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Is Hell Real?

Updated on March 20, 2017
cam8510 profile image

Chris spent 50 years in the Evangelical world as a layman, as a student at a prominent Christian University and as a missionary and pastor.

'Halemaumau, Lake of Fire' 1888

Oil on board painting Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 10 3/4 x 18 1/16 inches
Oil on board painting Halemaumau, Lake of Fire, 10 3/4 x 18 1/16 inches | Source

Why an Article About Hell?

You may be wondering why I’m writing an article about hell. Over the last few years, I’ve become convinced that a place called hell doesn’t really exist. If I’ve questioned this fundamental tenet of Christianity, then it’s reasonable to assume that someone else has/is too. People move at their own pace when it comes to questions about beliefs. Arguments don’t win people to either side, they only build the walls higher and thicker. I’m not here to pick a fight but to share a couple of things I’ve discovered. If you disagree, I can handle that.

The biblical concept of hell refers to a temporary holding place for souls of people who did not put their faith in Jesus Christ during their lives on earth. According to the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, hell, and all the souls being held there, will one day be cast into an eternal lake of fire. Pragmatically speaking, most Evangelical Christians use the names of these two places, hell and the lake of fire, synonymously, which I am doing here as well.

The Gospel According to Me

I wrote the following song lyrics in 1982 during my third of four years at Columbia Bible College (now Columbia International University) in Columbia, South Carolina.

Chorus:

There are people

Who have never heard

The Gospel

Written in God’s word

And I pray the God will send someone to tell them.


Verse One:

They live in the cities,

In the Jungles, In your hometown.

They live, But they don’t really live at all,

For they’ve never met the Author

Of Life, Jesus my Savior.

What injustice, They don’t know, what I know.


[chorus]….


Verse Two:

When it comes to the judgment,

The Great White Throne Judgment,

And God condemns all the unsaved world.

Many will bow before Him

And cry “Lord, no one told me,

That you, the Son of God, died in my place.

Some of you might be thinking, Chris, I didn’t know you were a song writer. Well, I’m not, and if you heard the tune, you’d readily agree. I realize the words are a little on the corny side so feel free to tease me in your comment at the bottom of the page.

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans10:14.

— The Apostle Paul

The First Reason I No Longer Believe in Hell

The entire first verse of my song describes the very core of the Christian mission. All over the world, since day one of the Christian Church, there have been people who did not, and do not, know anything whatsoever about Jesus Christ. Yet, the Apostle Peter said in those early days following the ascension of Jesus to Heaven and the giving of the Holy Spirit that

“there is salvation in no one else [other than Jesus]; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Jesus said,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Both Peter and Jesus said virtually the same thing. If a person is going to have a relationship with God, they have to know the person and the truth of Jesus. The alternative, according to the Bible and Christian tradition, is an eternity in hell. This same idea is echoed by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament book of Romans when he asks the question,

"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" Romans10:14.

Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles

Source

The Luck of the Draw

People were dying around the globe without knowledge of Jesus.

The message of salvation was in Jerusalem, but these unlucky souls, were not.

The Slow Spread of the Christian Gospel

When did people begin going to hell for not knowing Jesus as their savior? Let’s assume for the purposes of this discussion that the Church came into existence when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples of Jesus in Acts chapter one of the New Testament, right around A.D30. From that moment on, people who died without knowing Jesus went to hell, and they will remain there forever.

Jesus had instructed His disciples that after he was gone, they were to go into all the world and tell everyone about Him. The disciples spent months in Jerusalem before venturing out into the surrounding countryside with the Gospel. During those months, people were dying around the globe without knowledge of Jesus. They went to hell, according to Evangelical Christian theology. The message of salvation was in Jerusalem, but these unlucky souls, were not.

Jesus Who?

It is my opinion, that the vast majority of people who ever lived on planet Earth up to the colonial era, never knew the first thing about a man named Jesus

The Hopelessness of the Mission

But even when the disciples finally ventured outside Jerusalem, they didn’t go everywhere at once, they slowly branched out over a period of years until they had reached the entire Roman Empire. And even as they were going, people outside their reach were still dying without knowledge of Jesus.

It was a millennium and a half before Christian Missionaries reached the New World, and even longer before the Jungles of Papua New Guniea were penetrated. And for all those hundreds of years, people in those unreached places were dying and going to hell because they never had the opportunity to to hear the message that had been designed to save them.

