Opposing Hell

39 Replies, 3097 Views
Thread Closed 

THIS THREAD IS EXTINCT:
(This post was last modified: 2021-03-17, 02:34 PM by Brian.)
[-] The following 3 users Like Brian's post:
  • woethekitty, Smaw, Sciborg_S_Patel
Hi Brian

I wanted to ask you if you think that belief in ‘Jesus’ death’ story is really the way to eternal life? And if you do what does that say about the stories told by NDErs that seem to contradict this? 

This question came about recently while thinking about ‘injustice’, people that have been ‘wronged’. There have surely been many, Jesus included. It is subjective to decide on the ‘worst case ever’, a Christian might say Jesus of course, an atheist might choose Nelson Mandela. I personally would say there have been very many such examples, to choose only one would be foolish (for me).

I tend to believe in Jesus, the man, less so the son of God. If he was the son of God, sent to atone for our sins, then his crucifixion surely has to be biggest crime ever, as well as the biggest sacrifice. Thus I can totally see why Christians would probably choose Jesus, I probably would too if I were Christian, it all comes down to ones ‘belief’ or faith.

If you find any of this offensive I apologise, it isn’t meant to be.  Praying hands
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
(This post was last modified: 2021-03-07, 11:42 AM by Stan Woolley.)
[-] The following 2 users Like Stan Woolley's post:
  • stephenw, Sciborg_S_Patel
THIS THREAD IS EXTINCT:
(This post was last modified: 2021-03-17, 02:39 PM by Brian.)
[-] The following 1 user Likes Brian's post:
  • Stan Woolley
(2021-03-07, 12:18 PM)Brian Wrote: I do believe that Jesus' death and resurrection story is the way to eternal life and it was at the point that I became certain of it that I had the experience I described in another thread (I can't remember which one)


Thanks for that, I don’t think I read about your experience, but would like to. Can you give me an idea which thread it may be likely to be in or even a rough idea of when you wrote about it? It’ll make searching a bit easier.
Oh my God, I hate all this.   Surprise
(2021-03-07, 02:25 PM)Stan Woolley Wrote: Thanks for that, I don’t think I read about your experience, but would like to. Can you give me an idea which thread it may be likely to be in or even a rough idea of when you wrote about it? It’ll make searching a bit easier.

Here it is: https://psiencequest.net/forums/thread-t...8#pid41768
[-] The following 2 users Like Brian's post:
  • stephenw, Stan Woolley
Hi Brian - a comment that I hope will not offend you but as you posted your draft here, I assume you are inviting comments.


Quote:The central focus of the Christian faith, according to all of Christ's apostles, is the belief that Jesus' brutal death on the cross was to pay the price for our sins, and having paid that price with his death, he rose to life again on the third day. Without this belief, one cannot be saved from death and given eternal life, therefore, anybody who professes belief in Jesus Christ has to believe that death is the wages of sin and that it was possible for Jesus to have paid it on our behalf and then to have risen to life again.


I have to say that your opening sentences provide a pretty comprehensive argument as to why I am not a Christian. To be fair, I am not religious at all so would probably not follow any faith-based belief system but the crux of why I am so opposed to organised Christianity is all there. Specifically, the emphasis on sin and the exclusivity of this faith: i.e. only a believer in the Christian faith can be saved. 

Going back to my childhood, I was sent off to church and Sunday School every week and, I have to say that I didn't mind. In fact I enjoyed it and I volunteered for extra classes in scripture which led to me taking and passing exams set by the Church. Gradually, however, I started asking questions and the more difficult the question, the more I was fobbed off. "You just have to have faith" I was told, over and over again. Just as you mention that  "the Bible tells us not to ask ourselves who will ascend". Yeah, "don't ask" became a familiar refrain.

For a while I flirted with outright atheism but eventually decided that finding a personal philosophy was more in line with my approach than being told what to believe or what not to believe. The questions I had were not even addressed by either religion or atheism but I did find some guidelines from philosophy, even if I could not understand much of the jargon that goes with it. Basically, I abide by the Shakespeare quote:


Quote:There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


My philosophy is to try to find and understand those things.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
[-] The following 3 users Like Kamarling's post:
  • woethekitty, Obiwan, stephenw
(2021-03-08, 02:40 AM)Kamarling Wrote: Hi Brian - a comment that I hope will not offend you but as you posted your draft here, I assume you are inviting comments.




I have to say that your opening sentences provide a pretty comprehensive argument as to why I am not a Christian. To be fair, I am not religious at all so would probably not follow any faith-based belief system but the crux of why I am so opposed to organised Christianity is all there. Specifically, the emphasis on sin and the exclusivity of this faith: i.e. only a believer in the Christian faith can be saved. 

Going back to my childhood, I was sent off to church and Sunday School every week and, I have to say that I didn't mind. In fact I enjoyed it and I volunteered for extra classes in scripture which led to me taking and passing exams set by the Church. Gradually, however, I started asking questions and the more difficult the question, the more I was fobbed off. "You just have to have faith" I was told, over and over again. Just as you mention that  "the Bible tells us not to ask ourselves who will ascend". Yeah, "don't ask" became a familiar refrain.

For a while I flirted with outright atheism but eventually decided that finding a personal philosophy was more in line with my approach than being told what to believe or what not to believe. The questions I had were not even addressed by either religion or atheism but I did find some guidelines from philosophy, even if I could not understand much of the jargon that goes with it. Basically, I abide by the Shakespeare quote:




My philosophy is to try to find and understand those things.

