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Old 11-22-2001, 03:36 AM   #1
HelenM
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Post Hell

Hell

I usually post in rants and raves but this is supposed to be a serious piece of writing about whether the people Christians today say are hellbound are the same ones Jesus thought were hellbound.

I want people who believe the Bible is true, to think about this seriously...

Who knows if any of them will, but it's what I'd like.

love
Helen
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Old 11-22-2001, 04:14 AM   #2
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Helen,

You are right but you are not telling the whole story.

We are all sinners and hence all destined for hell (whatever you think that is). Jesus' ethical teaching is clearly more than any of us are going to match up to and so we will all fail. Paul, Augustine and others are all pretty clear about this as are most preachers I've heard.

The good thing about Christianity is that we are able to have Jesus carry all our sin if we:

- we ask him;
- we admit we did wrong;
- we trust him (have faith).

This is expressed in different ways by different people but for orthodox Christianity is pretty much a constant - even to Catholics like me.

So, we deserve hell (which is what Jesus effectively said) but we can mitigate the consequences of this.

I hope this helps.

Yours

Bede

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Old 11-22-2001, 09:29 AM   #3
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It doesn't sound all that bad to me. A woman's corns are more furious than hell, or so I have been told.

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Old 11-22-2001, 11:04 AM   #4
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Dear Helen,

You have obviously thought very seriously about this topic and I certainly admire your framing of the questions and your serious committment to some sort of resolution.

My position can be summed up quite easily. Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God and what we got was the church. There is a massive consensus among biblical scholars that the gospel accounts are not historical biographies in our modern, secular sense. They are faith documents. They are literally "good news." Each gospel was written in a different time and place by early communities of believers. Because of this, each gospel has a different emphasis to stress because each gospel community faced different problems.

So to me the New Testament gospels form a developing tradition that has been studied and written about by better minds than the one between my own ears. With a little time and work, however, one can examine the synoptic gospels in parallel and actually see how Matthew and Luke change and add to Mark's earlier account. This is in fact quite easy to do on one's own but it does take some time. I remember using different colored pens to underline the different verses to keep track of who was borrowing from whom. It is a patterned approach, however--not a piecemeal one--and because of that most believers just do not go there. And that's okay.

But as for hell, everything I have seen and learned about the real figure of Jesus tells me that if there is such a place, he would be the first one there with an earthen jar full of cool water and a large ladle. And his god-given supply of his own compassion.

[ November 22, 2001: Message edited by: aikido7 ]
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Old 11-22-2001, 11:28 AM   #5
aikido7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bede:
<STRONG>Helen,
You are right but you are not telling the whole story.

We are all sinners and hence all destined for hell (whatever you think that is). Jesus' ethical teaching is clearly more than any of us are going to match up to and so we will all fail. Paul, Augustine and others are all pretty clear about this as are most preachers I've heard...we desrve hell.
</STRONG>
The editing of your original posting is mine, Bede.

Lighning has struck. The flash of light has been the appearance on the world scene of one Jesus of Nazareth. The silence has been the unmitigated growth of the church and the assent of countless obedient believers. The first rumblings of the following thunder have been the Enlightenment and a rise in biblical literacy. This coming thunder has enabled those who wish to examine and think to see the New Testament as a collection of poetically vivid and historical responses to that figure on the dusty road. Unfortunately, that same thunder has prompted others to "circle the wagons" and draw away from "the world" as did the Essenes in their little community at Qumran. The Essenes died out in isolation.

Jesus' distinctive teaching was done in parabolic form, a method by its very nature is non-dogmatic and non-ritualistic. Paul and Augustine were systematic thinkers, something that Jesus wasn't. They wrote letters and books while Jesus was a brilliant oral teacher. They took the religion OF Jesus and made it a religion ABOUT Jesus. The historical record of the growth of early Christianity bears this out.

The church has become a giant bureaucratic salvation machine which Jesus would not recognize today. Jesus radically subverted ALL earthly forms of religious power and pointed to an unmediated relationship with God. He was pointing to something but most believers point to his pointing finger.

Also, it is my belief we should never hit, strike or spank anyone (especially those smaller than ourselves). Your statment that we deserve hell makes me think of all the adults I have spoken to who recount a parental beating and then say "I got what was coming to me," or "I sure deserved it."

They did not deserve that little slice of "hell" and Christians don't either. We deserve love and compassion. We deserve a chance to become fully human in every sense of the word.

[ November 22, 2001: Message edited by: aikido7 ]
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Old 11-22-2001, 02:25 PM   #6
HelenM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bede:
<STRONG>I hope this helps.</STRONG>
If you didn't read what I wrote then no, it didn't help.

And it doesn't seem that you did because right at the beginning I said I have been a Christian for 17 years. Don't you think I know what Christians believe by now? You must think I'm really slow or something...

I'm open to any comments you have on what I wrote. But don't bother trying to evangelize me or explain orthodox doctrine to me because I know all that and I'm already a Christian. Although I expect you had a good motive in doing so, so thanks for that...

aikido thanks for your comments. I think we probably have a lot in common in how we understand things. It's hard to write about the Bible without bringing in the kind of reasoning that strikes at the heart of inerrancy but I'm trying not to because then the inerrantists won't be willing to listen to me...

(I'm still editing what I wrote because I want it to be as clear as possible)

love
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Old 11-22-2001, 03:24 PM   #7
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Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally posted by Bede:
So, we deserve hell ...
This sounds like a great religion! Where do I sign up?
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Old 11-22-2001, 05:28 PM   #8
Amos
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Quote:
Originally posted by HelenSL:
<STRONG>Hell

I usually post in rants and raves but this is supposed to be a serious piece of writing about whether the people Christians today say are hellbound are the same ones Jesus thought were hellbound.