It is my opinion, that the vast majority of people who ever lived on planet Earth up to about the colonial era, never knew the first thing about a man named Jesus from someplace called Nazareth. And without that knowledge, according to the Bible and Christian doctrine, they have had no eternal hope.

Already in Hell

“There are people who have never heard the Gospel written in God’s word, and I pray that God will send someone to tell them…….”

He did, and the missionaries got to nearly everyone too late.

They were already in Hell......according to Christian tradition and the Bible.

Simply Unbelievable

The last verse of my song carries to a whole new level, the theology of people going to hell without having an opportunity to hear about Jesus.

“When it comes to the judgment, the Great White Throne Judgment, and God condemns all the unsaved world, many will bow before Him and cry Lord no one told me, that you, the Son of God, died in my place.”

What happens to those people after the Great White Throne Judgment? Here is the biblical answer taken from Revelation 20:11-15:

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Among those are the very people who never heard the name and message of Jesus, which would have saved them.

Why don’t I believe in hell or the Lake of Fire, or this cold-syrup-on-frozen-pancake method of spreading the Gospel? Because it doesn’t make any sense. I’m not saying I don’t understand it. I thoroughly understand these things. I’m saying it does not make any intellectual or philosophical sense. To me, it is unbelievable.

Non-Sense

Why don’t I believe in hell or the Lake of Fire, or this cold-syrup-on-frozen-pancake method of spreading the Gospel?

Because it doesn’t make any sense.

The Second Reason I No Longer Believe in Hell

The concepts of a fiery place where the enemies of God are thrown to endure eternal punishment, first appeared around 3000 BC in what modern scholars refer to as the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt.

By the time Moses came onto the scene in Egypt around 1500 BC, these concepts were in a much more organized form known today as the The Book of the Am Tuat, The Book of Gates and The Book of the Dead. The following comparisons between the Book of the Am Tuat and the Bible, are based on my own reading of these texts.

Egyptian Book of the Dead, Milan, Italy

 Egyptian Museum in the Castello sforzesco in Milan, Italy. A papyrus displaying a copy of the Book of the Dead, in hieratic writing, dating from the Ptolemaic (i.e. late) period.
Egyptian Museum in the Castello sforzesco in Milan, Italy. A papyrus displaying a copy of the Book of the Dead, in hieratic writing, dating from the Ptolemaic (i.e. late) period. | Source

Striking Similarities Between the Egyptian Am Tuat and The Bible Regarding the Pits and Lake of Fire

Theological Concept
The Am Tuat
The Bible
In each quote, two deities are present. In each, the enemies of god are described as being under the feet of that god.
“A god [AFU-ASAR] in human form, seated on a throne, says to Osiris (also a god), ‘Thine enemies are beneath thy feet, thou hast gained the mastery over those who have worked against thee.’”
“The LORD (Jehovah, God) says to my Lord (the Messiah who would later take human form and is also God): ‘Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’”
Servents of the gods in each reference are involved in the torture of those thrown into the fire. In both cases, those in the pits/lake of fire are hacked and hewn to pieces.
The enemies of god are hewn and hacked to pieces in the pits of fire.
Enemies of God are hacked to pieces in the fire, Matthew 24:51
The response of those being tortured is strikingly similar
Those in the fire wail and lament
"In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:51
The eternal nature of the fire and the torment.
“and ye [enemies of God] shall be cast down headlong into the pits of fire; and ye shall not escape therefrom, and ye shall not be able to flee from the flames….”
Revelation 20:10 says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone and...will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:15 says “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” In Mark 9:43, Jesus referred to hell as, "the fire that never shall be quenched."
A covering over the pits of fire/lake of fire
A large pit, with A VAULTED ROOF, filled with fire, wherein "the enemies," of Ra are being consumed
and he threw him into the abyss (lake of fire), and SHUT IT AND SEALED IT OVER HIM." Revelation 20:3
 
 
 

"The spread of Egyptian opinions [myths] in Rome was so rapid under Augustus (63 BC-AD 14) that it was felt to be of political importance, and it alarmed that prudent Emperor."