First of all, I am not offended, although the thread subject is really about what the Bible says about "Hell" and "Eternal punishment" and I would rather it kept to that.  Secondly "you just have to have faith" isn't the best approach to any problem, and I have also been the victim of that all-too common approach.  Thirdly, God and the universe are infinitely bigger than the Bible and I have always said that if, to my satisfaction, my faith can be proved to be in vain, then I am better off without it, therefore I have no problem with exploring the kind of things people discuss here.  The issue with sin and salvation is simply that all of us are prone to do exactly the kind of things that do damage to people, animals, the planet etc.  It doesn't matter how good we think we are, we still fall short.  We cannot save ourselves by our own efforts because, at best, we are far too weak, and at worst, too selfish, therefore the only way is to put our trust in the son of God who took our sins on himself and crucified them.  The choice is open to everybody so there is nothing unjust about it.  Why should He let the destruction that mankind causes go on and on eternally?  Therefore only those who choose to go with Him and trust Him will be saved, otherwise the next life will be just as bad as this one.

BTW - to everybody - I know I stomp my feet at times, but I don't want people to think I am easily offended, either because of my foot-stomping, or because "religion" is supposed to be a sensitive subject.  I appreciate your concern but please do not start your queries with sentences like "I hope you are not offended"  It feels patronizing.  Besides which, I have doubtless offended others in my time here.  It's going to happen from time to time, just because we are human.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Brian's post:
  • Enrique Vargas
I'm surprised at how close my views are to yours.
[-] The following 1 user Likes Enrique Vargas's post:
  • Brian
(2021-03-08, 02:28 PM)Brian Wrote: First of all, I am not offended, although the thread subject is really about what the Bible says about "Hell" and "Eternal punishment" and I would rather it kept to that. 
...

BTW - to everybody - I know I stomp my feet at times, but I don't want people to think I am easily offended, either because of my foot-stomping, or because "religion" is supposed to be a sensitive subject.  I appreciate your concern but please do not start your queries with sentences like "I hope you are not offended"  It feels patronizing.  Besides which, I have doubtless offended others in my time here.  It's going to happen from time to time, just because we are human.


OK, I get that thing about feeling patronised. I was trying to be respectful but you are right - we take the gloves off here when arguing with ideological atheists who present themselves as skeptics so why should we walk on eggshells with religious believers? I guess my experience in the wider world has ben of two types of Christian. One type is what I might term as "convert or condemn" ... mostly the evangelical types who have little tolerance for anyone who does not share their (often warped) version of Christian faith. Then there's the quiet types - those who don't wear their faith on their sleeves, who don't bring up Jesus at every opportunity and who are more reluctant to judge others but who are quite sensitive to criticism about their faith. So, with either type, I am probably not alone in being wary of discussing religion.

Back to the points you raise, namely sin, salvation and hell. Again, these are exactly the issues I have with Christianity (at least the way Christianity has developed, not necessarily the words of Christ as reported in the gospels). Yes, we all "sin" but who determines what a sin is? For at least a couple of thousand years (and not only with Christianity) it has been the self-appointed hierarchy of the religious bodies, in similar style, across the Abrahamic faiths. 

The issue I have with the Abrahamic approach to sin is that acts of sin will be punished. That God sits in judgement and, again, God's representatives on earth (the priesthood, etc.) are here to deliver judgement and/or punishment here on earth, not to mention eternal torture and damnation for the offenders. This from an ever-loving and forgiving God? 

There is an alternative view at large in the world now. The so-called "spiritual but not religious" view. According to research I have seen, this accounts for quite a large and growing demographic but it does not have a structure as with an organisation. It does not have a church. It does not have an ideology by which it can be identified (like, for example, committed atheists have). It is just people, like me, who are resistant to religious propaganda and control but not willing to reject spirituality or even divinity wholesale.

I am well aware of sin. I am well aware of my own sins which I define as anything that I have done which caused another harm or distress. But those sins (if we must keep calling them that) are my own responsibility and I must own that responsibility. If possible, I must at least apologise and offer to make reparation to those I have harmed. I must recognise their pain and feel my part in causing that pain. What I do not accept is that I might go to church on a Sunday, confess my sins and be relieved of that responsibility. 

I cannot accept the view that humanity was, at some point in the past, perfect: without sin. And that humanity then fell from grace and became what we are now: a race of sinners whose only hope for salvation rests with the belief that God sent us his son to be tortured and die so that we may be absolved of all the sins we commit. To, in effect, remove our responsibility like pampered children who don't know any better. And then, here's the kicker: not all of us gets to have that burden of sin removed. Oh no. Only those who proclaim this son of God as their saviour. Only those who obey the commands of the church set up in his name. Only those who give themselves entirely over to the cult of the Christ. The rest - well, they can burn in hell.

From what I remember of my scripture studies as a child, I did not get the impression that the Jesus I was reading about actually had all this in mind when he told his parables. My memory is of a man who set an example with his own life: who turned the other cheek, who would encourage us to help the less fortunate, to tolerate the non-believers (the Gentiles, as he was a Jew). His message was of love and forgiveness - at least as I remember it. I don't remember any emphasis on sin and punishment - on hell and torment. "My father's house has many mansions". This said to me that all are accommodated. When Jesus said that the only way to heaven is through him, he meant - from my understanding - that we should try to follow his example. Not to worship him or create an iconography around the implement of torture and death that he had to endure. 

It is not my place to tell a Christian how to interpret the bible. I speak as one who was once a Christian and who gained something from the experience. It was not Christ who turned me away from Christianity - it was Christianity.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
[-] The following 2 users Like Kamarling's post:
  • Obiwan, stephenw
By the way, I could obviously expand on my rather hurried and inadequate definition of sins but that's really for another discussion.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.
Freeman Dyson
Thread Closed 

  • View a Printable Version
Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)