GREAT Question!

A friend was asked, “if there were no heaven or hell, would you still follow Jesus?” I thought it was an awesome question which has a lot of facets to it. So let me ask you Jesus followers. If there wasn’t a heaven or a hell, would you still follow Jesus?

As a follower of Jesus, I’d like to think I would but really, I don’t know. And that kind of scares me to admit. However, I do like a good philosophical discourse. That one question raised about 10,000 more in my mind. My over-ANALytical mind. Like, without heaven and hell, where would Jesus live? Could we go hear him speak? What about the devil? Would all spiritual warfare be visible? Is it enough to live the fabulous life that Jesus promises right here and now without an eternal future to look forward to? After all there are some trials that people only get through mentally because they are able to look ahead to eternity.

I’d LOVE to know your questions and philosophizing about this. Please leave a comment or two for the rest of us to ponder.

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45 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by seneca on December 9, 2006 at 7:52 pm

    I hate to break this to you, but there is no heaven and there is no hell.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sharla on December 9, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    I’m not sure why I find humor in your comment Seneca but I do. It’s just funny.

    By faith only do you come to that conclusion. By faith I don’t.

    As far as your question Joni. I don’t think Jesus would even be. The name would be just that designated to this guy or that guy. No heaven. No hell. No need.

    Even more reason I am thrilled about a Creator that has made each of us like none other, unique, gifted. Created with intention, love, purpose, meaning. Understanding, by faith, that intention, causes me to move forward with the life I life with excitement, anticipation, belief, power…..of God.

    Great question!
    : )
    Shar

    Reply

  3. Joni
    I’ll take over for Belle on this one. Afterall, she’s a bit of a Calvinist.
    This question seems more moot to me than it has in the past. Whatever the Bible refers to as heaven or hell is so far beyond what we mere humans can comprehend. As much as I envy Seneca being so demonstratively positive on the matter – I find that the older I get, and the more I experience, the less sure I am of what I thought I knew for sure. I’m not sure why the church (evangelical variety) has been so busy worrying about who’s heading to heaven and hell. Jesus almost never mentioned such a thing. (He did in a parable about Lazarus going to “the bosom of Abraham” where- or whatever that might be). Jesus talked more about the Kingdom of Heaven coming to earth. Talked about it a lot. And, if I’m not giving too much away, the Bible doesn’t end with Christians making a jailbreak for heaven – it ends with the New Jerusalem descending from heaven TO earth.
    I’ve tried to be more focused on participating in bringing the Kingdom of Heaven to earth. (restoring creation to how it was in the beginning) And recognizing it when I experience it. And it is almost never in a church service. It’s sitting with a little old lady in Biloxi, MS, letting her tell the story of how she survived a hurricane on a stairway. It’s making dinner with a bunch of Pitt college students. (They are amazed and grateful for even the most remedial cooking skills.) It’s standing shoulder to shoulder with 5 black pastors from a poor section of Pittsburgh who are trying to stand against incredibly powerful forces who intend to put a casino in their neighborhood. It’s buying a cup of coffee for Mike (a crack addict who hasn’t been to church since he can remember) at 7am after he had been binging all night and talking to him about what kind of church he would go to.
    These are times where I, like Moses, have accidentally found myself treading upon holy ground. At times like these, any talk of heaven or hell seems superfluous. Jesus always existed in the moment. That’s where I want to be, more and more. Speaking of the moment, it’s after 1am – I hope this makes some sense in the morning.
    -tom

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  4. Clarification 1: Oh, yeah, when I say “I’m not sure why the church (evangelical variety) has been so busy worrying about who’s heading to heaven and hell” – I’m not talking about “them”. That’s been ME.

    Clarification 2: This Kingdom of God stuff just doesn’t seem to be something you can manufacture, program, or plan for. It just happens and I just hope to humbly wander into it. They best I can hope for is to recognize it while it is happening. But that’s also what’s so cool about it.

    Reply

  5. Posted by seneca on December 10, 2006 at 1:04 am

    You’re wrong, Shar.

    Reason gives me my opinion. Faith gives you yours. NEVER equate the two.

    Please remember that your religion is simply mythology to 75% of the world. If you simply stand back and look at what you believe, it’s really weird!

    Is Jesus being crucified for our sins any less weird than Tom Cruise’s spaceships laying eggs that have populated this world? Both are really weird!!!

    The universe is so complex that it is beyond the understanding of the human brain. How can beings as limited as we understand the universe?

    So, how do we live our lives?

    By trying to understand and conform to the Ethics wired into by evolution.

    Religion seems to be broken into two components; namely, God and the wonder of it all, and Ethics, how one should conduct one’s life.

    The “God” part does vary widely by culture. Does God depend on where you’re born and whom your parents are?

    The Ethics part varies little by culture.

    Cultural evolutionists believe that Ethics improves our ability to reproduce. It’s all about Darwin and evolution. Ethically-driven cultures are better at lasting for centuries and producing more offspring than non-ethically driven cultures. Ethics, the right way of living, is wired into us by millions of years of evolution.

    You and I are “good” not because of religion, but because it’s the right way to live, and efficient in an evolutionary sense.

    Religion is good because it celebrates the wonder of it all (the “God” part) and tells us how to live a life (the “Ethics” part).

    The two need not be from one source. The ancient Greeks kept the “God” part separate from the “Ethics” part and worked out the beautiful Ethics which Augustine later incorporated into Christianity.

    What you think is beautiful about Christian philosophy came from the pagans Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato through Augustine. There is no revealed Christian philosophy. It came from the Greeks!

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  6. seneca, I can tell you are intelligent, but at the same time, you are pretty ignorant. There is just as much faith in your decision as in ours. Are you omnipresent – have been everywhere at the same time and seen there is no God with your own eyes? Are you all knowing- so that you can know without certainity that there is nothing more than meets the eye in your life?

    Faith and reason are, or should be, interwoven. Whether you are a born again Christian or a devout Atheist, which some would consider an oxymoron, you shouldn’t have a blind faith. You have reason for yours, and I have reason for mine.

    For instance, take intelligent design. If you go to a museum and look at a painting, you instantly think of the painter. So why should we look at a sunset which has more beauty than any piece of art and think it just happened. Seems illogical to me.