— Sharpe and Smith

The Opportunity for Early Christians to Assimilate Egyptian Myths

The question is, were the ancient Egyptian myths and writings of 1500 BC being circulated In Rome around the time of the development of Christianity in the first century A.D.? Consider the following comments from Egyptian Mythology and Egyptian Christianity by Samuel Sharpe and London J.R. Smith [1863]:

"The spread of Egyptian opinions in Rome was so rapid under Augustus (63 BC-AD 14) that it was felt to be of political importance, and it alarmed that prudent Emperor."


"Virgil (70 BC-19 BC) the court poet, was teaching the Egyptian millennium, or the resurrection of the dead when the thousand years are ended, and borrowing visions of the infernal regions from the Egyptian funereal papyri."

"Domitian wholly gave way to public opinion, and built in Rome a temple to Serapis, and another to Isis. Holy, water was then brought from the Nile, for the use of the votaries in the temple of Isis in the Campus Martius; and a college of priests was maintained there with a splendour worthy of the Roman capital."

The answer is yes, there was a huge resurgence of Egyptian mythology in Rome at the same time Christianity was developing within the Roman Empire. The opportunity for Christianity to assimilate these Egyptian myths into their own beliefs and writings was clearly present.

The Beast cast into the Lake of Fire.
The Beast cast into the Lake of Fire. | Source

Having Any Doubts Yet?

Have the points made in this article caused you to seriously question the reality of hell and the Lake of Fire?

See results

Summary: Why I Don't Believe

Why do I not believe any longer in hell and an eternal lake of fire? Two reasons:

  1. Punishing people for eternity by throwing them into a Lake of fire, even though they never heard the message that was designed to save them from that end is, literally, incredible.
  2. The entire Christian concept of a lake of fire is founded on ancient Egyptian myths. The similarities are too obvious and the opportunity for christian assimilation of these myths, too likely.

So the song I wrote in 1982 is part of a past which I have abandoned. I refuse to believe the unbelievable another day. I am told that we don’t have to understand, only believe. Sorry, but I’ll take a pass on the Kool Aid.

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    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 7 weeks ago

      Yep. Absolutely correct statements about SDA's. :)

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 7 weeks ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      SDA's are misunderstood or misrepresented in some ways, I agree. The dietary restrictions aren't taught as laws, but as recommendations. And the type of diet they endorse is a healthy one. As for hell, I prefer the SDA view on that. They don't believe in a lake of fire and they don't believe in eternal torment. They believe the soul of an unrepentant sinner is annihilated, therefore, the biblical term, Second Death.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 7 weeks ago

      Appreciate your encouragement, Chris. I was raised half SDA and half Catholic. LOL! Talk about a strange marriage....but growing up, I loved both churches and still do. Weird but true.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 7 weeks ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Good idea, Yves. An objective explanation of some SDA beliefs, especially about Hell, would be very helpful. Most of the time, these things are written by someone who holds an opposite belief. Objectivity in that regard is almost impossible.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 7 weeks ago

      Thanks, Chris. Yes, there was assimilation of myths by Christians with regard to hell, as you have so eloquently written in this article. Ironic that hell is a pagan concept. The Seventh Day Adventists do not believe in hell, so your point is not entirely unheard of. That being said, most people know little, if anything, about SDA's. I am thinking of writing about them, as they are widely misunderstood...

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 2 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Yves/savvydating, Yes, there are some vague references to fire in the Hebrew scriptures. Here is how the content of my article fits with those references. Israel spent time in Egypt at the time these myths were believed and in use by the Egyptians. That information was picked up and, to a minor degree, assimilated into Jewish thought and writings. In the early decades of the Christian Church, A.D. 30-100, the resurgence of those ancient teachings came to Rome. And the Christian Church came to Rome. Assimilation happened again. I believe this time, the time in Rome, the assimilation was a decision made by the Christian leaders. The only proof is that the content of the ancient myths is in the Christian Writings of the first century and the opportunity to wrap those myths in Christian lingo existed.

    • savvydating profile image

      savvydating 2 months ago

      My understanding is that the Lake of Fire refers to an actual place called Gehenna, (sometimes referred to as Hell) where the pagan god Molech was worshipped and where parents sometimes offered their children up by burning them alive on the altar of Molech.. Consequently, this actual place had perpetual fire going on due to all the burning.

