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Old 02-02-2009, 02:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What is your view on hell? Fire and brimstone? A cease of life/eternal life? No relationship with God?
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Old 02-02-2009, 10:41 AM
 
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I think hell is a darker place on the other side. I agree with how I heard Jesse Duplantis explain it once in a vision shown him. <trying tp phrase it right> When you cross over, depending on who you are and how you lived, you crossed at a certain spot within Heaven. The more connected and pure of Heart you were with God, the closer you were to the center of Heaven. The darker you were, you'd end up on the outer rings...in the darker spots. There were lots of spots between too. That said, even in Heaven, people were always glad to help you advance to closer to the center and peace.

Light and Dark are realities of this world and beyond. Being on the dark side doesn't mean being in hell. It's complicated and simple at the same time.

That's how I see it anyways.
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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Hell = eternity without God.

I believe it's more a state of being than a place; but, in any case, it ain't good!

Every baptized Christian is, or should be, someone with an actual (disturbing) experience, ... a close encounter, with God; someone who, as a result, becomes a disturbing presence to others. - Fr. Anthony J. Gittins, A Presence That Disturbs
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Old 02-02-2009, 01:53 PM
 
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When I was twenty and still a devout Catholic, I decided Hell could not exist, arguing from definition.

Heaven must be joyful and without grief.
Heaven must be loving.

How could those in Heaven love, without grief, those in Hell?

Either those in Heaven love those in Hell with grief, or they do not love those in Hell. In either case, that would not be Heaven.

Hell cannot coexist with Heaven. Purgatory could, and that would satisfy the need for Justice.

This ontological heresy was the first step on my way to agnosticism, however.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:02 PM
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I believe that you get a moment of awareness at the moment of your death and you see your actions as they affected others, and in perspective, so that you can't ignore or justify things from yourself. Depending on how you lived your life, you will either be at peace or consumed by guilt. If you do "bad" stuff in your life but make regret it and make amends for it in life they won't... "count against you" at the moment of truth.

I like the Jewish custom of setting things right at least once a year. You go into the holiday (is it Yom Kippur??) having righted all your wrongs, with a clean slate so to say. And Catholics have to go to Confession at least before Easter every year.
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:12 PM
 
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I think that Hell is what we experience here on earth when we do things we know are wrong. It is the natural consequences of our actions.

I see Heaven the same way, incidentally. Heaven and Hell are states of mind during this earthly existence, not physical planes, IMO. I was taught the traditional Hell concept all through my childhood but I no longer believe in that traditional version.
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Old 02-02-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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This may be an unpopular opinion, but I believe that "Hell" or the "Lake of Fire" does exists in a literal sense as an eternal, unquenchable fire, based upon what I have read in the Bible.

Bethany, crunchy Christian mom to Destiny (11) Deanna (9), and Ethan (2)

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Old 02-02-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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I believe that Hell does exist as how the bible has said it does... I do not think it will be flesh burning but the soul burning in pain and anquish and thirsty.. (if that makes sense)

Also i have wrestled the idea of my non-christian family and their afterlife.. even though I am not the Judge I do fear where they may end up based on my beliefs.. and i wondered how happy would i be in Heaven.. and then i realize i am looking at it from a human perspective and now believe that when I am in Heaven I will not know those who are not there with me.. The bible states there is no sadness, night etc in Heaven.. I forget the bible verse which helped me understand this.. We will be in Heaven glorifying God and communing with other Christians...

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Old 02-02-2009, 08:59 PM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.

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Old 02-02-2009, 10:28 PM
 
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I believe Hell is nothing more than a self created state of mind. I believed the early church created the Hell concept to scare people into conversion and squashed the gnostic theory of reincarnation and self gnosis. I read of a near death experience in which a man was embraced by the loving light of God but he thought he deserved hell because of his sins. The light told him there is no hell but the man insisted he needed to purge himself of his sins so the light told him to create it. After he got tired of burning in this self created hell he said to the light "there really is hell is there"? The light responded with humor and said "thats right".

