Superfund wrote:Hi m8,
Let my say I may have sounded a tad too critical when I referred to you article in the other post, It might have had something to do with, "I have no respect for 99.9% of atheists, that's true, or Christians either, in terms of being thinkers." Just me trying to shape up to muscle in on that %1! :P
Jokes aside having looked again at your article, I can see the benefit for people who are looking to move on & up from the belief of eternal punishment. In that respect the article is excellent, It logically outlines why a belief in a literal hell is not reasonable and I could see it being of great help to someone.
This is Superfund recaping the points I make on my "Why I don't Believe in Hell" essays.
Just to recap;
(1) Hell was not part of the ancient Hebrew understanding of afterlife and is not in the OT.
(2) The entrance of hell into Hebrew thought can be traced from the Hellenistic culture which became part of Hebrew experience in the intertestamental period.
(3) Hell is never discussed clearly in any expository prose, it is almost always found in either symbolic, or apokolliptic or figurative language.
(4) It's use as a symbol of spiritual death makes more sense.
That’s all fine and good except for point 4. I take exception to not only literal belief in eternal punishment but also this;
we have to distinguish here between the point itself, that hell is a metaphor for spiritual death, which is and that is easily proved, and what we make of that point. spiritual death doesn't necessary mean cessation of existence but that's my interpretation. It's most begin version would say it's just a matter of being depressed, not growing, not moving closer to God but is not indicative of any after life condition. Personally I think it's more than that but that would be an alternative reading.
if you don’t make the grade you’re out. Basically acknowledge God properly or God will abandon you in death, is it not what this amounts to?
That is not a true interpretation of what I said. That's putting a spin on it I tired to avoid and with which I disagree. Ceasing to exist is the natural and logical outcome of rejection of God. God is trying to help us not fall prey to that outcome, it's not a punishment for not getting it right, it's just the way its' going to be if we don't take heed. Like your father tells you over and over not to put your fork in the light socket. Then you decide you just gotta see what happens and you get electrictued. Your father didn't make you do it he tried to stop you. You decided to do it. That's just what happens when you do it.
Or another way to understand it, atheist want to cease existing. that's the thing they choose to believe will happen. they could choose to believe something else but they don't so I assume they want that but in any case they mostly make peace with it. So what's the difference? why is it suddenly such a terrible thing when you think God is doing it as a punishment but then it's fine and something you make peace with otherwise?
But I do not see it as a punishment. It's like we are headed for a waterfall. We going down the river and its peaceful in a our little boat and don't realize there's a huge falls we are moving toward. God is on the bank saying "look out!" Not God's fault if we go over.
You mentioned about dead atheists, I suppose they don’t quite cut it, what about homosexuals, I know at least one "gay" person that point blank refuses to even think about anything religious or anything to do with god, another deadie? How do you devine who and what is acceptable for continued existance and how could someone be really confident that they have in fact qualified?
So you want to believe what? If you have an atheistic world you and that other guy are going to die and cease to exist right? Obviously you have managed to make peace with that. What's the problem? If you cease to exist and you are not suffering or in some form of hell then why would it be any different or less what you want just becuase God is doing it? Although of course I don't see it as something God is doing but actually is working to prevent happening. You want us to believe that if anyone is saved then all are saved no matter what their attitude or actions, why? why is there no room in your world for laws and order and doing wht's right? why would it be unfair to give the person who does the right thing a reward and to punish the one's who refuse the right thing?
I'm not saying that I believe it's like that a punishment but suppose it is. If it's not cruel and your not suffering and it's what you get anyway what's the big deal?
How can the beliefs and mistakes of a lot of people or any unevolved being be punishable by condemnation, whether its hell or spiritual death?
No offence (and not forgetting what I initially wrote in the 1st paragraph) I find the theology weak (imho.)
By being sinful? that's like saying how can the holocaust be punishable? How were they do know it's wrong to take millions of people out of their homes and destory their lives treat them like animals castrate and torture them and kill them gas chambers? that's just a cultural thing right? you believe that? You don't think there are any cases where we can say 'that is wrong?"
I have more to say but basicly i'd like you to elaborate on your 4th point.
(1) It's not set up as a punishment for believing the wrong things. Belief is not somthing one can be punished for. In the old days people thought it was because you were supposed to believe what you were told. But that's just primitive nonsense. To punish for bleief would be idiotically cruel.
(2) We can punish actions, actions can be evil. We know better. We have a moral law on the heart that makes us feel bad when we murder. All people feel it except in societies that really decaying.
(3) ceasing to exist is a natural consequence of rejecting God not set up as a punishment for belief but the outcome functions as a defacto punishment for rejecting the good, not for believing the wrong thing but for living your life in a direction that takes away form the right thing (not being a Christian but love, expressing love). The overall direction of a life that rejects God (ie the good, love) is that it winds up in evil acts. This rejection of the good produces separation form the good.
Now that's just my opinon. I can't really prove that that's what I think happens. What I can prove is that hell is symbolic of spiritual death. WE can define spiritual death any number of ways.
Also Merry Christmas mate :) and thanks for these boards. I've been a reader here mainly for what? years now on and off and I value them and the space you provide. Cheers!
thanks buddy I apprecaite that. I think this board has been around since maybe 2 years? Before that I had sense of the numinous that was around since summer of 2000.