      The ancients used imagery in their speech quite frequently. It was their way to use emotional language, thus the term Gehenna to make a point. So in essence, they used the word Gehenna to mean a place of everlasting torment. My understanding is that this torment is a result of being separated from God, and it has nothing to do with fire---but that the separation is real.

      Furthermore, the Jews also believed that there are stages of "hell" which fit the punishment for any particular individual.

      Well, that's all I've got. Great article, by the way.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

      We all have to make our own decisions about what is taught in religion and there are many world religions as you are fully aware. I am no expert but I personally think that not every word can be taken literally no matter what religious belief is being examined. Too many years and too many interpretations and rewritings have taken place. Anyone who has ever studied a foreign language must know that even a slightly different version of a word can carry a different meaning. Just my opinion of course. I have never believed a person could be dammed eternally for something of which they never knew. Just doesn't make sense!

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 22 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      pstraubie, I appreciate you wading through this lengthy article. Yes, everyone deserves the time and space to consider their beliefs. I've attempted to provide information for those folks to consider. If this material is accurate and if it is presented in an understandable manner, that is enough. There is no need to twist arms and argue. Blessings on you as you continue to grow and consider your own beliefs.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 22 months ago from sunny Florida

      Obviously you have given thought to this topic. I completely agree with your remark that " People move at their own pace when it comes to questions about beliefs."

      It is important for us to reflect and consider such topics and to make a decision that works for our own lives.

      My personal view is that Hell would be separation from God throughout eternity..and for some, that can begin on this planet.

      Reading others thoughts on this subject gives me more to consider and reflect upon..

      Voted up++++

      Angels are headed your way this evening ps

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 23 months ago

      Very True avian , so true that man thinking will not ever be like the Heavenly Father's , notice

      Isa 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, And your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah.

      with that in mind very true man would do things he would never do, that is why people believe in a Hell Fire , because they think it should be as a punishment

      But this is not the ways of the true God Jehovah.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 23 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Quite simply, God is a just and merciful God. Why would he take wrath on good and kind souls that had never heard of Jesus? Makes no sense to me.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 23 months ago

      Cam this play influence thoughts , but like you say Dante was probably influence by Egypt beliefs and customs,

      When it comes to translations there are poor qualities that do not sticking to the original Hebrew and Greek meanings , there words may be substituted for another meaning and Idea.King James is one who has done this very thing.

      Mt 22:1 Once more Jesus spoke to them with illustrations, sayin

      Mr 4:34 Indeed, without an illustration he would not speak to them, but he would explain all things privately to his disciples.

      the point is this applies to hell fire, but the English Dialect King James uses support his opinion, you can not throw death into a literal fire or graves. Again fire has been used as symbolic .

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 23 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Kiss andTales, It appears as though I have some research to do into Dante's Inferno. I know of the work, of course, and that he describes various levels of hell. But looking at it in light of Christianity's concept of hell is something I haven't done. But I'll maintain that the Egyptian myths were a primary influence if not the exact pattern of the 1st century Christian idea of hell and the lake of fire. Jesus, in Matthew 24:51, was clearly familiar with the myths. John seemingly might have discovered a copy of the Am Tuat on the Island called Patmos where he was supposed to have received divine inspiration for the book of Revelation.

      Thank you, and thanks to Lawrence, for pointing me in the direction of Dante's Inferno. i will be taking a closer look at that work.

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 24 months ago

      CAM8510. Lawrence has spoken truth on the subject I wrote a little about it in my Hub, helling potatoes . Here is a small preview of that subject. Where did the Idea of hell fire and torture come from.

      This was taken from a play called Dante's Devine and Milton's paradise lost, created by Dante Alighieri in 1308 until 1320 ,his death came the next year in 1321

      Notice King James translations was written in the 1600's way after this play was created of the 1300's even though the idea was supported in this play it had a great influence on many of its viewers.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Lawrence, I hid my misguided rant in the comments.. It had some important points, but they were aimed at the wrong person. You referenced Jesus' words about hell, and that he mentioned outer darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth. That verse (Matthew 24:51) also says that those people will be cut into pieces. The myth says they will be hewn and hacked to pieces.

      I need to take another look at Dante's Inferno. That would be interesting to see if the common view of hell has been tailored more by that work than by the Bible.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      I realized as well that I hadn't comnunicated it that well either. I still think that the average view of Hell a Christian has is more to do with Dante's inferno than what the scriptures say!

