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Why This Atheist Thinks Christians Should Fear Hell

Updated on December 31, 2014
Young child from the documentary "Jesus Camp"
Young child from the documentary "Jesus Camp"

The Problem and a Typical Response

It has been hard for me to understand why so many Christians seem comfortable believing I’ll burn in hell forever. It's been even more difficult to witness their zealous protection, and even praise, of a God-concept that says I deserve it. Although I spent 28 years in church and have talked frequently about this issue in the three years since I left, it still doesn’t make sense to me.

When I share this concern with Christians, their response almost always is: “I’m so sorry you had that view of God. What you need to understand is that God doesn’t send anyone to hell,” they continue, as if I’ve committed a grave logical fallacy. “People choose to go there by rejecting God, but He loves you and wants you to be with Him.” Hell is simply separation from God, they say. It’s the logical consequence I get for rejecting his beautiful invitation to accept him.

Some Christians are particularly insistent. I remember, for example, a man who looked rather bewildered at my inquiry while we were chatting about it at a local IHOP -- he punctuated his sentences by banging the table in frustration as he insisted: “All you have to do to avoid hell is ACCEPT Christ! Why do you reject him and choose hell?!”

The “Choice” To Go To Hell

In spite of what many Christians seem to think is common sense (and in spite of some thoughts from Dante’s Inferno and CS Lewis’s book The Great Divorce)...honestly, the concept that anyone chooses hell -- a place that is usually defined as a place of separation from God -- isn't common sense to me for three reasons that, it seems to me, most Christians should be able to understand.

First, if God made all things, didn’t He make Hell? So isn't its existence, then fundamentally His fault? And, furthermore, if He made it...why would He make it a horrible place? Did He really have to make it so bad? And if He made it, it’s connected to Him somehow, right? So how would you really be separate from Him there, if hell is created and kept intact by His creative power? As George Carlin stated when talking about how prayer doesn't make sense in light of God's divine plan, "It's all very confusing."

Second, by worshipping this God, you’re saying that He’s right -- that you think I deserve Hell. For some reason, Christians seem to think it is comforting that everyone deserves hell -- that they aren’t singling me out. But this doesn’t help; it makes things worse, because it requires that I think not only of myself, but of all humanity, deserves a tormented eternity. It’s difficult for me to even begin to stomach the very notion of thinking such a terrible thing about so many people.

Third, why would I choose to go to hell? If I chose to go to hell with full knowledge of what the consequences of the choice were, then, for me to prefer it over the alternatives, it wouldn’t be able to be a bad place -- if it were, I would definitely prefer to go somewhere else. If it turns out to be more unpleasant than I thought it was when I chose it, I don’t understand how I’d be choosing to go there. It’s not an informed decision, so it wouldn’t really be my choice. When I explain this to Christians, however, they tend to think I’m somehow being intellectually dishonest...for some reason, it’s hard for them to believe that I would not willingly choose to be tormented forever. I have a difficult time explaining to them that if I knew hell existed and was the worst place imaginable, I wouldn’t want to go there, but it’s true and, if I could be so bold, doesn’t seem like rocket science logic.

How Disturbing Should “Hell” Be?

Thinking hard about how so many otherwise seemingly normal people can think I deserve eternal torment for not believing in a God-concept has, unfortunately, made me less shocked by other massive injustices throughout history. Hell is, by definition in most versions of Christianity, the worst fate that can befall anybody. Forget the Nazi concentration camps, forget dying from a famine in Stalinist Russia, forget radiation poisoning from Hiroshima, forget the recent stories of CIA torture, forgetting the recent beheadings of American citizens by ISIS. None of those begin to hold a candle to even a tenth of a second in most versions of hell. And according to most interpretations of the Christian Bible, atheists and people from many different faith traditions will be there forever.

I’ve tried to think about how long “forever” is, but I could never get my brain wrapped around it. If you try to think of it all at once, it’s too much, your brain stops trying, and you don’t get a sense of how extreme it is, so it might help to break it down.