    Or take a coke can. If I was to tell you that a coke can just evolved from aluminum deposits in the soil to form the perfect can, and that over time berries landed on the can to perfectly form the Coca-Cola symbol, you would think it ludicrous. But look at a banana, it’s a more sophisticated container than a coke can. A banana peel on the outside no only protects the banana on the inside, but changes color to display the quality of the contents on the inside. It falls and tears apart perfectly to eat with a built in tab. Or an apple. Not only does a apple’s color tell you something about the apple, but you can eat the container (skin) itself. The groves at the top and bottom perfectly fit a person’s hand. It even contains the seeds to its own self preservation in an organic decomposing core. Seems pretty advanced to say it just happened. Whether or not you agree, that’s an example of reason used to believe in the existence of God.

    I agree that there seems to be largely a common ethics across cultures. You can say they developed from evolutionary reasons, social contracts, etc, I’ve heard them all. And they seem logical alternatives. But the fact that a common God created them all seems just as logical.

    You also have to remember that Christians say that Christianity evolved really as the next step in Judaism with the original Christians being largely being Messianic or “fulfilled” Jews who had found their Messiah. So Christianity has been around since the existence of Adam and Eve and the creation of the world. Therefore, the ancient Pagans and Greeks learned from them and not the other way around.

    Christianity may not be a majority of the people on the globe. But the majority of the world does believe there is a God. And since all of those religions have mutually exclusive claims about their God, only ONE can be right. But it would make sense that if there is one truth, there would be many shades similar to the truth. The most convincing lies are the ones grounded in truth. And the majority of the world considers the fact that God exists to be a universal truth.

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  7. Seneca,

    If you’re right, and there is no heaven or hell, then they put us in the ground, we turn to dust, and that’s it.

    If there is a heaven and a hell, and your destination is dependent upon a belief in Jesus Christ as your personal saviour (heaven) or not (hell)………

    Reply

  8. Seneca, I guess I just think if I’m wrong about following Jesus and about heaven & hell, I haven’t really lost much. But if you’re wrong, you’re going to get a huge surprise. You might consider hedging your bet. I think believing and following Jesus may raise your hope quotient if that’s of any interest.

    I’ve really enjoyed the commentary on all sides. I’m glad you all stopped in. Come on back anytime!

    Reply

  9. Posted by seneca on December 11, 2006 at 1:37 am

    Thanks, Joni,

    Geniuses think alike!!! Of course, your comment (no.8) is what Pasqual said in his “Pensees” in 1670.

    In my opinion, what YOU lose , if I am right, is failing to live a life based on reality and instead living a life based on fantasy.

    If YOU are right, I feel I don’t lose anything, as I am trying to live a life based on the Ethics of Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, which also happen to conform to the dictates of evolution, which are remarkably similar to the way you want to live.

    So now let’s say that I should worship Jesus just to hedge my bets, because eternity is a very long time!

    I ask you what the Creator would think of the worship of such an insignificant being as me worshiping him out of self-interest. I hope he would smack me down! I hope the Creator would demand real love, and would instantly recognize the repugnant love based on self-interest.

    Thanks for letting me be here,

    Mike Seneca

    Reply

  10. Posted by seneca on December 11, 2006 at 2:15 am

    To Doug Ruhs, Comment No.7,

    I do believe we turn to dust, and that’s it.

    And that’s okay!

    Your comment assumes much!

    – That there is a Creator,

    – that the Creator is good (I feel this is a belief and cannot be demonstrated),

    – that the Creator is just (I think even Believers do not see justice on Earth, and neither does the Book of Job),

    – and that Jesus is God or the Son of God (I also think this is a belief and no one attempts to prove it through reason).

    Your statement about getting into heaven is, to me, one of the two bases of later religions (earlier ones did not have heaven, including early Judaism and Paganism).

    The first basis of religion is fear of death. An afterlife allows us to overcome death.

    The second basis is understanding existence. The “God” part of religion, as opposed to the “Ethics” part, gives us an explanation of everything. We want explanations, even though different cultures come up with different Gods and different explanations.

    But different cultures come up with the same “Ethics”, because it’s wired into us by evolution!

    So, why does a non-believer like me want to settle down with just one woman and love her to death? Because it feels right! It is wired into me by evolution!

    Cultural evolutionists are FIRM on the fact that a happy life revolves around the man-woman-child system, including REQUIRING monogamy by the woman.

    Note that the original commandment was “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” You were allowed to covet his unmarried sister and daughter; hence, the multiple wives and concubines of Jews at Christ’s time.

    Although cultural evolutionists require the wife’s monogamy, they may also require it of the husband. I’ll have to read up a little more.

    Thanks for putting up with me,

    Mike Seneca

    Reply

  11. Posted by seneca on December 11, 2006 at 2:23 am

    THERE IS A CREATOR!!!

    Of course, who created the Creator?

    My problem is that we’re making the universe conform to what the human mind can understand; namely, cause and effect.

    Maybe the universe just “is”. Maybe there is no cause and effect.

    I am certain that the answers are so complex that the limited human mind cannot understand them.

    When I don’t understand, I say we don’t have the answers.

    You say the answer is God. I don’t see at all why that follows.

    I’m getting tired tonight. Should I come back in a day or two and answer unclewormwood, or are we all tired?

    Mike Seneca

    Reply

  12. Posted by seneca on December 11, 2006 at 2:54 am

    Uhhh, Joni Ol’ Buddy,

    My blog is full of rough stories. I AM the guy in that blog. All the stories are true. But my sexual involvement with those women varies much.

    Never touched the Little Stripper Girl, never will. She became a daughter to me and lived with me a good deal.

    Love her to death. Think I’m losing her to crystal meth.

    Although I would have loved to be Maggie’s boyfriend, sex was just once in five years, and that was the first time I met her. She is just too damaged to touch, but not too damaged to love.

    Love her to death. I lost her to crack and she has added heroin to the mix. I have given up Hope, after an emotional five-year fight.

    Mika is more of a girlfriend, and is my current girlfriend. She now lives so far away, and it’s tough! But now she’s away from the bad guys!

    The Little Sailor Girl was a real girlfriend. She is a full Navy Lieutenant with a doctorate. She is at War now in the Persian Gulf.

    The Little Sailor Girl needs no help. She’s fully healthy.

    The rest are very destroyed and consume my time and treasure. If I was successful in gaining their redemption, it would be worth it.

    But I fail miserably.

    So far 100% of the time.

    Mika may be my only success because of her attachment to her son, her drug of choice is weed and not the evil crack, heroin, and crystal meth of the others, and her tenure as a “bad girl” isn’t that long.