      As for what I believe, well I've been thinking and as far as I remember all Jesus said about it was "outer darkness where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth"

      Beyond that I'm not going to speculate (and really don't want to find out!!)

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Lawrence, well I'm glad you came back rather than just throwing up your hands and walking away. I'm very sorry I misunderstood your meaning. I haven't read the other myths. I'll have to get over to them. Sorry again about my mistake.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      I wasn't disagreeing with you. The Torah doesn't mention Hell at all (but it does mention the serpent and man's rebellion).

      What I was saying is that rather than the Jews taking from the Egyptians and Babylonians it could be the other way round

      Imhotep was the only historical character in ancient Egypt who was later deified. He was responsible for writing many of the Egyptian myths. Some think he may have been the biblical Joseph but it is conjecture

      Maybe the jews took from the Egyptians but maybe (if Imhotep is or was Joseph) it was the other way round.

      I'll try to get round to reading the material you mentioned

      Lawrence

    • Kiss andTales profile image

      Kiss andTales 24 months ago

      I appreciate this hub, good Job!

      enlighten information for thought and why the change of beliefs.

      Good reason to add God is not cruel, and does not burn anyone.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Chris

      I've not read the Egyptian myths but I have read the Babylonian and Sumerian stories.

      A lot of scholars claim that the Jews borrowed their stories from Babylon (and Egypt) but the same evidence they use to argue it can also point to them taking the stories from the Jews.

      Chris when you get chance look up "Imhotep" he was a prime minister to one of the pharaohs of the first dynasty. He was from canaan and the story is a mirror image of Joseph!

      Which story is true? Both of them!

      Personally I think it could be the other way round, but I've no proof

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      It's no rant. You've explained very well what and why you believe. I just see too many parallels with the Egyptian myth. Pits/lake of fire. God's servants hacking and hewing those in hell. eternal fire. weeping and gnashing of teeth/wailing and lamenting. These are not simple similarities. They are the same things. That is why I no longer believe. I've mentioned these things to Christians before and no one will go read them for themselves. It is shocking to just begin reading and let the comparisons hit you. Those who are familiar with the biblical descriptions of hell will be shocked if they read it. But they won't. There's my rant. haha

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      There is another word for the final place of torment in Hebrew. Sheol was the place of waiting. It's the place Samuel came back from (story of Saul and the witch at Endor just before the Battle of Gibeah) and its the place Lazarus was in according to Jesus' parable of the rich man and Lazarus.

      Gehenna is the other name, it was also the name given to the rubbish dump in ancient Jerusalem! That's the final place and it's a desolate place.

      Christians often mix the two up but they are separate entities.

      By the way, to me the emphasis shouldn't be whether the place exists but what are we Christians doing to prevent people ending up there? The reason I ask it is I'm convinced that one day we'll have to answer for why we didn't go tell them!

      Sorry if it sounds a bit of a rant.

      Lawrence

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Lawrence., the book you referred to is Eternity in Their Hearts. Don' s son, Steve, was my roommate in college my senior year. He also wrote Peace Child. I understand your views and they are an honest attempt to bring reality and scripture together. My position is that these things are not described in the Bible. Such an important subject would have been included if true. But I understand and respect your views.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 24 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Cam

      Really enjoyed this hub. Sorry I couldn't truthfully answer the question about hell as my view doean't fit any of what you put there.

      To me 'Hell' the place of waiting was known as 'Hades' in the Greek (Sheol in Hebrew) and Jesus emptied that place when he rose from the dead!

      As for those who've never heard the name of Jesus I think you're right to reject the idea God would be mean enough to consign them to eternal punishment. For me I believe that God has left a witness to himself in every culture and those who never hear the message still have that opportunity. This doesn't take away from what Jesus did but allows for quite a few surprises in heaven.

      There's a good book by Don Richardson called "Heaven in their hearts" that explains it better.

      I think Christian views of hell resemble Dante's inferno more than the Bible.

      Awesome hub

      Lawrence

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Audrey, I'm glad you found the article to be interesting. And thanks for being one of so many great commenters as well.

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Catherine, What an injustice it is to our children, to teach them to be motivated by belief in such a place. Being good for the sake of being good should be enough. Thank you for visiting and commenting on my hub.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 24 months ago from Nashville Tn.

      Most interesting read and well done. I also enjoyed the many comments.