If someone waterboarded someone else for a full hour, without a break, many of us would be outraged. What about two hours straight? Spitting, gasping, and desperate for breath the whole time (as someone who has almost drowned twice, this really hits home for me)? At some point, your brain can’t calculate the horror and it becomes more of an idea than an actual possibility you contemplate.

But try to vividly imagine, in detail, your best friend or dearest family member being waterboarded for 24 hours, nonstop...

...take a moment....

Can you begin to grasp how horrifying that would be – the choking, the screaming, the psychological hell? Are you capable of multiplying that by seven, or 168 hours, to encompass an entire week? What about a year?

What if there was no end result in sight, no end goal of seeking enemy information – what if it was just pure punishment? What if he had to do it while being forced to stand, or while lying on a bed of nails rubbed with salt and oil, spaced enough to hurt him without killing him? What if an expert clinical psychologist was systematically trying breaking down his self esteem the whole time? What if he was force-fed through a stomach tube, just enough to keep him alive?

Would you be crying for them to stop? Would you be begging for it to end? Would you be able to look on passively or watch a movie or play a game or laugh as it continued? Would the screaming gasps and blood be distracting?

And can you imagine, as you plead for it to stop, this going on…not for a hundred years, or a thousand years, or a million years, even. A million years – I know it’s a lot, but I challenge you to just try to imagine it – of this happening, and it getting worse and worse every time, and no closer to ending, and you feeling as anguished as the years went by just as severely you did the very first hour -- no subsiding of grief. The pain is no closer to subsiding at the end of that million years, than it was the first second it happened.

The reason I’m breaking this down is because I think that it gets to a point where it’s all too much. The hell most Christians seem to believe in seems so terrible that most of them can’t, or won’t, even begin to try to empathize with those who will supposedly be going there. So they give up thinking about it. But if you try, you realize that, as distressed you may be, and however terrible and horrifying that scenario is:

The hell of most of Christendom is infinitely worse than that.

Is the Lack of Fear Christians Have of Hell Disturbing?

This isn’t an attempt to “trick” Christians into believing that hell is a bad place. I’m not saying anything I hadn’t anguished over myself, as a Christian. During my last couple years in the church, I couldn’t understand how Christians weren’t constantly grieving, especially if we really believed that hell existed.

Why weren’t we out in the streets? Why weren’t there more tears? Why wasn’t there more of a sense of urgency? The anguish was so severe that for my last few weeks as a Christian I just wanted it to end, and would hold a knife to my throat a couple times a week thinking about my tears for the anguished in torment – only to put it down out of fear of going to hell myself. I wrote; I studied apologetics; I prayed; I tried to convince atheists, often staying up all night deep in conversation. I really, genuinely cared. I was not nonchalant and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how so many Christians could seem to care so little. It’s difficult to really state how confusing that seeming nonchalance in other Christians towards the topic was.

Penn Jillette On The Topic

It seems as if most Christians don’t really seem concerned about it. And I have no idea why. This is the most terrible belief imaginable and then some; why wouldn’t they seem more concerned and preoccupied with it? I don’t get it, really…and when I try, my mind goes to a very dark place.

Because if people can go to movies, have dinner parties, enjoy amusement parks, celebrate holidays, and so on while worshipping a God whose judgment (as people deserve hell because they disobeyed the laws He made) is the reason people they know and claim to love will go to a place far worse than their worst imaginations, for eternity…

As I struggled with learning to stomach the fact that they could believe that this place of torment exists for me, and worship the God of that belief, I found it easier to stomach the fact that people supporting an agency that tortures, that a country once supported a regime that operated concentration camps killing millions, that citizens once supported a system of government that depended on gulags. The dark human allegiances of past and present all seem to fade in view of the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world are so seemingly cavalier and able to function while worshipping the God whose judgment will send me and others like me to eternity in hellfire. I have hard time thinking of anything people have believed that’s darker than that.