When you look at this logically what good purpose would hell serve? A creator who loves his children unconditionally would never create something so destructive. Hell exists within thoughts of men and if it does exist man created it with his own beliefs because as God like beings we have the power to create.
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Old 02-05-2009, 01:09 PM
 
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A creator who loves his children unconditionally would never create something so destructive.
:

I'm not sure if Hell exists, but if it does, I believe it is only temporary, until the soul is ready for Heaven. No eternal punishment. No eternal fire. A loving God would not be able to be happy if the majority (since the majority of people are not Christians) of his creation were suffering for eternity.

I also believe eternal Hell is a concept made up by humans.

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Also i have wrestled the idea of my non-christian family and their afterlife.. even though I am not the Judge I do fear where they may end up based on my beliefs.. and i wondered how happy would i be in Heaven.. and then i realize i am looking at it from a human perspective and now believe that when I am in Heaven I will not know those who are not there with me..
To me, a God who would blind you from knowing or caring about the suffering of your loved ones doesn't sound like a loving God. I used to have similar beliefs (that you would go to Hell if not a Christian), and I worried about my grandpa, who was agnostic. When he died of cancer 6 years ago, I worried about what happened to him. My beliefs have changed, as I've realized a loving God won't doom the majority of his creation to Hell to suffer for eternity, and if he would, that's not a God I'd serve. If I loved my grandpa so much that his being in Hell would cause me grief, then God, who loves even more, would also be grieved. If not, then he is not a loving God. Yes, that's my human perspective on the matter, but no matter what anyone thinks (even trying to discern God's perspective), it's still a human perspective, because we are human. I think our perspective has value. After all, if we are incapable of knowing what love is, then how can we know and be sure of anything?

A really good book to read about universal salvation from a Christian perspective is The Inescapable Love of God, by Thomas Talbott.

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Old 02-05-2009, 03:40 PM
 
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I believe in Hell as it is portrayed in the Bible.

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Old 02-05-2009, 08:55 PM
 
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There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
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I believe Hell is nothing more than a self created state of mind. I believed the early church created the Hell concept to scare people into conversion and squashed the gnostic theory of reincarnation and self gnosis. I read of a near death experience in which a man was embraced by the loving light of God but he thought he deserved hell because of his sins. The light told him there is no hell but the man insisted he needed to purge himself of his sins so the light told him to create it. After he got tired of burning in this self created hell he said to the light "there really is hell is there"? The light responded with humor and said "thats right".

When you look at this logically what good purpose would hell serve? A creator who loves his children unconditionally would never create something so destructive. Hell exists within thoughts of men and if it does exist man created it with his own beliefs because as God like beings we have the power to create.
I agree with both of you. If there is anything that could be called 'hell' it is our existence on earth.

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Old 02-08-2009, 03:01 AM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
:

if there is an "after you die hell" Its probably another go-round in temporal form. I can't think of anything more hellish then being denied conference with god, heightened state of being, or for my athiest DH an end.

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Old 02-08-2009, 06:08 AM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
:
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:25 AM
 
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I was raised with the fundamentalist Christian teachings about hell.

Becoming a mother and realizing that I could never, no matter what wrong thing my children said, did, or believed, ever in a million years cast them out of my presence and say, "You are no longer my child" --

Well, it caused me to begin my current journey of questioning fundamentalism. After all, I am just a puny human -- how can I possibly love my children more wholeheartedly, and be more forgiving, than God.

I can't say that I've got it all figured out yet. But little by little I've been doing some reading at tentmaker (a universalist site), and opening my mind to a whole new perception of God and His love.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:16 PM
 
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I believe in the concept of Hell, but I think very few people are there. I think it is a state of being, rather than a place, and I think that rather than fire the punishment is the anguish of a permanent separation from God.