      Voted up and sharing.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 24 months ago from Orlando Florida

      Good for you, cam8510, for putting the beliefs you were taught to the test of reason. When I researched my hub "Did Jesus Exist," I saw the same similarities between the stories of Jesus' life and the much earlier myths. So many people torture themselves because of a belief in Hell or because of a belief that Jesus suffered and died so they could be saved. Most people are happier when then can break free of these myths. voted up ++ H+

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Christine, I love that part, "The brain has been intoxicated by thinking about this place called Hell. I've never gotten drunk that way!" Great way to think about it. Thanks Christine. Nice to see you.

    • profile image

      christinemariezzz 24 months ago

      Chris,

      As always my comment a bit of a scramble in thought, but here goes:

      I like that you have taken the time to write this hub:

      "...places, ....temporary holdings, to be casted, ....praying that God will send, ...meeting the author, ...song lyrics once ...

      The brain has been intoxicated by thinking about this place called Hell. I've never gotten drunk that way! Unfortunately, for others, it has caused mental interference on how thoughts, or no thought should be held on the subject. Have people really been petitioning for a message of good news? When something is written down, do we have to believe it?

      Musical lyrics hold good weight,for sure, but the real message comes in listening to the drawing out of the notes. Thanks for drawing out the meaning as it was to you then, and now. I have never brooded over the cruelty of the teachings on hell in certain circles of people. For some, it easier to feed the creed by repeated gestures or the mandatory "Amen"after the Scolding To Hell message. Others just enjoy the music.

      I do like the dialogue going on in the Comment Section of your hub. Your hub is has been successful in telling what you are thinking, and centers others to come and reason with you. To reason together is good to a point, as it can become cogency. All should be free to form opinions here.

      ...injustices, ...no opportunity...hopelessness...missions...

      I have been very free to think in this world.

      It is sad to find places where others have "held to their beliefs" to their own lack of opportunity- chances, if I may, to powerfully move in a different direction. Stuck on one mission has put many in a hopelessness, a peril. It is sad.

      Your hub offers this kind of opportunity; as you express what you've left in your belief about Hell.

      BTW: Whoever the hell is organizing it,

      These are my recorded deeds:

      I put mustard on my hot dog,

      I don't drink Kool Aid.

      I eat my marshmallow over an open fire evenly browned!

      I have taken no deity status, so you'll find me off the beaten path with a need for an oil change in my truck just before we go!

      ~ Christine

    • cam8510 profile image
      Author

      Chris Mills 24 months ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Ann, Thanks for reading this hub and for the comments. Very insightful regarding changing the pagan rites to gain converts, then to compare that to what I've written. Yes, this was a strategy to gain converts, no doubt.

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      Ann Carr 24 months ago from SW England

      I totally agree with your reasoning. I've always treated the 'stories' of hell fire and damnation as just that - stories to illustrate a point. Jesus' parables were stories to illustrate a point and I treat the rest of the Bible the same. Just as Christians changed the basis of pagan rites in Britain, to help create converts, so the 'originals' used the Egyptian customs.

      I see myself as a Christian, brought up in the Anglican Church, but I don't think I'm an orthodox one!

      An interesting read, Chris.

      Ann

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Frank, We all come from so many backgrounds, and to some this issue is monumental. To others it is not such a big deal. Some dealt with it early in life others waited 50 years. I envy you for not having spent a fair portion of your life with this unnecessary weight around your neck. Thanks for reading and for seeing what went into this. Sorry about the length of the article, but I didn't want two parts.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Michael, excellent points. I couldn't agree more. It is our lives, our deeds who we are that matter. If we ever stand before God as Judge, it will not be for our beliefs but for how we lived life. I appreciate that emphasis. Thanks Michael.

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      Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

      Cam very interesting hub.. and one of your poll answer best fits my reply to this hub: I've never believed in hell or a lake of fire and don't intend to begin now.... But don't get me wrong I respect the research the hard work and the dedication you took in creating this hub.. bless you

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      Michael-Milec 2 years ago

      Hello Chris Mills, cam8510 Sir.

      Still clearing my thinking process: when your fiction writing appear to resemble as nonfiction and nonfiction resemble fiction, in any case you speak your heart clearly... A dilemma is my choice to comment correctly. Impossible.