I’m not sure what to do with that fact disturbing fact nowadays. I’ve been angry and railed against it and I’ve also, after developing calluses from the pain, talked about it patiently with people. But for some reason, people seem extremely intent on believing it, and I still have a hard time understanding why -- although I have a piece of the puzzle: Christians lack a healthy, empathetic fear of hell.

The Phone Bill Analogy

Often, hell seems to be seen as the background for the foreground of heaven -- the worse hell is, the better heaven seems to be. One side of this realization, admittedly, is very disturbing -- it means that many of Christians probably don’t care much that I’m going to spend eternity in hell, so long as they are assured they’re going to heaven.

In any case, the result of using hell to emphasize the beauty of heaven results, in many cases, in an emphasis on heaven, and a de-emphasis on hell. In fact, if you mention you have a fear of hell in most churches, many people seem to think that’s a hint that you think you’re going there. That thinking is fairly effective; if Christians know they’ll be looked down on for admitting they are afraid of hell, and are heavily encouraged to focus on heaven, they’re very likely to allow concept of hell to be unexamined.

If you ignore your fear of paying your phone bill, there’s no reason for you to examine the bill. But the more afraid you are of the bill, the more important the bill becomes, so the more incentive you’ll have to make sure it’s legitimate. If you’re concerned enough about it, you’ll look at it closely to ensure all the charges are straight. You might compare it to other providers to make sure the bill is fair and makes sense.

One strategy the provider can use is telling you that you shouldn’t be afraid of the bill -- that you should look at the service, not the bill. Because they know that the more you concentrate on the service, the less likely you’ll be to dispute charges or switch to a less expensive carrier.

The same dynamic happens, I suspect, with the the fear of hell.

If you ignore your fear of hell -- not merely a selfish fear for yourself, but also a very empathetic and rational fear for others -- there’s no incentive for you to examine whether the concept of hell is legitimate. To be sure, the church needs the concept of hell (like the cell phone company needs bill payments) to keep its control over its parishioners. But the more hidden it can make that concept, and the more it can emphasize the benefits of heaven, the more it can get away with keeping the concept of hell intact and unexamined. The trick is to keep your focus on the carrot with the threat of the "stick" of hell, without actually allowing you to look back and examine the (bogus) threat. As Psychology Today states, one of the essential things to do to keep people in a cult is to, “Keep your flock fixated on the carrot. The payoff is just around the corner and only they will be the ones paid off.”

Like this.  Except the pitchfork isn't there; just the empty threat of it.
Like this. Except the pitchfork isn't there; just the empty threat of it.

What if Christians Had More Empathetic Fear of Hell?

I know it’s controversial to say this, but I think that if Christians allowed themselves to have fear for the supposedly condemned -- enough for them to care about examining the concept of hell closely -- their empathy for those supposedly going there will reveal that it instigates cruel views of nonbelievers. And without the concept of hell, I think the church would lose a lot of its control and influence. If we thought everyone would go to the same place when they die, Christianity would lose its exclusivity and, thus, its power.

There’s another route, of course. It's pretty well known that church attendees are often encouraged by their leaders (and atheists like Penn Jillette, too) to turn this fear into evangelistic fervor, but I’ve also seen Christians who, rationally I think, rapidly become uncomfortable with telling people they’re going to hell.

An Example

If you’re one of these, I think it’s a good idea to ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable. If you really believed it, why would you be so timid about it? Perhaps you’re unsure whether it’s true.

And, unlike your pastor possibly does, I’m not using that point as a guilt trip. I’m using it to say that those doubts may be completely rational, and you should explore them. It may be a difficult journey, but from one person who has taken it to, perhaps, another, I’ll say that, for me, it’s rewarding beyond words to be able to look at people without thinking, on any level, that they may deserve to be in torment forever. I think I owe them that at least that much respect and beauty.

What do you think?


