But part of being just and good is that He cannot tolerate the evils that exist in this world.  Think of all the rape, murder, incest, starvation and horrible things that happen.  A just God will not allow those things to exist in Heaven.  And that is the way it should be.  But there isn't a magic formula.  Just a personal relationship with God that will guide us and help us to be more like Him.  That is the most important place to start in a Christian perspective.  It isn't about being good or following rules or getting into Heaven or avoiding Hell.  It is like having a personal relationship between a parent and child.  Hope this makes sense.  Look forward to hearing other responses from people of other faiths or denominations! 

post #9 of 13

 

How do you get there?  I believe that hell is the grave.  Not a place where people are tormented.

When do you go there? Everyone goes there when they die.  Some will be resurrected to  life on earth, some will not be resurrected and very few will be resurrected to life in heaven.

Is it forever? It depends. Can you get out? If you are resurrected, you will get a chance to serve God his way. Or, make the choice to not serve him and return to the grave.

What is the basis for this belief in your religious tradition? Yes, the Bible.

How moved are you to help others avoid it, to what extent would you go?  I am moved to share with people the hope of everlasting life in a paradise on earth, which is what God has promised, and started with Adam and Eve.

If you believe people you care about are going to be there, how does that impact you?  It makes me sad, that they may not have the opportunity to have a better relationship with God, but, everyone has a choice.

When in heaven are you aware and saddened that someone you loved and cared about is in hell?  I don't believe I am going to heaven, nor do I believe my loved ones are there.  Since they will be dead (asleep in death), after this system ends, I more than likely will not remember them in sadness, as the Bible shows.

 

I am one of Jehovah's Witnesses.I I don't believe I     

post #10 of 13

I'm Catholic.  Heaven is the presence of God, and Hell is the absence of God.  God offers his grace for all, but he gives us free will.  It would not be free will if we could only choose God.  However, we have no earthly way of knowing who is in hell, or even if any person has made that choice.  We do know that the angels were offered that choice at the beginning of time, and some chose to be against God (Lucifer and the demons), and we know that we can make the same decision, but God is judge, not us.  In the end, God will judge our hearts based on our eternal choice.

 

There are things that we can do on Earth to assist us in accepting the grace that God offers.  We can become baptized.  We can struggle to live holy lives.  We can have a relationship with Christ through prayer and obedience.  We can seek forgiveness from our sins.  We can receive the grace of the Sacraments.  We can do our best to love one another as Christ does.  Of course we'd love to see our loved ones doing all these things, but they have their own free will, and there is usually little we can do about it.  Evangelizing our loved ones is a very difficult task that needs to be approached prayerfully.

 

God's grace is so immense that we cannot fathom it.  We never know who he might be able to save.

post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

I don't think Heaven or hell are places.  We all have immortal souls and are in God's presence after death, and god loves us all.  But if we have set ourselves against god, we experience his love as a kind of consuming fire.


This is pretty much what I was told is my church's position (Eastern Orthodox). To identify Hell as an actual place suggests that God created a place specifically to torment people forever, which is completely inconsistent with a loving God. Although it is expedient to talk about Heaven and Hell as if they were separate, physical places, in reality after death there is only one place any of us can be: in God's presence and surrounded by His love. For those who despise or reject God, that love is experienced as something negative, and they remove themselves or are removed from it as far as possible ("far" being symbolic, not in physical space) to minimize their suffering. This is discussed by the church fathers from a very early date.

"How do you get there?" As far as who goes there and who does not, we do not know, and are strongly discouraged from speculating. None of us know what is in the hearts of others, and we cannot assume anybody will go to Hell because of his actions on earth. We believe God will have mercy on all of us as far as we are willing to accept it. 

"When in heaven are you aware and saddened that someone you loved and cared about is in hell?" Aware, yes. Saddened, probably not. The afterlife is a sort of hierarchy, in which each person is a close to the fire of God's love as he or she is able to be. The metaphor we usually use is God's love as fire. The holiest of people can approach it very closely, and find it blissful. Another person might find it burns them to be quite so close to the source, and have to take a position farther from the fire. Each person finds his place, and there are "levels" in Hell as well as in Heaven. It is not sad so much as kind and appropriate for each person to be in the right place for him in relation to God.

"How moved are you to help others avoid it, to what extent would you go?"  We are usually taught that the best way to save others is to save ourselves. It is not really feasible to talk people into either faith or right actions. We generally avoid any kind of proselytizing. However, we believe that right belief, worship and practice indirectly helps everyone, even those we never meet, and is the most philanthropic thing we can do. As one of our best loved saints wrote, "Acquire the spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved." 

post #12 of 13

I don't believe in Hell, Satan, God.... I do believe in Karma, and Re-birth(I believe that is the right term), though. Pretty much when we die I believe that based on our Karma we are re-born into either a better or worse life than the one before, until in one of our lives we reach the right level of Karma(do the right things the majority of the time), and reach enlightenment, and then we go to Heaven(or this Atheist/Buddhist's idea of whatever it is).

 

In case you couldn't tell, I'm Buddhist and Atheist.

post #13 of 13

 

Quote:
This is pretty much what I was told is my church's position (Eastern Orthodox). To identify Hell as an actual place suggests that God created a place specifically to torment people forever, which is completely inconsistent with a loving God. Although it is expedient to talk about Heaven and Hell as if they were separate, physical places, in reality after death there is only one place any of us can be: in God's presence and surrounded by His love. For those who despise or reject God, that love is experienced as something negative, and they remove themselves or are removed from it as far as possible ("far" being symbolic, not in physical space) to minimize their suffering. This is discussed by the church fathers from a very early date.

"How do you get there?" As far as who goes there and who does not, we do not know, and are strongly discouraged from speculating. None of us know what is in the hearts of others, and we cannot assume anybody will go to Hell because of his actions on earth. We believe God will have mercy on all of us as far as we are willing to accept it. 

"When in heaven are you aware and saddened that someone you loved and cared about is in hell?" Aware, yes. Saddened, probably not. The afterlife is a sort of hierarchy, in which each person is a close to the fire of God's love as he or she is able to be. The metaphor we usually use is God's love as fire. The holiest of people can approach it very closely, and find it blissful. Another person might find it burns them to be quite so close to the source, and have to take a position farther from the fire. Each person finds his place, and there are "levels" in Hell as well as in Heaven. It is not sad so much as kind and appropriate for each person to be in the right place for him in relation to God.

"How moved are you to help others avoid it, to what extent would you go?"  We are usually taught that the best way to save others is to save ourselves. It is not really feasible to talk people into either faith or right actions. We generally avoid any kind of proselytizing. However, we believe that right belief, worship and practice indirectly helps everyone, even those we never meet, and is the most philanthropic thing we can do. As one of our best loved saints wrote, "Acquire the spirit of peace, and thousands around you will be saved."

 

 

Mamabadger put it beautifully.  yeahthat.gif

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