      Why worry, think, or debate (believe) of Hell. Who has ever initiated "preaching" the Good News of hell anyway? There is multiple confusion in this 'christian' theological talking. Let's take starting point "Christ"- if we want to follow your interesting article "Two reasons..." Your two reasons are YOURS two reason not to believe in Hell. Mine reasons could be different, but I don't just care about Hell at all. What I have to care for are those "recorded deeds" which follow me every moment of my living. Do those who never heard about Jesus as those who ever heard of Jesus do they have their deeds?! Are people smart enough or stupid enough to differ if their deeds are OK or they are not.(?!). Now for those who heard the Name of Jesus, they really heard much, much more to follow "HIS teaching" His word... Do you know that at very beginning Jesus of Nazareth said , if you are keeping your heart pure you will see God, you will put yourself under the "blessed" umbrella ( paraphrasing Matt.5;8). Now, if there is a righteous universal judgment throne of the Creator, well we are told there is with all consequences. Interestingly enough no human is forced to believe or not Hell or Heaven, Christ or devil - even we can create our reasons for either, while still OUR DEEDS will be recorded...

      Voted interesting.

      Peace with us, my friend.

      Chris, you are my mentor from very beginning and I do appreciate you.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      You and me both, Chris! :-)

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Shauna, if you hear of an account of someone on the other side giving interviews, send them my way. I have a few questions to ask them.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Stargrrl, yes, I've seen that one. It's quite an interesting story too. Very vivid. Thanks.

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      Paul K Francis 2 years ago from east coast,USA

      We have been taught that we have free will - that we are free to choose between good and evil, but perhaps not free to choose in what we believe. Your hub shows how we do have that choice. The spiritual journey involves choices, discoveries, and transformations. And Jesus is always there to guide us. Enjoyed reading. Have a great day.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Chris and Stargrrl, I believe in God and Jesus. I've seen recounts of people who have seen the White Light but never passed through because their time was not up; they came back into their Earthly bodies.

      I have no fear of going to Hell when I die. I know I won't be sent there, if it exists. I have a relationship with God and try to learn from my blunders on this Earth. I would love to hear or read of someone's encounter with a soul who has left Earth and resides in the hereafter.

      And yes, Chris, I've been inquisitive all my live. I've always been somewhat of a rebel. You haven't offended me at all, rather you see me for who I am. I'm not ashamed of being a rebel. It keeps my mind alive and has made life very interesting for this little girl.

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      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      Check out Bill Wiesse's "23 Minutes in Hell."

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Stargrrl, yes, I've read those accounts and they are very interesting. If you have any links, leave them in a comment. Thanks.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Shauna, you've been inquisitive your whole life, haven't you? The word rebel didn't even come to my mind. :) We want to know. We don't want to guess or take someone else's word for it. We want to know. I'm afraid the fact is, none of us has access to that kind of knowledge, at least that is my opinion. Live well, love those around you, be generous and kind. Accept the hereafter with open arms. If we fall into the loving arms of a deity, fantastic. If we fall into a fiery pit, well, maybe take some hot dogs and marshmallows along just in case. Sorry, I don't mean to poke fun at such a horrible thought, but it's difficult to take seriously anymore.

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      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      bravewarrior - people have had NDE and can confirm that they were either sent to a place of burning fire or a place with angels. There have been many reports of people dying for a few minutes and coming back.

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      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      I was raised Catholic. Well, I went to Catholic school anyway. I questioned the nuns constantly about parts of the Bible that made no sense to me or could be argued. Needless to say, they weren't enamored with my inquisitive mind.

      One thing that's always bugged me is this: If you believe the soul never dies, which I do, why has no one encountered a soul that can verify the existence of Heaven or Hell?

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Stargrrl, Thank you for stopping by and reading this lengthy article. I appreciate the comment you have left. I hope others who disagree with me feel free to share their insights as well.