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    • Travis Kaoulla profile image


      3 years ago from New Jersey

      Christians were once obsessed with devising ways to avoid Hell after life. We veered away from that, however, after we created a more amicable image of God.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      It's a simple concept. It is physically impossible for God to co-exist with sin. Every one, christian or not, has sinned, and is therefor unfit to be in the presence of God and sent to hell to atone for their own sins forever. However, after dying the most painful death possible and spending three days in hell, Christ became a pardon because he had committed no sin and paid the price anyway. When God looks upon someone who has believed in Christ and has accepted him, God remembers that their sin has been atoned for by Christ's blood. By never putting trust in Christ's atonement, your sin is still present and God (Remember, PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO COEXIST WITH SIN) allows you to choose that way and pay for your own sin forever in hell. It is not God who condemns people to hell, but their own selves, because God gives them free will. (This is the base idea, but the bible goes into much more detail.

    • Paladin_ profile image


      4 years ago from Michigan, USA

      Another thought-provoking hub, Breaker! I initially began writing a more comprehensive comment a couple of weeks ago when I first came across your thesis, but it grew to such length that I decided to turn it into a hub instead!

      I will provide a link back to this hub in the comments of mine. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      The Hell where one will burn forever does not exist in the literal sense. The righteous who die do not go to Heaven until after the second coming. The Bible is not to be taken as such. Judgement takes place. Then the Armageddon-when all evil would be burned away forever, the earth cleansed before the righteous can dwell upon it once again.

    • Niko Linni profile image

      Niko Linni 

      4 years ago from Long Beach, California

      This was a rather interesting read and brings to mind a reason why I started to segment away from Christianity myself (though I am still a spiritual person) and one of those reasons was hell. In fact so great was my fear of this place that I almost called off all of my new spiritual exploring and retreated back into Christianity, because then I'd be safe from hell. It's...intriguing is the only word that comes to mind.

      And you make a good point. If hell is really as bad as they say it is...why isn't there more urgency? More talking, more going at it? Perhaps outside of Church they're expecting the religious to talk to and convert people on their own? I know I did it, for very much the same reasons you said in your piece; that you were worried about the person going to hell. And now that you bring up those in Heaven's thinking about those in hell...what would that be like? Would they just "get over it"? What if it was friends and family?

    • Oztinato profile image

      Andrew Petrou 

      4 years ago from Brisbane


      We have been over and over this so its dishonest of you to attack others. Also the record shows you yourself fail to answer questions.

      Terrorists have dismissed themselves from Gods presence with their violent intolerance as does any group who makes intolerance their belief eg. JW s

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 

      4 years ago


      Thank you for sharing that with me, however, I don't quite see how it answers my simple question. Do you worship the same monstrous god Al-Qaeda and ISIS worship?

    • TLStahling profile image

      TL Stahling 

      4 years ago from US

      I'm not religious; but I am spiritual and I do believe in a Divine energy source. That source, if you wish to call it God, is not monstrous - it's the terrorists who are so. A lot of it is political.

      They interpret the Koran (Q'uran) as dangerously as some Christians interpret the Bible.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 

      4 years ago


      You say, "God, Allah, Jehovah; whatever you want to call 'him" it's all the same." Am I to take it, then, that you worship the same monstrous god Al-Qaeda and ISIS worship?

    • TLStahling profile image

      TL Stahling 

      4 years ago from US

      I think religion puts a bad name on "Christianity" or spiritual awareness. I am a Christian in the fact that you can hear me thanking Jesus all the time. I'm very blessed. But you going to hell? Don't we have hell right here on earth.

      Science has told us that everything is energy. We are energy. Energy does not die. Positive attracts positive and negative attracts negative.

      God is the Divine energy source.

      I remember some evangelist stating Jewish people were going to hell because they don't accept Jesus as their savior? WHAT?!!! If you're going to be a Bible Christian; then you know that the Jews are God's chosen people through Abraham. They are saved. Jesus was for the gentiles (as the Bible goes).

      Shame, Shame on people who judge. They should just take care of their own spiritual salvation. Leave the rest to God, Allah, Jehovah; whatever you want to call 'him" it's all the same.