    After Mika, I give up. I have no effect.

    I will be with normal women in the future, after Mika. The Little Sailor Girl showed me that healthy women can still be crazed and fun!

    I have learned so much, the hard way!

    I personally despise illegal drugs.

    Mike Seneca

    Reply

  13. Mike, I’ll be back a little later because your comments are compelling. Need to get the little ones off to school but I’ll take some time this afternoon. Have a good day.

    Reply

  14. I’m back. I’ll have to do this in stages. Your comments on not having all the answers and the fact that our human minds cannot begin to fathom the complexity of all this. You are exactly right. For me, that’s where faith comes in. I see evidence in the world around me of the existence of a Creator. I think he gives us glimpses so we don’t all freak out at the enormity of his presence. The only analogy I can think of is to even remotely try to come close is the idea of birds. Generally speaking, if you want to take care of a bird, you can’t just run after them in all your glory with food screaming, “come here little bird, I want to take care of you”. They will freak out and run. However, if you take the form of a bird and speak to them in their own language about where the food is, they will be a lot more responsive. That’s the idea of Jesus taking the form of man, although he is God to come alongside us in friendship. If the supreme Creator of the universe popped in to say hello, I’d probably have a heart attack and keel over. The bible says he did not come to condemn the world but to save it. Again, you’d have to be willing to trust the bible to gain anything from that.

    The fact that you have an internal sense about right and wrong or ethics is fabulously “explained” in C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity”. Don’t know if you’ve read him but I think it would be right up your alley.

    As for evolution, there are so many questions and theories. I personally believe that God created the universe. It’s so complex I can’t imagine it just being thrown together over time. However, I believe evolution is such an improbable theory, that it might just be the way God would do it. You know? He’s got a knack for making the impossible happen. I suppose I’ll find out one day. That is if what I believe is correct : ) !!

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  15. Hey Seneca,

    This is a cool discussion, yes? It’s good for me to have my “thinking” stretched and challenged.

    Having said that, you’re by far the greater intellectual in the discussion between you and I, and have probably read more books today than I have in the last 10 years. That is all on me, so on that front, you’ve challenged me to expand myself!!

    As far as some of the other things that you’ve brought to the table, I can respond based soley upon my experience as someone who has spent almost 4 decades in the universe.

    You mentioned that my original comment (#7) “assumes much”, and you’re absolutely right. However, I choose to call it faith, the evidence of things unseen. My faith grows based upon my experience as a Christ follower.

    Things that I have faith in:
    – there IS a Creator, and He is God.
    – God IS good. I DO believe that, and could tell you the innumberable ways that He is good, DAILY!
    – God is just. None of us truly see justice on earth. The day that I stand at the feet of Christ, I will be judged on my “walk” as a believer.
    – I believe in the Trinity; God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. As far as proving through reason that Christ is the Son of God, the book “The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel does a fair amount of research into that topic.

    Heaven, whether it be “in the sky” or “on earth” (see Tom’s comment above), has really been to me the cherry on top of my lifelong sundae. I agree with your statement that “the first basis of religion is fear of death”, although, the word religion is not really accurate in my world. I religiously do many things, that have nothing to do with being a Christ follower, so I’ll insert Christianity instead of religion.

    As a child I was scared into salvation a number of times, as I was told the biblical description of hell. However, as I’ve grown both as a man and as a believer, I strive to make heaven more of a daily goal than a destination. I wake up each morning and try to live the way that the Bible teaches, and pretty quickly realize that I’m failing. I often feel the way you described in comment #9 to Joni. Generally pretty insignificant, worthless, and not at all a good person.

    But what is good and why do we feel it when we’re not “good”. You talk about it being wired into us through evolution, and I believe that I was created and wonderfully made in the image of God. If you and I are to buy what Joni is talking about (evolution being just wacky enough that God would do it that way,and I can go there with very little effort), then we’re talking about the same thing.

    As far as your second reason for understanding existence, I can’t really address that, because I honestly have never questioned my existence. I’m not sure if that makes me shallow, or incomplete, or whatever, but I can’t address that part of your comment.

    Of course the one woman, one man scenario that you speak of goes back to the evolution/creationist theory proposed by Joni above. I believe that God intended it that way from the beginning (Adam & Eve) and you go the evolutionary “wiring”. I believe it’s the same thing. It’s God ordained.

    I don’t know enough about the Jewish history to speak on the unmarried sister/daughter scenario. I too will do some more reading up on that topic, as well as the context of the original commandment that you quoted.

    I agree with almost everything that you wrote in comment #12. There are many many many answers that are beyond human comprehension. I disagree that we “believers” say that the answer is God. I would say it more this way……. When it’s my turn to understand then God will reveal it to me, I just don’t know when that will be, or how he’ll reveal it to me. The beauty of this is when he does, and then often the only way to explain it IS God.

    When my wife and I are having finanical problems, we pray about it and submit it to God, and out of the blue we receive a check for just the right amount, from people that we have never met. When we are in need of a different vehicle, and there is no way that we can afford the vehicle that we need, but then end up getting the exact vehicle that we prayed for, and an interest rate that is more than a full percentage point lower than what the market says it should be.

    I don’t know how to explain these things (and many others) other than the fact that God chose to bless us for some reason.

    As far as “putting up with you”, it’s not my blog. Come on in anytime!! For what it’s worth, you’re welcome on mine anytime you’d like, but it’s not as much fun as this one. :^)

    Later on Mike! I’m envious of you’re brain!!!!

    d.

    Reply

  16. Mike, me again. Sorry about the bet hedging thing. That was more tongue in cheek than anything. Of course following Jesus is not about fire insurance or making it into heaven by the seat of your pants. You mentioned you hope the Creator would demand real love. See that’s the thing. He doesn’t demand or manipulate. We were created with a choice to love him or not. I know he prefers that we love him for who He is–awesome. I thought there was a great scene in the movie “Bruce Almighty” that touched on that. Bruce(Jim Carrey) is complaining to God(Morgan Freeman), frustrated that he can’t figure out how to make his girlfriend love him. God replies, “when you figure that one out, let me know.” Back to the fire insurance idea. The thief on the cross next to Jesus had no opportunity to redeem himself or make up for his crimes. He just believed that Jesus was the son of God and asked Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into his Kingdom. Jesus told him that he would be with him that very day. How ’bout that for making it in by the seat of your pants?! Now I believe Jesus can see through to the heart and He alone can judge our sincerity. So for the rest of us, again, we have to trust until we see something to the contrary. There’s that pesky faith issue. Its risky because not everything or everyone is trustworthy. I personally have never been let down by my faith in God. I have doubted, questioned and been angry with him yet he has never wavered in his faithfulness.

