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Should religious folks have a serious objection to hell?:

 1 Game Chainsaw, Fri, 18th Feb '11 8:36:49 AM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
Because we all love religion threads.

On the whole "fire and brimstone hell" for non-believers bit of several religions... or whatever hell is actually like...

Even if you do believe, absolutely, that there is a God, that your God is the correct one, and that that God does indeed mandate eternal damnation as a punishment for not living your life well... don't any religious folks here on the forums have a serious disagreement with their God on this particular issue? I'd be building a siege-ramp up to Olympus back in Ancient Greek times if I thought Zeus enjoyed torturing kittens. This is the same principle!

I'm not challenging belief here, though I am myself agnostic... say of that what you will... I'm challenging the moral authority of any God that threatens eternal damnation for any crime, regardless of its severity, but particularly for the simple misdemeanor (if you can call it that) of not believing in God or even that particular version of Him.

(Lightning bolt in 5...4...3...2...1... in fact wouldn't it be hilarious if I didn't post on the forum again after posting this?)
 2 MRDA 1981, Fri, 18th Feb '11 8:39:57 AM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
If you're a theist, morality = what God says.

Deviation from that = evil, even if other humans might see your deviation as humane, compassionate or what-the-fuck-ever.

edited 18th Feb '11 8:40:33 AM by MRDA1981

I'm tellling you right now: the theist answer to this question is going to sum up to, every time: In Mysterious Ways.

 4 Bobby G, Fri, 18th Feb '11 9:34:07 AM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
I refuse to recognise any deity who condemns people to eternal damnation as God. They might be a god, they might even exist somewhere in some form, but they aren't worthy of the name of God, in my estimations.

Deviation from that = evil, even if other humans might see your deviation as humane, compassionate or what-the-fuck-ever.

My definition of "evil" does not encompass being compassionate or humane. If that's some god's definition of the word, I see no reason why I should consider that god worthy of my worship or love.
 5 Chagen 46, Fri, 18th Feb '11 9:42:47 AM from I don't really know
I refuse to recognise any deity who condemns people to eternal damnation as God. They might be a god, they might even exist somewhere in some form, but they aren't worthy of the name of God, in my estimations.

Even in the most extreme situations?

I believe that Hell is reserved only for people who are basically Complete Monsters, since most people don't actually do things just to be evil.

edited 18th Feb '11 9:42:59 AM by Chagen46

"Who wants to hear about good stuff when the bottom of the abyss of human failure that you know doesn't exist is so much greater?"-Wraith
 6 Karalora, Fri, 18th Feb '11 9:53:39 AM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Even the worst human being is still only capable of finite evil. Hell is an infinite punishment. It cannot be considered justice. God is all-powerful and should be able to rehabilitate sinners without traumatizing them or anyone else.
 7 Accela, Fri, 18th Feb '11 9:53:59 AM from one of my story's worlds
Nerd Mode Always On
That is why, although I am a Christian, I do not believe in hell (one of Jehovah's Witnesses, please don't mock me).

We don't punish serial killers, even the most loathsome and vile of them, by slowly burning them alive forever. I refuse to believe that a perfect, just being would condemn anyone to that fate. No one deserves that.

edited 18th Feb '11 9:54:09 AM by Accela

"Genius is more often found in a cracked pot than in a whole one." - E.B. White
 8 MRDA 1981, Fri, 18th Feb '11 10:05:46 AM from Hell (London), UK.
Tyrannicidal Maniac
"Justice", like "beauty", is in the eye of the beholder.

And if you're beholden to "god" or "Allah", well...doesn't his concept of "justice" come before your own?
In Riastrad
I had the same objection when I was Christian. It put me through some rough shit for a while... until I had this amazing (in my eyes) revelation: that's bullshit. I refuse to believe a compassionate god would torture people, ever, period. So, my perception of the divine burned away and rose again in a more magnificent form, like a phoenix. I was Unitarian Universalist for a few years, before becoming pagan. I still consider myself UU in spirit, but there aren't any of their churches here (we've got upwards of a hundred Protestant churches, two Catholic churches, and only one bloody Wiccan coven.)
My name is Cu Chulainn.
Beside the raging sea I am left to moan.
Sorrow I am, for I brought down my only son.

 10 Tzetze, Fri, 18th Feb '11 10:22:41 AM from a converted church in Venice, Italy
DUMB
If you're a theist, morality = what God says.