    • D S Carter profile image

      David Carter 

      4 years ago from Montana

      Regardless of one's belief of hell, it is of greatest sadness to think that anyone would end up there. Also terribly sad is those who, like the man beating the IHOP table, attempt to "pound" the gospel into their fellow man rather than simply live as Jesus did, by making those around Him feel the practical effects of His desire for their salvation (i.e. feeding them, healing them of illness, etc.). Having a profoundly tangible faith, I see it as the most egregious insult to Jesus Christ to "pound" the gospel rather than live it by putting feet to the prayers of our fellow man.

      One thing should also be considered here: you say you are convinced, yet you self admittedly seek out non-articulate Christians by whom to self validate narcissistic tendencies...

    • Deborah Demander profile image

      Deborah Demander 

      4 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

      Interesting hub, and interesting comments.

      I don't believe a loving God would send anyone to hell. There is no such thing, in my view of God.


    • Romekio profile image

      Eslam yosef 

      4 years ago from Egypt

      The sooty one, first thank you for your reply nicely wrote, and about it .. the one who can create things from nothing and i am sure that you never see that before can raise with himself alone from nothing, he have the skill to do, if there is any thing "live or natural" else have this skill why no one saw it until now? even if this all naturally created why it's stopped from creating anther things from nothing? if the man was a monkey why we never ever seen a monkey turned to a man, one monkey that make this rule true but that will never happened because the monkey never turned to a human, while i think that every person had talking about the Universe creation only depending on guess and Theories, never seen what he talking about and never depending on a real true Scientific fact, but it's worth to give time and read the 'A Universe From Nothing' by lawrence krauss i think, maybe he know a real true Scientific fact i don't know about, maybe but if he don't like every one else i think the simple rule win at last, simply it is the god .. the only one who have the skill to create from nothing and that is simple for him to raise from nothing too, and if you know any thing else "any thing" can do that, i am sure that will be a very strong Proof prove there is no god, while i know you will never find this thing but until you find it the simple rule is on "there is some one have the skill to create from nothing and you are here because of him, because he create your source, after reading for lawrence i will tell you what i think in 'A Universe From Nothing', just wishing you think about what you read not just following without thinking what you follow, was a very nice to reply on your comment.

    • profile image

      The Sooty One 

      4 years ago

      Romekio, if you can't create something from nothing then what created god, or the gods? If you argue that god (or the gods, if you prefer) are eternal, then I'll just ask why the universe can't be eternal as well, eliminating any need for any gods? As for no human seeing something created from nothing, we are woefully ill-equipped to see the very large, the very small or anything that happens longer than our lifespans.

      It turns out, in fact, that it looks like the whole universe can come from nothing, due to quantum physics. I suggest you google Lawrence Krauss' 'A Universe From Nothing' for better understanding.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      If that's right, then we are all living in Hell right now, and when we die then we go to Heaven. Sounds logical...

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Why do we feel that the Bible is saying that there is eternal life in hell? There are many verses that need to be re-examined which clearly state that if you do not take the free gift of eternal life (choosing to follow Jesus) then you are going to "live" in Hell. No, you cease to exist if you do not choose Jesus.

    • Romekio profile image

      Eslam yosef 

      4 years ago from Egypt

      not agreed, just by simple rule, there's no human in the world live or dead had ever seen anything created from nothing, maybe we can use things to create better things, but it's not possible to create a thing from nothing, and that's mean whatever the source of this world, there someone created it and this true rule until we see any thing different, so there is a skill that someone have and he didn't show it to us or used it in front of any human and we never saw him too and that can be a lie if only there is any one saw this skill that can create a thing from nothing before, so we here with a source but who created this source and who have the skill to do, even the mother natural can't do this, if she can why she didn't do through all this years? , so the problem not in the god or even in the Religion, there is god and there is a religion, the only problem with the humans, men that speak with the name of god or with the name of religion without knowledge.

      follow the hub and author follow too.