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  17. seneca,

    I agree you are an intellectual. That is something I applaud. One thing I often berate both in atheists and Christians alike are those who have a faith that is blind or no interest what so ever. Myself, I have taken the mantra of being a truth seeker. If you have the same take, then I think we can have some lively discussions.

    However, rather than do all this in a comment (as the comments on this blog alone are already probably ten times the length of the original post!), I think I’ll tackle them one at a time on my own blog over the next week or so.

    The way I see it, your biggest objections are:
    1. That there is a Creator
    2. That God is good/ God is just despite seemingly injustice displayed on earth, problem with evil, etc
    3. Jesus is the Son of God

    Check out my blog. I’ll put up this list, so feel free to comment whatever you feel inspired to do and add any other major objections. And I will do my best to answer your questions. Do I honestly believe that you or I will change our viewpoints in the next week or so over this discussion? I doubt it! But, one of the best things you can do to learn your own beliefs is to expose yourself to someone of the opposite opinion.

    I will also promise you to be as open minded to your thoughts as I’m asking you to be with me. Everyone else, please feel free to post your comments, and I’ll check back here periodically.

    Reply

  18. […] I recently had some good disussions with some other people about objections to the faith on the comments of another blog. […]

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  19. Posted by Brad Blinstrub on December 11, 2006 at 9:38 pm

    I am a friend of Mark Mende. My name is Brad Blinstrub. I room with him at the same location. I am a Christian. I cannot say that everything that Evangelical Christianity suits my Judaism but, I totally believe that he was and is what he said he is. The incarnation of G-d. So, I must separate my anger and resentment that I sometimes feel toward the nations, the Goyim, and it’s Christological fascinations. I must be the wretch I am and not hide my heart. Jeremiah 17:29 ” …. wicked and deceitful above all things. Who can know it?”
    If there were no heaven or hell I would not follow Yeshua. I cannot fully state that as a total fact. But I must err on the side of honesty. Brutal honesty. If Mashiach B’nai Adonai came to earth and offered no reward for the misery of faith, in a world of faithlessness I would feel despicably “had” by Adonai. I would probably turn to the life of the most self-indulgent. Shaul (Paul) stated that if there were no resurrection we are the most miserable of men. Why is that? Because it is divinely implied that to be part of his sufferings is to be part of the same reward. That reward is The Resurrction. To be part of the sufferings and not the reward is to me, excuse my contemperaneous slang “a burn,” and not something other than sickly mystical masochism.
    Nietzche spoke of the “superman” that rises above “man” and would suffer for the “good” without a sense of any reward but finitude. A “superman” in MAN AND SUPERMAN, that did good without any future justice, or rather justifiable reason. A “superman” that would die for men despite the future being a total nothingness. That is not “redemption.” It is empty nobility. Nietzche struggled for this without the realism of Demosthenes who fell from fantasy and slept on the floor, so to speak, and did not fall out of bed. Nietzche died mad. Demosthenes the artful cynic, looking, as he knew, vainly, for an honest man, died with his faculties. He accepted the reality of unreality as being beyond the shriveled arm of man to change. He was the schoolmaster of the “kynikos” who saw all men as less than dogs. So without Messiah, I ask, “Where is my bowl, and where is my bitch.” No pun intended.
    Honestly, I would never follow The Christ without an infinite result. No more than a Salafi Jihaadi fights to the death with blood on his hands and an expectation of a garden of sensual delights, because of that earnest combativeness and imminent death.
    But lastly, that is not to say that I would not admire The Rambam of Rambams, Sofer of Sofers, Scholar of Scholars seen and unseen, and most Greatly, Spotless and Unassailable sacrifice and redeemer, and be not in awe of him. To be in awe of this amazing visitor to my miserable world, would be an understatement! Therefore, to see and handle one such as him, and to see him leave forever, never to return, would be child abuse above the most despicable.
    It is impossible for Love to do this. Therefore my hope is real.

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  20. Posted by seneca on December 12, 2006 at 3:38 am

    To Joni, Comment 14,

    You’re a smart guy, Joni!

    You see complexity, and see evidence of God. I see complexity, and just see complexity. I don’t make the connection to God. Another example of the Leap of Faith and my lack of it!

    I wonder what goes on inside of each of us that causes us to process this information differently.

    One study found it has to do with our mothers. Those with loving mothers tend to believe in God. Unbelievers have much higher odds of having had an unloving mother. Works in my case!

    Perhaps those who had loving mothers feel a kinder universe; hence, feel a good and just Creator.

    The bird analogy is nice!

    Every Christian has come to terms with the “Jesus” story and accepts it. I myself like the explanation, possibly not that widely propagated, that Jesus died on the Cross to show us that all life is sorrowful.

    For me, that’s an explanation I can buy, but perhaps it’s not satisfying to others.

    I have read only one C. S. Lewis book, and I agree that he is wonderful. The book was about the thoughts of a very fat but brilliant monk (was it Aquinas?) who fought the Manicheans intellectually. I still remember that the monk had a half-circle cut into the dinner table so he could get closer to the food.

    “Mere Christianity” is probably wonderful to read!

    To me, evolution need NOT be an attack on the existence of God. In a Catholic High School, taught by Augustinian monks (great guys, by the way!), I was taught evolution. You, of course, agree that evolution is not incompatible with God.

    One must believe that God stepped in somewhere to give Man a soul if one is a Christian.

    I love evolution because it explains everything except what I feel will never be explained – namely, why we exist.

    Darwin read Malthus who predicted every species will attempt to produce so many offspring that overpopulation, then starvation, will occur.

    Darwin wondered which of the starving overpopulation would survive, and came up with “survival of the fittest”. He found accidental small changes in individuals can make them better at surviving, and those changes are passed down to their offspring.

    But he had no idea how those changes were transmitted generation to generation.

    Then, a hundred years later, genetics is discovered, showing exactly how that information is transmitted.

    It’s all so beautiful!

    The best to you from Chicago!

    Mike Seneca

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  21. Posted by seneca on December 12, 2006 at 4:15 am

    To Joni, Comment 16,

    Please do NOT be sorry about the “bet hedging thing”. Like your comment in No.8, it is directly from the great theologian Pasqual in “Pensees”. He said it too!