I want people who believe the Bible is true, to think about this seriously...

Who knows if any of them will, but it's what I'd like.

love
Helen</STRONG>

Helen, you know that I love you very much but I think it belongs in rants and raves. There at least I could give you a serious answer. My answer would be that all (?) Christians are in hell at this moment and their torment is justified by the promise that awaits them after they die (except for cold Catholics who never believed in hell to begin with).

Amos
 
Old 11-22-2001, 06:23 PM   #9
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Helen,

It is clear that you have devoted a great deal of study and thought to the question of hell. I can fully sympathize since this doctrine helped push me away from Christianity. Here are some of my random thoughts regarding your article:

I do not think it is possible to speak of "what the Bile teahes about hell" or even what Jesus believed about hell." I realize you are trying to speak to Bible-believers and they start with the conviction that the Bible is alays internally consistent. In truth, however, the Bible is utterly inconsistent on the topic of hell. As you note, the notion is virtually absent from the OT (except the late writing of Daniel). The theology of hell as well as the word "hell" and its variants are missing from John, Acts, the epistles of John, Hebrews, and all of Paul's writings. Odd, don't you think, since hell is a pretty important subject?

Further, Jesus' own teachings as recorded are contradictory. You go to great effort to reconcile passages which by their plain meaning are irreconciliable. A much simpler solution is to admit tha we can't be sure what Jesus taught since he didn't write anything. Most folks, even many conservatives, admit that none of the eyewitnesses to Jesus wrote anything either. After all, the four gospels are all anonymous. They appear to have been witten between 30 and 70 years after the death of Jesus by people who knew people who knew Jesus. What is recorded cannot be accurate since Jesus contradicts himself.

All of the confusion among sincere Christians about who's going to hell and why raises a deeper question. What kind of god would leave such an important issue in doubt? Why didn't god spell it out so clearly that no one could mistake the plan?

You raise several excellent points that call into question the goodness of a god who would torture his creatures. I question the goodness of a god who would allow so many of his most devoted followers to have so much anguish about such an important question as "Who is going to hell?"
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Old 11-22-2001, 06:53 PM   #10
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Hello Hellen,

I will admit that I have not read your study fully "yet", but I have copied to my computer for a better read when I will have more time. But I would like to comment on your interest.

I was a minister and now look at religion with a broader scope which followed my stepping down from the pulpit. I just don't think most churches today teach from an original perspective, especially since so much of the original perspective has been lost over the years. Here is some findings I have found on Hell and what I percieve as it's original meaning.

The word Hell is Not the original word used in the bible, but in the KJV it is used the word Hell 54 times to replace original words.

In the Old Testament the word sheol was replaced. It meant 'grave', 'pit', and Webster added a verb meaning of digging. Basically the Jewish people didn't (and according to a Jewish friend of mine)still does not mean Hell. It only means death. The Jewish people believed we just died and our body returned to dust.

In the New Testament three words were replaced with the word Hell. The original words were Gehenna (also known as Ge-Hinnom or Valley of Hinnom), Hades, and Tartarus.

Gehenna was basically a rubbish dump where refuse and criminals would be cast. It is said (although not documented as absolute truth) that fires were kept burning there all the time to keep disease down. I do not believe Jesus was talking about eternal life in this sense. He said (not exact quote) it was better to cut off your hand if it offended you than to be cast into Gehenna where the fire burns forever. That it was better to enter into "life" maimed than to be cast into Gehenna.

According to Christian belief, when we enter into heaven we will be whole so how could Jesus have been talking about Heaven and Hell if the alternative to "Gehenna" was to enter "life maimed"? I hold that he meant this life and talking of criminal activities when saying "if your hand offends you".

The other two words Hades and Tartarus are words from Greek Mythology. Hades was the underworld where good and bad people went and Tartarus was a place within Hades where very bad people went for severe punishment. There were other places in Hades of punishment but also of reward. The usage of these two words in the bible are believed to have been used to relate to the Greeks of whom had written the New Testament. (Original New Testament scripts were written in the "Greek" language).

I have spoken to several authorities to show me where in the bible it would clearly say that sinners would go to Hell and burn forever without ever dying. No one has been able to show me a scripture that clearly says that at all.

The closest anyone has come to it is in Revelations when it speaks of the lake of fire, but if you read it you will learn that only four "beings" would recieve this punishment. Revelations 19:20 says that the beast and those worshipped him, receiving the mark of the beast would be cast alive into a lake of fire. Revelations 20:10 tells of the devil and false prophets being cast into the lake of fire to burn forever. Therefore, the beast, it's followers, the devil, and false prophets get to join the eternal fire club. But it says no one else would suffer eternal fire. No where does it say that Hell (Hades) is this lake of fire.

In fact in Revelations 20:14 it says that death and Hell (Hades) were cast into the lake of fire and that it was the second "death". Note, it said death instead of eternal torment.

Originally, there was a Hades even though it was a borrow from the Greek's Mythology and true to the Mythology standpoint people go there after death. In the last days it will be thrown into a lake of fire as a second "death".

Personally, I do not see it as real because it was borrowed from Mythology to relate them to Christianity. If Christianity came from Jewish doctrine then there would be no "afterlife" because it was not part of their original doctrine, which would make sense of Jesus's purpose. He came that who would belive in him would not "perish" but have everlasting life. Note that he said "Perish" instead of suffering eternal torment.

I hope this will be enlightening for you. I will read your study when time permits me to and if I see additional information that I can help you with or that helps me I will be in touch.

Be well
Dale
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