    • profile image

      The Sooty One 

      4 years ago

      How can any Christian read this and not be moved to examine the absurdity of his or her beliefs? This is so well written.

      I have often wondered how Christians can call going to Hell a 'choice'. Weighing the two options: 'love me forever or be punished forever' is not a choice, but extortion, blackmail, the threat of harm for not doing what the sadistic psychopath demands.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 

      4 years ago from Beautiful South

      Ha, ha, nothing like a reformed smoker, alcoholic, or Christian, but I'm in the boat with you, brother, since I'm the latter. These hell-fearin' Christians can't seem to agree on the whos and whys of going to hell. My best friend is a Baptist who believes in "once saved always saved." She also believes in immersion and doesn't think sprinkling qualifies as baptism. She quite frequently tells me that "she worries that I've left the church, but she is thankful that I was once saved and Baptized." I reply that it must not have taken the first time because when I changed churches in the same faith, they baptized me a second time. She also told a Baptist-turned-Catholic friend that she was glad he was saved and baptized as a Baptist. She reiterated that statement when he was killed in an accident. When he was alive, we had a lot of fun discussing religion with her. So some of them actually do worry about other people's souls. Discussing religion can be fun. It's the ones who show up uninvited on my doorstep that I don't want to deal with.

    • profile image

      Gerri D 

      4 years ago

      I had this conversation with a religious friend of mine recently when she laughed and made a comment about a time that a JW came to my door and said that because I did not believe then I would not go to heaven! My husband had made the comment that he laughed when I returned with won;'t either as it does not exist". When sitting around chatting in the back garden in Oz as we do! She had said something to the effect of "why do you care anyway" and laughed, knowing that I don't believe! Now this troubled me for a few days and I considered on it! I then realised that I was quite annoyed! Why was I annoyed about a thing that I do not believe in! Then it came to me, I was annoyed about the sentiment and not the supposed actuality! So, I had a discussion with her and I had trouble in getting the sentiment across, she could not get passed the "you don't believe therefore why are you concerned about it"? I asked her if she thought that I was a good person? She replied "yes of course" etc etc etc!, " why so you think that I am deserving of hell"! We went around and around for an hour until I came up with this analogy. Did you think that it was deserving of the Jews being killed and burned by the christians in Germany during the war! "Of course not etc etc!" Well by saying that I will not be going to heaven is the same sentiment, you and other christians are saying that I am deserving of being treated in the same way and that I am worthy of being discarded when I die because you believe that that is not the end of my life, that my supposed soul will go to hell! To me these are the same thoughts that was made action at that time! Death to christians is not the end, but the next stage in life so by saying that I am not worthy to have this is the same as doing it to atheists! How could they not think that if they believe in hell? I don't think that she had ever been challenged by this before and the trite thoughts of christians about how they will get to heaven and atheist won't is not considered to be a harmful and quite bigoted thought! I mean they are really saying that they think that we are deserving of the oven! She did apologise to me, she said that she thought it was about the ideology not about the sentiment of saying that I am worthy on a personal level of eternal suffering. I don't think that that they think about that outcome, I know many atheists that a fantastic and good people and many christians that are OK people! I think that christians don't think about the consequences of their ideology and the "hate thoughts" that they have about non-believers and other religions and that they are willing for us to suffer for all of eternity. If they are so christian should they not be making requests to their god for there to be a little 2 star hotel (and not the 5 star they are going to) for good people who do not believe as opposed to thinking that we are only good to be tortured for all eternity! Look I know when I die I am dead, but it annoys me that christians go around with the sentiment that I am going to burn (I am not of course), but it is the sentiment not the actuality! I don't see any difference between this thought and the "final solution" that the Nazi's thought was the way to go and carried out on the jews accept it happens when we die!

    • C.V.Rajan profile image


      4 years ago from Kerala, India

      If fear of hell is going to help people lead a more sober, morally right and ethical life style, why condemn that fear?