    Loving the Creator, receiving love from the Creator, and “We were created with a choice to love him or not” are very difficult words for me to respond to.

    I think feeling the love of the Creator is internal to Christians. I’ve never come close to having those feelings. As these are feelings, not logic, they are real to the individual, but not felt by all individuals.

    Pasqual says it’s MY FAULT!!! He says God’s grace is all around me and I need to open up and receive it.

    I love God’s line in the movie “when you figure that one out, let me know.”

    When you write “I personally have never been let down by my faith in God”, I believe it must be added that the Lord works in strange ways and that the works of the Lord on Earth can sometimes NOT be understood, just accepted. I believe this is the lesson of the Book of Job.

    For me, the Cultural Evolutionists provide a better understanding. They explain the need for a man-woman-child family unit and why we sometimes annihilate those different from us (concentration camps).

    It’s hard to understand why God allows pedophilia. Deviant psychological studies do explain this most horrid of sicknesses.

    In my world, reason explains everything EXCEPT why we’re here.

    In your world, you have that answer!

    Mike Seneca

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  22. Posted by seneca on December 12, 2006 at 4:54 am

    Doug Ruhs, I had a nice response, then I hit the mouse accidentally and lost it. I’ll be back.

    Unclewormwood, I’ll respond tomorrow. It’s late!

    Mike

    Reply

  23. ooh I like this one..I believe I would…because of the book itself (The Holy Bible)

    Reply

  24. Ha, Seneca, you’re been kept busy. I’ve actually done that several times as well. Now, I generally copy anything before I get out of a text box, just in case.

    I just want to throw a couple things out there for things that you touched on in your answers to others. I more fully developed my comment on a post yesterday, by the way, and I think you might appreciate it. I actually threw some of the stuff I wrote below on the latest blog. So check them both out. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and picking your brain.

    Oh, and i will also highly recommend C.S.Lewis. Mere Christianity is a very good book about why Christians believe what they believe, etc. It is actually a collection of lessons he gave over the radio during the Battle of Britain in WWII. The BBC knew he was starting to get a following as a great evangelist in circles and wanted him to talk about God as a means to restore hope to the nation during the tragedy of the war. It was so popular that he took the lessons, added a few, went a little more in depth, etc, but that is where it had its root. It’s an interesting tidbit. Screwtape Letters is also an incredible insight into the Spiritual world and The Great Divorce is an awesome allegory about Heaven and Hell. Actually, that might be a great one for you to read too.

    Now, I agree with you that I don’t think science and religion are at odds, by nature anyway. I think that is a myth largely perpetuated by scientists that are atheists and want to argue science as their salvation and, honestly, some within the church seem to fear science and distance themselves from it as well. There is a great book called the Evolution of a Creationist, which actually argues for the science behind a literal 7 day creation as described in Genesis.

    While I do believe that things can evolve, even natural selection to an extent (it’s common sense that the strong trump the weak), I don’t think one can argue that evolution is any more grounded in logic and facts than Creationism. In fact, the world famous Karl Popper was once quoted as saying “Evolution is not a scientific theory but is a metaphysical research program.”

    In addition, many proponents of evolution are extreme critics over other rival beliefs in evolution:random chance, chemical affinity, seeding from space, etc. And not one of them as has avoided prominent criticism. Additionally, the very lynch pin of evolution is that there should be transitional species which have never been proven to be found. Several reported cases which initially seemed to suggest they existed have been found to be hoaxes. Even Darwin admitted this flaw in his theory when he asked, ““Why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not see innumerable transitional forms?”

    In addition, Darwin admitted that, “If it could be demonstrated that and complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, then my theory would absolutely break down.” This “irreducible complexity” argument that was derived by this statement has found numerous organs, etc, that seem to defy Darwin’s statement. Behe, a biochemist, has claimed that numerous things, such as the human eye should not be possible to have evolved. The eye has thousands of co-equal processes. Without a single one of them, there would be no eyesight at all. For evolution to occur, something with have to gradually become a human eye and continue to evolve until it was better. However, Behe suggests that is impossible because a eye could not be developed by tweaking subsequent things in evolution as it works all or nothing.

    Dr. Moody, a leading evolutionist, answered the question of “How did life on Earth begin?” with with “The answer is that we do not know and probably never will… the origin of life occurred more than three billion years ago… Why, then, do we discuss the question at all? The best we can do is to point out what might have happened.”

    What I’m trying to get at is that evolution as so many shortcomings that it takes leaps of faith to accept them. If you look at some of the mathematical odds computed by some statisticians, some suggest believing in a God is more likely than believing in random evolution. So if you believe evolution, that’s your choice. But it is not the logical certainty that some people claim. At some point, you just have to choose to believe. I choose to believe in God.

    Reply

  25. Mike, I emailed you a response on #20. Re #21, yeah I don’t know why God doesn’t just reach down and grab all the sickos by the throat and toss them somewhere awful. I know that we live in a world that wasn’t supposed to be this way, in the beginning. But because of our ability to make choices, we(mankind)often choose poorly, don’t attempt to fight off evil when the thought or compulsion runs through our heads, or don’t seek help when we need to. I have no answers for any of that. I believe that because there will be a day of judgement for all(including believers)that those who do not have the protection of accepting the forgiveness given through the sacrifice Jesus made will not have a good day. All I can do when coming face to face with the holiness of God is state that I have done nothing good enough or accumulated enough points to warrant an eternity in the perfect presence of God. But because Jesus took the punishment(because there are severe consequences) for all of my poor choices and rebellion(sin), and I have accepted that in faith(brought about through reason), I will not receive the consequences I deserve but will share in the benefits of the kingdom of God. Jesus said the kingdom of God is here which leads me to believe that I can have hope and mercy and light here on earth–bonus. I have lived in that place of despair and spent countless hours trying to figure out why am I here, why am I going through this, why, why, why but I could never quite find the answer that sat right in my gut. Until I accepted the gift Jesus offered and started to learn more about him. And I didn’t accept it emotionally. It presented to me in a very logical way and I remember thinking “oh, I get it. Ok, I’m in.” It took years for me to develop this friendship with Jesus by studying, praying, being silent and listening for that still, small voice, hearing his voice through music, the lives of others, the struggles of others. And the more I searched, the more he showed me. There is a verse in the book of James that says if anyone lacks wisdom he should ask God who will give an answer without finding fault(my paraphrase). I like the “without finding fault” which tells me there are no stupid questions. He also says, if you seek me you will find me if you seek me with all your heart. I love that. He’s not elusive, we just don’t look I suppose.
    Re faith. Look at it this way, in the grocery store, you buy a can of green beans. How do you know there are actually green beans in the can? The label says so but you never really know do you? But experience tells you its so, other people have bought and opened and found it to be true and its in the green bean aisle. The evidence is overwhelming-reasonably. Now its up to you to decide whether to take the chance that all that evidence is enough to make an educated leap of faith. Deal or no deal?

