My Story: Eternal Torment for temporary sin

Hell revisited

One of the things that always got me about hell was the eternal aspect of it. many if not most Christians are completely comfortable with the idea that hell is eternal. They realize that many people who go there may have been overall good people who just didn’t say the right prayer.

They also realize that terrible people who killed and raped throughout their life, may escape hell by saying a prayer and by repenting last minute before death. So God has some sort of merciful side to him I guess but it seems a bit arbitrary.

The craziest thing about hell is that it is some sort of torment and torture for ever and ever. This is unbelievable. How could a divine being who created everything in the world be so offended by a tiny piece of dust “sinning” against him for 70 years, that he would find it necessary to curse  them to eternal torment?

In no justice system in the world would we contrive of such an unfair punishment. Even Hitler, who killed 6 million Jews (or was responsible for such) as well as millions of others, would not be condemned to such a fate. Lets supposes we gave him life in prison for each person he killed. That’s still a few hundred million to a billion years. Eternity? Impossible. Insane. That is not justice by anyone’s imagination.

And I know all the arguments for why it is supposedly just. I’m not getting into them here. They are not logical and I reject them systematically.

I think most Christians just don’t really think about what they are saying when they accept hell. I don’t think most are evil spiteful people who want to see others tormented. I don’t think I was.

I just never really thought about what I was saying when I thought that an abortion doctor deserved eternal torment for his job. Or a Muslim who lived a good kind life, deserved torture for not believing in Jesus as God and savior despite not even knowing he was supposed to. Once again we were taught to just believe. Believe the Bible. Ask God to help your unbelief. Have faith.

If you are reading this and feel persecuted or attacked by my words, know this: I don’t hold it against you that you believe in hell. I don’t think your a stupid, illogical, terrible human being. I was right there with you and I’m sure there are errors in my logic today and will continue to be. I would encourage you to have an open mind and really think about what you are saying when you say there is a hell.

If you really believe there is a hell, and that those who don’t believe will go there, then I will say this: You are a terrible person if you do not do every single thing in your power for all the days of your life to save as many people as you possibly can from going there. My gut feeling is that most of us as Christians never truly believed in hell deep down inside. Or else we would have lived vastly different lives.

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30 thoughts on “My Story: Eternal Torment for temporary sin

  1. I don’t believe you can change the Bible to meet your needs. Although there is a lot of interruption in words. It is what it says. I also don’t believe asking for forgiveness is what was meant, it is asking and meaning it. Asking is one thing, meaning it is completely different.

  2. The problem is simple: Earthians have no empathy. Hence they can go along with any sort of atrocity and horror as long as it fits with their particular belief system. This almost total lack of empathy is a design flaw in the creature. Now I’m not talking about feeling sorry, or sad, or other sort of emotion about “bad things” happening to helpless individuals. People experience temporary feelings where they want to do something to alleviate, or prevent pain, but emotions are utterly unreliable, as history proves. The problem is, an Earthian cannot feel what another feels. Empathy is not a feeling, much less an emotion. It’s a natural sense which, generally speaking, is all but completely blocked in this world. If it wasn’t you could not have the “predator-prey” relationship which people quite easily accept as normal when it is utterly abnormal and contemptible. A real empath cannot cause harm, certainly not to benefit himerself, nor could s/he contemplate condemning anyone, anything, to some form of eternal torment. Man’s gods are in essence psychopaths, more specifically pathocrats (psychopathic rulers): they enjoy inflicting pain, hence all the blood sacrifice, inquisitions, crusades, burning alive (particularly of women – misogyny), stoning, crucifying, mutilations, and other extreme tortures they (or their self-styled representatives, priests) have inflicted on this world, and continue to inflict, all the way to hell and gone. I have found no exceptions to that categorical judgment. Recapping: it is normal for a Christian to accept hell as a place of eternal torment because the words mean nothing to her/him. They have no feeling for God’s victims, in fact history as amply demonstrated that they gleefully engage in torturing opponents in the name of God – famous line from the papal legate when asked what to do with the captured people of Beziers when they claimed to be Catholics: Kill them all, God will know his own.

    1. There’s a lot going on here. I think perhaps you might in a way be blaming God for what Christians have done, past & present. You reject Christianity and God, because of the way those who have been Christian in name only do rotten things. There is no denying that self-proclaimed Christians have done and will do terrible things. But they are not following what God tells them to do in His word. They are flawed, and I question their Christianity. They will have to deal with their sins in one way or another. On the other hand, there are many true Christians who act o their faith.