      If the fear of traffic policemen is not there, people would gleefully do rash driving and get into problems, won't they?

      But one thing I agree with you. Just because you deny your loyalty to Christ, the idea that you will end up in hell is indigestible to me!

      My suggestion is this: Don't judge religion by the words of half baked interpreters and missionaries. Go to true masters/ saints/ realized souls to seek clarification to your doubts about religion.

    • oliwier profile image

      Richard Warren 

      4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      You're right when you said that it's a place of torment. More than our brain can imagine. However, accepting Jesus in your life is not enough not to go to hell. You need to workout your salvation with fear and tremble as apostle Paul (Philippians 2:12). In order to do that, you will need a total commitment to God. Total means 100%. It is not 90% to God and 10% to yourself or 98% to God and 2% to yourself. It is not total commitment. So, it's all or nothing. You may think that it's unfair but it's not. On the other hand, I respect your believe about hell.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 

      4 years ago


      "Through one man sin entered into the world and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because they had all sinned." - Romans 5:12

      "None of them can ever redeem a brother

      Or give to God a ransom for him,

      (The ransom price for their life is so precious

      That it is always beyond their reach)" - Psalms 49:7,8

      We've all inherited sin because Adam - a perfect **man** - "sold" us unto sin. Since he and Eve only had children **after** they sinned against Jehovah and began to die, it was impossible for anyone to be born with the physical perfection they were created with. This is why no one could ever redeem us from sin.

      What was needed was "a corresponding ransom." (1 Timothy 2:6) A ransom which would be equal in value to the perfect **human** life that Adam forfeited and lost for the rest of us - "soul for soul" - Exodus 21:23. The idea of a ransom basically involves two things. First, a ransom is the price paid to bring about a release or to buy something back. It might be compared to the price paid for the release of a prisoner of war. Second, a ransom is the price that covers, or pays, the cost of something. It is similar to the price paid to cover the damages caused by an injury. For example, if a person causes an accident, he would have to pay an amount that fully corresponds to, or equals, the value of what was damaged.

      As it stood, we were doomed. Condemned to continue being born in sin, continue suffering and dying for all eternity because no **imperfect** human being could ever equate the value of the **perfect human** life that was lost.

      Jehovah God understood this better than anyone and so he lovingly intervened making it possible for another perfect human being to be born and disposed to accept the value of his life as the corresponding ransom for what Adam forfeited.

      Since only a perfect **human** life was needed Jehovah could have transferred the life of any of his spirit sons - or angels - into Mary's womb to be born as a perfect **human** being (Job 1:6; 38:7; Luke 3:38). That would have satisfied the legal requirement.

      Instead he sent us his "only-begotten" son, Michael, who was given the name Jesus upon birth as a **perfect man**. (John 1:18; Matthew 1:21) But why? Why him?

      Because Michael - Jesus in his **pre-human** existence - loved us very, very deeply. Proverbs 8:31 tells us that while he worked alongside Jehovah God in his creative acts as his master worker, "the things [he] was fond of were with the sons of men." As such, Jesus loved us so much that he happily volunteered to give up his exalted position in heaven, be born a defenseless child and be brought up amongst flawed, imperfect human beings and then be tested to the limit, humiliated, insulted, mutilated and finally murdered all so that we can have the opportunity to be rescued from our slavery to sin and death and, instead, have everlasting life.

      "For the wages sin pays is death, but the gift God gives is everlasting life by Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23

      "For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, so that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world for him to judge the world, but for the world to be saved through him. The one who exercises faith in the Son has everlasting life." - John 3:16,17,36

      Thus, Jesus' ransom sacrifice came at extraordinary personal cost to Jehovah God himself. He looked on as he saw his son get insulted, humiliated, beaten, tortured then horrifically, painfully murdered. He looked on – and could do nothing.

      For three days his son was dead. Gone …

      Only those who have children could possibly even imagine what Jehovah God felt and even then only imagine. But why did Jehovah God allow himself to be put through all of this pain and suffering? In Romans 5:8 he answers -

      “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

      Why did Jehovah God do it? Because he loved us.