    Reply

  26. well said Joni. You have a gift for the testimonial style of sharing the Gospel. And that can be one of the most effective in my opinion because you aren’t judging, you aren’t criticizing, you’re just saying, in the words of the blind man in the Gospel accounts, “I once was blind but now I see.” In other words, this is what I’ve learned and this is how it has changed me. I think that is one of your spiritual gifts, and I laud you to keep it up. God bless!

    Reply

  27. You know, i never actually answered your question though!

    If think the question sort of begs the question, if you know what I mean. Jesus had to come, according to the Bible, to eliminate sin and reconcile God and men. Heaven and Hell is the eventual consequence of a life lived in sin and a life lived in righteousness. So I don’t think you could have sin, which is a result of free will, without having a Heaven and a Hell. Or for that matter, then you wouldn’t need Jesus. It’s an interesting question though, but if everything else was the same, and there were no consequences either way, I’d like to think it wouldn’t change me. It shouldn’t anyway. In John 14:15 Jesus says that “If you love me, you will obey my commandments.” So, if you loved Jesus, you should still live your life striving for a fellowship with God, whether that be in Heaven or just in quiet times. But I guess there is no way anyone could definitively know what that would change. Whether you believe in Jesus as Savior or as just another historical figure, one can’t deny that He changed the world. Who knows how that world would have been changed if the message he preached was different.

    Reply

  28. Posted by glandheim on December 12, 2006 at 11:41 pm

    Hi – Just a slightly different slant here.

    I’m not a Christian. I’m agnostic. I don’t know what’s going on and doubt that other people do either.

    If I have a spiritual practice, it is closer to Buddhism than anything else. Buddhism requires no faith, no God, no Heaven, no Hell.

    Buddhism is a practice that, if followed, can lead to peace, harmony, and self-understanding. You don’t have to believe it, you just have to do it.

    Likewise, the teachings of Jesus describe a practice that can lead to peace, harmony, and self-understanding.

    If Jesus and Siddhartha were to meet, they’d probably share a bowl of rice and some tea, wash each other’s feet, and have a nice friendly conversation. They would probably learn a few things from each other, if nothing else, just teaching techniques.

    Jesus’ teachings remain valid regardless of whether there is a Heaven or a Hell, or even a Jesus.

    So if follow Jesus, or Buddha, or anyone else who teaches right-action, you will be better off. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks they have to have a divine payoff in the afterlife before they will do the right thing. You do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do.

    Reply

  29. Thanks for joining in! I’d agree that doing the right thing just to get a payoff is a little skewed. For me, doing the right thing-or at least making an attempt-is more of a gratitude or worship thing to honor God for who he is and what he has freely offered to me. Jesus said that the most important things to do are to love God and love others so if I can stay within that simplicity, I hope to be honoring and “representin'” well.

    Reply

  30. glandheim,

    I agree with a lot of that. I’m a devout Christian, and the practice of living a Christian lifestyle actually has a lot of similarity to Zen Buddhism. I’ve read a couple books on Taoism and Buddhism, so I’m very familiar with them. The major difference just in the lifestyle is Christianity seems to be a little more about other people while Buddhism is more self – introspection. But you would probably enjoy the book of Proverbs if you haven’t read them.

    However, Christians believe that there is a lot more than just the lifestyle of living a good life and being a good person. Because as close-minded as it sounds to some who are agnostic/atheist, Christians believe that good people go to Hell daily as we’re not called to be good people, we are called to be Christians. Good people is just a byproduct.

    If you think about that, it makes sense though. As Christians, we are living for an afterlife with Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.

    So while I have no doubt that Jesus as a Man and Siddhartha would have gotten along, and Jesus as God would have loved Siddhartha, Jesus still would have told him what He said in John 14:6, “That I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

    Jesus cleared believed He was the Son of God and was God according to Jewish and Pagan historical records. So either He was God; or He was a crazy madman. I don’t think we can just look at Him as a moral teacher.

    God bless!

    Reply

  31. Posted by glandheim on December 13, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Hi underwormwood –

    While I know there are Buddhists who practice it as a religion, the forms of buddhism I follow require no religion, or any. You can be a Christian and a Buddhist, or a Hindu and a Buddhist, or a Moslem and a Buddhist, just as you can be any religion and be a soccer player. Buddhism, the kind I talk about, is a practice, not a religion. Anyone can practice it.

    And while it is about self-introspection, in a way, that instospection is a way of learning to be in the moment. When you learn to live in the moment, other people become absolutely critical, because they are with you, right here, right now. They are as much a part of ytou just as you are a part of the universal.

    But I’m not preaching Buddhism. And because I don’t know what brand of Christianity you practice, I don’t have a clue what you mean by Hell. For some Christians it is a state of mind. For others, it is separation from God. For others it is but a metaphor.

    But if I am a good person, and end up in Hell with lots of other good people, I’m sure we’ll enjoy eternity together. We’ll create our own Heaven, if necessary. Unless God squishes us. That wouldn’t be very loving, would it?

    And if Jesus said to Siddartha, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” I assume Siddartha would have clapped him on the back and said “Good! You got it!”

    Because we all are. We just have to “get it.”

    I think where Christianity diverges from a philosophy like Buddhism is that very thing. The spiritual basis of Buddhism and other “mystic” systems is that the divine in us is identical to the divine in God. That we, are in effect, God. Let me point out that this is not a doctrine, but an experience that is a side effect of Practice.

    For Christ to claim that he was God was simply to acknowledge the truty about all of us:)

    All this Hellfire and Damnation stuff, with eternal suffering, if that’s what you believe Hell means, is not Christian. Can you imagine Christ wanting his Children to suffer for eternity for any reason?

    It is only vicious, hateful people who want to see other suffer like that It is a philosophy of divisiveness and hatred. It cannot be divine.