I think you mean Abrahamic religion, not theism in general. And even then there are probably exceptions.

edited 18th Feb '11 10:22:59 AM by Tzetze

 11 Karalora, Fri, 18th Feb '11 10:30:39 AM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
If what God means by "justice" or "love" or "compassion" is so radically different from what we mean, why use the same words at all?
The way that I've been taught is that in the beginning, God (I'm talking about the Abrahamic God, just so I'm clear) estabished "the rules" as in the "original one" — Don't eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, or surely you will die. That one. We (our precursors, Adam and Eve) disobeyed that, and for that, God imposed a lifespan on us.

Following that, God saw that man was becoming more wicked due to their eyes being opened due to eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and thus, they started sinning in the eyes of God, because now, humans could see the option of doing evil, and chose to do so anyway (whereas before, it may have been forgivable because humanity was blind to good and evil and innocent and ignorant of the differences).

So, God in a desperation move, wipes out the earth, save for the most righteous family — Noah and his sons. However, they were not really up to par with what God expected either, and so later, he gave man the Ten Commandments and the rest of the Judaic law that you can find in the Books of the Law — imagining, I'd suppose, that having a list of things God expected of you would keep mankind out of trouble.

From this, this is where God tells the people that blood must atone for their sins, and they start the practice of sacrificial atonement. Following this trend out for a few thousand years, God sends his son, Jesus to be the final atonement sacrifice for mankind's sins.

God had saw that mankind had matured and did not need to be beholden to any laws any more (think of it like a parent giving their child more freedom the older they get), so he sends the perfect sacrifice. A human (humans are special — they have souls, they have the capability to sin or not to, thus, this is more special than a simple animal sacrifice). But this human had to be blameless. So, god sends a facet of himself in human form (to maintain the "perfection" part of the equation) to die for us, thus, fulfilling the debt that we incurred as a species back when humanity first sinned and thus would "surely die". An innocent man took our place, and now the bargain could be fulfilled.

According to C. S. Lewis, God doesn't send anyone to Hell, so much as people choose to go. God asks us to accept the offer made by him through Jesus' death on the cross and claim our belief in him and our allegience to his cause — to save more people from making the decision to ignore the sacrifice that was made.

I suppose that, when I view it from a species-wide problem that we've incurred due to sin, I can see how God has to uphold his end of the punishment in that "we will surely die", and how he has no choice but to commit us Hell.

I should note that the "surely die" part is a bit of a translation confusion, in that, it means something more like "be permanently snuffed from existence". And that's how I view Hell. Not an eternal punishment/torture facility, but more of a eternity of non-being, which, I suppose in my thinking is worse than having an eternity of joy that is refreshing every day that I can enjoy in a new, perfected body.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth and the learned find themselves perfectly equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists
Even the worst human being is still only capable of finite evil. Hell is an infinite punishment. It cannot be considered justice. God is all-powerful and should be able to rehabilitate sinners without traumatizing them or anyone else.
There’s no record, anywhere, that Hell is a place of torture and damnation. The fire and brimstone hell is made up by people, who most likely want to scare people and believers into acting nice or getting this hardcore hell. Now it may be like this, but we have no proof of that. What we do have proof of is that Hell is just a separation from God. You won’t get the bliss of Heaven. Everything else? Implied by people who believe that they deserve divine punishment. Maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but none of that is provable by any means, empirical or otherwise.

Ironically enough, C.S.Lewis, one of the major players in the Christian faith, supports the idea that even if you are damned to Hell, there’s still a way to get out through contrition and humility, an idea that Christians are adamant about being in the negative about.

I think you mean Abrahamic religion, not theism in general.
No, they’re spot on. If you’re going to associate yourself with any world religion that has some kind of scripture going along with it, then you’re agreeing that the scripture is the base argument, like it or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean it for metaphorical phrasing, such as God creating everything in 7 days when we have scientific evidence that the Earth is much older than a couple thousand years, but should a deity or other religious figure in scripture say, “Don’t do this, or you’ll be damned, ” and you do it, you can guess what happens.

No, they’re spot on. If you’re going to associate yourself with any world religion that has some kind of scripture going along with it, then you’re agreeing that the scripture is the base argument, like it or not. It doesn’t necessarily mean it for metaphorical phrasing, such as God creating everything in 7 days when we have scientific evidence that the Earth is much older than a couple thousand years, but should a deity or other religious figure in scripture say, “Don’t do this, or you’ll be damned, ” and you do it, you can guess what happens.
Not quite. There is a difference between god/gods being damn powerful, so disobeying them is a bad idea, and them being viewed as a source and final arbiters of right and wrong. So, no, not every religion says that doing whatever god orders is the most good and just thing. In some of them you might be damned, but you'll still be right.

edited 18th Feb '11 11:49:44 AM by Beholderess

If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 15 Bobby G, Fri, 18th Feb '11 11:59:25 AM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
In any case, the Bible is subject to a great many interpretations and it's impossible to say for definite whose is the correct one. Even if you don't buy the widely accepted argument that some statements in the Bible cancel out or modify earlier ones, you can always find theologists who are prepared to argue that when God said X he really meant Y and so on.