Watching my FIL die was eyeopening in regard to my beliefs about the afterlife. He suffered so much mental anguish toward the end; he really analyzed his life and tried to make amends for all his bad decisions and practices. I had my AHA! moment - that he had been through his purgatory and was now ready to meet God.
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:47 PM
 
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I believe Hell is eternity in the abscence of God. How exactly that will work I don't know. We only have descriptions in human language, which is inadequate for both heaven and hell.

I believe it must exist for two reasons.
1. God is just. Heaven and hell are eternal validations of each person's choice. Jesus satisfied both the need for justice and for grace, and because God is just and merciful, I believe that he gives every single person the choice, even if they were born in some remote Asian village and never heard of Jesus, or if they were born before the time of Christ.

2. Heaven for someone who rejected/hated God would be hellish anyway. If you think the idea of the God of the Christian Bible is repugnant (patriarchal, mysogynistic, hateful, wicked, however you view him), wouldn't you feel terrible finding yourself in Heaven with Him?

As to how there can be rejoicing in heaven while there are those in hell....when we are with God finally, we will be unbound from human perspectives and understand his purpose and his justice and his grace wholly.

As to the parental analogy---As a parent I will love my children always. However, I will not force them to live with me or talk to me if they hate me, curse me, and express a strong desire to have nothing to do with me. I would be sad for their choice, but it would be their choice. And I would welcome them home with open arms should they choose to stop hating me and renew contact. I view God as the ultimate loving father...respecting a person's choice, providing an ample and gracious way to come "home", and forgiving all once that child does choose to come home. The parable of the prodigal son comes to mind. The *son* chose to take his inheritance, waste it, and end up in a miserable pig stye. But when he came back, his father didn't begrudge him anything. He threw a party. :
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Old 02-16-2009, 02:52 PM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
Yep. I feel that way about a lot of religious teachings. Hell is a state of mind, not literal.

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Old 02-16-2009, 02:55 PM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
:

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Old 02-16-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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As to the parental analogy---As a parent I will love my children always. However, I will not force them to live with me or talk to me if they hate me, curse me, and express a strong desire to have nothing to do with me. I would be sad for their choice, but it would be their choice. And I would welcome them home with open arms should they choose to stop hating me and renew contact. I view God as the ultimate loving father...respecting a person's choice, providing an ample and gracious way to come "home", and forgiving all once that child does choose to come home. The parable of the prodigal son comes to mind. The *son* chose to take his inheritance, waste it, and end up in a miserable pig stye. But when he came back, his father didn't begrudge him anything. He threw a party. :
Exactly! I wasn't saying that I would force my children to live with me if (when they were old enough to choose) they decided they hated me and wanted nothing to do with me. But I would never consider that it was too late for them to come back.

Of course, my frail human body will eventually expire, so I can't guarantee that I'd still be here if it took them 40 or 50 years to come around -- but God has power over death and the grave, so He'll never be "expired."

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Old 02-17-2009, 02:23 PM
 
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I believe Hell is eternity in the abscence of God. How exactly that will work I don't know. We only have descriptions in human language, which is inadequate for both heaven and hell.

I believe it must exist for two reasons.
1. God is just. Heaven and hell are eternal validations of each person's choice. Jesus satisfied both the need for justice and for grace, and because God is just and merciful, I believe that he gives every single person the choice, even if they were born in some remote Asian village and never heard of Jesus, or if they were born before the time of Christ.

2. Heaven for someone who rejected/hated God would be hellish anyway. If you think the idea of the God of the Christian Bible is repugnant (patriarchal, mysogynistic, hateful, wicked, however you view him), wouldn't you feel terrible finding yourself in Heaven with Him?

As to how there can be rejoicing in heaven while there are those in hell....when we are with God finally, we will be unbound from human perspectives and understand his purpose and his justice and his grace wholly.