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      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      If you do not believe in hell, you have been deceived by the devil. I talk a lot about hell in my hubs--basically, the bottom line is that hell must exist because sin must be punished. God is just. Of course, those who have never heard of Christ will not be accountable for what they have never heard--but most have heard the gospel by now in some way, shape, or form. Nature is God's first missionary. God is in you no matter where you are, and somehow, someway, you will be reached.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Austinstar, Thanks for reading. I appreciate that the length of the article didn't scare you off. Evangelicals have a problem here. If they decide to believe that those who never heard of Jesus get a free pass to heaven, then it would be the height of immorality to send a missionary to tell them about him. That particular group of unreached people are ALL going to heaven already. But Jesus commanded his followers to go and tell everyone. If a missionary arrives and begins preaching, then everyone in that group becomes responsible to accept Jesus. Suddenly, some are headed for hell because they reject him. Wow, I'm glad I don't have to solve that one any more. I hope this made sense. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Bill, Thanks for wading through all of that. There is a lot of it. On this particular topic, I have to agree with Bill Maher. We need to admit that we have no idea what lies beyond death. And I agree with you, that we need to live our lives as best we can today, not to lay up treasure for eternity, but to simply live good lives here and now. Simple, pure motives like that never hurt anybody.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Titen-Sxull, Thanks for taking time to read this article. The resurgence of the old Egyptian myths in first century Rome is something modern Christians must face in light of the similarities with the book of Revelation. The Egyptian texts I referenced and linked are not terribly lengthy, and I encourage you to take a look at them firsthand. If you are intimately familiar with the New Testament, you will be surprised quite often. It's good to see you here today. Thanks again.

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      Austinstar 2 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Interesting hub! When I was a Southern Baptist, it always bothered me to think that those who had not heard of Jesus would go to hell. I thought it a very strange concept that, through no fault of their own, humans would be punished eternally. You are right, it doesn't make any sense.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Fascinating, Chris. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts here. I'm a bit different. I simply don't care if there is a hell or a heaven. I've got my hands full here on Earth trying to be the best person I can be. Whatever comes next I'll take my chances when it comes...or maybe there's nothing in which case this whole discussion is about nothing. :)

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      Titen-Sxull 2 years ago from back in the lab again

      I had no idea that Egyptians had scriptures so similar to the Bible. Many Christians have told me, because I argue about the morality of the Old Testament God so much, to toss him out and take the New Testament God and Jesus instead. But Jesus talks more about Hell than pretty much anyone else in the Bible.

      I applaud those Christians enlightened enough to reject the doctrine of hellfire and those who actually care about the origins of their scripture and the mythologies they may have influenced the Biblical authors.

      Very interesting stuff here.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      Eric, I appreciate your response here. Your experience and mine are very different in regard to the subject of hell. I grew up with hell being a motivating factor in my own spiritual life and later ministry. Sermons such as Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Jonathan Edwards were highly praised in my circles. Here's a quote from that sermon, delivered in 1741,

      "The God that holds you over the Pit of Hell,

      much as one holds a Spider, or some loathsome Insect,

      over the Fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully

      provoked; his Wrath towards you burns like Fire;

      he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but

      to be cast into the Fire; he is of purer Eyes than to

      bear to have you in his Sight; you are ten thousand

      Times so abominable in his Eyes as the most hateful

      venomous Serpent is in ours. "

      Well, I suppose Reverend Edwards scared a few through the pearly gates with that one. Thanks for taking time to read this unforgivably long article, Eric. I appreciate it very much.

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      Eric Dierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      If in deep prayer guided meditation and contemplation we find deeply troubling aspects of a doctrine contrary to our complete view of Christs' love we should probably reject it. Somehow this notion of hell has elevated itself to such a rule that it rules God in many men's minds. For some reason in my long and fruitful walk in Christian faith I have not been compelled to accept the "traditional" view of hell. It just has never found its' way to ingrain itself in my beliefs or psyche.Maybe someday I will have a vision of hell, and then I can worry about it.Until then articles such as this very well done one will satisfy any doubts.

      It is good of you to write this down for folks to read and contemplate. I pray that anyone struggling in this area can find comfort here.

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      Chris Mills 2 years ago from St. Louis, MO until the end of June, 2017

      John, and thanks for reading....it's a long article, so I do appreciate you taking the time. I've wanted to write this for a long time, but am somewhat concerned about the negative content. If I can give someone who is struggling with these things, a bit of help, then that's good enough for me. Sometimes all we need when taking a new step is a little encouragement. I appreciate the comment.

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      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow, this is totally different for the type of hub I expect from you Chris. It was interesting, you provided good information and you do make a lot of good points. I am a Christian but have never ever really believed in Hell. To explain why I don't woud probaby take a hub even longer than this one. Thanks for sharing.

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