And really, y'know, if the Tree of Good and Evil means that I have knowledge of what is good and what is evil, well, from where I'm standing, between compassion and eternal damnation, I know which seems like the holier course of action to me. So yeah, I guess I'm following an interpretation of Bible!God after all. Hallelujah, and all that jazz.
Somewhat off-topic, but this one finds it ironic that it seems like Adam and Eve could not know that disobeying god and eating that fruit is wrong until they did. How can one chose a correct action until one knows the difference between good and evil?
If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 17 Bobby G, Fri, 18th Feb '11 12:05:20 PM from the Silvery Tay
vigilantly taxonomish
I guess they were just expected to do what God told them?

Though you have a point; there's no reason why they'd know they were supposed to listen to God and not the snake, if they didn't know right from wrong.
[up][up] Presumably because God told them not to, and he gave them a specific punishment warning prior to them ever eating it in the first place. Also, Eve originally protested the serpent, who was trying to decieve her into eating from the tree. Adam then also resisted Eve, who told him to eat it.

Ninja'd!

edited 18th Feb '11 12:06:08 PM by ExterminatorZed

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth and the learned find themselves perfectly equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists
See ALL the stars!
But doesn't that imply they already knew right from wrong before eating the fruit? (Since they knew that it was possible the snake was deceiving them)
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
 20 Karalora, Fri, 18th Feb '11 12:09:06 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Of course, then we have to contend with the fact that the Serpent was telling the truth, and God—at least on a literal reading—was lying. Adam & Eve did receive moral enlightenment, and did not die that day.
Some would argue that the snake put the idea of ambition in their heads when he said "You will not surely die — He knows that when you eat the fruit, you will become wise like him, knowing good from evil".

I think man had pride, thinking that they could eat the fruit and still contain their sinful nature in the face of knowing the temptation of evil.

[up][up] Correct, but also not quite so. Like I mentioned in an above post, the reading of the Hebrew there in the phrase "surely die" means something more like "eradicated from exisitence" rather than "body stops functioning". Death here is on a more spiritual level. When they ate of the tree, they were cast out from God's immediate presence — the beginning of their spiritual death, which, if continuing in a sinful direction, ends in their total annihation of Hell — a state of eternal non-being, cut off from God.

edited 18th Feb '11 12:13:27 PM by ExterminatorZed

In times of change, learners inherit the Earth and the learned find themselves perfectly equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists
Though you have a point; there's no reason why they'd know they were supposed to listen to God and not the snake, if they didn't know right from wrong.
Exactly. How could they know that not listening to god is a bad thing? So it does seem somewhat strange to me to hold the humanity responsible for something that was done before very capability of moral decisions was possible. They literally did not know better.

But that is somewhat off-topic. Please accept my apologies.

But doesn't that imply they already knew right from wrong before eating the fruit? (Since they knew that it was possible the snake was deceiving them)
Knowing that not everything that is said is necessary true does not require having any idea about whether it is right or wrong. It can be observed that things arenot always as they seem. Reflection in te water is not the real thing, even though it looks the same. And what's wrong, per ce, with calling red flower blue just because? Knowing that things might not be true does not require understanding that lying is wrong.

edited 18th Feb '11 12:18:57 PM by Beholderess

If we disagree, that much, at least, we have in common
 23 Karalora, Fri, 18th Feb '11 12:12:59 PM from San Fernando Valley, CA Relationship Status: In another castle
Manliest Person on Skype
Why should they have thought any different? At the time they made these decisions, they had no frame of reference.

The Eden game was rigged.
[up] Valid too.

Some have argued that in order for God to even love us, we had to be put into a situation where we had an option to obey or disobey. That's why some of us in the Christian realm believe in the interpretation of Satan as a member of God's cabinet, so to speak — someone to give us the other option of not being with God. How can you love something if you have no other choice but to? And, really, what better way for God to show his love than to rescue us from that situation?

I don't know — maybe it had to be rigged.
In times of change, learners inherit the Earth and the learned find themselves perfectly equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists
See ALL the stars!
But that implies God is narcisstic.
Da Rules excuse all the inaccuracy in the world. Listen to them, not me.
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