As to the parental analogy---As a parent I will love my children always. However, I will not force them to live with me or talk to me if they hate me, curse me, and express a strong desire to have nothing to do with me. I would be sad for their choice, but it would be their choice. And I would welcome them home with open arms should they choose to stop hating me and renew contact. I view God as the ultimate loving father...respecting a person's choice, providing an ample and gracious way to come "home", and forgiving all once that child does choose to come home. The parable of the prodigal son comes to mind. The *son* chose to take his inheritance, waste it, and end up in a miserable pig stye. But when he came back, his father didn't begrudge him anything. He threw a party. :
Pretty good explanation of what I believe.

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Old 02-17-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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This is a little convuluted, but here goes:

I believe that God is love- a force both transcendent and imminent.

I think that hell is a state of mind, largely of a person's own choosing, in existing without God, without love.

And yes, I think hell is real. To me, states of mind are very real.

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Old 02-19-2009, 03:04 AM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
I agree, though I have a slightly different take on the bolded part.

I think the concept of Heaven/Hell is a psychological comfort for the fact that bad things happen to good people, and the bad in the world never seem to get their just desserts. I think the idea that there is no fundamental justice in the world is really hard to take, especially when you are on the receiving end of the injustice.

Hence Heaven and Hell. Payback time.

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Old 02-19-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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I think the concept of Heaven/Hell is a psychological comfort for the fact that bad things happen to good people, and the bad in the world never seem to get their just desserts. I think the idea that there is no fundamental justice in the world is really hard to take, especially when you are on the receiving end of the injustice.

Hence Heaven and Hell. Payback time.
That makes sense but the Christian view kind of messes with it.

I don't believe in Hell because I want all the people who have hurt me to suffer for eternity. I would prefer that they all know Jesus and spend eternity in Heaven with him and me. In Christian beliefs, Jesus takes the penalty we all deserve, according to justice.
Likewise, I don't feel I "deserve" heaven more than any other human. The only way to deserve perfection for eternity would be to be perfect. I'm definitely not perfect.

So for me it's not about payback or reward.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:00 PM
 
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Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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Old 02-20-2009, 02:09 PM
 
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Here is my view:

There is no hell. It is a concept created by humans to control people through fear, and to satisfy a human need for a particular idea of justice that is really just rationalized vengeance.
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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I think the concept of Heaven/Hell is a psychological comfort for the fact that bad things happen to good people, and the bad in the world never seem to get their just desserts. I think the idea that there is no fundamental justice in the world is really hard to take, especially when you are on the receiving end of the injustice.

Hence Heaven and Hell. Payback time.
I agree with these.

I also believe the concept of 'fire and brimstone' hell originated from the pre-scientific reality that 'way down there' is this molten 'lake' of fire, evidenced through volcanos and other such discoveries. It's wayyy too coincidental that volcanos and other seismic activities carry a distinct sulfuric (brimstone) smell and that traditionally, hell has been 'under' the ground.

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Old 02-20-2009, 09:31 PM
 
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That makes sense but the Christian view kind of messes with it.
this is interesting, let me parse out the logic and let me know what you think.

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I don't believe in Hell because I want all the people who have hurt me to suffer for eternity. I would prefer that they all know Jesus and spend eternity in Heaven with him and me. In Christian beliefs, Jesus takes the penalty we all deserve, according to justice.
But only for Christians, right? So if you don't believe in Jesus, then he doesn't take the penalty for your sins and you end up in Hell (please let me know if this is not part of your religious beliefs - it was part of the Christian tradition my grandmother tried to instill in me that not Christian = Hell).

So in this case, Hell is actually a negative consequence for not having the right beliefs/relationship with God, rather than a punishment for not behaving right.

Of course, if I am accurate, Christian belief is that if one truly accepts God and Jesus, then one's behavior will naturally follow a more righteous path - and that by following Christ more closely, kind and ethical behavior will be the outcome.

So if murderers accept Christ (and therefore are eligible for Heaven), part of the sign of the acceptance is that they will both stop killing people and truly repent for their sins. And that if they DON'T stop killing or repent for their sins they have not truly accepted Christ (even if they say they have), and therefore would be not eligible for Heaven.