      I’m on the board of a Christian Mission organization called Friends of Russian Orphans. We repair hazardous electrical systems in horrible “orphanages, we arrange vocational training for when they age out, cooking programs so they can feed themselves. Many Christians risk their lives going to China, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and more to bring the Gospel to others. I’ve fed and gotten money to someone who was stranded away from home with no cash or ID. My wife rescued a nearly naked woman who she saw waling down the street. She’d been tortured and spoke no English.

      I’m not bragging. I’m just letting you know that there are a lot of Christians who really do make the effort, who really do try to share God’s love. Please do not ignore them and paint them with the same brush as those you disparage.

      I do NOT like the existence of hell! I would have no one go there. Here I am, engaging people on an atheist’s web site, trying to answer your objections and worries. I don’t know how good of a job I will be doing, but the effort is here, even though I may be ridiculed for it.

      As to anyone getting a chance to repent and accept Jesus saving grace, try Matthew 20. It’s a pretty good explanation. God is merciful, not capricious.

      Noah’s ark is a very good analogy for salvation. If anyone wanted to be saved from the Flood, all they needed to do was disown their sinful life to that point and get on the boat. In the same way, hell is like the Flood waters. If you don’t want to “drown”, accept God’s love and “get on the boat,” Jesus.

      The problem is not empathy; there are people who express empathy and act on it all the time; both you and “thelovemanifesto” display a passion born of empathy. The problem is that people want to flip off God for whatever reasons they have. God’s Word is quite clear; He loves us and wants us to choose him. Early or late. That simple. If we reject Him, we’re much like those around Noah. We’re already off the boat by our own choice. We only need decide to get on.

      God bless

      1. Hmn I ought to have commented the above as me this rather than as Church, yes, Hell is the absence of God, but again this still begs the questions raised in the article. For how small a reason will God turn away from some yet grant others his face because of a deathbed conversion? Matthew 23:15 “15Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. “(KJVS) Hell translates here as Gehenna

        geenna: Gehenna, a valley W. and South of Jer., also a symbolic name for the final place of punishment of the ungodly
        Original Word: γέεννα, ης, ἡ
        Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
        Transliteration: geenna
        Phonetic Spelling: (gheh’-en-nah)
        Short Definition: Gehenna
        Definition: Gehenna, and originally the name of a valley or cavity near Jerusalem, a place underneath the earth, a place of punishment for evil.

        Of course the next doesn’t help us

        1067 géenna (a transliteration of the Hebrew term, Gêhinnōm, “the valley of Hinnom”) – Gehenna, i.e. hell (also referred to as the “lake of fire” in Revelation).

        Gehenna (“hell”), the place of post-resurrection torment (judgment), refers strictly to the everlasting abode of the unredeemed where they experience divine judgment in their individual resurrection-bodies. Each of the unredeemed receives one at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15), i.e. a body that “matches” their capacity for torment relating to their (unique) judgment.

      1. Two thoughts on this statement: 1) If you are atheist, how can you believe there are victims if you believe there is not God? No God, no victims. 2) God is real, but given that, there are still no victims of His. If you accept the existence of God and His son Jesus, He is explained in the Old and New Testaments. That’s your necessary reference point. Those describe a God who wants our love. Love is always a matter of choice, so He gave us free will to choose. After Adam & Eve chose to love themselves more and try to by like God per Satan’s “instructions,” sin entered the world. Sin is inherited just like any other feature we can get from our parents. Jesus became human to accept the consequences for us. No where in the narrative are we victims of God.

        Either you believe that God and Jesus exist and then must accept the Bible (that’s our only reference) or you don’t believe in God and your statement is odd at best; why claim there are victims when you don’t believe there is a perpetrator?

        And I can hear the response “whose bible?” Christianity is Judaism fulfilled. Both use the same Old Testament; Jesus quoted from it extensively. Mohammed started as a Christian, but his mentor died early on, and he went his own way without guidance, distorting both Judaism and Christianity. Petty much a thumbnail sketch here, but I’ll be working on a series for a survey of all three and a bio of Mohammed.

  3. The concept of hell as a place that God sends people to for breaking his rules is not really biblical. John 17:3 tells us, “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God…” To choose not to know God, who is love itself (I John 4:8), is surely a better definition of hell. Happy New Year!