      How, then, can we show Jehovah God and Jesus our gratitude for all they've done – and continue to do – for us? By loving them, obeying them and loving one other -

      Jesus taught, “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’” - Matthew 22:37%

      “You must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength.” - Deuteronomy 6:5

      “This is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome.” - 1 John 5:3

      Jesus also taught, “If anyone loves me, he will observe my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not observe my words. The word that you are hearing is not mine, but belongs to the Father who sent me." - John 14:23,24

      “If you love me, you will observe my commandments. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. In turn, whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him.” - John 14:15,21

      "By this all will know that YOU are my disciples, if YOU have love among yourselves.”" - John 13:35

      “ If anyone says, “I love God,” and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar.” -1 John 4:20

      “By this we have come to know love, because that one surrendered his life for us, and we are under obligation to surrender our lives for our brothers.” - 1 John 3:16

      By doing so we can look forward to continue enjoying Jehovah God and Jesus' love - for all eternity.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Your comments are absolutely correct for fear-based, death focused extremist Christianity. It has no bearing on Progressive Christianity. I think Conservative Christians spend too much time thinking about others and not enough time examining their own lives. They spend too much time thinking about death and the AfterLife, and not enough time examining the here and now.

      I do not believe in Dante's Inferno and eternal torment. That's a damned sadistic God that thought of that one. I believe we create our own heaven and hell here on earth. God is Love and Mercy and Compassion. To live a life without that love and mercy and compassion for your self and for others is truly hellish. To live your life in misery and fear, hoping for death and the end of the world is hellish.

      But to live a life of love, to love yourself and others and to work constantly to make this world a better place is heaven.

      Jesus showed us how to live our lives...healing the sick, caring for the poor, taking care of family and friends, befriending the outsiders. Jesus said Love fulfills the Law. That's all we have to do. Imagine such a world if we all loved and cared for each other.

      If all Jesus was good for was dying for our sins (and I don't believe in atonement sacrifice), he didn't need to live 33 years to do it. He could just appear, die and that's it. If God wanted out 'sins' forgiven, he could just DO IT. He's God! Poof, all is forgiven. If Heaven were the end all, be all, then we didn't have to come to earth at all...he could have just kept us up there.

      No. We have things to accomplish here. We have things to learn. Jesus said, we could do ALL that he did and MORE. So when are we going to start?

      Jesus' life was just as important, if not more, than his death a resurection.

      Jesus said many followers aren't really his followers and haven't a clue what he's about. I think, today, many Christianists fall into that category. they don't love, they don't live a Christly life, they don't follow him. I think the Muslim Malala and the Hindu Gandhi are more Christian than the Pat Robertsons of the world.

      These are the most valuable verses for me on how to live my life:

      Matthew 22:36-40

      New International Version (NIV)

      36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

      37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      1 Corinthians 13:13


      …12For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

      Romans 13:10

      Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

      1 John 4:20

      New International Version

      Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.

      "If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love? It disappears. And you made it disappear." [1 John 3:17]

      There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12

      So I work on do more and be better. I often fail, but still I try. I let the afterlife take care of itself. If there is nothing there, at least I haven't wasted my life hoping or fearing for what comes after.

      Who knows? I may die in battle and end up in Valhalla.

    • Oztinato profile image

      Andrew Petrou 

      4 years ago from Brisbane

      Hell is an old medieval fear based idea that lacks love.

      I am a theist.

    • Joseph O Polanco profile image

      Joseph O Polanco 

      4 years ago

      The Hellfire doctrine is a perverse Antichrist mendacity that defames God. As a God of justice and love he would never prescribe infinite punishment for a finite crime no matter how wicked:

    • profile image

      Jon Mark 

      4 years ago

      Before I even read this, I'll agree with you that Religion does exist. Okay. Now that we're past that. I'm gonna get to reed'n!


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