Quote:
Likewise, I don't feel I "deserve" heaven more than any other human. The only way to deserve perfection for eternity would be to be perfect. I'm definitely not perfect.

So for me it's not about payback or reward.
Who goes to Heaven though? Everyone? People who lived ethical and righteous lives, regardless of religious beliefs? OR just people who believe in Christ?

Heaven is a nice place, right? Certainly more pleasant than Hell?

I guess my question is, if Heaven isn't a reward and Hell isn't a punishment, why even have the concept at all?

Why divided the dead into two, where some go one place that is, by definition, pretty fabulous, and some go the other place, which is, by definition, a never ending pit of despair? What rationale is there for the division other than "right" vs. "wrong"?

You can put a layer of "people aren't judged by their behavior but by their relationship with God" on the rationale but since it is presumed that "close with God" = righteous behavior, really isn't it cloaking a judgment?

I am not trying to be offensive or disparaging; I am just trying to parse out the logic of it all.

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Old 02-20-2009, 10:17 PM
 
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But only for Christians, right? So if you don't believe in Jesus, then he doesn't take the penalty for your sins and you end up in Hell (please let me know if this is not part of your religious beliefs - it was part of the Christian tradition my grandmother tried to instill in me that not Christian = Hell).
Technically, Christians believe Jesus died for all mankind...
(http://www.tentmaker.org/Dew/Dew5/D5...ralProofs.html)

Again...technically.

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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
So in this case, Hell is actually a negative consequence for not having the right beliefs/relationship with God, rather than a punishment for not behaving right. Of course, if I am accurate, Christian belief is that if one truly accepts God and Jesus, then one's behavior will naturally follow a more righteous path - and that by following Christ more closely, kind and ethical behavior will be the outcome.
No. Christians believe that hell is a real place of eternal suffering as a result of a rejection of Christ's status as Son of God and savior of mankind.

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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
So if murderers accept Christ (and therefore are eligible for Heaven), part of the sign of the acceptance is that they will both stop killing people and truly repent for their sins. And that if they DON'T stop killing or repent for their sins they have not truly accepted Christ (even if they say they have), and therefore would be not eligible for Heaven.
This is where it gets sticky. Some Christians believe once you've accepted Jesus into your heart (born again, as it were) and declare Christ your eternal savior, you are destined for heaven. Period. Some Christians believe if you EVER break one of the ten commandments you are doomed to hell. Some Christians believe a deathbed confession is all it takes to redeem oneself and 'join the club' heading for their celestial home. There's no one clear answer for that one, and one of the MANY reasons basic logic prevented me from adhering to this belief system any longer.

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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Who goes to Heaven though? Everyone? People who lived ethical and righteous lives, regardless of religious beliefs? OR just people who believe in Christ? Heaven is a nice place, right? Certainly more pleasant than Hell? I guess my question is, if Heaven isn't a reward and Hell isn't a punishment, why even have the concept at all?
Christians believe (although I'm oversimplifying) that heaven is the eternal reward for accepting Christ on this earth. To Christians, heaven IS a reward, and hell IS a punishment. I'm not saying it's logical...but it's still the belief system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
Why divided the dead into two, where some go one place that is, by definition, pretty fabulous, and some go the other place, which is, by definition, a never ending pit of despair? What rationale is there for the division other than "right" vs. "wrong"? You can put a layer of "people aren't judged by their behavior but by their relationship with God" on the rationale but since it is presumed that "close with God" = righteous behavior, really isn't it cloaking a judgment?
But that's where the logic messes up. The bible isn't clear because of conflicting messages on this exact issue.

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Originally Posted by siobhang View Post
I am not trying to be offensive or disparaging; I am just trying to parse out the logic of it all.
Good luck with that

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Old 02-20-2009, 11:33 PM
 
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siobhang--I want to reply but need to wait until I have time to write some thoughtful answers. I'm headed for bed at the moment.

I'll try tomorrow.
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