Originally posted by LadyGreenEyes
Originally posted by JR MacBeth
...Here's what I observed that I found quite interesting. From what I could tell, it didn't look like anyone actually believed in hell to begin
And so I thought about real people, people in my life, people I knew, people who "should" really believe in hell (think about your pastors and
priests, maybe even your devout grandma!), and yet, none of them really passed the "test" I had devised. And that test had to do with how people
really acted, when one of their loved ones "fell into hell". Because we all know that actions speak louder than words.
...What about those we love? For example, we could say something like "Mama's boy is dead, but he sure wasn't saved!" This might happen
a thousand times a day. And yet, after a normal period of Mama's grief, what we really observe is that life just goes on.
But should it? "If" Mama (or anybody) truly believed her beloved was suffering in that terrible place, wouldn't they ACT differently? Shouldn't
they be insane with grief, perhaps come to hate God even, etc. In my other post, I use the example of a big pot of hot water in your house, with your
loved one inside! They would be hard to ignore in this example, but if you really believed in that awful place, you wouldn't have to have it in your
face, you would believe. But what do we see? Life just goes on!
What about the complete lack of remedial value in Hell? You mean, Hitler could suffer a million years, and not "get it"? You mean Christ,
the "Divine Physician" can't fix Hitler? Hmmm.
Trust me, there are Christians that believe in Hell, as a real place. I am one of them, and have known quite a few over the decades. I had a friend
die that wasn't saved. Terrible thing! Worst funeral I have ever attended, and that includes, for the record, losing both parents, and twin
grandsons. Losing this friend was worse, because, in his case, I know it's forever. Nothing I can do will change that. I talked to him, and we
discussed all the relevant information, but in the end, he rejected it. I won't hate God for that, though! MY friend made the decision.
As for Hell having, or not having, "remedial value", that would not work. By the time one gets there, they have set their decision in stone. Those
that choose that path had every opportunity. Wanting out of prison once one is there doesn't mean the prisoner would act differently, if given
another chance. You see, God knows what choices they would make in that case.
First, I would like to thank you Lady, for adding me as one of your foes.
I have to confess, my comment about no one really believing in Hell, is a bit inflammatory, on it's face. I fully expected someone to take umbrage
with it. Nevertheless, it was my observation, in spite of the fact that I began my quest with quite the opposite assumption.
That is, I initially had no reason to doubt that people did in fact believe in such a terrible place, since I had been raised to believe it myself.
But actual behavior is a telling thing, and as a careful observer of it, a suspicion began to develop inside me that perhaps true belief in the awful
place, was possibly much rarer than I had ever suspected.
I'm taking you through the steps in my reasoning, which took place very gradually, over decades. I had progressed to the point where it seemed that
no one, at least in my experiences, really seemed to ACT, "appropriately" if you will, given the enormity of what they (supposedly) believed.
Again, years passed. Certainly my "sample size" would always be too small to draw solid conclusions. But it grew, nonetheless, as family and
friends passed away, and my observations continued.
Strangely, some of the people I had suspected would be most affected by the apparent loss of a loved one, to that terrible place, were not as moved as
I would have guessed. In a couple of instances, I made conscious mental note of the fact that their speech betrayed them, and little slips were made
that indicated they actually believed their loved one "made it", in spite of the consensus that said the person in question, did not make it. Oh
sure, understandable, it is such a traumatic time.
But there was more that played into the drama. People's attitudes about the poor souls, a seemingly callous lack of respect, dare I say, for the sad
passing of that poor black sheep. Surely, my innate sense of morality was offended, not a few times, but then, I had attuned myself to the very thing
over the years.
What a contradiction. Those who profess such high ideals, and a superior moral standard, were apparently "dead" last, when it came to a charitable
thought for the poor soul they had consigned to damnation. Of course, you might have the rare moment when someone might "trust in the mercy of
God", but it was "damn" rare.
The fact is, the entire "christian" paradigm is far from trusting their "god". Not hard to believe, considering they ascribe to Him far less
mercy, than even the worst of us might be capable of. I know, all the blabber is just the opposite! But for me, actions spoke louder than words.
I could well go on, but I won't, I'm already ridiculously verbose. However, I want to address that term you used, "set in stone"...
Sort of like "Saved" (past tense). Christians won't see it, but the paradigm itself is what is so set in stone
. The mere notion that
someone would dare to consider themselves "saved", while they still live, and while they are objectively capable of almost any monstrous thing,
should be a blasphemy, and is at minimum, a form of self-deception, and pride, IMO.
I could use this example: A king has a loyal servant. He is as loyal as it gets, and is completely trusted. BUT, he is just human after all! And
upon close inspection, he has "free will"!...He may have pledged his loyalty, but can he perhaps still betray his master? Well, he does continue to
have free will, and so, treason, and all other crimes in fact, would remain a logical
possibility. In fact, as long as he breathed, he could
change sides! Otherwise, we dare not call it "free" will.
And yet we do. And so the faulty notion of being "saved", morphs into the idea of that moment of death, where all is "set in stone." BUT, in
each case, free will continues, intact. Faulty theology, at a minimum.