    Reply

  32. I don’t look at Hell as hateful as much as it is heartbreaking for God. What drew me to Jesus was the idea of there being a standard. God’s perfection can not comingle with imperfection–which we who were created with free will, often choose. I was really tired of trying to make up my own rules and hope they were right enough. How good is good and who gets to say? In fact, I hurt a lot of people in the name of being my own god. God says he does not want any to perish but all to come to repentance. See 2 Peter 3:9 in the bible. Check out Biblegateway.com for a variety of translations. So its enormously painful to provide a way(Jesus) to spend eternity in God’s gracious presence and watch countless people say no and make their choice to serve/worship elsewhere. So Hell isn’t vengeance as much as it is consequence. The only way out of that is to rely on Jesus who voluntarily stepped in to take the consequence on our behalf. We choose to accept that or not. If you’re a parent you have a little glimpse into this. If my child knows it is wrong to do something but does it anyway, knowing there is a time out or other privelege revoked coming, then it is the child’s choice(given its appropriate age of understanding) to receive the consequence when he chooses to do the wrong thing. If you as the parent don’t stay consistent or give in and don’t mete out the consequences over time, the child will not learn to respect your authority and one day when he runs into the street and does not listen to you say stop, he will be injured. Is it your fault that you could not get to him in time? Not if you’ve done everything you can. Now obviously this is an imperfect analogy because we as humans do fail in our consistency. But God does not. And it breaks his heart to see his children suffer and separate from him because he knows there is a better way.

    Now I KNOW there are scholars out there who have a more official position but I haven’t read all the philosophers and such. I can only go on what I know from what I HAVE studied. So if there’s a better way to put it, please chime in.

    And thank you everyone for all your comments. I’m loving the discussion!

    Reply

  33. And, sorry to ramble, I think non Christ followers assume that followers of Christ enjoy seeing people on their way to Hell. And not without good cause. Many Christians have not represented well. I believe, its the opposite. I think the zeal you see in some people begging others to believe what they believe is because Christians DON’T want to see anyone go to Hell. Hopefully that is their motivation and not trying to fill a quota of some kind.

    Reply

  34. Posted by glandheim on December 13, 2006 at 1:54 pm

    Hi Joni – I can’t speak for other non Christ followers. I know a lot of Christ followers who do not believe in Hell, except as metaphor. In fact, I, personally, don’t know very many Christians who DO believe there is a literal Hell. Didn’t even the Roman Catholic Church abandon that concept in recent years?

    And I accept your explanation that the zeal you speak of is real in those folk who think people are going to be doomed to Hell and are sad for them.

    But I also believe there are a lot of evil SOBs out there who take great pleasure believing that others are going to Hell.

    People who are concerned about your spiritual welfare don’t froth at the mouth while telling you that you will rot in Hell. Those are mad dogs.

    And any so-called God who would condemn human beings to an eternity of suffering just because they didn’t accept Him during their mortal lives is not a god worth worshipping.

    Some True God will find this False God and fix him. He’s obviously sick and needs his meds.

    Reply

  35. Posted by glandheim on December 13, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Hey! With those last two paragraphs, I think I just became a Ghostic!

    Reply

  36. joni, I agree.

    I think that Hell is a separation from God. That’s what the Bible most seems to support. What that looks like exactly, I don’t know, but I don’t see how a place deprived from the God that created you couldn’t be a place of eternal suffering. After all, Christians believe that all good and perfect things come from God and Acts says that in Him we live, move, and have our being. Without Him, I can’t fathom how life would be livable.

    You are right about the difference between Buddhism and Christianity though. Buddhism does teach that we essentially all have the potential to be Gods if we find Nirvana, etc. Christianity teaches that there is an absolute Truth, an absolute being, and that is God. Without Him and His Spirit, we cannot hope to find our purpose.

    The Bible makes it very clear that there IS a Hell and that God desires us all to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). But as yourself this, if there wasn’t a Hell, and God didn’t so desperately desire us to be with Him and not there, then why did Jesus have to die such a terrible death?

    The Bible teaches that sin entered the world, and as God is Holy, He couldn’t be in the presence of sin. And one day, a time would come when he would cast all sin into Hell. So Jesus became flesh, lived among men, and died a horrible death where he took all the sins of the world upon himself at the cross. Jesus then rose again defeating death and sin. So while God will cast sin into Hell, some people just hold onto it. And anyone who trusts in Jesus saving blood and repents from their sin will not face that punishment for sin.

    Think of it this way. If someone broke the law and went before a judge, if a judge was just, he would have to punish them. Well, we are all guilty. Just look at the 10 commandments and the way that Jesus described them. So since God is just, He gives out a sentence. And the only sentence for sin: death. But because he is merciful, He offers to take that sentence upon Himself, which He did when Jesus died on the Cross. But if we refuse that gift and choose the sentence anyway, well, then it is not God being cruel. It is us being too proud to accept His salvation.

    Reply

  37. Posted by glandheim on December 13, 2006 at 3:33 pm

    underwormwood wrote – “Without Him, I can’t fathom how life would be livable.” Well, you’re living, he ain’t here, so I assume life is unlivable for you. Please, please, please don’t commit suicide because He is not here. You’d probably go to Hell, by your beliefs.

    Now I am definitely a Gnostic. Jesus didn’t suffer on the Cross. He’s God. He just faked it. He died and came back to life as a publicity stunt — a way to attract the attention of the insane fake god who created our universe in imitation of the true universe, to let him know that the jig is up and the inhabitants of the true reality and the followers of the True God, have found His fake little universe, invaded it, and were going to capture Him and save the poor creatures He has created (that’s us humans).

    I’m glad somebody finally found the Gnostic Gospels and that they were translated. It all makes sense now. God is insane and Christ is going to cure Him, and make our universe a part of the true universe, i.e., Heaven, saving all of Humanity in the process.

    Reply

  38. wow, glandheim,

    I don’t even know how to respond to that…. In response to your original post, I am not Catholic, but the Catholic church (and every other major Christian denomination) does still teach there is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell. It is a small minority group within the church (and much more common to be found among “christians” that don’t attend church). Most Christians agree the “fire” aspect of Hell commonly referenced is symbolism and others disagree about what exactly Hell will be. But no major Chrisian denomination has ever abandoned that core belief, and I don’t forsee any doing so in the near future. While you clearly do not respect the Bible, those that do hold it firm to their heart, and for Jesus to have spent so much of His ministry teaching about Heaven and teaching about Hell, especially salvation and how to enter Heaven (through His blood), a church that recognized the Bible could not deny the existence of Hell any more than they could deny the existence of Heaven.

