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QotD: Hell

Question: Do you believe that Hell, as traditionally described, exists?

My Answer: Hell exists in one's mind.

I'm asking this question because a friend of mine recently told me that there are a lot of religious people who believe that "Hell" as everyone describes it is a myth, a fairy tale designed to teach children that being bad leads to punishment. That the reality is that some sort of "spiritual garden" (i.e. "heaven") is the only place for the afterlife. That all are washed clean (or all of a certain belief, anyway) and that all transcend the digressions of their physical life to exist in eternity in their spiritual life. Or something like that.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

12 Responses to "QotD: Hell"

  1. As my Trusts & Wills professor is fond of saying, when you're dead, you're dead.

  2. I'm torn on the whole religion thing:

    1. I believe religions were created to establish some moral guidelines (i.e. it's bad to kill people) and to explain things that we do not understand, or have a hard time comprehending (what happens when you die?)

    2. I'm unsure if there is any basis for truth in the various religious texts. Outside of old copies of those texts, there seems to be little if any substantiating evidence that the events outlined in them actually took place.

    3. OTOH, I think religions serve an excellent purpose, and I like to comfort myself in the belief that if I am good, I will go to "heaven", that there is some reason for all of this, and that there is someone ("god") watching over us.

    So, do I believe in Hell? Hell no. If I were to believe in it, that leaves a chance (however slim it is) that I might end up there 🙂 Self preservation trumps religion.

  3. "Hell is other people." (Jean-Paul Sartre)

    Which brings up another question: Do you believe in other people? 🙂

    Honestly, I do not believe in neither hell nor heaven. However, if you are a bending robot, I would strongly advise you to believe in robot hell.

  4. While I do believe in an afterlife, with both a heaven and a hell, I don't believe that hell will be a place of 1000F, with a dragon running around carrying a pitchfork - that's goofy. Rather, I believe that hell will be complete, eternal separation from our Creator. What exactly that means, I'm not sure. But I'm not too interested in finding out, either...

  5. Daniel said exactly what I think. Hell as we have created it may not exist, but there Hell is simply separation from God for eternity. Not my idea of a good time.

  6. if anything, I believe: After life exists God.

    If you lived a good life, then you can be with him. If you can show your face to him because you honestly tried to be a good person, and can accept your own shortcomings, etc, then you can be with him. It's entirely up to you... but you cant sweet-talk your way in or fib about your life, it's all out there in the open.

    If you've lived a shameful life and cant show your face to god, then you exists away from God. If when everything you were on earth is shown for anyone to see, and you're embarrassed, you'll cower away and never be with God.

    If God made us, our purpose is to be with him. Hell is existing eternally never knowing your purpose.

    Heaven and Hell are Myths... Heaven to give us hope that we'll see our loved ones again, which we wont. (but we wont care, because we'll finally be with God, and our purpose will be fulfilled, like, our existence will all make sense and we wont have to hold on to all that crap.) And the flaming pits of hell is a Myth, it's just the absence of a purpose. We spend eternity never knowing what we are for... that might suck, but i dont think it'll feel like lava.

  7. I would agree with Daniel/Aaron on that. It's first and foremost a place totally separated from God, where God's presence is totally withdrawn. That would probably mean a place where anything we shake our heads at today, be it war, murder, violence, lying etc, would thrive with no restraints. "All hell breaks loose", so to speak. Don't want to be there.

  8. "Hell is in one's mind" is rather Miltonian of you 😉

  9. As you have phrased the question I would say no. I think that the traditions have not described Hell accurately. However, I do believe in Hell as the Bible describes it, and that is eternal seperation from God (as mentioned by others above) and a vast "lake of fire" (probably very figurative) for the 1/3 of the angels that rebelled against God.

    I think that some other cultures are somewhat in tune with this view. Many seek to be reunited with the One/Primary source. Failure to reunite results in hell/another life on earth/etc

  10. When you're dead, you're dead. You don't go anywhere, except 6 feet under.

  11. The Bible defines much of what I believe philosophically and it does teach the reality of hell. Having said that I must admit that I am very uncomfortable with the whole idea of hell... as in, I don't want anyone to go there. The thought of anyone burning in hell makes me sick to my stomach. As a result, hell presents quite a dilemma for my faith. I believe in a personal God but I have a hard time believing that hell is the best solution for people who don't believe the way I do. There is a certain tension in my faith these days. Good question Erik.

  12. The answer to the question is that yes, I do believe there is a hell. Is it the way western pop culture thinks of that's not even the way it's described in the Bible (if you interpret the passages as they're to be interpreted). It indicates similar to the separation comments of others already.

    For more on this and other topics of concern about Christianity and whether it's worth buying into, check out Lee Stroebel's "The Case For Faith: A Journalist Investigates the Toughest Objections to Faith." These things are worth getting solid answers to, not just opinions or heresay, and they're not easy questions for the everyday person (myself included).