  4. I was not raised religious, but was very young when I began my search for truth. My first real encounter with any form of Christianity was through my best friend, who was a LDS Mormon. I can clearly remember being 8 years old, sitting in the Friday night kids classes, and wondering why someone who has been condemned to hell can’t repent while there. We can repent at any time from the time of our sin to the moment of our death, but assuming our soul lives on, the right to repent is gone? That doesn’t seem very fair to me.
    I don’t remember much else about my time at the LDS church, or if repenting was even a ‘thing’ for them. But their version of hell certainly stuck with me, and the same was repeated throughout every ‘Christian’ experience I had – I didn’t like the idea that you can be condemned to an eternity of damnation without any option for forgiveness. It just doesn’t seem logical, doesn’t seem fair, doesn’t seem right, and was just not something I could put my faith in.
    I’ve often wondered if others raised in those religions had similar ideas about the unfairness of eternity.

    1. I certainly did. I think many do. But their fear of leaving their comfort zone, of rejection from the church, of disdain from family and friends, keeps them from pursuing the truth and questioning the validity of such claims. Thanks for input!

  5. Dear Love Manifesto,
    People will not go to hell for sinning against God as you put it. They will go to hell for rejecting His Son Jesus Christ. Everyone has as choice to accept or not accept Jesus Christ. The Father in Heaven is love and showed us His love by sending His Son to die for us that we may be accepted in His Kingdom. The. Bible goes on to say that once you reject His Son, no sacrifice for you is left except external damnation. And to think for one second that God will not send us to hell for rejecting His Son is foolish because as much as He is a God of love, He is a God of wrath and to treat the sacrifice of His Son as a small thing, is something we will pay for dearly,in that eternal hell. In the same measure He loves, it is the same measure He will pour out His wrath. Blessed is He who will not suffer the wrath of God.

      1. The number one thing that makes the Bible externally verifiable to me is the prophecy it contains. The prophecies of Daniel and Revelation or so specific, cover long time spans, and are specific. It holds up to examination.

        1. They are actually quite vague, often written after the fact, and can be applied to so many instances that they are completely worthless for truly predicting anything. The type of literature they are is called Apocalyptic. Which basically was a popular style of writing at the time where one told a story about something that already happened as though it was going to happen in the future using fantastical terms and literary style to capture the readers attention. Most scholars (outside of Christians who has an obvious bias) hold that both Daniel and Revelation were written after the things they claim to prophecy and are in no way remotely reliable from a historical perspective.

          1. There are pretty specific details that were lost to history after the time of Daniel. Which lends to its credibility. Not sure what you know. I’ve found Daniel 2, 7-11, Rev 12-14 to be pretty specific. I’ve never met anyone who could explain away Daniel 2’s prediction of a pattern of national history to follow.

            To respond to the scholar perspective, most Scholars outside Christianity have an obvious bias to discredit the writings, so the fingers can point both ways.

          2. ahhh and that’s where you are wrong my friend, scholars outside of Christianity are able to simply look at historical evidence and way it, without any need to support any particular view (unless perhaps they are Muslim or Jewish). They can call a rock a rock and a scroll a scroll without having to suggest the rock was perhaps the exact rock Jesus stood on when he gave the sermon on the mount or that the scroll in ancient proof that Matthew was written directly after Jesus death by eyewitnesses. Or whatever speculative stuff a Christian scholar might add. When you approach history with the presupposition that the Bible is God’s accurate Word and Christianity is the true faith, you inevitably color your lenses with that view. When you are simply studying facts to see where they may lead with no religious entanglement, you are able to discover the truth much more easily and accurately.

          3. I can understand why you are saying what you are. But I think that you can agree that scholars that are atheistic or non-theistic or whatever still have biases. And to say that anti-Christian sentiments don’t exist do not exist in higher education does not reflect what I experienced during my tenure in secular colleges for both grad and undergrad programs.

  6. I don’t believe hell burns forever. The Bible teaches their destruction is complete, not eternal, though many misunderstandings this. John 3:16 says the wicked will perish. The Bible states in several places that he rewards people according to their works. Also, he will turn the wicked into ashes. Even the devil will be turned to ashes (Eze 28:18).

    See: http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/what-does-bible-say-about-hell . See the section: What happens to the wicked in hell? and Will the fires of hell go out or burn forever?

  7. Hell is not the way you are describing it, it would pay to investigate further. You seem to be offering only what your particular denomination taught you. Sorry, but this is not necessarily the truth.

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