    The irony is that is has only been in the last couple hundred years that “advanced” civilizations have had such large numbers of people question whether there is a Hell. In fact, nearly 3 times more Americans believe in Heaven than believe in Hell. And those that believe in Hell, generally believe others will go there but not themselves. So what does that tell me? It tells me that in the culture that we not live that is so bent on chasing pleasures, wants, and living OUR lives with no one else in mind (much like Huxley’s Brave New World), that we don’t want a Hell. Because without punnishment, everything is fair game, right?! That is how people justify sin in their lives anyway.

    As far as your latest quip on the crucifix, honestly, I really just want to be angry with you. Because you clearly don’t know my God, by your own admission, and if you did, you would realize what you just said. And as much as that grieves me, I can’t even fathom how much is must break God’s heart that Jesus died to save My sins, Your sins, and the sins of the World, and yet so many people deny He even did anything in the first place, let alone just chooose not to accept it.

    As far as the authencity of the Cross, if you want to place your faith in the Gnostic Gospels, that is your free choice. But I don’t know why you would put more faith in things written several hundred years after the death of Christ then things written within decades. If you read Jewish literature at the time, none of the Jews even denyed He had been crucifed; they just denyed He was raised from the dead.

    Every day, I wake up and delight in the Lord. I literally am brought to tears by the goodness He has done in my life. Even my greatst trials and suffering, He has made me stronger and grown me in the process. I have experienced His Holy Spirit. I have felt His presence in the wind and in the sunlight. I have seen lives transformed and saved… including my own. I love Jesus and I love God because while I was yet a sinner, when my greatest deeds were but filth in the eyes of a perfect and Holy God, Jesus became flesh, died a horrible death, to reconcile me to Himself. My God is good. And glandheim, I wish you could know it. I wish you could experience Him first hand. Because once you have, you’re never the same.

    God is my Creator. He is my Savior. He is My friend. He is the Love of My life. And I won’t argue this any further. He has promised that if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him. Oh, seek Him my friend. Drink from His well and you will never thirst again.

    Reply

  39. Jesus = Saviour
    Saviour from what, if there’s no heaven or hell? I don’t think it’s right to remove a bit of the Bible and say “what if this bit wasnt true, would you still believe the rest of it” and my answer is no I would not, because the Bible with bits and pieces removed/falsified would no longer be the Bible, the word of God.

    I love Jesus because of the Word and the Spirit, and if the two didn’t agree for me I would not know how to have faith. I don’t love Jesus just because he saves me from hell, I love Jesus because he unites me to God. What he saves me from essentially is not unquenchable fires, but separation from God. My sin separates me from God and that is the problem. If I have a disease that doesn’t allow me to eat properly, you could either find an alternate way to inject food into me or to cure my disease so I will start eating again. Jesus doesn’t inject the anti-hell virus into me he, heals me. Removes the root cause, my sin. Sin should be the point of question, not hell, because sin separates us from God, hell is where the already-separated go. I have not seen hell but I have tasted separation from God, I have also tasted the presence of God and I know why I believe in Jesus. It has nothing to do with heaven or hell, but I believe both are true because they are part of the witness that proved itself true to me.

    I’m just going to ignore the whole conversation between erm the unbelievers and the believers I am just answering the question.

    but Greg I have not seen this tone in your posts before. Interesting… lol.

    Thanks for this post Joni, and the poem it inspired! 😉
    Love,
    Diana

    Reply

  40. Posted by glandheim on December 18, 2006 at 12:33 am

    I was going to drop this, but since this whole argument has given me a week of upset over intellectual dishonesty here is a site that explain’s the Catholic church’s position on Hell:

    http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=1183

    Unclewormwood wrote that “the Catholic church (and every other major Christian denomination) does still teach there is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell.

    This site clearly states that there is NOT a literal Hell, but rather, it is a state of mind. “Pope John Paul II, spoken IN ENGLISH…”

    “Hell is not a punishment imposed externally by God, but the condition resulting from attitudes and actions which people adopt in this life.”

    “More than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.”

    So my post on December 13 in which I wrote “I can’t speak for other non Christ followers. I know a lot of Christ followers who do not believe in Hell, except as metaphor. In fact, I, personally, don’t know very many Christians who DO believe there is a literal Hell. Didn’t even the Roman Catholic Church abandon that concept in recent years?” Is correct.

    Unclewormwood needs to brush up on his homework.

    Reply

  41. How did I get involved, well here I go:

    From Greg’s link, JP2 says:
    “Hell is not a punishment imposed externally by God… Sacred Scripture uses many images to describe the pain, frustration and emptiness of life without God. More than a physical place, hell is the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy. So eternal damnation is not God’s work but is actually our own doing.” (emphasis mine)

    The scriptures say…
    Matthew 25.41:
    “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
    [implied: prepared by God]

    Revelation 20.10:
    “and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
    [implied: nothing is implied, everything is clear]

    Reply

  42. Joni I just read over your actual post again and I feel this sweet, innocent question and wonder wow where did all this discussion come from? lol.

    Diana

    Reply

  43. Posted by glandheim on December 18, 2006 at 2:11 pm

    Good for you Diana! Why let the Pope have the last word? He’s probably one of those papists. That’s why there was a Reformation.

    My point does not involve whether the Pope is right nor not. I was taking issue with unclewormwood’s assertion that “the Catholic church (and every other major Christian denomination) does still teach there is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell.”

    The words of the Pope disprove his assertion. QED.

    (I’m assuming that,by definition, what the Pope teaches is what the Catholic church teaches.)

    Reply

  44. Posted by glandheim on December 18, 2006 at 2:12 pm

    Everywhere I go,
    The people want to know,
    Is it this or is it that?
    Grease is grease and fat is fat.

    Reply

  45. Glandheim,

    Honestly, your quote on the Pope was news to me. And according to Catholics, the Pope is infallible. But I’m not Catholic. I do know that most of the Catholics I know of, and most of the Catholic literature I have read sure disagrees with the Pope. Check out Catholic.com’s article on whether there is a Hell and if people throughout the history of the Catholic church have believed it here.

    The majority of Christians that are Baptist, Church of Christ, Methodist, Bible, and most mainstream Christian denominations I am aware of do believe in a literal Hell.

    I stand by my statement.

    Reply

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